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A Beginners Guide to Cooking With Cannabis

cooking with cannabis

There are many reasons why cannabis edibles are popular. First, it gives patients a convenient way to consume medical marijuana if they prefer to avoid inhalable types like cannabis flower or vaping. If you have respiratory conditions, cooking with cannabis can be a great alternative. 

If you have a medical card,  you can consume cannabis in conventional ways or opt to create your delicious recipes. Before we get started, however, remember that sharing a marijuana edible with someone else is a criminal offense in states where adult-use (recreational) cannabis is not legalized. 

There are so many written recipes online to help you experiment with marijuana edibles. Even Martha Stewart, the lifelong professional recipe developer, has a sophisticated guide to making “baked goods,” including brownies, lemon squares, and breakfast bars. New York Magazine even has a whole section devoted to everyday favorites that can be made with cannabis.

If you are ready to try making your edibles at home, we have some tips to get you started. Patients with chronic debilitating symptoms may find effective temporary relief from symptoms by adding edibles to their everyday diet, mainly if traditional medications have not been effective.

Cannabis Edibles Hit Differently (Caution for New Users)

how to cook with cannabis

Many people think that edibles aren’t working and consume more before realizing that they should have stuck with the original amount they first took. It seems like everyone has a similar story about making that mistake the first time they tried edibles.

The feeling is anything but pleasant, and you may find yourself feeling dizzy and nauseous. Taking too much THC can also result in anxiety and paranoia. Even if you have used cannabis for a long time, edibles hit differently compared to inhalables, tinctures, or capsules. 

There is a substantial delay between consuming an edible and when you first begin to feel the impact of the THC in your body. For some people, that waiting period can be as short as thirty minutes, but for others, it can be as long as an hour or more. And if you are new to consuming edibles, you won’t know how quickly your body will metabolize it. 

Because edible cannabis has to pass through the digestive system before it is absorbed into your bloodstream, it may not feel like anything is happening. You may not notice the psychoactive effects because of the slow onset of physiological and psychoactive symptoms.

With edibles, start slowly with small amounts. The rule of thumb is to always wait at least ninety (90) minutes before consuming more edible cannabis to determine its effect on you. That will reduce your risk of becoming uncomfortably high. 

Safely Storing Edibles at Home

If you live alone and don’t have visitors to your home often, you may want to skip this part. There is another consideration to be mindful of when it comes to making various infusions of edible cannabis at home: accidental dosing.

Whether you’ve made your cannabutter (budda) or some “special” brownies in a sealed container with all the flavor, there is always the potential that someone could reach for an infused food. Accidental ingestion is a leading cause of emergency hospitalizations for children, who have no way of knowing that the dessert, gummy, or other food is not okay to consume.

As you start experimenting with different recipes and various strains, remember that the desired effects you get from edibles can cause severe illnesses and distress for minors when marijuana edibles are accidentally consumed. If you are making edibles, keep your raw bud, tincture(s), or concentrates stored safely as well.

What Kind of Cannabis Should I Cook With?

how to decarb marijuana

A common question that people have is what kind of cannabis to buy for cooking. That depends on your recommendation or how much cannabis you are permitted to purchase with your medical card. As well as how much cannabis you intake through other methods. 

If you find that the number of ounces you are legally permitted to buy is “just enough,” you may want to cook with raw cannabis that may be higher in THC. Or the cannabis strains and potencies that you usually consume. When cooking edibles at home, concentrates or higher THC marijuana goes further. You can get good results while using less to help you economize your ounces. 

That does present a challenge, however, to make sure that you are not making edibles that have an exceedingly high potency. Decarbed cannabis is potent, and so are concentrates. Make sure to experiment first with the lowest possible quantities until you figure out the correct dose for your needs.

You can also cook with the cannabis tinctures you use every day. Tinctures can be accurately measured and then added to tea or coffee, as well as recipes for salad dressings, cannabutter, gravy, soups, and more. For many patients, using tinctures to create their own cannabis-infused beverages or meals is an easy way to start cooking with cannabis. 

