For those of us new to the cannabis cooking scene that would like to indulge in our own homemade edibles, it’s important to know how to properly cook with ingredients infused with cannabis. This information can be applied to nearly any ingredient one may decide to infuse – any differences will depend on the versatility and properties of the ingredient itself.
Know Cannabis’s Decarboxylation Properties
To feel the effects of cannabis properly – that is to say, to enjoy the high or stone it brings, the chemicals in the plant must be activated. To activate cannabis, all that’s needed is heat. By heating cannabis at a temperature for a certain period of time, the THCA loses its carboxylic group (COOH) via water vapor and transforms into THC – which can then cause your mind and body to feel fantastical.
Know Your Herb’s Vaporizing Point
Before you even turn an oven on to decarb, it’s important to know the temperatures that cannabis will begin lose its cannabinoids via vaporization. Just enough heat to decarb is great; too much heat is no bueno. Take a look at these two temp and times to familiarize yourself with the proper info you’ll need to decarb your cannabis plant material in the oven on a baking sheet:
240F 40-60 minutes
310F 10-18 minutes
Know Basic Instructions & Experiment
You’ll come across recipes for infusion that will tell you to decarb your cannabis first, asking you to place it in the oven for 40-60 minutes after being grinded – at 200-250 degrees (240 degrees as ideal). This instruction can be changed according to your personal knowledge of the strain of cannabis you’re using or crop it’s from, etc. It’s vital to experiment with temperatures and times because every oven is different and every batch/strain of cannabis has its tweaks. However, you can always use the above chart and receive good results regarding decarbing for any strain/crop. And yes, instead of waiting 40-60 minutes decarbing at 240 degrees, you can in fact decarb at 310 for only 10-18 minutes instead to crunch time.
Why the differences in time? Why 40-60 and 10-18 minutes? What are the differences? Well, it’s all in how you grind it & whether or not you’re at sea level. If your cannabis is ground properly and there are little if no chunks/nugs at all (if it’s more of a powder) then you can decarb it for a lesser time because the cannabinoids are all equally exposed to the heat properly. If you don’t have a grinder and have to decarb your plant material with some small clumps here and there- more time will be needed for heat to penetrate the small clusters.
Remember chemistry class in high school? Boiling point of water at sea level is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Boiling point of water on Mount Everest is about 162 degrees Fahrenheit, and boiling point in Denver is about 202 degrees Fahrenheit. Why does this matter? Because the faster water vapor is created, the faster things begin to decarb via water vapor. This means the higher your altitude, the less time needed to decarb your cannabis.
In any case, you can always use the smaller time if you’re keen on time-crunching. Just remember to never cook/bake/grill/etc. any food with an infused ingredient above 340 degrees Fahrenheit – this will vaporize cannabinoids, including THC, and render the effects useless!
Know Your Tolerance Levels…
Start infusing your ingredient/food slow. Whatever the amount of cannabis called for in your recipe, begin with the lowest dose possible until you begin to know your tolerance levels regarding edibles. If you need some guidance concerning this, consider this: One pound of butter (four sticks) will usually contain one ounce of high quality trim. That’s 29 grams of cannabis. That’s 7.25 grams of cannabis per stick of butter. That’s almost one gram per tablespoon of butter. Imagine one gram of cannabis on a buttered roll. Is one gram enough on a buttered roll for you, personally?
And finally, some recipes will tell you to decarb the cannabis within the recipe instead of decarbing it before beginning the recipe. Just be sure to follow the temperature guidelines found here and any instructions noted in the recipe. A good example is CannaMilk – instead of baking the cannabis first, it’s ground then placed in the milk itself and decarbs on the stove as a mixture.
How to Properly Cook with Infused Ingredients:
To sum it all up…
1. Decarb your cannabis plant material first.
2. Do not exceed temperatures of 340 degrees.
3. Experiment with your oven’s heating capabilities.
4. Infuse using smaller doses to begin with until tolerance levels are known.
And there you have it – all the little details you need to know before beginning to cook with cannabis. Check out the following recipes to get started as a canna-chef: