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.
Introduction to edibles and baking with cannabis
What are edibles?
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.
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…
Health risks of cannabis overconsumption
There’s the potential for cannabis-induced psychosis, which results in paranoia, confusion, and hallucinations.
Particularly in older adults, cannabis can also result in cardiac events.
Last year, the Canadian Journal of Cardiology published a case report on a 70-year-old man who had a heart attack after ingesting a cannabis lollipop.
Cannabis is known to affect the cardiovascular system and can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Previous researchTrusted Source has shown a higher risk of heart attack following the use of cannabis.
But overconsumption also presents specific risks for different age groups, as outlined in the new Canadian report.
For youths, the risks outlined include panic attacks, psychosis, and hyperemesis syndrome — a serious condition that results in uncontrollable vomiting.
There are also potential long-term effects from cannabis consumption beginning at a young age, including “impaired brain development and poor mental health.”
Older adults, the other at-risk group outlined in the report, may experience increased cognitive impairment, risk of falls, heart arrhythmia, and various drug interactions.
According to Loh, these two groups are at higher risk because, “ have different metabolic rates and pharmacokinetics than other groups and hence respond differently… For seniors, many may have other conditions that might place them at risk of overconsumption and other indirectly related health issues.”
Rais Vohra, the Medical Director for California Poison Control System Fresno Madera District, told Healthline that his experience in dealing with emergencies associated with cannabis edibles are consistent with findings in the report.
He emphasized how important it is to keep these products out of the hands of children in order to avoid accidental exposure.
“What we really try to repeat over and over again is that kids and cannabis don’t mix. We really should be treating these edibles like we do alcoholic beverages and prescription medications and really trying to keep them out of the hands of toddlers and children who can accidentally ingest them,” he said.
And prevention is the best measure because when it comes to treating cannabis overconsumption, there are few options besides just riding it out.
What’s the best way to treat marijuana toxicity?
“There’s really no antidote to marijuana toxicity. So, whenever somebody is having these effects of marijuana intoxication you really have to just give them supportive care and let time do its thing,” said Vohra.
“As their body metabolizes the cannabis they will become normal again. It may take a day or two and in the meantime they may require intensive supportive care,” he added.
Vohra said that when it comes to marijuana overconsumption he commonly recommends “home observation,” meaning a trip to the ER probably isn’t necessary.
However, for some extreme cases — particularly in young children and infants — a visit to the hospital is a good idea.
Good regulation of cannabis edibles is the first step in making sure no one ever ends up in the ER because of them.
In Canada, these regulations demand that edibles are stored in plain, child-resistant packaging and require a standardized health warning sign on them.
“Use oderately. It’s important to remember that if you take too much, there’s nowhere that you’re going to go that you can’t get back from. You’re not going to die. Just [email protected] moderately. It’s important to remember that if you take too much, there’s nowhere that you’re going to go that you can’t get back from. You’re not going to die. Just relax.”
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 hours
1 ounce of marijuana bud to every 4 ounces (one stick) of butter (or two ounces of marijuana leaf to every stick of butter)
1. Place marijuana in food processor and blend until broken down into a chunky powder (the consistency of breadcrumbs.)
2. Place the puree into cheesecloth and tie the cheesecloth at the top so that it forms a ball. In a large stock pot filled with water over medium heat, place four sticks of butter. When it comes to a boil, turn heat to medium low and addd the marijuana. Process at a very low simmer for 2 1/2 hours to allow the marijuana to steep into the water.
3. Take off of the stove and squeeze out all of the liquid from the cheesecloth to ensure that all of the nutrients are added to the liquid. Place in the refrigerator and allow the butter to solidify. The butter will rise to the top above the water. Pull it out, and there you have your marijuana butter infusion.