Dosage and Safety: How to Calculate and Control THC Levels in Your Dishes

Calculating the right potency for THC in edibles requires a few critical pieces of information and some basic math. Here’s a guide to help you determine the right potency of your homemade cannabis-infused edibles:

Know the THC Percentage of Your Cannabis

Start by knowing the THC percentage of the cannabis flower or concentrate you’re using. If you purchased it from a legal dispensary, this information is provided on the packaging. If you’re unsure, you may need to estimate based on average THC percentages for the strain.

Calculate Total THC Content in Your Cannabis

To calculate the total THC content in your cannabis, you’ll multiply the THC percentage by the total weight of the cannabis used. If you have 1 gram of cannabis with 20% THC, the total THC content would be 0.2 grams (20% of 1 gram).

Determine the Total Amount of Edible

Decide how many servings or portions you’ll be making with your cannabis-infused ingredient. For instance, if you’re making a batch of brownies and it yields 12 servings, that’s the total amount of edible.

Divide Total THC Content by Number of Servings

Divide the total THC content calculated in Step 2 by the number of servings in your edible recipe. This will give you the estimated amount of THC per serving.

Adjust Dosage as Needed

Based on your personal tolerance and desired effects, you may want to adjust the dosage of THC per serving. Beginners should start with lower doses (5-10 mg of THC per serving) and gradually increase as needed.

Consider Losses During Infusion

Keep in mind that not all THC from the cannabis will necessarily transfer to your infused ingredient. Some THC may be lost during the infusion process, so your final potency may be slightly lower than calculated.

Economizing With Seeded Cannabis and Shake

cooking with cannabis seeds

If you find that you never use up the amount of cannabis you are authorized to have monthly, you have other options that can save you money. Seeded cannabis is one option and much more affordable. And if you have ever smoked seeded marijuana, you know why; it’s similar to lighting a firecracker in a bowl. But it is perfectly safe to consume and cook with after the seeds have been ground up.

Cannabis seeds are also packed full of nutrients. The type of bud that most people bypass in the dispensary is actually perfect for cooking with cannabis. A clinical study in Nepal called cannabis seeds “one of the most nutritionally complete food sources.”

Each serving of cannabis seeds (according to the study) contains dense, healthy nutrients that provide wellness benefits. The content of cannabis seeds includes:

  • Protein (32.08% to 43.04%)

  • Fat (30.86% to 42.40%)

  • Carbohydrates (8.39% to 13.79%)

  • Total phenolics (701.05 mg/100g to 1312.72 mg/100g)

  • Total flavonoids (366.29 mg/100g to 385.12 mg/100g)

Seeded cannabis is less desirable as an inhalable product, so you aren’t likely to see it featured on the shelves of your local medical cannabis dispensary. But talk to a budtender to find out about purchasing seeded buds and shake for cooking. They may have some in the back and offer them at a great discounted rate that can help you save money.

How To Decarboxylate Before Cooking With Cannabis

If you have ever tried cooking with cannabis and missed this first important step, you may have felt more than a little disappointed. It does not matter how much cannabis you add to a recipe; if you haven’t decarboxylated it, you haven’t activated the THC. And that means you won’t feel the psychoactive or physiological effects. 

But you would get extra fiber in your meal. However, since patients cook with cannabis to help with symptom relief, you want to make sure you are activating it. And it is really easy to do. In fact, you can use an oven, an Instapot, and even an Air Fryer to decarboxylate. 

Two pro-tips on decarboxylating medical marijuana for cooking. First, make sure that you grind up your flower first. You might be concerned that ground cannabis creates waste (or a mess). However, decarboxylating the whole flower can prevent the full activation of cannabinoids, including THC.  

The second tip for decarbing your cannabis is to watch the temperature closely. Cannabis is expensive, and the last thing you want is to burn your bud. Cooking times and temperatures vary depending on the conditions of the cannabis. If it is sticky, place your cannabis in a warm place to air dry before decarbing it. The average oven temperature for decarboxylating cannabis is 240℉.

Once you are done decarboxylating your raw flower, you are ready to start cooking with cannabis. And research recipes online that you may want to try. Remember to keep your decarboxylated cannabis somewhere safe and dry until you are ready to cook with it. A sealed mason jar is a great way to store it, and it can last anywhere from 3-5 months stored properly.

Elevating Every Meal: Creative Ideas for Incorporating Cannabis into Your Recipes

cannabis recipes

Cooking with cannabis offers a realm of possibilities beyond the traditional pot brownies. With the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis, more people are exploring its culinary potential. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced cook, incorporating cannabis into your recipes can elevate every meal creatively and unexpectedly.

Make Your Own Cannabutter

One of the most versatile ways to infuse cannabis into your cooking is by creating cannabis-infused oils or butter. These can serve as a base for many dishes, from breakfast to dinner. Delicious foods like scrambled eggs or french toast can be highly appealing, even if you have a low appetite when infused with cannabis.

Use cannabutter to sauté vegetables, drizzle over popcorn, or spread on toast for a wake-and-bake treat. Or try making your own healthy breakfast muffins and enjoy melting some cannabutter on them for a decadent treat.

Cannabis Infused Smoothies

For those looking to start their day with a nutritious boost, consider adding cannabis to your morning smoothie or juice. By infusing your favorite fruits and veggies with cannabis oil or tincture, you can kickstart your day with a dose of cannabinoids without sacrificing flavor.

Cooking Savory Dishes With Cannabis

When it comes to savory dishes, the options are endless—experiment with incorporating cannabis-infused olive oil into pasta sauces, gravy, dressings, or marinades. Imagine the depth of flavor added to a homemade pizza with a drizzle of cannabis-infused oil or the richness it brings to a creamy risotto.

Desserts and Sweet Cannabis Treats

For those with a sweet tooth, cannabis can be a delightful addition to desserts. From classic chocolate chip cookies to decadent cakes and pies, infusing your baked goods with cannabis butter or oil can take your treats to the next level.

Just be sure to monitor portion sizes and potency to avoid consuming too much THC. Cannabis cookies, brownies, or cakes can make it hard to eat just one serving. If the munchies strike, make sure you don’t indulge in some of your infused cannabis edibles.

Cannabis Beverages and Mocktails

Beyond traditional cooking, cannabis can also enhance your drinking experience. Create infused cocktails or mocktails by incorporating cannabis tinctures into your favorite beverages. Whether it’s a refreshing mojito or a soothing chamomile tea, a splash of cannabis can add a new dimension to your drink of choice.

As with any cooking ingredient, it’s essential to understand proper dosage and responsible consumption. Start low and go slow, and always label your infused creations clearly to avoid any accidental ingestion. With a bit of creativity and experimentation, you can elevate every meal with the addition of cannabis to a food or beverage.

Recipe Ideas You Can Try At Home

marijuna edibles recipes

Many authors have experience writing recipes to help you create sweet and savory products at home. The most famous cannabis food writer (in our opinion) is author Laurie Wolf. Her delicious recipes make it easy to incorporate medical marijuana into your cooking for a new therapeutic approach.

Laurie Wolf’s books are available on Amazon, and include:

  • The Cannabis Apothecary: A Pharm to Table Guide for Using CBD and THC to Promote Health, Wellness, Beauty, Restoration and Relaxation.

  • Marijuana Edibles: 40 Easy and Delicious Cannabis-Infused Desserts

  • The Medical Marijuana Dispensary: Understanding, Medicating, and Cooking with Cannabis

  • Edibles for Beginners: A Cannabis Cookbook

Food bloggers are another excellent resource for cannabis recipes. To help you get started, our team at DocMJ searched for tasty recipe ideas from some of our favorite cannabis food blogs. 

Do you have a favorite cannabis-infused recipe that you would like to share with us? Tag us on Facebook or Instagram


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