Many people are hearing more about the health properties of cannabis oil and are curious to know about smoke-free alternatives to enjoying cannabis, especially as a unique and vibrant health-oriented culinary culture emerges. For example, blog articles discuss healthier Thanksgiving options such as cooking cannabis-infused turkeys and baked goods, and foodies are raving about everything from cannabis wine to CBD pumpkin lattes. It’s no wonder more people want to learn about using cannabis in the kitchen.
Below we’ve outlined the differences between THC and CBD as well, as the various ways you can consume THC and CBD. Some basic tips for easy ways to cook, bake, and make cannabis and CBD oils will be shared, so grab your apron, mixing bowls, and slow cooker.
Differences Between THC and CBD
Cannabis consists of two main compounds called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in addition to over one hundred other cannabinoids. CBD, CBN, and THCA are just a few of the other many cannabinoids that are critical to good health. THC is best known as the component that causes psychoactive effects, but cannabis must be heated in order to activate the THC. This process is called decarboxylation.
In recent years CBD has gained recognition for managing pain, anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. A growing number of people use CBD for general wellness. CBD oil can easily be added to foods and drinks, and it can be ingested on its own.
CBD doesn’t have the properties that alter the mind as THC does, which explains why many parents are able to offer CBD to their children to help with attention deficit disorder, seizure control, and pain management.
Many scientists and consumers of cannabis products believe that the whole plant should be used for maximum benefit; they argue that when the “entourage effect” takes place, the cannabinoids’ properties interact positively and intensify the healing process. The entourage effect also ensures that non-psychoactive compounds balance out THC’s effects so the consumer does not feel sedated or unfocused.
Although THC offers pleasure and relaxation, an indica-dominant strain can make someone feel drowsy during the day.
CBD Edibles vs Capsules
Both CBD edibles and capsules offer smokeless alternatives of CBD oil consumption. Compounds are absorbed through the stomach lining, and it can anywhere from take thirty to ninety minutes for a person to feel affected.
CBD capsules usually have a soft vegan shell. Medical cannabis consumers can take them discreetly and conveniently. They contain an exact dosage for easy tracking. For those on a restricted diet, CBD capsules help avoid the extra calories that come with brownies, cookies, shakes and other cannabis-infused goodies.
Some capsules contain crystalline or distillate forms of cannabis, and some crystalline capsules can be made without THC for children and adults who want to keep a clear mind.
Edibles & Infused Cannabis Products
There are many ways to enjoy CBD oil and integrate it into a lifestyle and diet. Many health professionals believe there are huge health benefits to ingesting raw cannabis, and cannabis is also a great source of fiber. In addition to that, cannabis contains Iron, Folate, Calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.
Not everyone likes the earthy taste of raw cannabis (much like any raw green leafy plant), but if you can tolerate the taste of cannabis leaves, salads are an easy, quick way to get weed’s health benefits.
This way of consuming cannabis, however, will not give you the THC high, because it hasn’t been heated by smoking or cooking.
A visit to a medical marijuana dispensary or retail store in a state with legal medical and/or recreational can help you with learning about the various ways cannabis is infused into many food items, sprays, and other wellness products.
Cooking with cannabis has been practiced for centuries. In ancient India, people cooked and made drinks with bhang, which is an edible form of cannabis. Chinese cultures have infused cannabis into tea for thousands of years. Brownies have long been the staple of cannabis baking. Alice B. Tolkas is considered the pioneer of modern cannabis baking; she first made her iconic hash fudge brownies in 1954. Ever since, consumers have sought more innovative ways to integrate cannabis into baking.
Now cakes, cookies, cannabutter, marshmallows are available. The cost of an edible is mainly based on the number of milligrams of THC in a treat. For example, a cookie with 10 mg in a California dispensary is $10. Prices increase based on THC levels and the quality of the other ingredients.
Candies include a range of sweets such as mints, caramels, gummies, and chocolates. They come in all shapes and flavors, and they’re sold in certain dosages. In some states like Arkansas, its illegal to make and sell candies in forms that are appealing to children.
