As more and more states legalize cannabis products for medicinal and recreational use, a growing percentage of the population is realizing the benefits of marijuana. Whether you are a new cannabis user or have been toking up for years, modern laws and technology allow you to consume marijuana in more ways than ever. For most people, the most straightforward and simple method is still smoking. However, smoke inhalation is not easy on the lungs, even if what you’re smoking is a medicinal and natural herb. For this reason and several others, many people turn to other methods to get their cannabis high.
Perhaps the most popular smoking alternative is edibles, which have numerous benefits and are easy on the respiratory system. Though you can certainly buy edibles at a dispensary, you may be curious about making some of your own.
If you’ve been wondering how to make edibles, here are some simple guidelines to ensure that you achieve the best possible results.
What Are Edibles?
Before we dive into common mistakes of the edible cooking process, it’s important to understand what edibles are. There’s no shame in not being up to date on marijuana consumption methods, especially if cannabis has only recently become legal in your area. Essentially, edibles are any sort of consumable that has THC and CBD in them. These cannabis compounds are generally infused in something such as butter or oil and then carefully made into something you can eat. These foods can range anywhere from gummies to brownies to a full-on Danksgiving turkey dinner. The idea is that you can eat the cannabinoids rather than smoking, achieving the same mental and physical buzz without the smoke inhalation.
Perks of Edibles
People prefer different methods of cannabis consumption for a million different reasons, and most people end up with a combination of methods they can choose from. Edibles can provide a unique experience and have quite a few advantages as well.
Here are some perks of edible cannabis products:
- No smoke inhalation. Smoke of any kind presents a hazard to the lung tissue and can cause burns, scarring, or other internal injuries. Plus, some people have pre-existing respiratory conditions that make smoking uncomfortable or impossible.
- They’re portable. Many medical marijuana cardholders rely on cannabis products to help them maintain their health. Smoking can be difficult if you aren’t in your own home, and edibles provide a way to bring cannabis with you without attracting attention.
- No smell. It’s no secret that cannabis has a distinct odor, and some people are uncomfortable with it. Edibles allow you to consume cannabis without smelling like a Grateful Dead concert when you’re done.
- They’re easier to dose. When you buy edibles from a dispensary, the package clearly indicates how much THC you will be consuming. This can be difficult to determine when you’re smoking, and many people enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being able to control their doses.
There is a range of other perks as well, though most people can relate to one of the above.
Making Your Own Edibles
Dispensaries are not the only option when it comes to edibles. Many cannabis users enjoy baking or cooking cannabis into treats right from their own kitchen. The process is not terribly complicated, and it can be fun and rewarding to whip up a batch of funky food for your stash. There are nearly infinite recipes you can make with cannabis if you are willing to experiment a little bit. The first step is deciding what you are going to infuse with cannabis. There are many options to choose from, and depending on your desired end product, one might work better for your purposes than another.
Cannabis infused butter is one of the most popular ways to create edibles. The process is relatively straightforward, and once you have the butter made, you can use it as you would any other kind of butter. This means you can spread it on toast, make cookies with it, make scallops with it, or whatever you want. Be sure to follow the cannabutter recipe closely to avoid costly mistakes.
If you are more keen on oil than butter, it’s equally as simple to infuse an oil of your choosing with cannabis. Many people opt for coconut oil, but if you prefer olive or grapeseed, those are certainly possible. Again, it’s important to follow a recipe to ensure you get the THC potency into the oil.
It’s becoming increasingly popular to infuse honey with marijuana. This is great to splash in coffee or tea and can give your baked goods a little buzz too. This method is certainly not as classic as butter or oil, but if you find a recipe that works for you, it’s worth a shot.
While the above recipes generally take a few hours, or maybe overnight, tinctures take weeks to finish. This definitely turns some people off to the process, but tinctures are absolutely worth it if you’re willing to put in the time. You can add them to anything you want, and you can even take a few drops straight if you’re looking for a quick edible without the calories.
No matter how you choose to make your edibles, be sure to find a recipe that feels doable and follow it exactly. Cannabis can be a bit finicky in the kitchen, especially if you don’t have much experience with it. If you’re lost, check out some of our favorite edible recipes here, including a tried-and-true cannabutter recipe.
