Although eating marijuana may seem like a novel idea to some, the practice has been around for thousands of years to relieve pain and other ailments. Learning to use cannabis in the kitchen has many benefits for physical and mental health. Edibles offer a more accessible way for people to enjoy the advantages of consuming cannabis compared to smoking, with longer-lasting effects. However, proper preparation is necessary to maintain the integrity and potency of the plant throughout the cooking process.
Ensure You’re Using the Correct Strain
Different cannabis strains affect the body in unique ways, and understanding these traits can assist in finding the one that matches your particular needs. Strains with high THC levels are excellent options for those seeking a quick, potent buzz, while strains higher in CBD have a more medicinal effect. People dealing with body-wide pain and inflammation should check out the grease monkey strain, as it has proven to be a valuable treatment for these conditions.
If you are new to cooking with edibles, starting with a smaller dosage is an excellent idea to find the right strength. While this approach may take some time and experimentation to perfect since everyone’s body is different, it will respond to edibles uniquely. You can always increase the dosage level later if initial attempts do not provide the desired effects. Sticking with simple recipes, at least initially, helps get used to the taste, which makes brownies and other sweet treats an ideal way to introduce edibles into your diet.
Choose Your Fat Wisely
Since CBD and THC are fat soluble, the type of fat used when cooking and baking with cannabis directly impacts how the body absorbs the substance. For many edible recipes, butter is the fat of choice due in part to its flavor but also because of its chemical makeup. As an animal-derived fat source, butter does not appear to interfere with cannabis effects in the same way as vegetable-sourced oils like canola and avocado.
Careful With the Heat
When cooking with buds, it’s necessary to apply heat to facilitate the release of the active ingredients from the flower. This process isn’t tricky and takes around 30-40 minutes to complete. You’ll want to start by evenly spacing the chopped buds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and preheating the oven to 245 degrees. After placing the baking sheet into the preheated oven, turn the buds every 10 minutes to ensure an even brown. They should be ready in about 30 minutes.
However, be mindful of the temperatures called for when using cannabis in recipes. Many of the beneficial compounds in the plant begin to break down and degrade in temperatures above 340 degrees, so exercise caution in recipes requiring higher baking temperatures to protect those more delicate compounds and the strength of the finished product.
The Art of the Infusion
Infusing cannabis into butter or oils is a skill that improves with experience and lots of practice. After heating the buds to release the active ingredients, you’ll need to infuse them into the selected carrier ingredient. This step involves chopping the buds into small, somewhat even pieces before adding them to the preferred carrier. Size matters, and if the parts are too large, potency suffers, and if they are too small, straining to remove the pieces is difficult.