For many years, I made cannabis edibles at home. Even if I made several mistakes along the way, I was able to create a final outcome that was good enough to do the job. Little did I know that I could improve my edibles massively if I made a few tweaks to the preparation process. While this improved the flavour and consistency of the product, it also saved me lots of time and money. All I needed to do was to listen to a real pro.
A few months ago, I attended a cooking class dubbed, “puff, pass and bake,” led by chef Torrin Panico. He was instrumental in teaching us how to cook cannabis oil, showing us the missteps that most people make along the way. Once I understood how decarboxylation and infusion work, I could easily see my own flaws. Granted there are many ways of preparing cannabis edibles and no single method can be said to be the right one. Whether it’s through trial and error, or experimentation, what matters most is the final product.
The following tips could give you a head start on improving your edibles:
Mistake #1: Spending too much money on cannabis flower
Solution: A little goes a long way (or just shop at HighClub)
Most people make the mistake of throwing half an ounce of weed into a cooker thinking that it will help them make the best, infused butter. However, the simple ratio of 1:1 works perfectly. That’s one cup of cannabis oil to one cup of ground cannabis. Remember, lipids in the oil can only bind with so much cannabis, so anything beyond this ratio is actually wasteful. You can buy less cannabis to save money, but you’ll realize true savings if you opt to buy oil that’s been infused with cannabis stem. Furthermore, you can buy ABV (Already Been Vaporized) weed, which is basically a flower that’s vaporized.
Mistake #2: Throwing ground cannabis straight into the slow cooker
Solution: Decarboxylate cannabis first in the oven
Cannabis must be prepared before cooking. One of the processes of doing this is carboxylation. The process activates cannabinoids to prepare them to bind to lipids. When you skip this process, you end up with cannabis that tastes bad. Most people know the process of decarboxylating cannabis in the oven. For those who don’t know or those who wish to skip the process, you can decarb your raw cannabis by throwing it into a slow cooker to soak the oil. This works, but it worsens the taste of the edibles. The oven is the best place to decarb cannabis because it allows you to regulate temperatures. In a slow cooker, you can’t really control the temperatures so there’s the risk of burning off some essential cannabinoids.
Mistake #3: Heating and decarbing at the wrong temperatures
Solution: Know how hot and how long to heat your cannabis and cannabutter
Decarboxylating cannabis is not enough if it’s not done correctly. You need to set the correct temperature on your oven, heat it, before spreading it to cover a large surface area. You’ll need to set the oven to 120° Celcius, heat weed for 30 to 40 minutes while turning it every 10 minutes. If you don’t have too much time and can’t wait for 30 to 40 minutes, you can increase the temperatures to 150°C (300°F), heat it for 15 to 18 minutes while stirring every five minutes. However, it’s important to note that the slow but sure method is the best when it comes to delicate cannabinoids. When adding raw cannabis to the oil, it’s best to do it at between 160-200°F or the low to medium temperature on a slow cooker. Always check the temperatures with a thermometer and cook for three hours when the lid is open.
Mistake #4: Grinding your cannabis into powder
Solution: Use a hand grinder for a more coarse grind
Most edibles have a grassy flavour because the ground cannabis is too fine. A food processor or coffee grinder introduces chlorophyl to your oil and this gives it a strong plant-like taste. While this might give your oil a green colouring that looks appealing, it could be at the expense of taste. Furthermore, it makes it difficult for you to remove unwanted plant material. Once you have decarbed your weed, grind it with a hand grinder. Cannabis readily binds with lipids, so a coarse grind is the best as it creates no room for unwanted plant material to bind with weed.
Mistake #5: Improperly straining the oil
Solution: Strain with cheesecloth and let gravity do the trick
Now that you have your infused oil, how do you remove the plant material? This is where a cheesecloth comes in. It separates oil from the plant material using gravity. The trick is to avoid squeezing the cheesecloth and to let gravity do its job.
Mistake #6: Baking too little oil into your dish, or, God forbid, too much
Solution: Check the potency of your oil before incorporating it into your dish
The good thing with edibles is that you can always test their potency at any time. A 1/4 or a 1/2 teaspoon of oil added to your drink or food should help you know the potency of your edible. You only need to rest for an hour after taking this dose. Once you’ve identified the right dose, make sure you add it to your food or drink. In case you’re making a cake or a pizza, multiply that dose with the number of people you’re sharing with.
Mistake #7: Uneven distribution of potency in an infused batch
Solution: Stir well. Really, really well.
Most of the times, we end up feeling nothing after eating lots of weed-infused edibles. Yet, a friend might get high for eating half the amount of edible. What could be wrong? The answer is the wrong concentration of weed-infused oil. If that’s something you’ve experienced before, make a point of stirring your batter well to distribute the oil evenly. If you’re interested in perfecting your skill of making infused edibles, you can drop by the ‘Puff, pass and bake’ classes in Denver, Co, or Las Vegas, NV for a jolly good time with stoned people.