How to Make Cannabis Edibles

Have You Ever Thought About Mixing The Therapeutic Benefits Of Cannabis With The Joy Of Cooking? 

Creating cannabis-infused edibles is not only a trending way to enjoy this versatile plant’s benefits, but it’s also a delightful adventure into culinary arts. Whether you’re using it to ease discomfort or to unwind, incorporating cannabis into your cooking could open up a whole new world of flavors and experiences.

Crafting these treats at home might seem tricky at first glance, but don’t worry—it’s a lot simpler than you might think. With a few basic techniques and a bit of practice, you can become quite the expert in making your own delicious cannabis-infused goodies.

Choosing The Right Cannabis Strain

Selecting the right cannabis strain is the first critical step in making edibles that suit your needs. The strain you choose influences not just the flavor of your edibles but also the type of relief or experience they provide. Different strains contain varying levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, which can significantly alter effects.

For Relaxation

Opt for a strain rich in CBD and Myrcene. These are known for their calming effects, ideal for unwinding after a long day or helping to manage anxiety.

For Energy

Choose a strain high in THC and Pinene. This combination is great for boosting your energy and can be perfect for enhancing creativity or physical activity.

For Pain Relief

Look for strains high in both THC and CBD, such as:

  • Harlequin: Known for its balanced CBD to THC ratio, it’s great for easing pain without strong psychoactive effects.
  • ACDC: Another strain with a high CBD content that is excellent for chronic pain relief.
For Sleep Aid

Strains with a high content of Myrcene and Linalool can be beneficial, such as:

  • Granddaddy Purple: Renowned for its sedative effects that can help promote a good night’s sleep.
  • Tahoe OG Kush: Known for its potent ability to combat insomnia and stress.
For Mood Elevation

Strains high in Limonene and THC can uplift your spirits, like:

  • Super Lemon Haze: A citrus-flavored strain that’s high in limonene, known for its mood-enhancing properties.
  • Pineapple Express: Famous for its sweet, tropical taste and mood-lifting effects.
For Nausea Relief

Look for strains that offer clear-headed relief, such as:

  • Ginger Ale: Known for its ability to ease stomach upset without heavy sedative effects.
  • Durban Poison: Offers a clear, energetic high that can help reduce nausea, especially useful during the day.
For Stress Relief

Strains that combine both THC and CBD are effective, such as:

  • Cannatonic: This strain usually has a low THC content but high CBD, making it perfect for stress relief without intense psychoactive effects.
  • Girl Scout Cookies: Though higher in THC, it’s known for its euphoric effects that can relieve stress and anxiety.
For Appetite Stimulation

Strains that are known to induce hunger, such as:

  • Mango Kush: Known for its tropical aroma and ability to stimulate appetite.
  • Grape Ape: Offers relaxing effects and is also known for boosting appetite.

According to a 2021 report from the Cannabis Market Analysis, the sales of CBD-rich products alone have increased by 60% over the past two years, underscoring a growing preference for milder, more therapeutic effects in cannabis consumption (source). 

This trend suggests that more consumers are looking for specific effects rather than just the high, which makes choosing the right strain more important than ever.

Decarboxylation: Activating Your Cannabis

Before you can infuse your favorite cooking ingredients with cannabis, you need to activate its compounds through a process called decarboxylation. Here’s how to ensure you’re doing it right:

Understanding Decarboxylation

This process involves heating cannabis to a specific temperature to convert non-active THCA and CBDA into the active compounds THC and CBD. Without this step, your edibles won’t have the desired psychoactive or therapeutic effects.

Methods

Oven Baking

Spread your cannabis evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 245°F for 30-40 minutes. This method is easy and accessible for most home cooks.

Slow Cooker

Combine cannabis with a fat source like oil or butter and heat it in a slow cooker at low temperature for several hours. This method is great for making infusions like cannabutter or cannabis oil directly.

Specialized Decarboxylation Devices

For a foolproof process, you can use devices specifically designed to decarb cannabis with precise temperature control. These are ideal for regular users who prioritize consistency and efficiency.

Tips for Success: Make sure to grind your cannabis coarsely before heating, and avoid overheating, which can degrade the THC and reduce the potency of your edibles.

By following these steps, you’ll prepare your cannabis properly, maximizing the effectiveness of your homemade edibles.

Preparing Cannabutter and Other Base Ingredients

Once your cannabis is activated through decarboxylation, the next step is to infuse it into a base ingredient. Here are the key steps and tips for making a variety of cannabis-infused bases:

Cannabutter

Ingredients: You’ll need decarboxylated cannabis, unsalted butter, and a bit of water to prevent burning.

