If you’ve decided to wander down the long but rewarding journey of making your own cannabis edibles at home then welcome – We hope our articles on the joys of cooking with cannabis can help you get a smooth start along this exciting and fun road.
In this article we’ll be discussing many different ways you can cook with cannabis, from infusions to emulsions, discussing a plethora of edibles recipes and cooking ideas. There’s a lot to delve into so let’s get started!
First Step: Decarbing Your Cannabis
Before going any further we’ll need to cover one of the most important aspects of making cannabis edibles at home: Decarboxylation of your cannabis.
We go into this at length in our “Decarbing 101” article but to summarize here, “decarbing” is the process of heating up your cannabis to turn the psychoactively inert THCA within into Δ9 or “Delta 9” THC. Unless your cannabis has been thoroughly decarbed prior to infusing your edible will have zero psychoactive effects, leading to probable disappointment.
Depending on what your starting cannabis product is your decarbing process may be different – The steps needed to learn how to make edibles with trim are quite different from learning how to make edibles with wax. Be sure to check out our guide linked above to ensure your cannabis has been decarbed properly and is ready to go.
Infusing Cannabis Oil and Cannabutter
Once your cannabis has been fully decarbed, it’s now ready to make an infusion. Cannabis can be infused into virtually any oily or fatty substance, meaning you now have an important decision to make: What sort of base do you want for your cannabis edibles?
Thankfully, for just about any oil or fat you’d like to use, the process is going to be roughly the same. What we’ll be doing is giving a set of generic instructions for infusing oil below, and then we’ll discuss how the steps may differ depending on what sort of fat base you choose.
Cannabis Infused Oil Recipe
First, you’ll need the following:
- Cannabis (decarboxylated!)
- Your fat of choice (oil, cream, butter, etc)
- A double boiler, or a pot filled with water and a heat-proof bowl placed on top
The technique for making an infused oil is simple. Fill your double boiler (or substituting setup) with water and turn it on at low heat, aiming for just barely a simmer. Place your fat base into the top of the double boiler and then add in your pre-ground, decarbed cannabis.
Once at the desired temp let your mixture steep, stirring gently but frequently. How long you let the cannabis heat will determine how much THC is removed from the plant, but be aware that longer heating times and higher temperatures will result in additional things such as chlorophyll and lipids leeching out of the plant matter as well.
After you’re satisfied with your steeping time remove the mixture from the heat and filter, using either cheesecloth or a coffee filter. The finer grade your filter is the fewer impurities will end up in your final infusion, but the longer the straining time will take.
Your THC-infused oil is now ready to use in any edibles you choose to make. From here the leftover plant material from the infusion can likely take another steep, giving you a second (possibly even third) batch of infused base; just be aware that additional steeps will be less potent than the first.
This method can also be replicated with a slow cooker if desired: Add your cannabis & oil mixture to a tall vessel and place inside your slow cooker; fill the cooker halfway up with water and set on low for several hours. Make sure to keep an eye on your cooker as the oil infuses, and fill with additional water it evaporates out.
Making Cannabis Infused Milk or Cream
Your methodology will be exactly the same as above, but with the caveat that watching your infusion is highly important. With milk or cream, we recommend using the lowest temperature you feel comfortable with, with the shortest duration as well, as milk will quickly thicken and begin to lose moisture when heated.
If you plan on filtering out and re-steeping the same batch of cannabis refrigeration of the leftover plant material is an absolute must; milk will spoil quickly, particularly after being heated, and is an easy vector for food-borne illness – Place your leftover steeped marijuana in the refrigerator or freezer as quickly as possible after strained.
Infusing Cannabis Vegetable Oil, Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
For almost all oils the infusion process will be similar; unlike cream or butter, though, refined oils can steep for longer periods of time without degradation of the end product.
Coconut oil is a particularly interesting choice for its ability to retain a semi-solid structure at room temperature.
For a complete walk-through of making cannabis-infused coconut oil see our article on “How to Make Canna Coconut Oil”.
How to Make Cannabutter (Cannabis Infused Butter)
In following recipes for cannabutter the above directions will still work, though there are a few unique features to butter worth mentioning.
Butter contains milk solids; these are the tiny particles inside butter that will begin to brown if left over a high heat. Though there is no danger to browning or burning your milk solids with the above double-boiler method you will get a cleaner, clearer end product if you use clarified butter (or ghee) instead.
To clarify butter at home simply place a large amount of butter in a heavy bottom saucepan set over low heat – Once melted, skim off the layer of white foam that forms at the top, repeating until the butter is completely clear.
Also, since butter will set into a solid on being refrigerated you can use this to separate your cannabutter away from your plant material after steeping.
To do so remove the top part of your double boiler after your steep is complete and add the butter/marijuana mixture to the water-filled bottom pot. Remove from the heat and stir before letting the mixture sit until it reaches room temperature. Then place your pot into the refrigerator or freezer until there is a solid disk of butter floating at the top; you may then retrieve your finished cannabutter from the water.
