So you want to cook with cannabis?
Like most culinary endeavours, cooking with cannabis is an art. It’s a science. It requires the right tools, quality ingredients, precision, preparation, and patience. There is more to it than simply frying some bud in butter. The percentage of cannabinoids, the flavour of the oil, the associated benefits; all these aspects depend on the many varying factors that go into producing cook-ready cannabis oil.
What Factors Are We Talking About for Cooking With Cannabis?
Things like infusion methods, carrier oils, and the potency of your bud of choice. With so many different factors, it may sound confusing, but cooking with cannabis isn’t, as they say, rocket science.
While it might be tempting to just toss some fresh cut cannabis flower into a pan with some coconut oil, there are important steps to take to ensure both the quality of your final product and your health and safety. Buying cannabis in Canada is safe, but there are always risks when you play with fire… or ovens.
Whether this is your first time in the kitchen and you’re feeling a bit hazy on the details, or you’re a well-seasoned cook just looking to learn something new, read on! From a run-down of various carrier oils, to a decarboxylation walk-through, to a peek at the science of cannabis edibles, to a few yummy recipes, we have the full scoop on cooking with cannabis!
Decarboxylation? What’s That?
First things first, before you start cooking, it’s imperative that you understand the important role that decarboxylation plays in producing cannabis cooking oil. If you’re looking for a potent oil that not only tastes great but provides all the potential health benefits, this is a step you don’t want to miss.
Decarboxylation is the process through which inactivated cannabinoids, like CBDA and THCA, are activated and become the more well-known CBD and THC. The process uses heat to trigger a loss of CO2, removing the carboxylic acid from inactive cannabinoids. This, in turn, activates the beneficial properties of the cannabinoids.
Decarboxylation can be done in a manner of different ways, such as baking, ice water extraction, and solvent extraction. No matter how you choose to decarb your cannabis, it’s always best to start with dried herb. While fresh cannabis smells great, drying and curing the flower first removes unnecessary moisture.
Dried cannabis allows for even heat distribution, increasing the potential for all cannabinoids to be activated. Luckily, when you buy weed online in Canada, it is generally already cured.
How to Decarb Cannabis
The easiest and most common way to decarb cannabis is through baking. This process is simple enough, but requires both precision and diligence. Being careless can lead to burnt cannabis, which tastes terrible and is, more often than not, entirely unusable. Excessive heat can over-decarboxylate the product, leaving it charred and empty of remaining cannabinoids.
That is why it is important to only ever bake cannabis at a low temperature and check it consistently to avoid over-baking. While there is plenty of debate online over the exact temperature to use, it is agreed that staying between 220℉ – 250℉ is imperative.
Terpenes, the oils in cannabis that give different strains their distinct scents and flavours, start to break down around 310℉, but dried herb can burn at lower temperatures if left for too long. By baking your cannabis at a lower temperature, you lower the risk of burning your herb, while also retaining the distinct flavours of your chosen strain.
More importantly? You won’t over-decarboxylate your cannabis! That means when you use it, whether in something raw like a smoothie or something baked like a fresh batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, the cannabinoids are still activated, not depleted.
Let’s Get Decarboxylating!
Follow this step-by-step process to decarboxylate cannabis through baking.
- Preheat the oven to 235℉.
- We prefer baking our cannabis at 235℉, as it’s in the middle of the common range and allows for quick enough baking, with low burn-risk.
- Spread 3.5g of broken up dried cannabis out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- We chose 3.5g, as our cooking oil recipe below requires 3.5g of dried cannabis, but you can always decarb more or less. Just be sure to adjust times and temperatures accordingly.
- Use a baking sheet with a rim to avoid spillage.
- Bake cannabis for 30 minutes, agitating every 10 minutes with a spatula or spoon.
- This is also the time to check that everything is baking evenly and nothing is burning.
- After 30 minutes, remove from the oven. If further baking is required, bake for 5 minute increments until fully baked and golden brown.
