Thanks to widespread marijuana legalization pushing cannabis products into mainstream acceptance, there are virtually endless types of cannabis edibles beyond the token pot brownie or cookie—think nut butter, guacamole, barbecue sauce, and even cheese. And while you can pick up pre-packaged edibles at your local dispensary, you can also whip up your own marijuana edibles at home.
Making cannabis edibles is easy and fun. If you want to tackle creating your own infused concoctions, this guide is a helpful primer on how to cook edibles at home, how to make staples like infused cannabutter and oils, and easy recipe suggestions you can try.
Jump to a section:
- Intro to edibles and baking with cannabis
- Cannabis butter and cannabis cooking oil recipes
- Cannabis-infused dessert recipes
- Edible gummies recipes
- Cannabis drink recipes
- Other recipes to try
Using cannabis as a medicine begins with understanding the basic science of decarboxylation, and why it is a crucial process in making edibles, tinctures and topical treatments. To get the full medicinal value out of your cannabis, it needs to be heated to a temperature that is just not possible to obtain in the human digestive system. The major downside of decarboxylating is that some of the more volatile terpenes (and other aromatics) that give the plant its signature aroma and flavor are lost during the process. Adding an equal amount of raw material to the decarboxylated materials may improve the taste and/or smell of your creations, but learning how to properly decarboxylate cannabis from the get-go will save you a lot of time, energy, money and product when cooking with cannabis.
The Decarboxylation Process
The predominant compounds found in cannabis are THCA and CBDA. THCA is the major cannabinoid in Cannabis, while CBDA predominates in fiber-type hemps. THCA and CBDA accumulate in the secretory cavity of the glandular trichomes, which largely occur in female flowers and in most aerial parts of the plants. The concentration of these compounds depends on the variety of cannabis and its growth, harvesting and storage conditions. When locked in their acidic forms, THCA and CBDA are not bioavailable to the body’s cannabinoid receptors. Occurring either naturally within the plant, or upon “decarboxylation” (heating the plant material), these acids are non-enzymatically decarboxylated into their corresponding neutral forms (THC and CBD).
THCA is non-psychoactive (meaning it does not produce mind and body altering effects). If you want to achieve the full psychoactive effects of your butters, fats, oils, sugars or alcohols, decarboxylating the plant material to convert the THCA to THC prior to infusion is essential.
Control of heating temperatures and times is critical when cooking with cannabis. Heating cannabis also converts THC to CBN. At about 70% decarboxylation, THC is converted to CBN at a faster rate than the THCA is converted to THC. Higher CBN levels will produce more sedative effects.
Studies show cannabidiol (CBD) has tremendous medical potential, especially in the treatment of seizure disorders and pediatric patients. Indications also suggest CBD lowers blood sugar, which makes it desirable for treating diabetes. Its sedative properties make it useful in the treatment of stress-related and sleep disorders. CBDA and CBD are non-psychoactive. Unlike THCA and THC, converting CBDA to CBD will not make a psychoactive product. CBD has a calming effect. This makes it ideal for treating children, the aged or patients that prefer less psychoactive effects. THC vaporizes quicker than CBD, so decarboxylating higher CBD varieties may produce higher CBD-enriched material. However, if you are not using a high CBD strain, extending the heating process may accomplish no more than burning off the THC.
There is much debate and opinion on this process and very little scientific evidence to establish the best method. The only real way to prove the safety, consistency and potency of your cannabis products is to have them lab tested.
How to Decarboxylate cannabis
Forewarning: There will be a very strong odor of cannabis during this process.
- Preheat oven to 225° F / 110° C.
- Line an oven-safe dish (or a rimmed baking sheet) with parchment paper.
- Breaking up cannabis buds into smaller pieces by hand, place the material in the dish close together but not stacked on one another (the less unused space the better).
- When oven is pre-heated, bake for about 20 minutes to remove the moisture (depending on the freshness of the material). Watch for the plant color to get darker (a light to medium brown shade). When it is time to remove from the oven, the material should be crumbly looking.
- Set plant material aside and wait until it is cool enough to handle. Turn oven up to 240° F / 115° C and wait for it to preheat again.
