If you’ve ever considered making edibles with weed, you’ll know there’s some vital information required to make them safely and successfully. In this handy guide, you’ll learn some valuable tips and techniques necessary for making cannabis edibles. We’ll cover everything from recommendations for cannabis strains and selecting a cooking oil to the proper dosage for a beginner. So let’s get started – time to fire up the oven and have some fun!
How to Make Weed Edibles
One of our favorite ways to make cannabis edibles is with cannabutter. It’s a simple process and doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. However, it does take some patience and attention to detail. So, let’s talk about it!
Preparing your weed,
So you’ve got a fresh batch of flower, and you’re ready to infuse it into your favorite sweet or savory recipes. But, before enjoying the delights of homemade edibles, you must activate the THC in your flower.
When you purchase cannabis flower, it is usually abundant with THCA or Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid. Unfortunately, this precursor to THC does not produce an intoxicating effect. Therefore, if you are hoping for that sought-after euphoric high induced by THC, understand that consuming raw cannabis will not give the desired outcome.
We need to apply heat to convert that THCA into THC (aka Delta 9 THC). Since we typically smoke or vape flower to enjoy the effects of THC, the heat from vaping or smoking turns THCA into THC almost instantly. When you don’t have the heat of vaporization or combustion, you need to preheat your weed to convert that THCA into precious THC.
This process of converting THCA into THC is known as decarboxylation since the THCA loses a carbon molecule to evaporation as the heat transforms it into THC.
The easiest way to do this for flower is to grind up the amount you’d like to use and spread it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
THCA usually converts to THC around 200-240°F and needs 30-40 minutes to slowly roast the flower without losing valuable terpenes and cannabinoids. Therefore, we suggest pre-heating your oven to 230°F and cooking your flower for 30 minutes.
Once the flower is done, it is activated and ready to add to whichever food you like! Sprinkle it over a salad like an herb, grind and blend it into a brownie mix, chop it up, and add it to a sauce; the choice is yours! While this isn’t the same infusion process as our next step, it can be a great way to add some cannabis flavor and kick to your food.
However, if you want to take your cannabis edible journey to the next level, you can create an infusion with your decarboxylated weed using butter or oil. Keep reading!
Cannabis Infused Butter or Oil
For a straightforward and consistent dose, plus the ability to store your decarboxylated flower for later use, it is highly recommended that you infuse it into butter or oil.
Cannabinoids like THC are fat-soluble, so fats such as butter or coconut oil make ideal options – both high in saturated fats, readily absorbing cannabinoids. If neither of these suits your preference, however, olive oil, avocado oil or another alternative will work fine!
When infusing the fat of your choice, aim for a 1:1 ratio of cannabis to oil or butter. The amounts below are meant as a guideline and can be adjusted to be weaker or stronger:
- 1 cup of butter or oil to infuse 7 – 10 grams of cannabis
- ½ a cup of butter or oil to infuse 3.5 – 5 grams of cannabis
- ¼ cup of butter or oil to infuse 1.75 – 2.5 grams of cannabis
Necessary Equipment & Ingredients
Before we get into the how-to, let’s review the items necessary for cooking with cannabis!
- Slow cooker or double boiler
- Glass storage container (for finished product)
- Airtight container (for storage of decarboxylated cannabis flower)
- Cannabis flower decarboxylated and ground (measure according to above ratio)
- Butter or oil of your choice (measure according to above ratio)
Making the Infusion
Now that our equipment and ingredients are ready-to-go, we can start making our infusion!
- Put the butter or oil into your double boiler or slow cooker. If using a double boiler, keep it on low heat and stir occasionally. If using a slow cooker, set it to low temperature and cook for 4-6 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
- Once the cannabis is in the fat of choice, wait until melted before adding the decarboxylated cannabis.
- Stir the mixture for a few minutes, then cover the slow cooker or double boiler and let it cook for 3-4 hours (or 6-8 if using a double boiler), stirring every 30 minutes.
