Cooking with Medical Marijuana
Although many people associate medical marijuana with smoking, a large portion of patients prefer eating or drinking cannabis infused products, commonly called edibles. Due to the fact that the medicines produced by marijuana are easily extracted with fats and oils, most of these edibles include butter, coconut oil, peanut oil, or other common baking fats. While it is relatively easy to produce potent brownies or cookies, it is difficult to accurately dose these baked goods.
Eating edibles can be far more intense than smoking, so it is very important to understand your personal tolerance and desired dose while creating a treatment plan. Before you plan to cook your own edibles, we recommend that you read our article Are Medical Marijuana Edibles Right for You and discuss your plan with a professional.
How to Prepare Medical Marijuana for Cooking
The first step to baking with cannabis is processing the plant material. The more potent the plant material used, the less plant material is needed to create highly dosed edibles. Stems and less resinous leaves can still be used to make potent edibles; however, the larger amount of plant material will affect the end products’ flavor.
To prepare your plant material for baking, it is best to grind up the material in a food processor or coffee grinder. Try not to turn the material into a dust or powder, but rather a nice sandy consistency. A hand grinder or mortar and pestle can be more accurate, but this is much more labor intensive. Once that material is processed, spread it out in an even, thin layer across a baking sheet.
Now that your cannabis is ground, you will need to heat it up to activate the medicine. Some people enjoy fresh cannabis smoothies; however, the medicine most patients seek needs to be activated. The two most popular medicines found in cannabis are THC and CBD. A fresh nug of cannabis is usually chock full of slightly different cannabinoids called THCa and CBDa. To turn THCa into THC or CBDa into CBD, the plant matter needs to be activated with heat. When making edibles, we recommend activating your cannabis before infusing it with butter or oil.
There are many different beliefs about the ideal temperature and time to bake cannabis to fully activate it. The numbers for activating THC are usually around 240° F / 115° C for around forty-five minutes to an hour. Activating CBD occurs more slowly, so the bake time should be closer to an hour or hour and a half. If your oven bakes unevenly, it is best to stir or rotate the baking tray half way through the bake.
Once the processed plant material is fully activated, it is best to store the material in an airtight container. You can then use portions of this material to infuse any sort of fat or oil. This infusion can be done in a regular sauce pan under low heat or in a crock pot on low. The longer the plant material sits in the base oil, the more medicine will leach into the base. Keep the activated plant material in the base oil for at least a few hours. It is also in your best interest to strain the oil afterwards to remove all the bits and pieces of plant matter. Use a metal strainer for hot oils or a cheesecloth if you allow the base oil to cool before straining.
Medical Marijuana Recipes
The internet is full of great recipes designed specifically for cannabis edibles. Check out these links for inspiration:
If you’re in the Ann Arbor area and interested in learning more about medical marijuana and its many uses, contact Arbors Wellness today to learn more.