Cannabis edibles, 101
If you’ve smoked cannabis, and also eaten foods infused with cannabis, you know that each consumption method makes for a very, very different experience from the other!
Smoking it results in an almost instant effect. An edible, however, doesn’t make an impact on the body until it’s been metabolized; a process which takes a little more time, yet produces intensified, longer lasting results. For this reason, cannabis edibles have become an extremely popular delivery method for reveling in the benefits of everyone’s favorite medicinal plant.
But- before you go munching on a fresh flower, know this:
The short of the science
Cannabis is chock full of therapeutic compounds, aka, cannabinoids. Newly harvested buds are quite high in one cannabinoid called THCA, which, when heated, converts to THC; a process called decarboxylation. While THCA has its own benefits to boast, THC is the particular cannabinoid you’re after if you’re looking for that classic, intoxicating effect. Through smoking or vaping, THCA will "decarb" just fine by way of those burning hot temps. If you prefer to eat your cannabis, applying heat is a must. That is, if you want to maximize -or even notice- the evidence of THC.
A cannabis carrier
Cooking with cannabis: It’s a blend of cuisine and chemistry that just may be a tad intimidating. But even if you’re not an elite CannaChef, you can still create edibles that range from easy to elegant. The secret? Cooking with an infused butter or oil; a carrier for your cannabis! As long as you decarboxylate your bud, the "carrier method" brings total versatility to your table. These infusions require little more than your stove, and a watchful eye. Decarbing in the oven has long been a standard method, yet the sous vide craze is catching on hot when it comes to cannabis. The slow, controlled, hot water bath makes for ideal conditions to activate those THC compounds.
Easy dose it
As for dosing, it’s impossible to provide an exact formula you should follow, because there are just too many variables! From the plant used, to the density of the food -or beverage- you’re infusing, to its even (or not-so-even) distribution throughout your executed recipe, to your own metabolic function, to how empty or full your stomach is… there are many factors are at play. That said, it’s really easy to over-do it, which defeats the purpose of enjoying cannabis in its edible form. The best advice we’ve found is to personalize your infusion with a pre-test.
|PRO-TIP: Before putting your butter or oil to use in a recipe, taste ¼ t. of the infusion with a small bite. Wait an hour to let your body digest, then assess how you’re feeling to determine if your ideal base dose needs adjusting. While this will provide you with a nice baseline for your recipe, you’ll want to be mindful of your math. Infusing a whole batch of cookies requires careful planning!|
Photo by Levo: a fancy little appliance which basically creates your cannabutter with few button-pushes. (And we can vouch for its ease of use!) Leafly.com’s 5 part guide on cooking with cannabis is also an excellent resource if you’re just getting started with edibles.
Recently, we spent the day at Heaven on Earth Kitchen, concocting our own infused creations and executing a few dishes from master canna-chefs like @laurieandmaryjane and @vanessamarigold. Here’s a recipe round-up of our favorite bites to get the inspiration flowing. We dare you to try not to salivate!
What are you baking? Find us on instagram @curalfeaf.usa to share your creations, and enjoy more canna-kitchen inspirations.