It is a different experience ingesting Cannabis than smoking it, but certainly not a new one. Legend has it that the Indian God Shiva introduced bhang, an edible form of Cannabis, for the pleasure of mankind. In our book, Healing Cannabis Edibles, we’ve researched eight medical conditions that can be alleviated by Cannabis and we’ve designed recipes that use other power herbs along with Cannabis to target those health issues.
Edibles are ideal for people who don’t want to inhale smoke. Since Cannabis in food or drink goes through the digestive system, it is absorbed more slowly and it takes a lot longer for us to feel the effects of the THC in the herb. In addition, the effects last up to 6 hours longer than smoking, depending, of course, on the strain and other factors. For this reason, the industry has adopted the following advice: Start Low – Go Slow.
We’ve designed our recipes to deliver 10 mg THC per serving but that may be too much for you. If you’ve never used Cannabis or if it has been over a year since you have used it, start with 2.5 milligram THC per dose or less, and increase by 1 or 2 milligrams as your tolerance, body weight, or metabolism dictate until you feel better or reach the maximum dose suggested for medical treatment.
Finding the perfect strain, THC-to-CBD ratio, and dose size that works for you requires experimentation. Your body size, weight, and tolerance for Cannabis are all important factors. When using Cannabis, keep a log that tracks the strain and brand name, along with the ratios, and then take notes on how each strain works in the recipe and how it affects your symptoms.
Be sure to keep the original Cannabis container or write down the percentage of THC and CBD in the Cannabis you are activating because you will need this information in order to calculate the amount of carrier (fat, honey, or alcohol for tinctures) to use in Step Two (see below). (i.e. Name of Strain and Producer / Percentage THC / Percentage CBD)
Step One: Heat (Activate) Cannabis Before Using
In its raw form, THCA (the precursor to THC) is unable to bind to the receptors in our brain, which is why a psychoactive experience cannot happen simply by eating raw, fresh, or dried Cannabis. Heating at a precise temperature for a specific time converts the non-bioavailable THCA into psychoactive THC. This process is often referred to as decarboxylation because it removes the carboxyl group of compounds from the raw plant material. In this book, we call the process of converting THCA into THC and CBDA to CBD, activating the THC and CBD.
Activation of THC and CBD only occurs when heat is applied either during smoking, vaping, or heating in an oven or a dedicated decarboxylation device. Our directions for activating whole or chopped flowers follow.
Note that some Cannabis suppliers are now decarboxylating products for you. If that’s the case, go directly to Step Two.
How to Activate the THC and CBD
The most widely used home method of activating (decarboxilating) raw Cannabis is to heat it in the oven. While there are several wild and crazy techniques — from using a toaster oven or coffee press to boiling with water and then freezing, and sous vide (immersing Cannabis in boiling water) — that people employ, we prefer to activate Cannabis in the oven.
- ½ ounce (14 grams) whole or coarsely chopped dried Cannabis flower
- Preheat oven to 240°F (130°C). Position an oven rack in the centre of the oven.
- Spread Cannabis evenly over a heatproof glass or ceramic pie dish. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour for high THC or 1-1/2 hours for high CBD strains. Remove and set aside to cool.
Step Two: Infuse Carriers with Cannabis
Okay, you’ve activated ½ ounce of precious Cannabis and now you want to cook with it. You can sprinkle some in a brownie mix, or toss with a bag of nuts … but that isn’t the best way to safely enjoy it. In order to make incredible edibles with a known dose in every serving, the next step is to infuse a carrier such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, honey, nut butter, or alcohol with the healing properties of the activated Cannabis flower.
“Infusing” means to transfer the healing components from a herb into a carrier (or menstruum). We’ve developed a simple table that takes the guesswork out of using fat or honey, or nut butter, or alcohol in tinctures. For the recipes that follow, let’s assume that your Cannabis contains between 14 to 15% THC.
Use high quality, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, melted coconut oil, or Ghee (made from unsalted butter). This recipe is specific to a strain of Cannabis that is between 14 and 15 percent THC.
- 3½ to 4 cups (1 L) fat (see above)
- ½ ounce activated Cannabis
- Pour oil into a small (4-to 8-cup) slow cooker. Stir in Cannabis, cover, and heat on Low for 4 hours, stirring once or twice. Check the temperature of the oil every hour to be sure that it does not exceed 245°F (118°C).
- Unplug slow cooker and set aside, covered with lid, for 1 hour or until the crock insert is cool enough to handle.
- Line a fine-mesh sieve with two or three layers of cheesecloth or a basket-style paper coffee filter. Set the sieve over a 2-cup capacity measuring cup and pour infused oil from the crock through the sieve into the measuring cup. Twist the cheesecloth to encase the plant material and squeeze or press on the filter to extract as much infused oil as possible. Reserve solids for another use or discard.
- Transfer Canna Oil to a 2-cup capacity jar with lid. Seal, label, and store Canna Oil in the refrigerator, away from the reach of children.
1 Serving = 1 teaspoon
Store: Infused olive oil will keep for up to 2 months in the refrigerator. Infused avocado oil will keep for 6 months in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator for up to 9 months. Infused coconut oil needs no refrigeration and keeps for over a year at room temperature. Bring infused oil to room temperature before using.
Dose: 1 teaspoon Canna Oil provides about 10 mg THC if your strain of Cannabis contains 14 to 15% THC.