Common Mistakes While Cooking Cannabis Edibles
Though cooking with cannabis is a doable and worthwhile endeavor, there are a few main mistakes that can ruin the entire experience. Since marijuana is not necessarily cheap, it’s important to be well prepared so you can protect your investment as well as your high. These are some common mistakes that folks make when cooking with cannabis and how you can avoid them.
Not Cleaning Your Weed
Weed is a plant. Just like when you buy broccoli at the grocery store, there might be some dirt or pesticide left on your flower when you get it. To get a clean product that tastes better, spend three days soaking your weed in distilled water, refreshing the water every 12 hours. When this is finished, transfer the weed to boiling water for around five minutes, and then toss it in some ice for about a minute. This process cleans the weed and ensures that the gross tasting impurities are gone before you begin.
Forgetting to Decarboxylate
Our body has a system of cannabinoid receptors that interact with marijuana. When we smoke cannabis, the burning process releases the cannabinoids that get us high. The heating process is called decarboxylation and must be done for edibles before we ingest them in order to make them effective. This means that you can’t just pour ground weed into your butter and expect it to do anything; on the contrary, it will likely only make your food taste bad and neglect to get you high. To avoid this pricey faux pas, you must decarboxylate the weed before you infuse it. To do this, simply put your weed on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the oven at 220-235 degrees for about 30-45 minutes (check your recipe and your oven type for exact times and temps).
Grinding the Cannabis Too Finely
It may seem counterintuitive, but a slightly coarser grind is best for making edibles. Like any plant, cannabis is full of chlorophyll. Though this is a necessary vitamin, it also gives plants their plant-like taste and their color. If the weed is too much like powder, you are going to get a grass-like taste that isn’t too appealing, plus your butter will be green. Unless you like literal green eggs and ham, grind your cannabis with a hand grinder using a coarse setting.
Neglecting to Dose
When making homemade edibles, it is essential to dose your weed, so you know how much THC is in each unit of food. When you buy your weed from the dispensary, it should have the necessary information on the back. If, for some reason, you don’t have the packaging anymore, stick to a one-to-one ratio: one cup ground cannabis to one cup carrier oil/butter. When you’re finished, test your product. Start extremely slowly, and remember that edibles can take up to two hours to kick in. Testing will give you a general idea of how strong your product is, but it’s always best to consult the dispensary packaging. Use this THC calculator to help.
Not Stirring Enough
It is possible to get an uneven product if you don’t watch out. If your butter has uneven amounts of THC in it, it’s going to be difficult to get a controlled high, and you will likely end up with some gummies that really pack a punch and some that do nothing at all. To avoid this, stir your product nearly constantly. The more stirring, the better.
Not Straining Your Product
Before you let your product cool, it’s important to strain out the bits of cannabis from your oil or butter. Use a fine knit cheesecloth for this, and be patient. Avoid squeezing the cheesecloth to get every last drop out, as you’ll likely squeeze some plant matter back into your oil. It’s best to let it run through the cloth via gravity alone, which will take longer but ultimately works better.
Only Using Flower
Cannabis flower is necessary for smoking, but the same isn’t true for edibles. It’s perfectly okay to use seeds and stems when making your edibles because you’re going to strain them out anyway. The THC and CBD will infuse into the carrier oil or butter, so there is no need to be picky about what you’re using. You can also use flower you have vaped and would normally throw away.
Don’t Forget: Cooking with Cannabis is FUN!
Remember, making edibles is easier than it may seem, and the process is also super fun!
There is no other way to ensure that your edibles taste exactly how you like them. And, it can be a nice money-saving option if you find yourself reaching for edibles a lot. With a little practice and these instructions, you’ll be cooking like a pro in no time!
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I’m a kid at heart disguised as a cannabis researcher and business owner. I’ve always enjoyed providing insight in the form of reviews (anime, video games, etc.) So, when the cannabis industry took off, it sparked my interest in researching, reviewing, and chronicling all things within. When I’m not researching, I’m spending time with my family, riding my motorcycle, and finding new entrepreneurial pursuits.