There are a lot of reasons people love cannabis edibles. Maybe you’re not a smoker, but you seek enjoyment or relief from cannabis. Perhaps you prefer the simple, portable, snackable nature of a cookie or candy over rolling a joint or packing a bowl. Or, you could just be a foodie who’s taken with the concept of elevating your meal or sweet treat to an entirely different level. Whatever your high desire, we’re here to break down the not-so-basic methods for crafting cannabis edibles.

Yes, it’s true. This process *isn’t* basic. As true with all cooking, there are variables. Your outcome depends on the quality of your ingredients, the recipe you choose, and the precision with which you execute it. There are best practices. There is room for error. And, there is always more than one way to get it right. 

All that said, we’re not here to scare you away. But, we don’t want you to start with your top shelf cannabis either! There’s a lot to learn, and that’s half the fun of it. So, we’ve compiled all the best info out there into a perfect beginner’s guide to cannabis infusions. Read on to see if DIY edibles are for you.

 


 

Cannabis, activated.

 

If you’re familiar with edibles, you probably know that eating cannabis flower straight isn’t an effective way to enjoy it. To feel the medicinal and euphoric effects of cannabis, it must be decarboxylated; a process that converts the cannabinoid THCA into THC. Otherwise, you won’t feel the high.

If you smoke cannabis, your lighter takes care of that “decarb” process upon a simple inhale. If you want to eat your cannabis, you’ll need to find a slower, steadier way to activate the THC… like your oven!

Decarbing in the oven isn’t a laborious process, but it’s a tricky one to pinpoint. Both your oven temperature, and the length of time you heat your cannabis, play a huge role in the presence of THC. Even the moisture content of your herb can affect the outcome. The good news is: the rule of averages will generally get you by. 

Here’s the most common way to approach decarboxylation, assuming your cannabis has the potential to render approximately 15% THC when properly decarbed. Do note that this is a potent process. Have your scented candles at the ready! (Unless you’re confident that you -and all your neighbors- will genuinely enjoy the distinct smell.)

As mentioned before, if this is your first time, don’t feel like you have to start with your best, freshly-cured cannabis. If you’re feeling conservative, you can make a test batch by halving the suggested quantities in the instructions below. Or, consider using a (slightly) older stash. You can even include those less-desirable-to-smoke materials like trimmings and stems (which still house a lot of potency). Waste not, want not! 

 

Method #1: OVEN DECARB

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 250℉. We let ours preheat for a full hour to ensure an even temp. Use an oven thermometer to check for accuracy, as an oven’s temperature settings can degrade over time.
  2. Crumble ¼ oz of cannabis flower between your fingers. You don’t need to grind it up, just break it into smaller, pea-sized bits. (Too fine, and it’ll be a challenge to strain out of your future butter or oil!) 
  3. Spread your flower crumbles in a single layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake the cannabis at 250℉ for 25-30 minutes, keeping a close watch. If you can see through your oven door, that’s great! (It’s better not to open the door for obvious reasons.) 
  5. When your cannabis changes from light to medium brown and feels extremely dry, it’s ready. If not, add an additional 5 minutes of cook time and observe again, repeating until the desired color and texture is achieved.
  6. Transfer your decarbed cannabis to a non-plastic container or plate. Let it cool completely before further handling; it will be very brittle.

 

 

Method #2: SOUS VIDE DECARB

 

If you’ve never seen a sous vide circulator machine, it’s a curious-looking tubular shaped contraption that you stick into a pot of water. It plugs into the wall and precisely controls the water temperature. Meanwhile, the food you’re preparing is sealed in a bag or jar, floating merrily as it cooks itself to perfection.

Sous vide circulators can be used to cook everything from steak, to eggs, to… yup, cannabis. Sous vide cooking is all the rage, and there’s no reason not to use it to your advantage with cannabis infusions! These machines are on the pricey side at $100 and up. But here’s a little secret: In addition to cooking dinner AND activating your cannabis with one of these gems, you can actually infuse with it, too (more on that later). All the while, you won’t smell a thing! It’s an investment, but it just might be worth it.

 

The most popular sous vide machines on the market are the Joule ($199) and the Anova ($99).

All that said, the decarb instructions are darn simple:

  1. Place your cannabis into an air-tight jar or vacuum-seal-able plastic bag.* 
  2. Use a chip-clip or some heavy-duty clothespins to secure the bag to the side of the pot. The clips are critical to keep the bag from floating around! 
  3. Use a spoon to keep the bottom half of the bag submerged below the water. DON’T let the seal at the top of the bag go under… keep that cannabis dry! 
  4. Cook at 204 for one hour.  

*We used ouii bags which come with a pump (for removing the air) and clips (so the bag stays in place). 

Hot tip:  If you don’t have a vacuum-sealer to remove all the air from your bag, simply place your cannabis into a zip-lock style bag, submerge it in water up to the seal, and partially seal it. The barometric pressure of the water will push the air out! Use your fingers to eliminate any remaining trapped air, then seal completely. 

You can also go for simplicity, and use a basic canning jar. The key is keeping it air tight.

Congratulations!
You’ve just decarbed your first batch of cannabis. If you didn’t burn it, or soak it, the most stressful part of the process is over. High fives to that! 

Didn’t make it that far?
That’s okay, you’re not alone. In fact, that’s probably why the Nova is such a popular gadget. Instead of stressing in the kitchen, you place your cannabis in the Nova, close the lid, and push the button. A red light will illuminate as it decarbs your flower, and will turn green when it’s done, an hour or two later. Ridiculously simple.

 

The Nova Decarboxylator

 

 

 

What’s next?

Now it’s time to choose a carrier for your cannabis. If you think butter and oil are your only options, think again! 

Continue to Part Two: Choosing your carrier