- Once done cooking, remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer into the glass storage container.
- Let cool, then store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. And voila!
You now have cannabis-infused butter or oil that can be used as you like — from drizzling over popcorn to making delicious weed brownies and cookies.
How to Make Edibles without Cannabutter
Creating edibles doesn’t mean you have to stick to just butter or oil, there are plenty of other ways to get creative and make delicious edibles, like using tinctures or sublingual oils. Here are some of the ways how to make edibles without cannabutter:
Cannabis tinctures are a great way to get your dose of cannabis without getting too bogged down with other ingredients. All you need is cannabis, high-proof alcohol, and time! Simply mix the two in a jar or bottle and let it sit for 2-3 weeks, shaking occasionally. Once done, strain out the cannabis material, leaving you with a potent liquid that can go in any recipe that calls for oil or butter.
Like tinctures but usually made with coconut oil or MCT oil, sublingual oils are used for their fast-acting effects. These can be used the same way tinctures are — just add a few drops to your recipe, and you’re good to go!
You can usually find these pre-made oils at your local dispensary (Flore) or make them yourself if you’d like.
Dosing Your Edibles
This is where the math comes in! To ensure you and your loved ones have an enjoyable time with edibles, it is very important to estimate your infusions and extractions conservatively. This handy dosage calculator is a valuable resource for anyone making edibles at home.
By following this simple step, you can avoid making edibles too strong. Experienced edible connoisseurs are well-versed in the discomfort of overdosing and the enjoyable effects of dosing it correctly!
Those newer to edibles should stay within the range of 1-5mg THC content for a single serving, as it is generally enough for a noticeable effect. Most single-dose edibles are dosed between 5 and 10mg of THC. This is a reasonable target dose for making your own edibles and allows portions to be split into lighter amounts.
For example, if you start with 3 grams of flower at a potency of 20% THCA, you can potentially create 600mg of THC. However, if we conservatively estimate that only 80% of the THCA converts to THC (600 x 0.8) when we decarboxylate our flower, then that leaves us with 480mg of THC.
Then we add the decarbed cannabis to our butter or oil, and we can conservatively estimate that about 50% of it (480 x 0.5) will be infused. This leaves us with 240mg of activated THC in our infused oil or butter.
Since the fat allows the THC to be evenly distributed, our doses are more likely to be consistent than when using raw flower. The infusion in this example can make 24 x 10mg portions, 48 x 5mg portions, or even 120 x 2mg portions. Making edibles with single servings in mind is generally a good idea, as it helps anyone enjoying them have more control over how much they consume.
Common Issues When Making Marijuana Edibles
Making your own edibles isn’t always as smooth or seamless as we’d like it to be. Here are a couple of the more common issues you may encounter when making homemade cannabis edibles.
Too much plant flavor
While some folks love the earthy taste of ganja, too much of it can overpower your edibles’ intended flavors and tastes. Avoid squeezing or pushing down on the flower when straining the plant matter out of your infused butter or oil, as this releases more chlorophyll into your infusion. Getting too much chlorophyll in your oil or butter will give it a planty and herbal taste that can be unpleasant.
Dose is too strong
As advised above, estimating conservatively is safer when doing your decarboxylation and infusion math. If your ratios have too much cannabis to the amount of oil, you’ll end up with a much more potent concoction than you intended.
When decarbing and infusing, the temperature used is of utmost importance. If you go too hot for either process, some of your THC could be lost or converted into CBN.
CBN is short for Cannabinol, a cannabinoid that occurs when THC degrades due to heat, light or time. CBN is frequently associated with heavily sedating effects and is only mildly euphoric, so if your edibles feel heavy and sleepy, you may have overcooked your cannabis, butter, oil, or all of the above.
How to Store Your Edibles
The best way to store your edibles will depend on what type of food or confection you are preparing. If you make some brownies, cookies, or other baked goods, they are best stored at room temperature in an airtight container. On the other hand, if you are making savory food, you will generally want to keep any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Homemade edibles should last around a week when appropriately stored, so you can make edibles ahead of time or enjoy them over a few days. You can also freeze leftovers of either sweet or savory edibles for up to 6 months before you lose potency.
