There’s dozens of ways to enjoy cannabis, but one of the most popular methods is an edible. Edibles are baked goods or savory snacks that have been infused with THC — and you can make your own delicious creations right in your own kitchen.
We’ve put together a guide that will teach you everything you need to know about the benefits of cooking with weed, including:
- The basics of cooking with cannabis
- How to infuse cannabis correctly
- Choosing the right strain
- The right way to calculate dosage
- How to use weed in different recipe
Come on, let’s get cooking!
Cooking with Cannabis 101
From total foodies to kitchen newbies, anyone can cook with cannabis. Marijuana is super versatile and easily added to a huge variety of dishes, like a quintessential brownie, popcorn or even pasta. Once you get the hang of infusing cannabis into your ingredients, the sky’s the limit. You can literally include it in any recipe.
Cannabis and fat are best friends. THC binds easily to fat particles when heated together for a long period of time. You can infuse any ingredient with a high fat content, like milk or heavy cream, but our favorite bases are butter and oil.
Once infused, it’s easy to add cannabutter or cannaoil into whatever recipe you’d like. Simply swap the recipe’s asked-for butter or oil with the cannabis-filled version. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- THC degrades at high heats. When THC is exposed to temperatures above 355 degrees fahrenheit, it breaks down and loses both flavor and potency. You can preserve the effects of your cannabutter or cannaoil by choosing recipes that cook at lower temperatures, or by using the THC-infused ingredients as finishing touches to a dish.
- Edibles are much more potent than smoking. Unlike inhaled THC, which is metabolized by your lungs and sent immediately to your bloodstream, THC that’s eaten has to travel through your digestive system first. This means it takes longer to have an effect — about 90 minutes — and can result in a high that lasts for hours. It’s important to start with small portions and work your way up from there.
- Different strains have different flavors. We’ll go into this in more depth later, but every strain of marijuana has its own flavor, aroma and effect. You’ll want to choose complementary strains so that you end up with a tasty — and not skunky — dish.
How to Infuse Cannabis
Before you create your own cannabutter or cannaoil, you must decarboxylate your marijuana. It sounds complicated, but basically, all it means is heating the flower so that the THC is activated. You absolutely can’t skip this step. If you don’t decarboxylate your marijuana, then it won’t have any effect when you eat it.
To decarb your flower, you can either bake it in your oven at 240 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, or put it into a jar in a slow cooker. For the oven method, place the buds inside aluminum foil that you’ve shaped into a boat to keep it from burning. You can place the aluminum boat in an oven-safe dish or on a cookie sheet.
For the slow cooker method, use a heat-safe jar like a mason jar. Add water to the slow cooker so that the jar is halfway submerged, then cook on high and simmer for four hours. Make sure the water level stays halfway of the jar, or you risk the glass breaking.
Once the flower is activated, it’s time to infuse. You can use almost any type of butter or oil for this next step. In general, the higher the fat content, the more potent your end result will be. We like butter, olive oil or coconut oil, but other oils work great, too.
To infuse, you can use an oven-safe container, a pot on the stove or your slow cooker. Simply combine your decarbed flower and your fat-based substance of choice in a container, then cook for 2-3 hours at 170 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to monitor the temperature and make sure it never exceeds 200 degrees.
Once your cannabutter or cannaoil is infused, strain the flower out using a fine-meshed sieve or a cheesecloth, and you’re done.
Choosing the Right Strain
Marijuana comes in literally hundreds of strains — each with their own unique flavor, aroma and potency. When cooking with cannabis, it’s important to use the right strain for your recipe. Marijuana with garlicky notes wouldn’t be very pleasant in a brownie recipe, for example.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a chef to create delicious combos. Just think of marijuana as an herb, like mint or basil, and use it with similar flavor profiles. A lemon-heavy strain would be delicious with fish, pasta or a citrus dessert; something peppery would be excellent alongside steak or chocolate. Your local dispensary’s budtenders are a great resource for choosing the right strain for your recipes.
If you don’t want to mess around with making your own infusions, you can always purchase edible extracts or concentrates like “RSO” from the dispensary. These usually come in a variety of ratios and are strain specific so you can choose your high. These are great all-around options for a variety of recipes or you can even eat the edible cannabis extract right out of the syringe.
Of course, cooking with cannabis means you’ll have to know the right way to calculate the dosage of the food you’re eating. No one wants a high that’s too, well, high, or one that doesn’t do anything.
If you’re new to cooking with cannabis, a good rule of thumb is to aim for 5mg of THC per serving, per person. You can always scale up from there once you become familiar with the effects.
The formula for calculating proper dosage of a dish is as follows:
[total flower g] x 1000 = [total flower mg]
[total flower mg] x [% THC] = [total potential THC mg]
[total potential THC mg] x [0.7 percent efficiency] = [total THC mg in infusion]
The strain you purchased will have its exact THC concentration displayed on the bag as a percentage. You can also usually estimate that you’ll lose about 30% of this potency to the cooking process. If these calculations aren’t your thing, you can use a dosing calculator.
3 Ways to Use Cannabis in Your Kitchen
You’ve got your infusion and you’re ready to cook! These are three of our favorite ways to use cannabis in our cooking.
- Something sweet. Infuse a cannabis strain with chocolate or mint notes into butter, ghee or coconut oil. Then, use this infusion in a recipe for chocolate brownies. Add graham crackers to the bottom of the pan before adding the brownie batter. Once the brownies are baked and cooled, top them with chocolate chips.
- Something savory. Infuse olive, avocado or canola oil with a lemony marijuana strain. Then, combine this oil with basil, pine nuts and parmesan in a blender for a quick and easy pesto. Pesto can be added to scrambled eggs, pasta or as a topping for fish or chicken.
- Something snacky. Infuse a cannabis strain with garlic notes into butter, ghee or olive oil. Toss with freshly popped popcorn for a tasty treat, or stir into avocado for an easy guacamole.
Cooking with cannabis is fun, easy and endlessly customizable. If you have any questions or concerns, all you have to do is talk to the budtenders at your local dispensary. These experts will help you get started with tips, insights and recommendations. Before long, you’ll be a total gourmand!