Cannabis-infused foods are becoming increasingly popular among cannabis connoisseurs and foodies alike – especially as techniques for reducing the taste and texture of dried cannabis buds become more widespread. Nowadays, it’s easy to learn how to infuse weed into almost any recipe you desire.
This article will cover the benefits of edibles, how to make some versatile infusions and set you up with five recipes to take your cannabis-infused culinary explorations to the next level.
What Are Cannabis-Infused Foods?
Cannabis-infused food is any type of food product that has been created using marijuana – either the dried plant material, or a concentrated infusion containing cannabinoids, such as cannabutter or cannaoil. Cannabis-infused foods can range from the classic weed gummies commonly found on dispensary shelves, to more elaborate and even gourmet meals like pasta or roasted vegetables. At times the cannabis in food can be masked to the point where it’s nearly impossible to detect the taste, while other recipes take advantage of the robust terpene flavor profiles of weed for tantalizing, earthy creations.
Why Cannabis Infused Foods?
There are a few reasons why cannabis edibles are preferable than other forms of marijuana consumption, but ultimately it all comes down to personal preference. Below are a few benefits to eating weed versus other methods of ingestion.
- Skip the smoke: Cannabis infused foods don’t require inhalation of any smoke or vapor, which is especially helpful for those who have asthma or are otherwise sensitive to smoke. Even for healthy individuals, inhaling smoke can have long-term effects, since smoke contains burning plant material that can contain carcinogens.
- Subtle: Edibles are a very subtle way of consuming weed, since there is no smoke or vapor generated, nor the requirement to use any ostentatious paraphernalia. Eating weed can look as innocent as munching on a cookie, enjoying a gourmet meal or
- Longer lasting: No two highs are ever exactly the same, and the effects will vary based on a number of individual physiological factors including body weight, metabolism, and hydration level, as well as the amount of cannabis consumed and the potency of the cannabis strain. However, edibles significantly extend the effects of cannabis – whereas smoking a joint will last a couple of hours on average, the high from an edible can last upwards of eight hours. This longevity is especially useful for people using marijuana to alleviate medical symptoms such as chronic pain.
- More potent: Eating weed produces a more potent “high” than just smoking. This is due to the way the body processes marijuana when it’s eaten. By the time THC reaches your stomach and then liver, your digestive processes convert it into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is a more potent version of the cannabinoid.
The Importance of Decarboxylation for Cannabis Infused Foods
Eating raw cannabis leaves or dried marijuana buds isn’t popular for a reason: it won’t get you “high”. This is because the cannabinoid responsible for highs – THC – must first be converted from THCA, the inactive form of THC that naturally occurs in raw or dried bud. When you smoke a joint, the heating process decarboxylates the weed as you inhale it into your lungs, doing the THCA to THC activation on the fly.
Since you won’t be lighting up a weed brownie to kick off the decarb process before eating, you need to decarb the weed before including it in the recipe.
The Decarboxylation Process
The decarboxylation process is relatively straightforward – it involves simply heating up dried marijuana at a relatively low temperature for a prolonged period of time (but not too long). Below are some basic instructions on how to decarb weed.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis
What you’ll need:
- Dried marijuana buds and leaves
- Baking sheet
- An oven
- Preheat the oven to 245 degrees fahrenheit.
- Break the weed into uniform pieces in order to ensure even exposure to heat.
- Place crumbled weed onto a baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for around 20 minutes. Check to ensure buds aren’t getting browned or burned.
Cannabis Infusion Methods
While it is possible to simply add decarboxylated marijuana to your recipe (as within many recipes for space cakes), it’s becoming increasingly popular to infuse an oil or other fat-based medium with marijuana and use this during the cooking process. Using cannabis infusions is not only a way to make your bakes more potent, but it also enables you to mask the flavor and aroma of weed, making cannabis infusions versatile in a wide variety of recipes. Below are a few common infusions to try out at home.
Cooking Oil (Cannaoil)
Cannabis infusions can be made with a wide variety of cooking oils, including olive, avocado, coconut, or safflower. One added bonus with making a cannaoil is that it can be used topically as well as in food recipes. Cannabis cooking oil can be drizzled on top of salads, used to grill veggies, or even added to caffeinated drinks like matcha lattes.
Cannabis-Infused Butter (Cannabutter)
Cannabutter is an infusion made of butter and marijuana, where the two ingredients are combined over a low heat and simmered for a few hours. Like cannabis cooking oil, cannabis-infused butter is highly versatile, great for including into baked goods recipes, popcorn, or simply spreading on toast with jam.
Cannabis-infused milk involves a straightforward infusion process, and works for dairy alternatives as well (just be sure to use full-fat milk, since marijuana is fat-soluble). Weed milk is perfect for making cappuccinos, pouring over your morning oatmeal or used to replace regular milk in baking recipes.
Making cannabis-infused sugar takes a few more steps than other infusions, but once you get it right, it’s another versatile option you can use in a wide variety of edible recipes, from cookies to your morning coffee. The recipe below combines weed, sugar and alcohol (using any kind except isopropyl alcohol). An evaporation process leaves cannabis infused with the sugar crystals.
Cooking with Cannabis: 5 Recipes
There are so many different ways to cook with cannabis, from the classic pot brownie to more sophisticated dinner dishes. Below are 5 tried tested and true recipes to give a whirl.
Marijuana candies are top-sellers in legal dispensaries across the country. Yet these products can be expensive. This is why it’s great to try making cannabis candies in your own kitchen. Here are instructions for making marijuana lollipops and marijuana gummies – two classics that will have you coming back for more.
Also called cannahoney, this weed-infused honey recipe will leave you with a gift that keeps on giving: a sweet and healthy way to amp up your baked goods recipes, dollop into a steaming cup of tea or spread onto a slice of whole wheat bread. Honey can be loaded with antioxidants and is know to have helpful benefits with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and can even be used topically to help skin wounds heal faster.
No list of cannabis infusion recipes would be complete without what is perhaps the pinnacle of classic marijuana baking: the pot brownie. Using cannabutter to minimize the flavors and aromas of marijuana, this weed brownie recipe will be one you come back to again and again.
Originally popularized in the coffeeshops of Amsterdam (not space, as the name suggests), space cakes tend to incorporate straight-up decarbed bud instead of a fat-based infusion (although you can always replace the butter with cannabutter for an extra-potent cake). Space cakes are a throw-back to the days when edible options were more simple, and are a delicious (and often potent) gold-standard of marijuana edibles.
This cannabis -infused tea recipe calls for decarbed weed to be added to butter, and then steeped with the teabag of your choice. It’s important to always pair marijuana with a fat, otherwise the THC will not be fully assimilated into your system and you won’t feel the full effects. This cannabis chai tea recipe calls for stepping the tea with coconut milk, allowing the infusion to happen all in one jar.
Because the effects of edibles take much longer to feel, it’s important to start low and go slow: eat a little bit at first, then wait until you begin feeling the effects before eating more. Edibles can kick in after an hour, or sometimes even two or more – it all comes down to your body and the dose.
Edibles are also notoriously difficult to dose properly. It’s nearly impossible to ensure a completely even distribution of cannabinoids in every bite. So your first taste might be fairly mild, while your second could be double what you were expecting. It’s best to proceed with caution to have the most enjoyable experience.
Cannabis-infused foods can be a delicious way to incorporate marijuana into your favorite meals. With milks, butters, oils and sugars, you can include cannabis into pretty much any meal or goodie you’d ever want to create. Enjoy responsibly!