- When the cannabis is cooled, lightly crumble by hand and distribute evenly over the bottom of the dish.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil, crimping the edges tight to seal and return to the oven. Continue baking for another 45-60 minutes for higher THC and 60-90 minutes for higher CBD.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool fully before removing the foil. Depending on the material you use, it may be fine enough and require no further processing. If not, you can place the material in a food processor or blender, pulsing the cannabis until it is coarsely ground. Be careful not to over grind the material, as you do not want a super fine powder.
- Place in an airtight container (glass preferred) and store in a cool, dry place.
Introduction to edibles and baking with cannabis
Cannabis edibles are any food that is infused with cannabis compounds like THC and CBD.
A great option for those who don’t want to smoke cannabis but still enjoy it, edibles vary in both form and potency: chocolates, brownies, cookies, gummies, tea, hot sauce, and much more. You can pretty much turn anything into an edible and make it as potent or weak as you like.
How do you cook or bake edibles?
The edible cooking and baking process starts with decarboxylation (de-carb-ox-yl-a-tion). Basically, you need to heat cannabis in order for your body to absorb cannabinoids, like THC and CBD. When you smoke weed, this happens from the flame of your lighter.
When you make edibles, you still have to heat weed to decarboxylate it to make THC readily available for your body. But you do it at a much lower temperature so that the plant stays intact while you infuse it with butter or oil, or whatever your base ingredient for cooking or baking is.
How do you store edibles after baking?
You’re probably wondering how long your homemade marijuana edibles stay fresh. The edibles you make are baked or cooked goods just like any other, and they’ll have the same shelf life as any regular food you make. Would you leave grandma’s chocolate chip cookies on your counter for a week? A pot of chili on your stovetop for days on end? Likewise, your homemade edibles will also go stale or bad in time.
In order to keep your weed edibles fresh, store them in a sealable bag or container so they stay preserved and tasty. For baked goods, you can even throw them in the fridge to really prolong their shelf life.RelatedDo cannabis edibles expire?
But that’s not to say you can’t eat a stale cookie—it might not taste that great, but it will still get you high. Some amount of THC will typically be in there for up to six months; the main concern is the baked good going bad or getting moldy.
Always, always, keep cannabis edibles out of reach of children, and consider labeling your infused goodies to avoid confusing unsuspecting housemates. We’ve all heard the story of the housemate who came home and helped themself to a fresh brownie, not knowing they were infused with weed.
Cannabis butter and cannabis cooking oil recipes
Every good edible starts with a base weed-infused ingredient. THC and CBD are fat-soluble, meaning they need fats to dissolve and for your body to use them.
Because a lot of baking involves butter, most people infuse that with cannabis, but cooking oil, coconut oil, and honey are other fat-soluble favorites you can infuse with cannabis and then make edibles with.
Making cannabutter is easy, but it can take some time. You can cook weed butter when you’re hanging around the house for a few hours, or overnight if you have a slow cooker—just make sure you don’t leave the house with your infusion cooking on the stovetop unattended.
All you need to whip up a batch of cannabutter is butter, water, marijuana, cheesecloth, and a stovetop or slow cooker. After it’s done, you can use the cannabutter as you would regular butter in any baking recipe. You can even male cannabis butter dressing up our basic recipe by adding additional ingredients like honey and lavender, roasted garlic and chives, roasted jalapeño and cilantro-lime, raspberry jam, or other delicious combinations.
Marijuana tinctures are great because you can add them to anything or even drop them under your tongue for fast-acting cannabis effects. Although tinctures are very versatile, these take weeks to make, so make sure you set aside some time in your schedule to check in on your tincture mixture once a day for several weeks to shake the contents.
To make a homemade batch of marijuana tincture, you’ll need high-proof, food-grade alcohol (like Everclear) or glycerin (a plant-based oil), some cannabis, a Mason jar with lid, a coffee filter or cheesecloth, and a glass vial with dropper to store and dispense your tincture. After you’ve made your cannabis tincture, store it in a cool, dry place to extend its shelf life.