Hello, culinary cannabis enthusiasts! If you’ve ever gazed longingly at those professionally-made cannabis-infused brownies at your local dispensary, wondering if you could whip up your own delectable creations, you’re in luck. Cooking with cannabis not only presents a non-smoking alternative for consuming your favorite herb but also offers an opportunity to expand your gastronomic horizons. So, if you’re ready to embark on this tasty journey, let’s jump right in!
Broadening the Horizons: Why Cook with Cannabis?
A Healthier Alternative: While many relish the ritual of rolling up and lighting a joint, it’s no secret that smoking anything can be hard on the lungs. Conversely, edibles offer a flavorful and lung-friendly way to enjoy the therapeutic and recreational benefits of cannabis.
Diverse Culinary Adventures: From gummies and brownies to salad dressings and pasta sauces, cannabis-infused cuisine is vast and varied. Each dish presents a unique taste and experience, making each meal an adventure.
Longer Lasting Effects: While it might take longer for edibles to kick in (30 minutes to 2 hours), the effects can last much longer than smoking or vaping—often several hours. This prolonged effect can be ideal for those seeking extended relief or a longer recreational experience.
The Science Behind Cooking with Cannabis
Decarboxylation: The First Step: Raw cannabis contains THCA, a non-psychoactive compound. In order to feel its effects, it must be converted into THC, the compound we all know and love. This process, known as decarboxylation, requires heat. Before infusing cannabis into any dish or oil, bake it in the oven at 220°F (105°C) for 25-30 minutes. This process activates the THC, ensuring your edibles have the desired effect.
Fat is Your Friend: THC is fat-soluble, which means it binds to fats. When creating cannabis-infused dishes, pairing it with a fat source, like butter, oil, or even dairy, ensures proper absorption and maximizes potency.
Temperature Matters: While heat is required to activate THC, too much heat can degrade it. When cooking or baking with cannabis, it’s best to keep temperatures below 320°F (160°C). If a recipe calls for higher temps, consider adjusting or choosing a different recipe.
Cannabis cooking is an art, but ensuring the proper dosage is pure science. Always start with a known quantity of cannabis. For beginners, a standard dose might be as little as 5-10mg of THC per serving. If you know the THC percentage of your cannabis (say, 15%), you can calculate the total THC in your dish and then divide it by the number of servings. Always err on the side of caution, especially if serving to guests. Remember, you can always eat more, but you can’t eat less!
Getting Started: Beginner-Friendly Recipes
Cannabis-Infused Butter (Cannabutter)
- 1 cup of butter
- 7-10 grams of decarboxylated cannabis
- Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat.
- Add the decarboxylated cannabis and let simmer on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Ensure the mixture doesn’t boil.
- Strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, pressing out as much liquid as possible.
- Allow it to cool, then refrigerate. Use this butter as a substitute in any dish or recipe!
Cannabis-Infused Olive Oil
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 7-10 grams of decarboxylated cannabis
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on low.
- Add the decarboxylated cannabis and let simmer on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Strain and store in a glass container. Use in salads, pasta, or any dish that calls for olive oil.
Cannabis-Infused Chocolate Brownies
- Your favorite brownie mix
- Cannabutter (as per the brownie recipe’s butter requirement)
- Simply replace the regular butter in the recipe with your cannabutter.
- Bake as per the brownie mix instructions, but remember to monitor the temperature!
Taste and Terpenes: Flavor’s Secret Ingredient
Have you ever wondered why some strains of cannabis have distinct flavors like citrus, berry, or pine? The answer lies in terpenes. Terpenes are natural compounds found in various plants, including cannabis. They are responsible for giving strains their unique aromas and flavors. When cooking with cannabis, terpenes can play an exciting role in the dish’s overall taste.
While terpenes add flavor, they also have potential therapeutic properties. Some terpenes might help with relaxation and stress relief, while others can promote focus or energy. When choosing a cannabis strain for your cooking, consider the THC or CBD content and the terpene profile. This will allow you to create dishes that taste fantastic and also tailor the effects to your desired experience.
Storing and Keeping Your Cannabis Fresh
Like any other herb or ingredient in your kitchen, how you store your cannabis can significantly impact its quality and potency. Cannabis is best stored in a cool, dark place. While some might lean towards the fridge, this can sometimes lead to moisture build-up, which isn’t ideal. Instead, consider investing in an airtight container specifically designed for cannabis storage.
Another thing to remember is that, over time, THC can degrade into CBN, a cannabinoid known for its sedative properties. If you use older cannabis in your recipes, the result might be more relaxing than expected. Regularly checking your cannabis stash and using older stocks first will ensure your edibles have the desired effect and potency. Remember, fresh ingredients are always vital in cooking; the same goes for cannabis!
As the culinary world collides with cannabis, the possibilities become endless. Cooking with cannabis offers a healthier consumption method and allows for a world of exploration, creativity, and, most importantly, deliciousness. So, don your apron, fire up that oven (but not too hot!), and get ready to enjoy cannabis in a whole new way. Happy cooking!