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Home » Learn » Cooking With Cannabis 101

Creating your own cannabis concoctions at home is easier than you may think. With the right recipe, a few hours, and a little spark of creativity, you can cook your favorite dishes with cannabis infused oil or by incorporating a concentrate directly into the food. Whether you have a sweet tooth or a big appetite, anyone who loves cooking can find a way to craft their own edibles in their home kitchens.

Why cook with cannabis?

Cooking (or baking) with cannabis products allows you to infuse your favorite foods at home while enjoying the benefits of a long-lasting cannabis consumption experience. It offers an alternative to inhaling cannabis flower or concentrates without limiting you to the localized effects of a topical product. For those with strict medical or religious dietary guidelines, cooking with cannabis at home offers a way to try ingestibles while knowing precisely how that food was prepared.

Much like cooking a typical meal, the ability to follow a recipe is all you need to get started cooking with cannabis. Best of all, the sky’s the limit when it comes to your options – cooking with cannabis goes well beyond the famous hash brownie!

How to cook with cannabis

In many cases, cooking with cannabis involves the use of flower or concentrates to create an infused medium like butter or oil, which then makes its way into baked goods, gourmet dinners, and even beverages. Some of the cannabis products commonly used in cooking and baking are:

  • Flower: Cooking with cannabis flower requires some preparation. Before flower can be used in recipes, it must be heated in order to convert cannabinoids like THC and CBD from their acidic to their active forms. This process is known as decarboxylation and is explained in detail below. Once decarboxylated, cannabis flower is combined with a fatty substance like butter or oil, as cannabinoids are lipophilic – they bind to fats. Once the plant material is strained away, the resulting cannabis butter or cannabis oil can be used in a variety of recipes.
  • Concentrates: Concentrates can also be used for cooking potent edibles[1]. Each concentrate has a unique aroma, flavor, and consistency, each of which could influence the final product in different ways. Like flower, most concentrates must be decarboxylated before they can be used as an ingredient. There are some major exceptions, though, which are listed separately here.
  • Rick Simpson Oil (RSO): RSO is an activated cannabis concentrate, meaning the cannabinoids do not need to be converted from their acidic form before the product is consumed. Unlike flower and other concentrates, RSO does not require decarboxylation. Simply warm it up and add it to a recipe.
  • Distillate: Similar to RSO, distillate does not need to be decarboxylated. This flavorless concentrate can be added directly to a recipe without the grassy taste, and brings a high level of potency along with it. The downside is that distillates primarily contain a single cannabinoid at the expense of other cannabinoids and terpenes. Full spectrum products are thought to offer additional benefits through a synergistic interaction known as the entourage effect.
  • Tinctures: Yet another activated cannabis product, tinctures can be easily added to recipes as an ingredient to create cannabis infused edibles. Unlike RSO, however, tinctures are usually added to recipes after they are completed[2], not during the process of cooking or baking. Tinctures can also be combined with gelatin to create infused gummies.

Depending on the cannabis ingredient and recipe you choose, your cooking process will vary. In all cases, though, it is important to avoid cooking with high temperatures. Heat can degrade phytocannabinoids and terpenes; once a particular compound reaches its boiling point, the potency of your edible will diminish. Otherwise, just like cooking and baking non-infused meals, every recipe is a little bit different. And once you master the process, you can find opportunities to tweak recipes and make them your own. 

Of course, cooking and baking isn’t for everyone. For those not inclined toward the culinary arts, high quality cannabis edibles are available at your nearest licensed dispensary.

How to consume cannabis edibles

It may be tempting to devour several freshly baked chocolate chip cookies when they come out of the oven, but that’s the last thing you want to do with an infused product. The first rule of consuming edibles, above all else, is “start low, go slow.” Ingesting cannabis has a long onset of effects, sometimes taking more than 1 hour for consumers to perceive feelings of intoxication. 

If you’re new to edibles, consider starting with a low amount of THC, approximately 5mg, and waiting at least 90 minutes before consuming more. This can help you better understand how edibles affect you. If you are a more experienced consumer, you’ll have a better idea of how much THC you can consume in a serving.

It’s important to note that the “sweet spot” varies from person to person. This is in part due to the conversion of delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) into 11-hydroxy-THC[4]. This conversion takes place in large amounts during digestion, and for some people it means an extremely potent experience. For others, 11-hydroxy-THC doesn’t pack the same punch. You don’t know until you try, which is why low and slow is the safest bet.

The slow onset of effects and long duration of cannabis edibles also means you should remain in a safe place for the entire consumption experience. Do not operate a vehicle or heavy machinery after consuming edibles. Always consume in a safe, familiar environment to avoid safety risks and reduce the odds of an unpleasant experience. 

Cooking with cannabis at home: Try this Ethos cannabutter recipe

Cannabis butter, called cannabutter for short, is a commonly used ingredient in infused edible products. Infusing butter with cannabinoids and terpenes is not that difficult and can be accomplished in a few easy steps. 

This cannabutter recipe requires 45 minutes of prep time and about 2 to 3 hours of cooking time. It yields 1 cup of butter– just the right amount to make a batch of your favorite cookies.

You won’t need much for this recipe – just the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 7 to 10 grams of cannabis flower
  • 1 cup of water

Follow these 10 steps to make your own cannabutter:

  1. Preheat the oven to 245°F.
  2. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread your cannabis flower on the tray in a single, even layer.
  3. Place the tray in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes to decarboxylate the cannabis flower.
  4. Gently shake the tray every 10 minutes to evenly heat the cannabis flower.
  5. Once your cannabis flower is decarboxylated, grind coarsely using a hand grinder.
  6. Place 1 cup of water and 1 cup of butter into a saucepan and melt over low heat.
  7. Add in your ground decarboxylated flower as the butter begins to melt.
  8. Let the mixture simmer over low heat for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Do not let the mixture come to a full boil. 
  9. Let the butter mixture cool briefly. Get a jar and place a strainer or cheesecloth over the top. Pour the mixture into the strainer and let it sit until it strains. 
  10. Once all butter is strained through, refrigerate your jar of cannabutter. 

If you’re not inclined to try cannabutter in the oven, you can check out our easy crockpot cannabutter recipe or purchase a dedicated kitchen appliance designed specifically for infusing butter or oil.

How to dose your cannabis edibles

To calculate dosing of the edibles you create using the cannabutter recipe above, use the following formula:

mg THC per cup of butter X cups added to recipe / # of edibles = mg THC per edible

This will give you a better understanding of how potent your edibles will be. Generally, 5mg THC is considered a good baseline dose for new consumers. Keep that in mind when creating cannabis edibles. 

To further determine the potency of your cannabutter, spread ¼ to ½ teaspoon on a cracker or similar product and eat it. Wait one hour and note the effects. Increase or decrease the amount in future batches as desired. Performing this test before adding the butter to any recipes is recommended, as understanding the potency of the final product will help you anticipate the intensity of the consumption experience. 

More recipes to try from Ethos

If you’re looking to try your hand at other cannabis infused recipes:

Follow us on Instagram for new recipes!

Sources:

1. https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/how-to-make-weed-edibles-with-cannabis-concentrates

2. https://hightimes.com/edibles/five-classic-french-dishes-you-can-infuse-with-cannabis-tincture/

3. https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/cannabis-edibles-dosage-guide-chart

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3196989/

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