Marijuana cooking with concentrates, namely kief and hash, open up a whole new world of recipes that can be converted to cannabis cooking. A lot of these recipes contain far less fat than ones that depend on butter or oil to carry the medication, an important consideration for those trying to curb calories or limit fats. Of course cannabis metabolizes better with some fat, but when you cook with concentrates, you eliminate the need to add extra oil or butter to achieve a proper dose.
When cooking for my own use, as opposed to developing recipes for others, I almost always use decarboxylated dry ice kief. I find that its milder flavor flavor naturally blends in better with more foods than the herbal undertones contained in marijuana infused butter and oil.
Before we go further, let’s define the terms so everyone is on the same page:
- Kief is a powdery substance composed of the resinous glands or trichomes on the marijuana plant. The powder can range from somewhat sticky to gummy depending on the plant and strain.
- Hash is kief that has been heated and pressed. Hash can range from gold to dark green or brown in color and from a dry, crumbly, powdery texture all the way to a sticky putty-like substance, and all points in between.
Hash and kief are known as cannabis concentrates because they contain the part of the plant that contains the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.), without much of anything else. In practical terms, this means far less herbal flavor in the finished food.
The potency of a given concentrate, of course, depends on the quality of the plant that dedicated its glands to making it.
Hash and kief can be used interchangeably in recipes. Specific dosing ranges for cooking with kief and hash can be found in this article.
Mixing Kief for Perfect Effects
A reader asked a good question about using kief in cooking as she needed a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD. I let her know that if she made her kief from a plant with that cannabinoid ratio she would be good to go. Otherwise, she could mix kief from a high CBD strain and a high THC strain to get similar results. Make sense?
Marijuana Cooking: How to Cook with Kief or Hash
For maximum potency, it is important to decarboxylate kief and hash before cooking with it. As we discussed earlier, kief and hash can range from dry and crumbly to sticky and gummy. Many smokers prefer the latter, but for cooking purposes, the dry, crumbly, powdery stuff is often easiest to work with because it is easy to grind which then allows you to stir the fine powder into all kinds of foods, something impossible to do with the gummy type of hash. If you plan on dissolving the hash in a hot liquid, however, either type will work fine.
Like any cannabis edible, your hash or kief infused food needs some fat, or alcohol, to help it metabolize effectively. If you do want to add hash or kief to a fat free food, be sure to accompany the food with another dish that does contain some fat, or wash it down a glass of milk, or coffee or tea with cream, or some other fat containing beverage in order to achieve a maximum effect.
The other consideration when cooking with any kind of cannabis is temperature. Remember, THC evaporates at temperatures greater than 392 degrees F. You can cook at temperatures higher than that, as long as the temperature of the food itself doesn’t get that high.
The Importance of Decarboxylation
You will need to heat or decarboxylate your kief before using in recipes that don’t call for cooking, as the heat activates the raw plant’s THC-A (or acid) and turns it into THC. Even if you plan on using hash or kief in a recipe that will be cooked, decarbing it first can up its potency and I highly recommend taking this extra step. I do this with hash too.
How to make cannabutter using kief
Learn how to make cannabutter using kief extracted using the dry ice hash method. This marijuana butter recipe works great with edibles such as our marijuana brownie recipe since cannabutter made with dry ice hash has very little of the “weed” flavor associated with cannabutter made with buds and trimmed leaves.
Don’t have any kief handy for your cannabutter recipe? Learn how to cook cannabutter using butane hash oil (aka BHO or shatter), marijuana flowers or trim, bubble hash, or scissor hash.
It’s easy to make great marijuana edibles using kief, which is the pure trichomes of the marijuana plant. The dry ice screening process separates the psychoactive mushroom-shaped trichomes from the plant material, leaving you with a pile of pure hash or kief. Since the plant material is removed, the strong “marijuana” flavor of your marijuana butter will be greatly reduced. The result is a nicely balanced flavor in the recipe.
Before cooking cannabutter with kief you’ll need to decarb it to activate the THC. Decarboxlyation is done by heating the dry ice hash at a low temperature which causes a chemical reaction. This step is essential – do not skip it.
How to make cannabutter from kief
Learning how to make cannabutter using kief is simple. After decarboxylating your dry ice hash the next step is to dissolve it into something that contains fat, in this case a stick of butter. The amount of kief you should use varies based on how potent you want your butter to be.
Using 1 or 2 grams of kief per stick of butter is a good way to cook your first batch. Better to start light and work your way up once you’re sure you can handle it. See below for more info on how to determine the THC content in your kief cannabutter.
In this marijuana butter recipe we’re going to slowly melt 1 stick of butter and then add 2 grams of already-decarboxylated dry ice hash. Make sure the kief is broken up into small pieces with your fingers rather than using a big chunk. Simmer the kief lightly for a few minutes, stirring constantly while scraping the bottom of the pan with a silicone spatula. The kief will melt into the butter and dissolve quickly, press any chunks flat to speed this up.
Simmer lightly for a few minutes. Keep the heat as low as you can to maintain a slight simmer; too much heat destroys THC. Too much heat will also cause the butter to brown, not ideal for baked edible recipes.
Some chefs decarb their hash directly in butter using double boiler consisting of a mason jar placed in a pan with a few inches of boiling water. This method of decarbing kief requires that you cook the butter much longer to achieve decarboxylation. We prefer to decarb in the oven first since it’s a more consistent way to gently heat the kief, and then add the already decarbed material to the butter briefly.
Make higher strength cannabutter requires either using more hash or reducing the amount of butter. For example, if the recipe calls for one stick with 2 grams of hash, you can make your cannabutter double strength by either using 4 grams of hash or by reducing the amount of butter by 50%. But remember it’s better to go light then to overdo it and have a bad edibles experience.
How to determine THC content of Cannabutter made with kief
Determining the THC content of cannabutter made with kief is important. Too much THC causes a bad user experience. This is why it’s so important to correctly calculate THC content. Knowing how to make cannabutter using kief requires some simple math to determine the potency.
Pure kief runs in the range of 30-33% pure THC. So if you use 2 grams (2000 mg) of kief in your recipe, you can assume that will equal about 660 mg of THC.
- 9 brownies with 73.3 milligrams of THC per serving
- 12 brownies with 55 milligrams of THC per serving
- 16 brownies with 41.25 milligrams of THC per serving
It is always better to under-dose your first batch than to overdo it. Never eat a new brownie recipe and decide after 20 minutes to eat another one because it’s taking too long to kick in. It may end in disaster.
THC in edibles gets processed by the liver. Unlike smoking, it is very easy for people to ingest too much cannabis inadvertently. Overdosing on marijuana edibles is an awful experience. Be cautious on your first try.
Once you have learned how to decarboxylate your kief and make cannabutter, you’re ready to cook. Cannabutter can be used right away or stored in the fridge in a small sealed glass jar for longer-term storage.
Take special precaution to keep kids away from cannabutter or weed edibles, and never underestimate the ability of youngsters to find them. Safely storing cannabutter made with kief as well as prepared marijuana butter edibles save you a trip to the ER and will also keep you in the running for the parent of the year award.