How to Cook with Cannabis

The versatility of cannabis becomes clear with all of the different options for cooking edibles. Recipes abound instructing patients on how to implement the plant into all sorts of sweet and savory infused-recipes. Aside from the delicious taste, edibles are a smoke-free option that offer the same benefits as other forms of cannabis.

Follow our simple guide to learn how to cook with cannabis and for some fun recipe ideas with which to utilize your newfound culinary knowledge.  

Oil or Butter: Base Ingredients

Those interested in cooking with cannabis will want to start with infused cooking oil (canna-oil) or infused butter (cannabutter), the two most common base ingredients for making edibles.  

For both butter and oil, a process known as decarboxylation can be utilized to achieve maximum potency. Raw cannabis does not contain THC (the main psychoactive compound of the plant). The process of heating converts the THC-A compound inherent in marijuana into THC. While heating the ingredients during the normal process does cause decarboxylation, placing the flower in the oven beforehand is an effective way to increase its effect.

To do this, preheat your oven to 116 degrees Celsius. Place your flower on a baking sheet or in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil, then put it in the heated oven for one hour.

Oil

Canola oil is typically the best option because cannabis is fat soluble and canola oil contains high fat content. Coconut and olive oils may also work, depending on the specific recipe.

After decarboxylating, you’ll want to grind the flower. Do not grind too finely, as this may cause the product to fall through the strainer in the latter stages of the process.

Next, you’ll want to mix the cannabis and cooking oil. This step determines how potent the final product will end up. A saucepan, slow cooker, or double boiler will work to melt down the ingredients. A good ratio to find a mixture that works best for the individual patient is two parts oil to one part cannabis. For instance, combine 3 cups (720 ml) of oil with 1.5 cups (360 ml) of ground cannabis. After combining the two, make sure the cannabis is covered entirely by the oil.

Cooking time varies depending on the method. For a slow cooker, heat on low for 4-6 hours (stir occasionally); double boiler on low for 6-8 hours (stirring occasionally); saucepan on low for at least 3 hours (stirring frequently). For all methods, add a small amount of water to the mixture to help prevent burning and do not let the oil’s temperature surpass 118 degrees Celsius.

Lastly, you’ll want to strain the oil using a wire strainer to remove any large pieces of cannabis. Strain again through a coffee strainer if more solids are left. Store the oil in a container with an airtight lid and place it in the refrigerator. With refrigeration, the shelf life for the oil is two months or longer.

Standard cooking oil can be replaced with cannabis-infused oil in any recipe. The ratio of oil to cannabis may need adjusting in future batches, depending on how weak or strong you want the oil.

Avoid microwaving the oil and use low heat when warming dishes that contain the oil.

Butter

One of the simplest ways to make cannabis-infused butter is on the stovetop. Start with ¼ cup (60 ml) of water and 1 lb (453 g) of butter simmered together on medium heat in a saucepan. Stir until bubbles begin rising to the surface, but stop before boiling begins.

Whisk the ground cannabis (again, not too finely ground) into the saucepan thoroughly, then bring the heat down to low.   

The mixture should simmer for 2-5 hours. Stir every half hour and add water as needed. The longer the butter is left to simmer (i.e. 5 hours), the stronger it will be. However, longer simmering means water will start to evaporate, so it will be necessary to occasionally add more to the saucepan. Replace the initial ¼ cup (60 ml) of water with 1-2 cups (240 ml – 480 ml) if you know in advance you’ll want a stronger product.

To strain, place a funnel on top of a jar, then place cheesecloth on the funnel. Pour the butter mixture into the funnel freely, without squeezing the cheesecloth.

Refrigerate the jar of butter. Replace standard butter called for in recipes with the cannabis-infused butter. We advise starting out with smaller doses than used in recipes to test out the potency of your end-product, adjusting the amount of cannabis and time cooked in future batches if a weaker or stronger effect is desired.  

Cannabis-Infused Recipes

Weed Brownies

Cannabis brownies reign supreme as the most recognizable and classic type of edible.  Countless recipes for brownies exist, but our favorite is simple and ready in a few steps.

