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.
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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Add Water
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.