If you’ve ever tried to make cannabis-infused foods before, you know that it’s not as simple as sprinkling cannabis leaves into a cake mix and expecting magical results. There’s actually an art — backed by some serious science — to making world-class edibles that taste great and have the desired effect.
The most critical factor in activating cannabis is heat. That’s why smoking and vaping are so popular, and it’s why home chefs need to figure out the best way to get their cannabis hot enough to be effective but not too hot to burn into a sludgy mess. It’s a fine line!
A recommended first step is decarboxylation (using heat to generate psychoactive results from cannabis by releasing the relevant compounds) in the oven.
- The first step is drying the product, which takes about 20 minutes at 225 degrees. This is a critical step, and it’s important to leave your cannabis uncovered.
- Once your flower is dry, the next step is to “roast” it in an oven-safe pan covered in foil at about 240 degrees. This can take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, depending on your preference.
Once you have your decarboxylated weed, it’s time to create a base oil for cooking. The most common is “cannabutter,” but just about any oil can be used. This is important, because edible cannabis needs an oil or fat to make it effective. Making an infused oil is actually pretty easy. Many people just use raw flower and skip the decarboxylation altogether, but the critical thing to remember is that it needs to be done at low heat. Just throwing weed into a pan of hot oil is a recipe for disappointment.
A common way to do this is to mix water, butter, and cannabis in a saucepan and cook it down for 3-4 hours. This may seem counterintuitive, but the water will keep the cannabis from burning. Be sure to stir it every once in a while, but there’s no need to hover over the stove the whole time. Once it’s been reduced, wait for it to cool and then strain out the cannabis leaves — which can be thrown away, as they have no THC or CBD left in them. Drain the water, and you’re left with your base oil. Now you’re ready to cook!