Honey has been used as both food and medicine for thousands of years. As well as being high in beneficial plant compounds, the amber nectar is a far healthier option than refined sugar which offers no nutrients whatsoever. The thick and sweet liquid is made by honeybees and has been described as ‘nature’s sweetener.’
High-quality honey contains antioxidants, which could help lower blood pressure, and it is linked with an improvement in cholesterol levels. Even diabetics find that honey isn’t as bad for them as refined sugar because it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels quite as high.
Given our penchant for sweet things, honey is definitely a better alternative to refined sugar.
It is also becoming an increasingly popular accompaniment to marijuana as canna-chefs develop delicious cannabis honey recipes. It is likely that humanity has been creating weed honey for centuries, if not longer! There are sources which claim the ancient Egyptians used such a recipe during rituals.
So-called ‘artisanal’ cannabis honey is causing a massive stir in the industry. Therefore, in this article, we look at cannabis-infused honey, examine its benefits, and show you how to make some at home.
What Is Cannabis-Infused Honey?
As you can guess, it is honey that contains marijuana. What you may not be aware of is the relationship between bees and cannabis. A study by Colton O’Brien, published in Crossing Borders: Entomology in a Changing World in November 2018, wrote about how bees began visiting hemp fields in Colorado.
According to O’Brien, 23 species of bees living in the state were caught in traps set in hemp fields in a single month (August). He experimented because he noticed a constant buzzing sound as he walked through the fields. Hemp could be a ‘rescue’ crop for bees because it flowers between late July and early September, a period when other crops have finished their blooming periods.
Therefore, bees are in desperate need of nutritional sources and become stressed as they search for pollen. While hemp plants don’t produce nectar, they provide a significant amount of pollen.
O’Brien’s paper stated that hemp has a potentially strong ecological value.
According to Elizabeth Vernon, founder of Bird and the Bee, and also nicknamed ‘Queen Bee’, the best method of making cannabis honey is to create the marijuana tincture first before adding it to honey. While many herbs are easy to mix with honey, cannabis doesn’t have the necessary fats to bind with honey. As a result, Vernon advises the use of the MagicalButter machine if possible.
In theory, the combination of honey and marijuana should have an array of possible health benefits. Honey is primarily composed of carbohydrates and consists of compounds like vitamins, amino acids, organic acids, proteins, and minerals. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are linked with medical benefits such as a reduction in chronic pain, a decrease in seizures associated with epilepsy, and an improvement in conditions such as stress and anxiety.
Decarboxylating the cannabis
Before making your infusion, you’ll need to decarboxylate, or “decarb”, the cannabis flower you’re working with. Skipping this step will result in a weak or inactive finished product. Here’s why: Cannabis buds produce a non-intoxicating acidic cannabinoid called THCA. When we smoke or vaporize cannabis, the heat converts THCA into THC, the molecule that delivers euphoric effects. If preparing CBD edibles, this same process should be applied.
Directions for making a cannabis infusion with honey
- Decarb the cannabis. Preheat your oven to 245ºF. Place cannabis buds on a non-stick, oven-safe tray. Cover the tray with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Insert the tray into the oven and set a timer for 30-40 minutes. Older, drier cannabis may require less time. (Tip: you can also set your oven to 300ºF and heat for 10 to 18 minutes, although low-and-slow is the recommended approach when decarbing to better preserve the cannabinoids.) Every 10 minutes, gently mix the buds with a light shake of the tray to expose the surface area of the buds equally.
- Combine the cannabis and honey in a double boiler to apply gentle heat on the stove top.
- Simmer. Maintain low heat and let the mixture simmer for at least 40 minutes. The mixture should never come to a full boil.
- Strain the honey. Set a funnel on top of a jar and line it with cheesecloth. Once the honey has cooled off, pour it over the cheesecloth funnel and allow it to strain freely. (Tip: Squeezing the cheesecloth may push more bad-tasting plant material through).
- Storing: Honey can be stored in a cool dark area for 1-2 months.
- Dose carefully. Refer to dosing information below before adding your honey to any snacks, dishes, or desserts.
Tips for dosing cannabis infusions
The potency of your infusions depends on many factors, from how long and hot it was cooked to the potency of your starting material. To test the potency of your finished product, try spreading ¼ or ½ teaspoon on a snack and see how that dose affects you after an hour. Decrease or increase dose as desired. You can then use this personalized “standard” dose as a baseline for your recipes.
How to Create Cannabis-Infused Honey
The first step is to decarboxylate your marijuana to transform the THCA into THC. If you fail to complete this process, all you’re doing is adding plant matter to the honey and you’re unlikely to experience much of a high.
- Firstly, preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit and place your herb on a baking sheet in a thin layer. It is best to keep the temperature fairly low to preserve as many cannabinoids and terpenes as possible. (Once you get into the 320+ degree range, a fair percentage of weed’s amazing compounds begin to vaporize).
- Bake the marijuana for at least 40 minutes; some users ‘cook’ their weed for up to an hour at this low temperature. Make sure you stir the cannabis and rotate the sheet a few times during the process, or else it won’t cook evenly.
- Once the precious weed is “decarbed” and ready for action, you can add it to your honey.
Materials You Will Need to Make Cannabis Honey:
- Baking Pan: You’ll need this to decarboxylate the weed.
- Cannabis: Ideally, you’ll have at least half an ounce of decarbed weed ready. The more you use, the stronger your honey will be.
- Crockpot: While you can use any crockpot, make sure it is large enough for the glass jar you use. The process takes several hours, so it doesn’t pay to risk a crappy crockpot!
- Cheesecloth: This simple piece of equipment is vital because it holds your decarbed weed. It also helps the honey to saturate and take in the precious cannabinoids.
- Glass Jar: Choose a durable, airtight jar. Clean and dry it thoroughly before using it.
- Honey: The amount you use is entirely up to you. Most canna honey experts believe two cups is enough if using half an ounce of marijuana. However, you can choose a different amount to change the potency.
- Piece of String: Pick strong string made from natural fibers because you’ll use it while slow cooking the product. If you use an old piece of string, you’re adding a slew of unknown ingredients.
- Parchment Paper: Essential if you want to avoid the irritation of weed sticking to the baking pan!