Like nowhere else in the world, cannabis culture has grown and developed in the US. We all know that cannabis users are an innovative bunch, constantly looking for different and interesting ways take their favorite drug, whether it’s for recreational or medicinal purposes.
That doesn’t mean people are missing out on traditional methods of taking cannabis. Edibles are still a big favorite.
Cannabis edibles have been around for a long, long while. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to take weed by smoking, vaping or dabbing, for instance, eating it is probably your next best option. The good news is there is a lot you can do to make tasty treats and there are plenty of recipes online.
Here we’ll take a closer look at the history and the etiquette surrounding cannabis edibles, as well as some of the myths you should quickly debunk.
The History of Cannabis Edibles
You need to head to the Indian sub-continent to take a look at the beginnings of cannabis edibles. The Hindu culture were making stuff with weed over 3,000 years ago. Bhang is a traditional drink that is native to Northern India and is made from cannabis leaves, milk, spices and sometimes a little yoghurt. You can also get Bhang goli which are basically balls of cannabis paste used in cooking.
Most references to cannabis edibles in the modern world originate from The Alice B Toklas Cookbook, written in the mid-50s. It’s a book that became hugely important to the 60s counter-culture but is still used today. If you want to know how to make hashish fudge, this is the book you need to buy. Nowadays, of course, the internet has provided access to a whole new range of delicious cannabis recipes.
Types of Cannabis Edibles
When people think about cannabis edibles, the first thing that comes to mind is cannabutter. This is the basic constituent used to make a whole range of baked goods such as cookies and brownies. As in India, you can also infuse cannabis into drinks such as Indian Bhang or simply make tea by putting leaves in hot water. Capsules, tinctures and cannabis coconut oils are becoming increasingly popular, especially in areas where cannabis has been legalized.
5 Myths About Cannabis Edibles
Here are our top five:
1. You can just throw your cannabis in the mixing bowl
Many people make this mistake, certainly when they are trying out edibles for the first time. They get a bunch of cannabis leaves and simply throw them into the mix. They cook it all up and wonder why it is so ineffective and tastes pretty bland. The trick with cooking with cannabis is activating the THC. This essentially means you need to cook it first. That’s why making cannabutter is important. It may take time and effort but you won’t get high without it.
2. You need to keep your cannabis on the simmer for at least two days
One thing that puts people off making cannabis edibles is that time it takes. There’s another misconception that you need to bubble away your butter mix on the stove for at least a couple of days. This isn’t actually true and we don’t know where the idea really came from. You do need to cook your butter for a good few hours, however, but that should be more than enough to activate the THC and get all the goodness out.
3. Desserts are better than other dishes
Cannabis edibles are normally associated with cookies, brownies and fudge so it’s no surprise this particular myth has gained traction over the years. There’s no evidence that one type of cooking with cannabis produces a stronger effect than any other. If you are replacing butter with cannabutter in your cooking it should essentially get you high or deliver the CBD you are looking for. It’s the quantity of ingredients that are going to dictate the power of the finished dish.
4. Edibles are a great introduction
If you’ve never tried cannabis before, some people suggest that edibles are a great introduction. The truth is that cannabis edibles are not ideal simply because you have less control of the potency. The fact that edibles also take a lot longer to work than other products means newbies can often make mistakes in consumption, eating more than they should.
It’s easy to get way too high by eating too much in the first place. Having said that, many people who get introduced to cannabis for the first time do so through edibles.
5. The labels on cannabis edibles are useless
Shop bought products nowadays need to have some nutritional values put on their labels. For cannabis edibles, this means giving an idea of the strength of THC in each cookie or brownie bar. There’s a notion that most manufacturers have picked that number out of a hat and it’s not a reliable guide to the actual THC level.
As with most things, it depends on the manufacturer. Some are better and more trusted than others. What you do need to know is that it’s quite difficult to accurately judge the amount of THC in a particular product. Treat the labels as a guide rather than gospel.
Tips for Making Great Cannabis Edibles
The main point of the cooking process in making cannabutter is to release all that lovely THC so that it has a psychoactive effect. We cover this in our blog in more detail here. If you are doing this for the first time, however, there are also some basic rookie mistakes you might like to avoid.
Here are our top tips for getting your cannabutter and cannabis edibles right first time:
- Don’t throw leaves straight into your cooking. You need to heat up and simmer your cannabutter and then use this as the base for your culinary exploits. If you don’t want to waste time with making cannabutter, you can decarboxylate your cannabis by placing it on a baking tray and sticking it in the oven and essentially roast it for an hour (we suggest a temperature of 110 to 120°C).
- If you’re roasting your cannabis make sure that you pre-heat the oven and stir your bud every ten minutes. If you’re cooking with butter, one thing you’ll want to avoid is the mixture drying out. Adding a little water now and again can keep things bubbling away nicely and it isn’t the heresy that some so-called cannabis experts would have you believe.
- Most experts say that you shouldn’t grind your cannabis bud too finely – especially if you are infusing into another substance such as butter or oil. That’s mainly because it gives the butter a stronger, grassy flavor which can affect the taste when cooking.
- Less is more when it comes to making cannabutter. You don’t need to use a lot of your bud or leaves to make your mix or get the effect you are looking for. Neither should you be using your prime bud – save that for something else like vaping or smoking.
- When it comes to straining your cannabutter or oil, don’t be tempted to try and press as much through as possible. You want the unadulterated butter rather than all the green bits and foliage that will add a bad taste to the final product.
How to Check the Strength of Your Cannabutter
One big problem that newbies have when cooking with cannabis edibles is the strength of their ingredient. Whether you’re trying out a new strain or making brownies for the first time, our advice is to start small. That way you won’t be exposing yourself to very high doses of THC.
The other thing to remember is to give your cannabis edibles time to work. It can take at least a couple of hours for the drug to get through your system before you see any effect at all. Don’t get sucked into the idea that the cannabis isn’t working. It’s easy to take too much, especially if the edibles you have made are particularly tasty. Once you have gained a bit of experience, however, you’ll know what works and what to expect. As a newbie, you just need to be a little bit on guard.
Finally, when cooking with cannabis edibles, make sure you stir the mix properly. If you don’t, you could end up with one or two brownies that have hardly any cannabis in them and one that really packs a punch. The better you mix, the better you distribute.
How Long Do Cannabis Edibles Last?
As with any food product, cannabis edibles have a shelf-life. If you are buying ready-made edibles, the sell-by date should be on the packaging. If you are making your own, a couple of days in the fridge is probably the limit though you can freeze if you are making a big batch. Our advice is never make more than you are likely to consume.