If you live in a state with legal medical or recreational cannabis, visit a dispensary to ask an agent about the right cannabis-infused product for you, best strain for your health concerns, and the amount of THC in each product. CBD gummies are usually about 5mg-10mg.
Sticking to this dosage is recommended for those not used to cannabis. Marijuana dispensaries and retail stores also sell CBD-infused drinks which cost about $7-10 for a 10 mg drink.
Some fans of juicing say its the best way to consume marijuana’s nutrients. Just as juicing allows a person to get as much of the vitamins and minerals out of fruits and vegetables, you can juice the bud and leaves to extract the elements of cannabis. If you home grow cannabis, you can use all parts after harvesting or trimming so nothing goes to waste.
When juicing, those with sensitive taste buds can add fruits and vegetables to overpower the taste of weed with more appealing flavors.
Who would have thought that beef, pork, vegetarian or other kinds of jerky could include weed? If you’re interested in trying cannabis jerky, you can purchase it at a cannabis retail store in a state with legalized recreational cannabis. Or you’d like to try to make your own at home, it’s relatively easy.
You’d simply use all the ingredients you would normally use in a jerky recipe, such as garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, paprika, and other seasonings of your choice.
The main difference is that you’d include 10-12 grams of dried cannabis flower (you can also use cannabis oil depending on the recipe).
Follow the specific directions outlined in a recipe to ensure you’re bringing the best out of the cannabis. Later, we’ll discuss some important steps for activating the THC if you’d like the relaxing, euphoric effects along with a satisfying snack or meal.
Inhalers are also becoming popular with individuals who want an alternative to smoking flower or cannot eat candies and baked goods. The inhaler mechanism is the same as for those with asthma. The only difference is the properties in the spray. Usually, they contain about 1000 mg of liquid of which 650 mg is THC, and the rest is comprised of terpenes and additives that assist with carrying the THC to the lungs. Each puff contains about 6.5-7mg THC and 1-2mg of terpenes.
The inhaler has about 100 puffs. It offers a consumer a discreet option to taking cannabis, because others may assume it’s an asthma inhaler. Oral sprays are also available in marijuana dispensaries, and they can contain from 12.5-25% THC depending on the strain used.
The terpenes are removed from some of the sprays, leaving them odorless. Some consumers like this option if other ways to ingest are not possible or if they’re looking to avoid the strong weed (“skunky”) smell associated with the plant.
Hemp seeds also have nutrients, and they’re sold in most health food stores and even some supermarkets. They’re perfect in oatmeal, salads, and other recipes. They’re also non-psychoactive, so they’re safe to include in children’s meals.
Making Cannabis Oil
There are so many great reasons to use CBD oil. Cannabis oil has been known to relieve ailments attributed to various neurological, dermatological, psychological and auto-immune conditions. You can apply cannabis oils made with coconut or olive oil to the skin.
First, choose a sativa-dominant or indica-dominant strain that will give you the desired effect. Indica strains give the consumer a sensation of overall body relaxation, whereas sativa strains may energize a person; many report a distinct mind buzz after consuming a sativa strain. Then decide if oil with or without THC is suitable for you given your age, condition, and other factors. You can use the oil on its own or as an ingredient in food.
The decarboxylation process is key to cannabis oil and products. To include cannabis flower and oil with the psychoactive properties in your products, you need to include decarb in your preparation steps. Many people decarb cannabis by heating it at least 250 degrees for 30 minutes in the oven, but you can also use a slow cooker.
The slow cooker method has two advantages over warming your cannabis in the oven; the smell is less pungent and it may retain more THC. For this method, you’ll need a ¼ quart mason jar, a slow cooker, water, and cannabis.
Grind your weed, place in in the jar, and seal it. Then put the jar into the slow cooker, cover it with water, and heat. You can use the higher setting and simmer for four hours or the lower setting for eight hours. Remove the jar and let it cool completely before opening. You don’t want those terpenes and valuable compounds escaping before you get a chance to bake or cook.
