A lot of patients are excited by the idea of cooking with cannabis and experimenting with edibles at home. While this a great new opportunity, there are many things to note before throwing your whole bag of cannabis into some butter and cooking up a batch of brownies. As always when using cannabis, it is best to start with a low dose and gradually build up to a point where you feel you are most comfortable and can have the greatest desired effect.
The actual chemical compound of THC is different when ingesting cannabis as opposed to smoking or vaping, and it is important to understand how your body might react accordingly. Here we will break down some basic tips to consider when cooking with cannabis in your home kitchen.
As mentioned above, it is always important to start with a low dose of cannabis when trying either a new strain, product, or way of consuming. When cooking with cannabis, you should always take into consideration the starting material, or type and potency of the dried cannabis flower you will be using. You can use full cannabis flower, shake, trim or just about any part of the plant. Not all flower is created equally and typically the stronger the potency, the less flower you will have to use. Many people believe you have to use several grams of cannabis flower in a batch of edibles. But as we know, everyone's body reacts differently to cannabis, so sometimes even less will be all you need to feel the effects you desire. Remember you can always add more on the next batch!
In order to feel the psychotropic effects of cannabis, you will first need to decarboxylate, or decarb, the flower before you start the extraction process. Dried cannabis flower contains tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA, which is inherently non-psychotropic or non-intoxicating. THCA can be great for other medicinal purposes but will not create the effects commonly associated with ingesting cannabis. To decarb the cannabis flower, you will need to remove the carboxyl group by heating the flower to around 220 degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 30-40 minutes. This will decarboxylate the cannabis and create THC which can then be infused into an oil for cooking.
You will also need to ensure you have a good carrier agent for the THC, meaning some type of lipid or fat, in order to infuse your cuisine. This is because THC is lipophilic and does not dissolve into water. You can use butter, coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil or just about any other oil that you choose. This will allow the cannabis to dissolve into the oil, thereby infusing the oil with cannabinoids. By adding the cannabis to the oil and adding a little bit of heat, usually over a stove, you can create the infusion which will take around an hour. You will want to make sure the heat stays low enough to not burn the cannabis and the terpenes.
Now that you have an infused oil, you can add it to whatever recipe you choose for your edible experience. You can even add the oil right on type of your food since it is already activated! This means you can add it to salad dressing, piece of bread, or even as a drizzle over a pizza if you choose. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to infusing food with cannabis. Just remember, whatever or however you infuse your cuisine, always start low and go slow. You can always take more later, however you can’t take less after consuming.
The edible experience is different for everyone and the onset can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours for the full effects to be achieved. Therefore it is always best to wait at least 24 hours before upping your dose in order to figure out what your body is capable of handling and what effect you desire the most.