Process: Melt the butter with water in a saucepan over low heat, add your cannabis, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain the mixture with a fine mesh or cheesecloth and let the cannabutter solidify in the fridge.

Cannabis Coconut Oil

Ingredients: Decarboxylated cannabis and coconut oil.

Process: Combine the cannabis with coconut oil in a slow cooker and let it infuse on low heat for 4 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain and store the oil in a cool, dark place.

Cannabis-Infused Honey

Ingredients: Decarboxylated cannabis and honey.

Process: Mix the cannabis with honey in a double boiler and heat it gently for about an hour. Strain the honey and store it in an airtight container.

Tips for Successful Infusion

Temperature Control: Keep the heat low to ensure that the THC does not degrade.

Straining: Use cheesecloth to strain the mixture and squeeze out as much of the infused fat as possible.

Storage: Store your cannabis-infused products in airtight containers in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place to maintain their potency and freshness.

Creating these base ingredients is crucial as they can be used in a variety of recipes, from baking to cooking, allowing you to enjoy cannabis-infused meals and treats with ease.

Cooking and Baking With Your Cannabis Infusion

Now that you have your cannabis-infused bases ready, here’s how to use them creatively in your kitchen:

Baking with Cannabutter and Oils
  • Substitution: Replace the regular butter or oil in your baking recipes with cannabutter or cannabis coconut oil. For instance, use cannabis butter in your cookie or brownie recipes to add a special touch.
  • Dosage: Be mindful of the potency. If you’re unsure, start with less and adjust according to the desired strength of your treats.
Enhancing Meals
  • Savory Dishes: Incorporate cannabis oil into savory dishes like salad dressings or drizzle over completed dishes like pasta or pizza for an added flavor and effect.
  • Sweet Creations: Use cannabis honey as a sweetener in teas, over pancakes, or in homemade granola bars for a sweet and soothing effect.
Garnishing and Final Touches
  • Toast Toppings: Spread cannabutter on toast or bagels as a delicious start to your day with a twist.
  • Dessert Toppings: Drizzle cannabis-infused honey on ice cream or mix it into yogurt for a delightful finish to your meal.
Cooking Tips
  • Heat Sensitivity: Remember that high temperatures can degrade the THC, so add your cannabis-infused oils or butter towards the end of the cooking process or use them in no-bake recipes.
  • Consistency: Ensure even distribution of your cannabis-infused ingredient to avoid hotspots of potency in your dish.

Cooking and Baking With Your Cannabis Infusion

Proper storage and safety precautions are crucial when handling cannabis-infused products. Here’s how to ensure your edibles stay fresh and are consumed safely:

Storage Tips

  • Cool and Dark: Store your cannabis-infused products like cannabutter, oils, and honey in airtight containers in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place. This helps maintain their potency and prevents spoilage.
  • Labeling: Always label your containers with the date of production and potency if known. This is especially important to avoid confusion with non-infused items and to ensure guests or family members are aware of the contents.

Safety Precautions

  • Start Low and Go Slow: When trying a new batch of edibles, start with a small portion, such as a quarter or half of a serving. Wait at least two hours to gauge the effects before considering consuming more.
  • Keep Out of Reach of Children and Pets: Store edibles out of reach and sight of children and pets, just like you would with any other medication, to prevent accidental ingestion.
  • Avoid Mixing: Avoid consuming alcohol or other substances when you eat cannabis-infused products, as the interactions can intensify effects unpredictably.

Mastering Homemade Cannabis Edibles

Making your own cannabis-infused edibles at home can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, offering a delightful way to combine the culinary arts with the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. 

By choosing the right strain, properly decarb your cannabis, and infusing it into versatile base ingredients, you open up a world of possibilities for tasty and effective treats.

Remember to start with small doses to understand how your creations affect you and always keep safety in mind, particularly when storing and labeling your edibles. With these simple steps, you’re well on your way to becoming a proficient cannabis chef, ready to impress with both the flavor and efficacy of your dishes.

As you continue to experiment and refine your skills, you’ll find that cooking with cannabis not only enhances your meals but also brings a unique satisfaction found in crafting something truly special and tailored to your needs.

Article Reviewed by

Dr. Richard Koffler

Richard Koffler, MD
NPI Number 1467557264

  • Dr. Koffler is a Physiatrist, specializing in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 
  • Graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in 1993 Dr. Koffler completed a one-year internship in internal medicine at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. 
  • Residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rusk Institute at NYU Medical Center in New York City. Board certified in 1998. 
  • Trained in acupuncture at Helms Medical Institute at UCLA His medical practice incorporates proven conventional western medicine integrating eastern alternative practices. 
  • Medical Director of several medical clinics in NYC, Stamford CT, and Miami Beach, FL.

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