I have a stash box full of cannabis concentrates—it’s a hodgepodge of old oils, discount concentrates that were too cheap to pass up, gifts from friends, and the like. And while I always aim to put them to good use, sometimes months pass before I remember I even have them. I try and smoke one only to find it’s harsh and tasteless; back in the stash box it goes, to be checked on a few weeks later when I’m running low. It’s an endless cycle of hot nonsense.
After some research, I realized there’s a better use for old concentrates: cook them into edibles!
If you didn’t know you could use your leftover concentrates to make potent edibles, break out your stash box and get ready to cook.
Consider the dish you’ll infuse
The first step in cooking with concentrates is to give some thought to the final product—are you making, say, a plain salad dressing? You may want to opt for a distillate rather than RSO as RSO’s concentrated form may leave a bitter aftertaste.
“All types of cannabis concentrates can be used in cooking,” said Jay Denniston, director of science at Dixie Brands. “However, the myriad of different types of concentrates, with variability in potency, form, flavor, and aroma, can create difficulty in choosing the right type of product to use in an infused dish.”
“Full extract cannabis oils like RSO will deliver a heavier botanical flavor and aroma than crystalline extracts,” continued Denniston. “If a food will be consumed in small concentrated doses, like olive oil, the cannabis extract flavor will be present to a higher degree.”
Consider using concentrates with stronger flavors (like RSO or full-spectrum extracts) in sweet edibles, where the flavor can be more effectively masked.
Denniston also suggested opting for high-fat foods like peanut butter, olive oil, or ghee as they more easily accept concentrates for infusion.
Dosing cannabis oils for edibles
The key to having a good edible experience is to take things low and slow. This is especially important when dealing with homemade edibles, which are famously difficult to dose.
You’ll need a few basic pieces of information to calculate your approximate dose:
- The weight of your concentrate (in grams)
- The potency of the concentrate (% THC or CBD)
- The number of servings the cooked dish yields (i.e. “makes a dozen cookies”)
To calculate, use this equation:
(weight of concentrate x THC% x 1,000)/number of servings
- Multiply the weight of your concentrate (in grams) by the percentage of THC (as a decimal)
- Multiply that number by 1,000 to convert grams to milligrams
- Divide that number by the number of servings your recipe yields to determine milligrams of THC per portion
For example, 0.25 grams of a concentrate with 80% THC potency, should yield about 200mg of THC: (0.25 x 0.80) x 1,000 = 200.
Then, 200mg of THC distributed throughout 8 servings provides each serving with 25mg of THC, assuming even distribution (mix well!).
Make sure you’re already familiar with your ideal dose, and when in doubt, start with a very low dose (between 1-5mg) and work your way up.
How to decarboxylate cannabis concentrates
As with any process involving the preparation of cannabis products for making edibles, the first step you should take when making edibles with dabs is to decarboxylate your extracts.
Decarboxylating concentrates is easy, but optimal decarboxylation techniques differ depending on the type of concentrate you’re using. Decarboxylation converts the non-psychoactive acid-based THCa compound into the active THC compound that induces euphoria and cerebral effects.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind about decarbing cannabis concentrates:
- Use a low and slow decarboxylation method to retain more of its cannabinoids and terpenes.
- Lightly heat your concentrates for an easy transfer from their container to the decarbing surface
How to decarb BHO
Decarbing BHO (butane hash oil) concentrates requires BHO, a baking sheet or oven-safe pan, parchment paper and an oven thermometer. Preheat your oven to about 200-250º F and place the oven thermometer on the shelf you will be placing the baking sheet to check the temperature.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and add your BHO concentrate in the center of the parchment paper. Allow your concentrate to heat for about 20 to 25 minutes. Just keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t get hot enough to degrade the extract.
When the BHO concentrate has completely melted and is bubbling like crazy, it’s time to take it out and let it cool for a few minutes.
Benefits of using concentrates for edibles
Traditionally, you’d heat up some ground-up cannabis flower in your oven, slow cooker, or stovetop, but now you get to work with the increasingly potent cannabis concentrates. There are plenty of benefits of using concentrates for edibles compared to cannabis flower in terms of potency, flavor and ease.
Potency wise, cannabis concentrates feature insanely high cannabinoid levels reaching up to 90 percent THC and CBD. All that power can be infused into nearly any food or meal. Concentrates also can deliver a wide range of terpenes into an edible or meal.
Reduced herbal flavor
Cannabis edibles used to have the lingering grassy flavor of weed, but cannabis concentrates eliminate that problem. Instead of working with grams of dried and pungent herb, you can use the concentrated version without the plant material for a less pungent edible.
Edibles made with concentrates boast almost no cannabis odor. Remember to label your cannabis edibles to avoid accidental consumption.
Cannabis concentrates also offer an unparalleled level of convenience and ease over working with cannabis flower buds. Concentrates can be applied on a smaller-scale instead of cooking up an entire cannabutter batch for a big batch of edibles.
Cannabis butter or oils infused with concentrates can easily make homemade edibles. Infuse your creation into a wide range of products such as honey, stews, pies, and the list goes on. For more information on concentrates, extraction processes and dabbing, visit our dabbing resources page for guides, tutorials and other educational cannabis articles.
How to dose edibles made with dabs
Cannabis buds require a much greater amount of material to work with than cannabis concentrate due to the difference in potency. A recipe may call for one ounce of cannabis flower for every pound of butter, but the recipe changes when you use cannabis concentrates.
When dosing edibles, consider the potency of your BHO concentrate. Let’s say your concentrate tests at 75 percent THC, which means you have about 750mg of THC to work with per gram. For a recipe that makes about 20 cookies using one cup of butter, each serving would have about 37.5mg of THC if you use the entire gram of BHO concentrate.