Cooking With Cannabis
Like many other herbs, cannabis is a food-friendly plant that is full of aromas, flavors, and nutrition. Whether you're planning to cook with CBD or THC, there are several techniques that you can use to ensure your infused foods turn out well after baking, mixing, and heating. The major difference between cooking with THC versus CBD is the intoxicating effects you want or don’t want to achieve but the technique to infuse cannabis is the same for both. Below are the steps every beginner should know before stepping foot in the kitchen.
Choose the Right Strain
The first step to creating infused foods is selecting the correct strain or product that will be used in the recipe. This is where the terpenes come into play and remember, a plants terpene profile determines the taste and smell of the cannabis. We recommend that you smell different strains and find the flower that smells best to you. The nose knows best!
Like many other ingredients, quality products make a huge difference and you can really taste the difference when high quality flower is used versus old, dry or stale material.
This next step is calculating the dosage per serving and is critical to determine the desired effect and ensure everyone has a great experience. Using the cannabinoid percentages listed on the packaging, calculate the desired CBD and THC per serving. It’s incredibly hard to accurately measure dosages in infused beverages and cuisine, so do your best, stick to one strain per infusion, and serve responsibly. You can find many dosage calculators on-line and you can follow this link (veriheal - dosage-calculator) to a simple example.
If you don’t plan to use cannabis flower in your infusion, there are other products that you can use in your recipe. Cannabis oils are a good example and are a great option if flower is not your first choice. Before integrating it into a recipe, make sure to taste the product so you know how the flavors will interact with your other ingredients. Again, calculate the proper dosages before you start cooking.
Choose Your Ingredients
Now that you know what cannabis product you’d like to use in your recipe, it’s time to think about the ingredients that you’ll be cooking with. Will the flavors work with the strain or product you’ve selected?
As you might have encountered, at-home infusions and professionally made items can often have a green taste to them. Some chefs are experts at masking herbaceous flavors, while others like to enhance cannabis and hemp’s natural characteristics by using complimentary ingredients. Trust your palate on what flavor combinations work best. As you will learn, mastering flavor pairings takes practice, but it’s incredibly fun. Click here to explore my Terpene & Aroma Pairing Guide
The number one mistake that’s made when cooking with flower is improperly or forgetting to decarboxylate your cannabis. If you want more intense and enhanced effects, decarboxylating is a must and your best option. The process of decarboxylating involves heating the cannabis flower which activates the CBD and THC. Activation for CBD and THC occurs between 240–295°F (115–146°C) and takes 30-60 minutes at this temperature. Opinions differ on the exact temperature within this range but all agree going over 300°F (150°C) can be detrimental.
Consider Infusion Options
After successfully decarboxylating your product, the next step is creating your infusion. Using a substance that is fat-based (ie. butter) to extract CBD and THC is one of your best options, especially when mixing with food.
Our friends at Choom have created a great info graphic that takes you through decarboxylating and the making of infused butter which we highly recommend you visit at the following address. https://blog.choom.ca/recipes/cannabutter/
The last step on this checklist is to finally make the recipe by incorporating your infusion. Treat the infusion as an ingredient and make sure you have the proper equipment and accessories on hand that allow for accurate measurements. This is the most important part of creating infused cuisine. Know your dosages and measurements!