Recipes with Cannabutter & Canna-Oil
With your infused oil or cannabutter in hand, you are now ready to stride into the wide world of culinary cannabis. In general, any recipe where you would use oil, butter or milk you can make with a cannabis infusion, and there’s a lot to explore beyond the traditional pot brownies.
Baking With Cannabis: Beyond Brownies
For baking with pot, you can simply substitute your cannabis butter or other oils at a 1:1 ratio inside any recipe. Be careful using marijuana oils or butters for tasks such as basting or roasting, though, as high heat from the oven’s elements may burn away the THC contained inside your infusion; this is thankfully mitigated in baked goods, such as making edibles cookies, as the cannabis infusion is insulated from the direct heat by being inside the dough. Here’s our favorite brownie recipe…
Gummies: The Perfect on the Go Edible
Gummies are the perfect edible for lots of people. Dosing is easy, as it’s both easy to get a large concentration into fewer smaller bite-sized pieces or to spread a large dose across more gummies to dilute it out. Gummies are great since you can choose many different shapes as well, from cannabis leaves to gummy bears and worms. There are a few tricks to getting the perfect gummy, like using lecithin, so you’ll want to check out our more thorough guide to making gummies if that’s the edible you choose to make!
Cannabis Soups, Stews and Sauces
The same guidelines go for cooking edibles on the stovetop – Any application that calls for butter or oil can be substituted with your cannabis infusion. Take care not to burn your oil over the high heat of the stovetop, however, and stay away from using marijuana-infused oils in recipes designed to simmer or boil for long periods of time (such as soups or stews) – For these, we recommend finishing the dish with a drizzle of your THC-infused oil before serving instead.
Consider “Cold” Cannabis Oil
Likewise, if you’re interested in making edibles without cooking “cold” or “raw” cannabis oil is also a great culinary use, meaning serving the oil as either an accompaniment or a garnish on an already prepared dish. A fresh loaf of focaccia bread served with balsamic vinegar + oregano + cannabis-infused olive oil is a tasty suggestion, as is using your raw cannabis oil in an emulsion, like salad dressing or homemade mayonnaise.
Hard Candies & Lollipops
Getting a little more advanced, but hard candy is an awesome use of your newly infused oils. Whether you just make hard candy on its own or add a stick to make a lollipop, hard candy makes great edibles because they’re small and have long shelf lives. Check out our cannabis hard candy and infused lollipop recipes!
Keep it Simple: Just Use The Butter!
Cannabis butter can also make an excellent addition to some freshly-popped popcorn, or be served alongside some homemade muffins. Again, so long as it isn’t being subjected to direct, sustained high temperatures, almost anywhere you could use regular butter or oil you can use cannabutter/oil to make your edibles. Keep it simple!
Firecrackers: The Lazy Man’s Edible
Before we get started let me be up-front: This is a terrible idea. I’ve done it. It tasted bad and it didn’t even get me high (though that might not have been the firecracker’s fault; see our article on “How Long do Edibles Last” for more).
If you just really want to make edibles at home without having to make an infusion, though, this might be your best shot. A lot of old-timer cannabis enthusiasts swear by this, and if you’re one of those souls brave and/or desperate enough to try I wish you luck and all the best – Just don’t come complaining to us when you have to spend half an hour picking weed out of your teeth.
To make firecracker edibles you’ll need the following:
- A package of crackers; Ritz brand is fairly traditional but any will do. Graham crackers make a good substitute.
- Peanut butter; go for something with a high fat content. Other nut butters (and even Nutella) will also work.
- Ground, decarbed cannabis; the higher quality the better. Extracts such as decarbed wax or shatter will work here as well.
- Tin foil; get the heavy duty stuff for this.
- An oven
Set your oven to 300°F. While your oven pre-heats spread your nut butter onto one of the crackers, then sprinkle over an even coating of your cannabis product.
Once applied, mix the cannabis into the peanut butter as best you can using either your knife or a toothpick, making sure it is completely coated. Apply another thin layer of nut butter to a second cracker (just enough to get it to stick) and sandwich them together. Repeat.
Now wrap your assembled cracker tightly in tin foil and place it into the oven for roughly 20 minutes. After your time is up remove the foil packets from the oven and allow them to cool completely before digging in.
Unless you are genetically cursed like I am you should be feeling the effects of your firecracker in about 45m to an hour. Though this recipe does deliver results it may not be the best use of your time and marijuana; consider making one of our other types of cannabis infusions above if you’re really curious about the world of how to make edibles.
Want to learn more about the world of edible cannabis products? Make sure to check out our companion articles on “How Long Do Edibles Stay In Your System?” or “What Is 11 Hydroxy THC?” for more information and other great reads!