Illinois residents may purchase up to 30 grams of flower/pre-rolls; up to 500 milligrams of THC-infused edibles; and up to 5 grams of concentrates. Non-residents may purchase up to 15 grams of flower/pre-rolls; up to 2.5 grams of concentrates; and up to 250 milligrams of THC-infused edibles.
How to Make Edibles: Baking & Cooking With Cannabis
Cooking and baking with cannabis have become more than just a trend; they're a canna-culinary adventure. From BBQ condiments to marijuana brownies, infusing your favorite dishes with your equally favorite marijuana strains can elevate more than just your gastronomic experience. Baking and cooking with cannabis requires a blend of creativity, precision, and knowledge to ensure the perfect infusion and dosage. In this guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of making edibles at home, including:
- How Do You Cook or Bake Edibles at Home?
- Choose the Right Flower
- Choose Your Infused Ingredient
- Calculate Your Potency
- Decarb Your Flower
- Choose Your Recipe
- Store Your Homemade Edibles
- Answering FAQs About Cooking with Cannabis
How Do You Cook or Bake Edibles at Home?
Cooking or baking edibles at home is easier than you might realize, especially once you’ve got the essentials in place. If you want to add some psychoactive qualities to your favorite recipe, craft your DIY gummies, or brew a delicious cannabis tea, we’ll help you dig deep into the art of canna-cooking—starting from the top.
Choose the Right Flower
Selecting the right cannabis flower is the foundation of any successful edible. Your choice should consider the strain type, preferred cannabinoids, and the desired potency. Rather than opting for indica or sativa, and getting caught up on the rhetoric around them, we recommend choosing a strain you love to start. Once you get your culinary skills up to par, you can work to maximize your edibles' potential and explore different strains and their unique characteristics. Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right flower:
The strain type you select for your edibles plays a significant role in the overall experience. There is a lot of information out there about what strain can cause what effect, but there’s very little science backing up those claims. That’s why we suggest opting for a strain you enjoy. If you want your strain to complement the recipe, consider the flavors of the strain (thanks to the terpenes in them) and then make your decision that way.
Cannabis is rich in various cannabinoids, each with distinct effects. When cooking with cannabis, it's essential to understand which cannabinoids you prefer. For example, if you seek a less psychoactive experience, opt for strains high in CBD. On the other hand, THC-dominant strains can offer a more intoxicating experience, but come with an added risk of side effects. Finding the right balance is key to crafting edibles that match your preferences.
Dosing is crucial when creating homemade edibles. It's recommended for beginners to start with low doses and gradually increase as needed. Many recipes provide guidelines for dosage, but it's essential to calculate the THC content in your infusion accurately. When in doubt, go lower. You can always up the potency levels each time you bake, but once the cannabis is in the recipe, you can’t take it away.
Choose Your Infused Ingredient
Every canna cook knows the backbone of cannabis-infused cooking is the infused ingredient, and two popular choices are canna-oil and cannabutter.
Canna-oil is a versatile choice for cooking. To make it, you'll need to infuse oil with decarboxylated cannabis flower. Once infused, the oil is strained, and it can be used in various recipes, from savory dishes to sweet treats. Just make sure you store it in a cool, dark place to ensure it keeps for as long as possible.
Cannabutter is another classic option. Instead of infusing oil, like canna-oil, cannabutter is infused butter. The process is very similar with decarboxylated flower simmering in butter for a few hours and then strained to ensure you get the butter but not the plant material. It’s a perfect addition to brownies, biscuits, cannabis hot chocolate, and other treats.
Calculate Your Potency
Arguably the most difficult part of learning how to cook with cannabis is calculating potency, but it’s an essential part of ensuring your homemade edibles do what you want them to do. To do this, consider factors like THC content, THCA conversion, and dosage. Precise calculations are crucial, ensuring you don't over consume and experience unwanted effects.
Account for THCA Conversion
THCA, the non-psychoactive compound found in raw cannabis, needs to be converted into THC through a process called decarboxylation. This step is vital to unlock the plant's psychoactive potential. When it comes to edible dosing, you want to know the THCA percentage in your strain of cannabis. Usually, this information is right on the packaging. Roughly 85-90% of THCA converts into THC, and it’s believed that anywhere from 70-85% of that THC will be available in the final product.
Do the Math
Precise dosage requires careful calculations. We like to use this formula:
Total THC mg = Grams of cannabis x 1000 x THCA percentage in decimal x the percentage of THC remaining after infusion in decimal
So for example, let’s say we’re making a cup of cannabutter. We have 10g of cannabis with 20% THCA. We estimate 70% of the remaining THC will be active. This looks like:
THC mg = 10g x 1000 x .20 x 0.70
THC mg = 1400
This means there is 1400 mg of THC in your cup of cannabutter. Now, divide that number by 48 to get the milligram per teaspoon.
1400/48 = 29 mg per teaspoon
If you only want 5 mg per dose, and you’re making a batch of 9 brownies, you need a total of 45 mg in that recipe. If 1 tsp = 29 mg, then take 45/29 and you get 1.5. This means you need 1.5 teaspoons of cannabutter in your recipe to achieve the desired dosage. So as you can see, a little goes a long way.
Mix Everything Evenly
Even distribution of your cannabis-infused ingredient throughout your recipe is crucial to ensure that each serving has a balanced amount of THC. When scooping butter, make sure you dig from the bottom up, to ensure you’re getting the cannabinoids that might have settled at the bottom of your butter when it cooled.
Decarb Your Flower
Decarboxylation is the process of activating the cannabinoids in cannabis. To do this, you'll need to heat your flower at a specific temperature for a set time. This step is vital, as raw cannabis contains THCA, which is not psychoactive until it's converted into THC. There are several ways to decarb your cannabis, but we love the sous vide method for its quick convenience.
Choose Your Recipe
Once you've mastered the basics of infusing your ingredients, it's time to make your recipe. Don’t have one? Cannabis-infused recipes are as diverse as any other culinary creations. From brownies and gummies to savory dishes like cannabis-infused butter chicken, you can find a recipe that caters to your preferences.
Store Your Homemade Edibles
Proper storage is essential to maintain the freshness and potency of your homemade edibles. Keep them in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat. Seal them in an airtight container to prevent odor leakage and keep them out of reach of children or pets. Then, make sure you eat them in a normal amount of time. You’re not going to leave a sleeve of Oreos open on the counter, so don’t leave your edibles sitting around either. They’ll get stale, and worse, they’ll lose some of their potency.
Answering FAQs About Cooking with Cannabis
As with any new culinary venture, cooking with cannabis raises questions. Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions:
Can I add raw flower to my edibles?
No, it's not recommended to add raw cannabis flower to your edibles. First, it’s going to be gross to eat. Second, you can’t get any kind of psychoactive effects until the flower is decarboxylated.
Should I pick sativa or indica strains?
The choice of indica or sativa matters less than the cannabinoid ratio and potency in the strain. Strains higher in CBD than THC will have different effects than those with high THC and low CBD. That’s why we suggest using a strain you’re familiar with first.
Will my edibles taste like marijuana?
The taste of your edibles depends on various factors, including the quality of your infusion, the recipe, and the ingredients used. While some edibles may have a subtle cannabis flavor, proper cooking techniques can help mask it.
Cooking with Marijuana
By carefully selecting your cannabis flower, infusing the right ingredients, and mastering the art of dosing, you can create edibles, like cannabis cookies, that cater to your unique preferences. Of course, if you don’t feel like making your own cannabutter or canna-oil, you can just purchase them from a dispensary. You can also purchase pre-made edibles. Just talk to your budtender to learn more.