You can cook with dried cannabis and cannabis oil to make your edibles, provided it is for personal consumption and not to be sold or shared with anyone under the age of 19. Here are the top things to consider before and while cooking with cannabis.
Dried Cannabis, Cannabis Oil, and Other Options
To cook with cannabis, you can either use a dried flower to infuse an ingredient, such as butter, or you can add pre-made cannabis oil to drinks and foods. Which one you choose depends on the desired finished product.
Dried cannabis must be heated for the cannabinoid THCA to be converted to psychoactive THC — which occurs when it's exposed to heat during smoking. This process is called decarboxylation, or "decarbing."
The THC in cannabis must be "activated" through heating — called decarboxylation — before the dried flower can be effectively used for cooking.
Premade cannabis oil can be used in recipes that call for any oil (such as muffins and salad dressings), and it can be added to drinks, including smoothies.
There are also dissolvable powders that can be purchased easily added to almost any food or drink. They can be found in THC, CBD, and even Hybrid/Blended versions.
Things to Consider
Just as with any form of cannabis, there is no recommended dosage for edibles, as everyone has the potential to react differently. The best advice is to start with a low serving and, if desired, increase it slowly after you determine its effects.
If two people consume the same product, they may experience different reactions. Unlike inhaling cannabis, which has immediate effects, edibles can take up to two hours to kick in. Consuming edibles can also produce a different and more intense 'high' since they are processed and broken down more slowly while ingested, as opposed to inhalants.
Safe Cooking Tips
An infused cannabis butter or oil will alter the taste of the food it's added to, so consider the strain — the dominant terpenes, such as lemony limonene or piney pinene, should complement the other ingredients. When using a pre-made oil product, choose one mixed with medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, the most neutral in flavour.
Other safety considerations when cooking with cannabis:
- Take care to stir in the infused cannabis ingredient ultimately to ensure a consistent spread throughout the product. This is important for managing dosages.
- Watch your temps: High temperatures will destroy the cannabinoids, and low ones will fail to activate the THC.
- Divide your food into even portions, so the serving is consistent: Use a ruler to cut brownies or a measuring cup to scoop muffin batter.
- As with any food you prepare, ensure you handle, prepare and store all food products safely. For more info, check out the tips from the Ontario Ministry of Health.
- Keep cannabis-infused goods in a marked container (a locked, uninteresting looking one is best if you have children).