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Cooking With Cannabis - How To Get Started

The culinary world has embraced cooking with marijuana, and making your own cannabis creations couldn’t be easier. Read our beginner’s guide to learn how cooking with marijuana works and how to do it at home.
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Stefan Tomic via gettyimages.com

Marijuana has gone mainstream, and it’s perhaps most apparent in the culinary world. Celebrity chefs and top restaurants are starting to incorporate cannabis into their cuisines, and the results are delicious. Luckily, you don’t need to be a professional to start cooking with cannabis. Not only can you add some unique and exciting flavours to your favourite dishes, but you can also feel the effects of your favourite strain just by sitting down for dinner. Check out our beginner’s guide to cooking with cannabis and get started today.

How It Works

THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, needs heat to activate, but our bodies don’t get hot enough to start this process. That’s why smoking or vaping marijuana is the most popular form of consumption. Heat instantly activates the THC in a process known as decarboxylation, thus producing the user’s desired effects. When cooking with cannabis, decarboxylation will be the first step in the cooking process.

Decarboxylation

To activate the cannabis with heat, place buds on a cookie sheet and put them in an oven for about 30 minutes, depending on temperature. A low and slow bake is recommended to avoid burning or overbaking your plant material. With the range at 250 degrees, bake for 25 to 30 minutes. If you crank the heat up to 300 degrees, you’ll only need to bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Open a window and light a candle because you’ll be producing a strong aroma during this process.

Get A Grinder

After you’ve activated the plant material, you’ll need to grind it down. A lot of budtenders recommend using shake instead of dense buds for cooking because of this step. Shake is the leftover marijuana no longer attached to buds. It’s usually cheaper than large nuggets and will go a lot further than buds. You can use coffee or herb grinders, but a marijuana-specific grinder works better and will keep your kitchen tools clean.

Article-4B_cooking-with-cannabis-how-to-get-startedskodonnell via gettyimages.com

Delivery Methods

  • Oil - Marijuana is oil-soluble, making this the easiest way to put into the foods you love. Canola and coconut oil are the most widely used, and grapeseed is a good substitute for health-conscious consumers.
    • Making Cannaoil - The double boiler, or pot in a pot method, is the most common way to make cannaoil. Heat water in one pot and place a second pot on top of it. In this second pot, you’ll slowly mix plant material in with the oil of your choice. Make sure the oil is completely coating the marijuana before adding more. Once you’ve mixed in all of the cannabis, simmer for 45 to 60 minutes - after the simmer, press excess oil out. You can instantly start cooking with this oil or store it in the fridge.
  • Butter - Traditionally, butter is the most common way for people to cook with cannabis at home. When finished, you can add it to desserts, pasta, or just smear it on top of toast! Butter substitutes work as well, and the result is just as impressive.
    • Making Cannabutter - The process of making cannabutter is very similar to cannaoil but is more time-intensive. Melt your butter down and slowly mix in the marijuana. The double boiler method is recommended for cannabutter to avoid overheating and burning. After you’ve added all of your cannabis, let the mixture simmer for two to three hours. Once simmered, strain out all of the plant material, and you can immediately cook with the liquid butter! Place the remaining butter in the fridge to cool and harden for a marijuana stick butter.

Cooking with cannabis can spice up your regular dinner routine and give your lungs a break from the pre-sleep smoke session. Making your cannabutter or cannaoil is incredibly simple, and by following these tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming a ganja gourmet.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Plantlife Cannabis for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.