Cannabis edibles are a nutritious and undercover way to enjoy your favorite strain, but the process can seem more than a little intimidating to DIY. Here are important tips for creating high-quality edibles that are not only effective but guaranteed to taste great.
For years, I prepared my homemade cannabis edibles with the same process, blind to the small mistakes I was making along the way. Yes, I achieved a product that would do the job (sometimes too well), but I had no idea that I could improve the flavor and consistency all while conserving time, money, and product by tweaking just a few steps along the way. All it took was putting the cooking utensils down for a few hours and listening to a pro.
A few months back, I attended the Puff, Pass & Bake class led by Chef Torrin Panico, who led us through the process of cooking cannabis oil properly while addressing some common missteps along the way. As soon as I understood the basic science of decarboxylation and infusion, I saw all of the flaws in my own process.
There isn’t one right way to make quality cannabis edibles; experimentation, trial, and error are all a part of the craft. But consider these cooking tips and see if it changes your batch for the better.
Cannabis is a very healthy plant to add to your diet. The leaves and flowers provide protein, fiber, antioxidants and many vitamins and minerals. Ingesting it either raw or cooked is much healthier than smoking. While there are many ways to eat raw marijuana that won’t get you high, these tips focus on first activating the cannabinoids by decarboxylating and then infusing the marijuana for cooking.
One benefit of making your own edibles is the ability to hand pick the strain, the ingredients and the potency to create high-quality edibles that won’t break the bank.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the physiological reaction that happens when ingesting marijuana is different than smoking it. THC is converted in the liver to 1-OH-THC, which is more potent than when you smoke (Delta-9 THC), and leads to a more intense and longer-lasting high.
Always start low with dosing edibles and go from there. A good first dose would be around 5mg. Wait at least an hour to decide if you like the effect. Furthermore, it’s never been easier to calculate the potency of each dose, thanks to online dosage calculators.
Let’s get to the basic tips for making your own high-quality edibles at home.
Use Quality Bud
When you are ingesting cannabis, it’s important to know what distinguishes high-quality bud from low-quality bud. A few factors to be on the lookout for: a pungent aroma (avoid any buds that smell hay-ish or have a faint scent), green buds (as opposed to yellow or tan plants), the structure of the bud (indica buds should have a tight, dense appearance while sativa buds should have a light, fluffy appearance). the growing conditions and any pesticides or chemicals used. Not only can those chemicals affect your health, they can also impact the taste of your edibles.
Make Sure It’s Fully Baked
In order to activate the effects of cannabis, you need to decarboxylate it, or heat it, to activate the cannabinoids. In technical lingo? The uncooked cannabis plant contains THC-A or Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid which will not get you high. The cannabinoids in flower all contain an extra carboxyl group (OOCH) on the end of their chain, which decarboxylation removes so that the cannabinoids can bind to your body’s receptors. To break it down in layman’s terms: raw cannabis plants need to be heat-treated to remove the part of the chemical chain that blocks CBD from doing its job.
Baking lightly ground bud in the oven at 240 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes should do it. Stir every 10 minutes or so to activate the most surface area.
Less is More
Lipids or fats can bind with only so many cannabinoids. Don’t use more than 1 cup cannabis to 1 cup oil or you are wasting your weed. Coconut oil has a higher ratio of saturated fats, meaning the fats can bind to more cannabinoids, making coconut oil a perfect base for your cannabutter. For inspiration, please check out Leafly’s cannabis coconut oil recipe.
Another question that often comes up in the CBD culinary community is whether you can get high from cannabis-infused honey without a fat. Cannabis chef Corinne Tobias says it is possible. Check out her recipe for cannabis honey.
Keep It Low and Slow
When you are ready to infuse, long cook times at low temperatures are the way to go. Marijuana begins to degrade at 320 degrees Fahrenheit, but the longer you cook it, the more potent it becomes. Keeping your cannabis infusion or oil at a temperature between 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit is key.
The longer the cook time for your recipe, the different the effects will be. Shorter cook times activate THC and CBD, while longer cook times can activate terpenes such as CBN, which will up the sleepy factor of your edibles. Across the board, edible chefs agree that slow, long cook times result in higher potency.
The best way to keep marijuana from overheating and degrading is to add water to your fat. Because fats separate from water when cooled, you will be able to easily pull the rich cannabutter off the residual water, once chilled.
Now that you understand the benefits and basics of creating delicious, perfectly dosed edibles, put your knowledge to use with these edibles recipes.
Pick your strain
Like with junk food, picking the right strain for making edibles depends on the mood you’re in and the social situation you’re planning for. A simple question to ask is, “Daytime cookie or nighttime cookie?” Although weed impacts everyone differently, sativas give users energy and indicas are better for relaxation and sleep.
Want your cookies to make you want to get up and conquer the world? We suggest Sour Diesel, White Widow, Casey Jones, Golden Goat, or Lemon Skunk. But if you prefer something for you, your Netflix account, and a planned rendezvous with your bed, opt for strains like Bubba Kush, Granddaddy Purple, or White Fire Alien OG.
There’s a reason why marijuana is most commonly smoked rather than eaten. Without heating it up or burning it, raw weed is actually non-psychoactive, chock full of THCA, and actually considered a “superfood” by some, who note 400 different chemical compounds inside the plant, including vitamins, essential oils, and acids.
Thus, to begin the weed edible process, a chef must prepare the weed so the elements that make a person feel high are present in the pastry. As High Times noted, “If you want to get high, you’ll need to cook it, and you’ll need to do it right so you don’t waste it.”
The boiling temperature for THC is 314ºF, and heating your cannabis too much for too long will result in lowered potency. The process itself, however, is rather straightforward:
1. Preheat your oven to 240ºF. If you have an oven thermometer to gauge the oven’s true temperature, even better.
2. Break the leaf down into more manageable pieces and place on a cookie sheet as if toasting spices. Don’t overload the marijuana so pieces are on top of each other.
3. Put the sheet in the oven and monitor for 30-40 minutes (depending on oven strength and the strain of weed). You’re looking for a golden brown color as opposed to the more vibrant green of an untoasted leaf.
4. Take out of the oven and let the toasted marijuana cool. Then put the weed in a food processor and pulse it for a second so it is ground coarsely.