Once baked, allow to cool on a baking sheet, and voila! Decarboxylated cannabis! You’re ready to make some oil! If you aren’t planning to make oil right away though, be sure to properly store your cannabis to ensure it stays fresh and holds on to its delicious flavour.
Which Oil Works Best for Cannabis Cooking Oil?
Before we learn how to make cannabis oil, it is important to become familiar with the various carrier oil options available. Each oil is distinct, containing different properties and providing varying benefits. Their molecular structures differ, allowing each oil to shine for different reasons.
Always consider the smoke point of your oil of choice. The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil starts to burn and become unusable. This isn’t as integral to the cannabis oil infusion process as it is to the culinary process, as some recipes simply will not work with certain oils.
The smoke point for butter and coconut oil, for example, is quite low, sitting at 350℉, while avocado oil doesn’t begin to burn until it reaches 520℉. As such, avocado oil is a much better choice for frying.
Canola oil and vegetable oil are both great choices for baking, as they remain liquid at room temperature, adding moisture for chewy cookies and brownies. Olive oil has quite a particular flavour, so while it might not be the top choice for baking, it’s great for salad dressing and cooking.
Coconut oil, on the other hand, remains solid at room temperature. As such, it isn’t great for raw options like salad dressing, but superior for pastry and pies.
No matter which you choose, it’s fun to experiment, whether you’re making a Michelin star masterpiece or simply frying up a grilled cheese!
Let’s Get Cooking!
We know the oils. We know the science. We even have a new recipe under our belt. Isn’t it about time we get cooking?
For those of you eager to get your culinary cannabis creations going, we’ve got an easy cannabis oil recipe, followed by some delicious CBD sweets for all your snacking needs!
Follow the step-by-step process below to make you own cook-ready cannabis oil.
Cannabis Oil Recipe
- 5g dried cannabis
- 1/2 cup of oil
- 5g sunflower lecithin
- Decarb 3.5g of cannabis.
- If you’ve followed this blog bit-by-bit, you already know how integral this is to the process. But if you skipped ahead, well, jump back! Decarboxylation is necessary to ensure the best cannabis oil possible.
- Grind you cannabis into a coarse, loose herb.
- Do not grind into a powder. It’s best to use a regular grinder designed specifically for grinding cannabis flower. Coffee grinders and bullet blenders over-pulverize the herb, releasing too much oil, making it sticky and difficult to remove. This not only wastes cannabis, but can potentially ruin your grinder. In addition, over-grinding cannabis destroys the flavour.
- On a stove top, heat ground cannabis, sunflower lecithin, and a 1/2 cup of your oil of choice on low heat. Allow concoction to simmer for 1 – 3 hours, stirring constantly, but not constantly.
- Lecithin will prevent the various oils from separating.
- Remove oil from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Strain oil into a container or jar using cheesecloth or a metal strainer, ensuring as little plant material as possible passes through.
- Store in airtight containers or glass jars for daily use. For long-term storage, oil should be kept in the freezer.
Whether you’re looking for some grab-and-go CBD bites or the THC has already hit and you’re looking for some marijuana munchies, check out our easy choco-canna-chip cookie recipe below!
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt (1/2 tsp if using salted cannabutter)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup cannabis cooking oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In another bowl, combine brown sugar, vanilla, and cannabis cooking oil and beat until smooth.
- Beat egg into wet ingredients.
- Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring constantly.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Roll dough into small balls and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake at 375° F for 10-12 minutes.
And that’s it! Easy as pie! Well… as easy as cookies.
You’re a Chef Now!
And a scientist too! While you might not win a Nobel prize or find Gordon Ramsay singing your praise, stepping up to the stove is exciting. With the dawn of legalization, new ideas and innovations around cannabis culture are being developed and accepted every day.
You can find weedy cookbooks, visit retail shops, and buy cannabis online in Canada; all things that were previously taboo. But the interest in cannabis cooking is only going to continue to grow (pun intended). Why not put your culinary skills to the test and create the next big thing in cannabis culture? Or, at least, in your kitchen!