When it comes to cooking with cannabis, there are many factors to take into consideration. Cannabis is sensitive to temperature and this can ultimately affect potency and taste in the finished product. Additionally, homemade edibles can be a bit tricky in terms of dosage, depending on how you choose to cook your cannabis, so we have created a guide of helpful pointers for those who are new to the cannabis cooking world. Welcome to Cannabis Cooking 101!
Cannabis & Heat
When using raw cannabis flower, the first and most important step is to decarboxylate the cannabis. This big fancy word is just another term for heating it up. The THC and CBD in cannabis is activated by heat (hence why it is often smoked), but when you’re looking to cook cannabis, you definitely don’t want to overheat it, or else you’ll lose all of the potency, and your edibles will taste burned. The easiest way to decarboxylate your cannabis is on a simple baking sheet in the oven. The sweet spot for temperatures is between 200 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Many ovens by vary in temperature by a few degrees, so the best advice is to keep the temperature low and steady. Decarboxylation doesn’t occur until after about 30 minutes, so keeping your cannabis in the oven between 30 and 45 minutes is recommended. Every ten minutes or so, you may want to give the cannabis a stir to make sure that the surface area is evenly heated.
Cannabis & Fats
Cannabis, and its active ingredients, THC and CBD, are all fat-soluble. This means that cannabis is most effective and most potent when dissolved in or accompanied by high-fat products, such as butter or oil. This is also why THC stays in your body for so long – it is stored in your body’s fat cells and can be detected for up to 30 days after use. When cooking with cannabis, the best and most effective way to cook with cannabis is to combine it with a fat-soluble product. This is why cannabutter is so popular for cooking cannabis edibles.
Cannabutter is one of the easiest ways to cook with cannabis and when stored properly, cannabutter can last up to six months in your freezer!
- 1 cup of ground cannabis (4 – 10 grams)
- 1 stick of butter
- Cheesecloth for straining
- One saucepan or slow cooker
After decarboxylating your cannabis in the oven, combine the cannabis with the melted butter in a saucepan or a slow cooker pot. We recommend using a slow cooker, as these are the best for maintaining a low, even temperature for long periods of time, but a saucepan on low heat will also do just fine. Stir the mixture occasionally and make sure it never reaches a boil! The temperature should ideally be around 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and should never go above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
You’ll want to keep your cannabis butter mixture cooking on low for at least one hour, but you can cook it for up to 6 hours if you’re hoping for a higher potency end result.
Wrap a jar with cheesecloth and use a funnel to pour your cannabutter mixture into the jar. Be careful to wait until the mixture has cooled somewhat to avoid burns.
Voila! Cool the cannabutter in your refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. The cannabutter may last up to one month in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.
Cannabis & Potency
Ah, the mystery of dosing homemade edibles. Unfortunately, the nature of making homemade cannabis-infused edibles will always have room for error, no matter how carefully you cook and combine your cannabutter with the other ingredients, and there are a few reasons for this:
- When stirring, the cannabutter may not dissolve evenly. This means that one corner of your infused brownies may have lots of THC while another corner may have almost none. You can help counteract this by taking extra time to stir the mixture or by using a kitchen mixer to evenly distribute cannabutter.
- It may depend on how long you cooked your cannabutter. The longer the cooking time, the higher the infusion of THC and CBD may be. If you only cooked it for 45 minutes to an hour, you can expect that the potency of the butter to be lower.
- It may depend on the potency of the cannabis flower. The cannabis flower you use for cooking may be higher or lower in THC depending on how it is grown. It also depends on how fresh the cannabis is. For example, if you are using cannabis that has been sitting for several months, it may be lower in THC, but higher in CBN, an active ingredient that can make you sleepy.
Trying to determine the potency of your edibles can be a bit tricky due to the aforementioned reasons, which is why we recommend trying a small amount of your finished product (not much bigger than a bite) and waiting at least an hour to see how it affects you. For cannabis newbies, take it slow. A little bit can go a very long way in terms of edibles, and while you can always eat more, you can’t take it back if you end up eating too much.
Once you have made your own cannabutter, you can create all kinds of recipes. Use a pad of cannabutter to spice up your Sunday morning breakfast routine or mix it into a cup of hot cocoa to relax in the evening after a long hard day.
What is your favorite cannabis recipe?