29 July 2022
Cannabis-infused edibles have come a long way in recent years. No longer restricted to the brownie or cookie, there is now a plethora of choices when it comes to consuming edibles including delicious candies, gummies, drinks and even cocktails!
Preparing cannabis-infused edibles at home is an easy and fun way to consume cannabis. For many, it’s a great way to treat the endocannabinoid system with a dose of THC or CBD without having to smoke or vape.
While it might seem like a daunting or difficult task, creating your own cannabis-infused treats is actually pretty easy.
There are four basic types of cannabis edibles:
– Foods (Brownies, cookies, other baked goods, chips, ice cream, candies and gummies, chocolate, Salad dressings, sauces and dips
– Drinks (Tea, coffee, cocktails, energy drinks and other sodas)
Baked goods such as brownies and cookies are among the most commonly consumed edibles in Europe. However, more recently, Gummies and candies have also become hugely popular amongst both medical and recreational consumers.
The first step to making potent edibles of any type is to decarboxylate the raw cannabis that will be used in your edible recipes. Decarboxylating (or “decarbing”) involves heating raw marijuana to a temperature of 115°C (240°F) for 30-40 minutes in order to “activate” the THC in the plant matter. Raw marijuana contains THCA, an organic acid that is the precursor to THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Once heated, the THCA molecules lose their additional carboxyl ring, hence the term decarboxylation. What’s left behind is marijuana with activated THC, ready to bind to your cannabinoid receptors.
When cannabis is vaporized or smoked, decarboxylation is achieved immediately in the form of combustion. Eating cannabis that hasn’t been decarboxylated, however, can have no noticeable effect. Therefore, when crafting potent edibles, decarboxylation is an absolute must to get the most out of your herb.
Don´t worry, though – Decarboxylating is a simple process and can be accomplished in any home oven. First, preheat your oven to 115°C (240°F). Then, using an oven-safe tray, place your cannabis buds on a baking tray covered with a baking sheet. This will prevent the buds from sticking. Then, put the baking tray in your oven for 30-40 minutes.
Once the bud has begun to brown, it has been successfully decarboxylated and can now be incorporated into the fat of your choosing.
The most popular marijuana-infused edibles are food items. For many years, canna chefs have found the high-fat content and sweetness of baked goods, such as brownies and cookies, to be the perfect combination for making mind-altering treats.
However, In recent years, a wide variety of new products have hit the market, expanding the cannabis edible market into candies, gummies, even ice cream! Some of the many edibles offered today include:
– Other baked goods
– Ice cream
– Candies and gummies
– Salad dressings and dips
– Sautéed vegetables
Marijuana-infused food products are typically made with a fat of some type. The strong bond formed between THC molecules and fat makes it a perfect vehicle for delivering a cerebral high through your food.
Because the psychoactive molecule in marijuana, THC, binds particularly well with fat molecules, there are many ways to whip up a batch of edibles. Since most baked goods contain butter, which is easily infused with THC, it tends to be the standard when making homemade edibles. It boasts a number of benefits including:
– Easy to work with and measure, making it easier to approximate potency
– Readily available
– Can be used to create an extensive range of edibles
Butter is by no means the only fat that will work for making edibles, though. Cooking oils, such as vegetable and canola, can be infused with cannabis and used for baking cakes or even sautéing vegetables. Other oils, such as olive or grapeseed oil, can be infused and turned into salad dressings or dips. Even butter substitutes like margarine or vegetable shortening can be used to create cannabis infusions that are great for baking vegan edibles.
The beauty of working with fats is that you can substitute the proposed oil or fat in nearly any recipe for a cannabis-infused substitute.
It should be taken into account that cannabis can impart a somewhat overwhelming flavour to edibles, especially when prepared too quickly. Good cannabutter, prepared water that is allowed to boil off over time, will possess a much less earthy flavour than one made by simply throwing butter and cannabis into a crockpot.
Another popular method for delivering THC to the endocannabinoid system is in the form of drinks. While THC-infused beverages are a fairly recent addition to the cannabis edible market, the consumption of cannabis in liquid form is actually an age-old practice. Some popular cannabis-infused drinks include:
– Energy drinks and other sodas
Cannabis beverages offer a number of benefits. Cannabis drinks to be consumed discreetly, and they typically boast the benefit of faster onset times. The reason is that cannabinoids in liquid form tend to be absorbed more rapidly than solids.
Many cannabis-infused drinks begin with cannabis milk, an easy-to-make infusion of dairy milk and herb. The fat content of whole milk makes it perfect for bonding to THC. This versatile concoction can be used in many recipes, including traditional ones like Bhang Kai Thandai. Cannabis also makes for some great party drinks!
Another widely popular form of marijuana edible is a tincture. A tincture is simply an extract of cannabis plant matter dissolved in ethanol (alcohol), but it can also be made using non-alcoholic alternatives.
Typically, cannabis tinctures are made by soaking cannabis in alcohol for an extended period, then straining it to remove the plant matter. Due to the extended exposure of the plant matter to the alcohol, tinctures can reach a significant potency, making them an excellent alternative for saving space in the fridge or freezer.
