Consuming cannabis is a great solution for those who don’t want to smoke it or those who want to use it for medical use. Or perhaps you just want to make some weed brownies and get baked with your friends this weekend! Whatever the reason, we explain exactly what you need to know to start cooking with cannabis.
In order to get the psychoactive effects of cannabis when eating it, it needs to be heated in some way. It won’t work if the weed is eaten straight without preparation (plus it will likely taste disgusting!) because the digestive system is unable to digest THC (the stuff that gets you high) directly.
When cooking with cannabis, it is very important to use fat (oil, butter, milk) because THC is fat soluble and not water soluble. What this means is you must cook the cannabis with a fat, like butter or oil, and when cooked and heated, this will release the THC from the cannabis and into the butter or oil.
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3 cannabis extraction methods
There are several different methods of extracting cannabis, ranging from simple, do-it-yourself extractions to more involved extractions which are best left to the professionals.
Home cannabis extractions usually take the form of cannabis-infused fats, most commonly butter or oil. The THC in cannabis is almost entirely insoluble in water but is very soluble in fat.
Because of this, heating cannabis in butter or oil breaks down the THC and allows it to bind to the fat, creating an easy vehicle for introducing activated, terpene-rich cannabis into any meal or dish.
Whether you prefer clarified ghee in a curry or some herbal butter to pair with your morning toast and jam, cannabis-infused butter is one of the most versatile extractions.
2. Canna Oil
For use in everything from salad dressings to sauces to baked goods, marijuana-infused olive oil is a must-have when it comes to cannabis cooking.
3. Cannabis Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a very effective way of extracting THC due to its high saturated fat content. It is capable of absorbing much more cannabinoids than butter or other oils.
In order to release the full potential of marijuana’s psychoactive effects, you must first go through a process called decarboxylation. It is highly recommended you do this before you begin cooking with cannabis.
Raw cannabis contains a lot of THCA which is not psychoactive (meaning it does get you high.) However, when you apply heat, such as a flame or vaporize, cannabis becomes ‘decarboxylated’ by the heat and at this point becomes psychoactive (get’s you high.)
So, if you ingest cannabis and want the full psychoactive effect, you need to first decarboxylate before cooking with cannabis.
How to calculate THC when cooking with cannabis
One difficulty when cooking with cannabis is measuring how potent the final product will be. You don’t want to eat one weed brownie and get way too high for hours!
You can determine how potent your edibles are by the amount of THC, in milligrams, in each serving. As a guide, a good amount per serving is 10mg, which is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of cannabutter or canna-oil. This will give the occasional cannabis user a significant high.
The best way to control potency is to know how much THC is in the cannabis you are using. When buying from a dispensary the THC percentage is often listed on the package.
Typically, strains with 15%-20% THC are above average, and strains with 21+ are considered very strong. If you are obtaining your cannabis from less desirable sources, it can be difficult to know how potent the cannabis is.
For the purpose of standardizing the dosing, we will assume your cannabis has 10% THC. Based on this, 1,000mg of cannabis would contain 100mg THC. If you want 10mg per serving, get the weight in milligram of your ground up marijuana and then divide it by the serving size. This will give you an idea of the THC dose per serving.
If you are consuming marijuana for the first time, we suggest 5% per serving. To do this, just have the numbers used in the example above.
What are the effects of eating cannabis?
Eating marijuana can be a very different experience to smoking it. For starters, the effects last much longer, and the experience can be a lot more intense.
The effects can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3+ hours to kick in. So if you eat a brownie or cannabis-infused meal and nothing happens for a while, don’t get too impatient and eat more.
We recommend starting with a low dose and increase it the next time until you are happy with the high.
When the effects do kick in you will start to feel very relaxed. If you are sitting in a comfy spot, you may not want to move! Many people refer to the effects as ‘Body Stoned’ because your body will feel very relaxed and heavy. You may also hallucinate, and/or experience intense thoughts or visions.
The key is to relax into the feeling and ‘ride the high’. Don’t try to fight to resist it.
What should I do if I eat too much?
Eating too much cannabis-infused food can be a very intense experience. You may feel sick, confused, unable to move or talk, and your coordination may be heavily affected, you may hallucinate, or feel like you are floating out of your body. Suffice to say, consuming too much cannabis can be a very ‘trippy’ experience.
If you eat too much and you feel the effects are too strong, here are a few things you can try:
- Drink the juice of or eat citrus acid fruits such as lemons, oranges or grapefruits.
- Eat pistachios or pine nuts.
- Use pine essential oil topically or inhalation.
- Use a product rich in CBD (cannabidiol.)
Simple starter recipes
Once you have created the cannabutter, canna oil, or another extraction method, you can make your first recipe! Here are a couple of easy ones to try: