Combining a great high with delicious edible ingredients has been growing in popularity, and when you see the results for yourself, you’ll understand why. Unfortunately, getting the best results for your efforts means that you can’t simply throw weed together with some flour and sugar in a bowl. Like fine cooking in general, baking with cannabis is a process that you can refine with practice, smart techniques, and tasty base ingredients. We’ll cover the basics of what you need to know to get started and know how to make edibles for yourself!
How the Baking Science Works: Decarboxylation
Without decarboxylation, consuming cannabis won’t provide medicinal or recreational benefits. What you’ll get instead is, oddly enough, a superfood rich with vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, there isn’t much research that analyzes the effects of regular raw cannabis consumption, but the important fact here is that the raw product contains tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). When exposed to the proper amount of heat, these acids activate to become tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) and cannabidiol (CBD)—in essence, this is how decarboxylation works.
Cannabis decarboxylation naturally occurs when the plant is burned in a joint or vaporized. One of the reasons it’s worthwhile to decarboxylate cannabis for edibles is its potency: smoked weed isn’t fully activated when burned, but a carefully decarboxylated cannabis plant has all its potent potential ready for use.
There are two traditional methods of using decarboxylation (or decarbing) at home. One uses boiling water in a slow cooker while the other evenly spreads cannabis in a single layer on a baking sheet before cooking it in the oven. Even more modern and refined methods exist today, which use specialized (and expensive) heating devices that produce perfectly regulated and decarbed cannabis.
Whatever method you choose, it’s important to note that decarbing is a process that takes hours and careful preparation to complete. It’s also a vital part of how to make edibles work. Be sure to try our guide for reliable results if you’re new to cannabis edibles.
Preparing Cannabis Butter & Oils
Once your decarbed cannabis is ready to go, there’s still one more step before it can be used in traditional baking recipes. Mixing it into a proper medium will deliver the best cooking results, and it’s here where you can get really creative. You can add carefully measured cannabis into yogurt, honey, butter, coconut, and a variety of other oils. Doing this additional step ahead of time will make cooking with cannabis a breeze and greatly reduce the amount of time and effort needed to incorporate cannabis into your dishes at home. It is the best method for how to make edibles quickly, easily, and with the potency you need.
Cannabis butter can be prepared in different ways, but our favorite one uses a slow cooker with a simple mixture of lecithin, decarbed flowers, and butter. After cooking the mixture for hours to allow the cannabis to properly infuse with the butter, the mixture is strained, cooled, and allowed to set in the fridge. Just like normal butter, cannabis butter can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks before going bad. While cannabis butter can be frozen to last longer, storing cannabis products isn’t an exact science, and you should expect the quality to decrease over time regardless of how well it’s stored.
Cannabis oil uses a similar process for infusing cannabis into oil. One of our best recipes uses coconut oil to mix lecithin and decarbed flowers in a slow cooker. To make less of a mess, you can add the ingredients in a mason jar and place it in the slow cooker as it infuses.
Baking with Cannabis
Regardless of your baking skill, the process of baking cannabis products is rarely an exact science. Decarboxylation at home, in addition to changes that occur during baking, means that the exact potency of the final product is difficult to measure. Consumed TCH and CBD can take 30-90 minutes to kick in, so it helps to start in small, slow doses to reach your bliss point instead of overshooting it.
On the plus side, cannabis-infused butter, oil, and honey is simple to use as-is for garnishes and a bit of extra flavor for rolls, baked potatoes, and other favorite snacks. Once you get the hang of the process, you’ll be able to use your favorite types of cannabis to add energetic, relaxing, or recreational effects to your food.
Other Tips on How to Make Edibles
If you’re interested in how to make edibles in all the different ways you can cook with cannabis products, we have a wealth of tips and recipes covering everything from traditional brownies to infused honey and caramel popcorn. Have baking tips and recipes of your own to share? We’d love to see them in the comments!