Tinctures can be produced from vegetable glycerin, a plant-based oil that has a sweet flavour. Food grade vegetable glycerin is consumable and forms a decent bond with THC molecules, though not as well as alcohol. Glycerin tinctures are often used for making gummies and other candies, as well as infused syrups.
Regrettably, tinctures are considered a Schedule 1 drug according to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Therefore, they cannot be purchased, made, used, or possessed in the EU.
Another popular option for making edibles is cannabis powder, sometimes referred to as cannabis oil powder. Cannabis powders are typically made from cannabis oils combined with carbohydrates and an emulsifier. The inclusion of a carbohydrate into the mixture enables THC to be absorbed through the mouth, bypassing the gut-liver connection. This means that you’ll be feeling the effects of the edible much sooner than with more traditional methods.
In addition, powders are easy to make and only contain a few ingredients. Cannabis powder can be made by adding half a cup of maltodextrin powder to 2 tablespoons of cannabis oil. After mixing, the maltodextrin should be absorbed. Then, add half a teaspoon of sunflower lecithin powder to the mixture, mix well, and voilà!
Cannabis powders can be added to nearly anything, such as complete meals, drinks, or smoothies. They impart virtually no flavour onto the food and come on quickly. In addition, the combination of maltodextrin makes cannabis powder water-soluble. However, the additional ingredients may reduce the potency of powders when compared to their fatty counterparts.
The first thing you´ll need is to gather the correct utensils.. To make your own edibles, some crucial materials which are universally agreed upon include:
– Baking sheets
– Stockpot or slow cooker
– Cheesecloth or fine strainer
– Candy thermometer
– Butter or other fat
And, of course, some cannabis. The amount depends on the type, quality, and consistency. Generally, 14 grams, or one half-ounce, per cup of fat is a good starting point.
Now, once you´ve got everything you need, it’s time to get baking!
There are just about as many methods for making edibles out there as there are would-be canna-chefs. Almost everyone you ask within the cannabis community seems to have their own opinion about the best method.
As such, we thought we’d narrow down a few of the more popular ways. But, of course, there’s genuinely no substitute for carefully experimenting to determine the best method for you and your circumstances.
We recommend this tried and true cannabutter recipe, a classic example of a water/fat cook that takes time and patience. However, the patient chef is rewarded with a clean and pure finished product that can reach exceedingly high potency and be utilized in countless recipes. Others prefer to use a slow cooker (crockpot), though the process remains much the same, with the added benefit of being able to walk away for a few hours.
If safety is your greatest concern, many new devices are on the market specifically geared toward making cannabutter and other extracts. Some, such as the MagicalButter device, take out nearly all of the guesswork and do pretty much everything for you. They’re true “set-it-and-forget-it” devices, which make them especially appealing to beginner cannabis cooks. For those preparing small batches, they’re a great alternative.
The strength of your edibles depends on the type and amount of cannabis used, the potency of that particular batch, and the type of extraction used to infuse the edibles. Of course, it also depends on just how much you consume.
While it’s easy to think that “more is better”, it’s important to consider the quality of the cannabis you’re using. Is it a good, smokable flower, rich with trichomes and loaded with THC, or is it a whole lot of trim from your closet grow tent? Or maybe it’s a big bag of shake leftover from all your old bags?
Whatever you decide, all home canna-chefs should keep in mind that it’s impossible to know for certain the exact potency of homemade edibles. If you have an idea of the potency of the strain used, the percentage can be used to approximate the amount of THC in your edibles. It should be noted that there is a wide range for fluctuation based on the type of cannabis used.
With all of these variables, it’s always best to start with a small amount and work your way up from there. After all, there’s nothing worse than approximating and finding yourself uncomfortably high.
Baked goods or other edibles containing cannabutter may take up to 2-3 hours to take effect. This is because the edible must be digested and pass the blood-brain barrier before its effects become noticeable. This is also why edibles tend to have strong effects. Other methods, however, have shorter onset times. Drinks, for example, are generally felt much sooner than other edibles.
In the case of tinctures and cannabis powders, THC is absorbed directly through the tissues of the mouth and into the bloodstream. This leads to a much faster onset, sometimes as rapid as twenty minutes.
The duration of the high from your edibles is directly linked with the potency of the cannabis used and the amount consumed. In addition, every person has their own unique endocannabinoid system, meaning no edible will hit two people the same. The beauty of making your own edibles at home is that it gives you the chance to set your own potency parameters.
Many first-timers may err on the side of caution when cooking up a batch of edibles, while someone more well versed may throw caution to the wind and shoot for the most potent batch possible. The important thing is not to overdo it. Edibles can prove to be intense, particularly for those less familiar with the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
It’s also important to remember that you can always eat more, but you can’t eat less. Edible effects tend to last between four and six hours, but this can depend on your tolerance and how much you’ve had to eat before the edible. Eating edibles on an empty stomach will produce significantly stronger results and has even been known to make some people feel nauseous. As such, It’s always best not to consume on an empty stomach.
To learn more about cannabis edibles, check out our cannabis blog at MGS where we have all different kinds of delicious edible recipes.
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