Ingredients:

  • Flour- slightly more than ⅓ cup (47 g)
  • Eggs- 2 large
  • Sugar- 1 cup (190 g)
  • Vanilla extract- 1 tsp (5 ml)
  • Cocoa powder- ¾ cup (143 g)
  • Salt- 1 pinch
  • Water- 2 tbsp (30 ml)
  • Cannabutter- 1 stick (120 g)
  • Chocolate frosting

Start by preheating the oven to 162 degrees Celsius. Grease a brownie pan with normal, non-cannabis butter. In a mixing bowl, add the specified amounts of sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, salt, water, and cannabutter.

One by one, add eggs into the mixture, whisking each thoroughly before adding the next.

Add flour to the mixture and whisk for about 3 minutes.

Once the mixture is whisked well and appears glossy, pour it into the brownie pan and bake for 20-30 minutes.  

Use a toothpick to check if the brownies are cooked enough. Once cooled, spread chocolate frosting (or another topping of your choice) on the brownies.

Bacon “Mac and Weed”

Most people automatically think of sweets when it comes to edibles. Salty, savory, and cheesy are also possible with this mac and cheese recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Macaroni pasta- 1 box (480 g)
  • Shredded parmesan cheese- ½ cup (75 g)  
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese- 1 lb (480 g)
  • Milk- 4 cups (960 ml)
  • Sifted flour- ½ cup (70 g)
  • Cannabutter- ½ cup (100 g)
  • Crumbled bacon- 1 lb (480 g)

Preheat oven to 177 degrees Celsius. Follow instructions on the box for cooking the macaroni, then set aside.

Use low heat to melt cannabutter in a medium saucepan. Add flour to saucepan and stir until smooth.

Raise heat to medium, add milk, and stir constantly for 10 minutes (or until thick). Add bacon (setting some aside to sprinkle on the end-product), macaroni, and sharp cheddar cheese to saucepan. Mix together until cheese is melted and pasta is covered evenly.

Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 (23 cm x 33 cm) baking dish. Use the shredded parmesan cheese and leftover bacon to garnish the top of the mac and cheese. Bake in heated oven for 25-30 minutes.

Tropical Cannabis Smoothie

We’ve covered sweet and savory. What’s left?

Refreshing. Drinks aren’t often thought of in the edibles category, but they’re certainly an option for the thirsty stoner.

Ingredients:

  • Banana- 1 large frozen, sliced
  • Strawberries- 2 cups (400 g) frozen
  • Coconut milk- 1.5-2 cups (360 g – 480 g)
  • Pomegranate juice- 4 tbsp (60 ml)
  • Canna-coconut oil- 2 tbsp (30 ml)

In a small skillet, heat the canna-coconut oil. Add the banana, then heat for 3-4 minutes while occasionally stirring. Let cool.

Blend the remaining ingredients. Add the cooked banana, making sure to also scrape the oil into the blender. Blend until smooth.

Smoked Hot Dogs

Don’t forget the protein. With the help of canna-oil, meats of all kinds are able to get you high.

Ingredients:

  • Hots dogs- 12, chopped in thirds
  • Minced garlic- 4 tsp (20 ml)
  • Ground ginger- 2 tsp (10 ml)
  • Chili powder- 1 tsp (5 ml)
  • Diced onion- ½ cup (75 g)
  • Soy sauce- 1 cup (240 ml)
  • Brown sugar- ¼ cup (48 g)
  • Rice vinegar- 1 tbsp (15 ml)
  • Ketchup- 2 tbsp (30 ml)
  • Mustard- 2 tsp (10 ml)
  • Sesame oil- ½ tsp (2 ml)
  • Canna-canola oil- 2 tbsp (30 ml)

On medium heat, warm canna-canola oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion, ginger, garlic and chili powder; cook for 3 minutes.

Add brown sugar and soy sauce, bringing to a boil. Cover the pan and cook on medium-low heat for 8 minutes.

Place cooked ingredients in a blender, then add vinegar, sesame oil, mustard, ketchup. Blend until a puree forms.

Place hot dogs and blended mixture into a crockpot, cooking on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours.

By simply making cannabis-infused butter or cooking oil, an endless range of possibilities awaits hungry cannabis lovers. Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet (brownies, chocolate covered strawberries, peanut butter cookies), savory (meats, pastas), or refreshing (smoothies, thai iced tea, margaritas), there’s something of all kinds for cannabis users when it comes to cooking with the versatile plant.  

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