Once you have “decarbed” your cannabis, you can start on the process of making cannabis oil with THC. You will need one quart of high proof alcohol and one ounce of cannabis. If this is your first attempt, you can start with a smaller ratio if you’re worried about wasting perfectly good weed with a tincture attempt gone wrong. You’ll need to include a one-quart mason jar, a grinder, cheesecloth, and brown or blue-tinted small glass containers.
Place your cannabis and alcohol in a mason jar and close it tightly.
Store in a cool dark place for two weeks.
Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth and pour cannabis solution into glass containers. It is now ready for use. This is the simplest way to make cannabis oil, and there are other ways that involve using coconut oil or olive oil that are easy too.
For example, if using coconut oil, you would allow the coconut oil and decarboxylated flower to simmer on low heat for an hour. Still frequently and use 16 grams of flower to every 2 cups of coconut oil.
Steps to Make CBD Oil for Products
Here is a method for making cannabis oil without THC that is ready for immediate use once you’re done. This method does not include a decarboxylation step to activate the THC. It also burns off the alcohol, so the oil can be given to children and those sensitive to cannabis’s mind-altering effects.
For this method, you’ll need the following safety items:
- Dust mask (aka ventilation mask)
- Safety goggles
- Non-latex gloves
- Oven mitts
Most times, nothing goes wrong, but it’s better to be prepared. Make sure your room is well-ventilated. If you use a double boiler, the stovetop must be electric or gas. You can use a rice cooker or slow cooker if you prefer.
Use one ounce of cannabis and one gallon of high proof alcohol. Many suggest the grain alcohol Everclear. Don’t spend too much time thinking about the type of high-proof alcohol; since it’ll burn off you don’t have to worry about using a specific type or quality.
Some other items you need to decarb your weed will include:
- A large spoon
- A spatula
- Two heat-resistant glass mixing bowls
- A double boiler
- Blue or brown-tinted glass containers
Place your cannabis in a glass mixing bowl and pour the solvent over your cannabis so it covers it by an inch. Soak it in the solvent for three minutes, mixing and mashing as it soaks.
Strain the darkish green alcohol-cannabis mixture into another container.
Squeeze the contents of the cheesecloth to remove as much liquid as possible.
Soak it and strain again. Each rinse will remove THC. The first wash removes about 70% to 80% of the resin, and the second time removes the rest of the THC.
Repeat the process of emptying the contents of the strainer along with the solvent into a mixing bowl. Make sure the solvent fully covers the cannabis.
Soak, mix and mash the mixture for another three minutes.
Place your strainer over the container that already holds the green liquid from the first wash. Then it’s time to boil off the alcohol.
Fill the bottom part of your double boiler with water.
Pour the dark green liquid into the top pan. Increase the heat and monitor the liquid as it begins to boil. When the liquid bubbles, the alcohol is evaporating. At this point, you can turn off the burner. The heat generated from the boiling water below will continue to evaporate the alcohol, so let it bubble for another 15-20 minutes. A dark green, syrupy consistency indicates that the alcohol is evaporated.
Now pour the oil into your blue or brown-tinted glass containers. Keep the glass containers in the dark, cool place, and they should last for up to a year.
It is helpful to watch a video before you attempt to make your own cannabis oil for the first time, so be sure to study the process before jumping in.
If you prefer or only have a rice cooker instead of a double boiler, fill the cooker ¾ full with your alcohol-oil mix and use the high setting. Boil down the mixture until it becomes a thick, dark green liquid. Using mitts, remove the pan from the rice cooker, and mix. Notice when the bubbles rising to the stop slow down; this will indicate it’s time to pour the mixture into a bowl.
You can use the oil to cook all types of dishes.
Be sure to monitor dosing regardless of the mode of consumption (edibles, inhalers, oils, etc.) and consume slowly and moderately. Make sure you research your state’s laws before purchasing, making or sharing cannabis-infused products.