Strains & Flavor Pairings
We can’t help but recommend a few of our favorite strains for creating edibles! All the flowers on our menu have an incredible flavor, so these were chosen specifically to bring out other complementary flavors. Once you get the hang of it, don’t be afraid to explore various flavor combinations – your taste buds will thank you!
This strain not only packs a punch at 25% THC but also features an earthy and cheesy flavor that can pair well with savory dishes such as lasagnas and casseroles. The terpene profile means that this strain will generally be better suited to a more relaxing edible experience and infuses well into dishes with peppery flavors.
This sweet-tasting flower has notes of candy, pine and creamy gas, making it a perfect strain for dank desserts! Clocking in at 28% THC will definitely satisfy the more experienced edible consumers and makes a great pairing to chocolatey sweets like s’mores, cookies and cakes.
As mentioned above, these are just two suggestions to get you started with making your own edibles. Then, once you feel comfortable decarbing and infusing, follow your nose and taste buds to whatever flavor combinations you desire!
How long do edibles take to kick in?
Edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect, so it is crucial to have patience, no matter how tasty they are! The amount of time it will typically take depends on several factors. From how fast your metabolism is to the contents of your stomach, and of course, your tolerance levels for THC will all impact how long it takes for edibles to kick in.
Pro tip: For anyone concerned they might overindulge in their infused creations, we highly recommend (pun fully intended) making an un-infused batch that you can enjoy without worrying that you’ll get overwhelmingly high. If that isn’t practical, having a meal or some other snacks is a great way to avoid overeating THC-infused goodness.
Why do edibles last so long?
Edibles have a long duration compared to smoking or vaping, which is due to THC in edibles being metabolized by our liver instead of our lungs. Another reason edibles have an elongated effect is due to the type of THC that our liver creates during metabolizing.
In most cases, edibles last between 4-8 hours from the time of ingestion. That time may be shorter if you have a higher tolerance, while it may be longer than 8 hours if you are very sensitive to THC.
So what is causing edibles to last so much longer than inhaled cannabis?
When we smoke or vape, the THC enters our lungs and absorbs into the bloodstream. From there, it is rapidly transported to the brain and takes effect in seconds.
When we eat cannabis, it enters our stomach and has to pass thru our digestive system before the THC is metabolized in our liver. This obviously takes longer than inhaling and can vary depending on how much food is in our stomachs.
Not all THC is created equal
When the THC is metabolized, it emerges from the liver into our bloodstream as 11-OH-THC, a form of THC that binds to our cannabis receptors more fully than standard THC, aka Delta 9 THC.
This version of THC is also a larger molecule than D9 THC, so it takes longer to break down in our bloodstream. These two factors mean that 11-OH-THC has a stronger potency and a longer duration than D9 THC, which is why appropriate dosing is so important.
Make Your Own Weed Edibles with Flore!
Making your own cannabutter or infusing food with cannabis oil makes for a tasty treat, no matter how you spell it out.
Rejuvenate your palate by exploring our exquisite flower menu! Our selection is bursting with various mouth-watering strains cultivated from the sun-soaked soils of Humboldt, as well as some extraordinary finds from California’s most renowned cultivators. We guarantee you’ll find something to tantalize even the pickiest taste buds!
Terrance Alan has over 25 years in government advocacy creating both the San Francisco entertainment commission and the cannabis taskforce. He is co-president of the Castro merchant’s and co-chair of CMAC and C2K, both working on cannabis consumption. He designed, constructed and opened a boutique dispensary in the Castro District of San Francisco called Flore dispensary featuring carefully curated cannabis selections with an emphasis on small Humboldt far grown cannabis, social justice brands, equity brands, women owned brands and operates a compassion distribution program with Sweetleaf Joe.