Cannabis Edibles - A Beginner's Guide
Eating your weed is not only the tastiest way to medicate but one of the most effective, too. And with cannabis cooks being more creative than ever, there’s never been a better time to be hungry. So, for everyone who still hasn't worked up an appetite , here’s your guide to cannabis edibles. You’re about to get a little hungry.
Cannabis Edibles - A Beginner's Guide
Why Choose Cannabis Edibles
For many, the only way to medicate with cannabis is to smoke it. And it's that way for a reason: This method has the benefits of being one of the easiest means of consumption. Recently, however, many users are moving away from smoking and looking for more user-friendly means of medicating. After all, smoking can be an irritant. Considering the growing political backlash against smokers, it's not the most socially acceptable means of consumption.
[caption id="attachment_1998" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Instead of smoking, why not eat your weed?[/caption]
And let's face it – as much as cannabis connoisseurs try and preach otherwise – the taste of cooked cannabis is not one that many people savor. Granted, grow houses are getting more and more creative with their various strains, but the fact remains that burned things taste like burned things. And you're never going to win a Michelin Star with a pile of ash.
And that's where edibles come in. They're all the wonders of weed in neat, tasty little cocoons – available in all shapes and sizes and in almost any flavor known to man.
Cannabis edibles are essentially cannabis-infused products that you can safely eat. Inevitably, they are made using cannabutter or canna oil: cannabis-infused oils that carry the medicinal qualities of cannabis. And as cannabis is only soluble in some form of fat, edibles are most commonly prepared as baked goods.
For those with a sweet tooth, chocolate, gummy bears, peanut butter or hard candies might be your vessel of choice. For those who dig more savory options, there's pastries, breads or even soups. Basically, if you can make a food using regular fat, you can make it using cannabutter (or canna oil).
If you're in the mood to play chef, your dispensary may be able to provide you with ready-made cannabutter or canna oil (as well as host of ready-made edibles). All you'll need to do is add it to your normal recipes. While the classic might still be the brownie, there's no reason you can't add it to your mac n' cheese, homemade granola bars or even tea.
[caption id="attachment_2000" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Cannabis can be added to anything, from toast to tea. Image courtesy of cuisineandhealth.com.[/caption]
Just be sure to moderate THC content. Ask your budtender how you should dose, and if you're still a little unsure, keep your doses low. Alternatively, you can make your own butters and have full control over the entire process, from oven to loving.
The good news is that both cannabutter and canna oil are super easy to make at home. Of the two, cannabutter is probably the most common option. The best recipes invariably comprise a good-quality, unsalted butter and an even finer strain of cannabis.
Before you begin, you're going to want to know precisely how potent your cannabis is. Once you're certain of this info you've got to do a little bit of math to keep the THC levels transparent during cooking. Think of it this way: If you purchase a half ounce of 10% THC weed, you know that 0.05 ounces is THC. If you convert it to milligrams (as milligrams are way easier when dealing with smaller numbers), we've got 1,400 mg. At these levels, a good amount of THC per serving would be around 5mg. Therefore, if you're baking cookies at 5mg per cookie, a half ounce of weed with a THC level of 10% would yield 280 cookies. Not bad, right?But hell, it’s 2016. Put the calculator down. If you’re going to cook with cannabis, there’s an app for that.
Once your butter or oil is ready, you can count on it staying good for a month or so, as long as it's kept in the fridge and in an air-tight container. If you're looking to hang on to it a little longer, throw it in the freezer and it'll remain edible for up to six months.
How Cannabis Edibles Work
When using medical cannabis, it is crucial to understand that cannabis inhaled into the body works entirely differently from cannabis that's ingested. In simple terms, smoke and vapor are essentially bundled in with oxygen and absorbed into the bloodstream without further processing. The effects of the cannabis are generally experienced within minutes. The brain receives a very small percentage of the plant's active ingredients. These are directed to the parts of the body that have the greatest need for oxygen, such as the lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys.
When cannabis is ingested, your body reacts as it would to any other form of food and the liver gets to work metabolizing it. This means that the time it can take cannabis to have an effect is usually much longer, depending on the make-up of the product you consumed. Smoothies, for example, can take effect in as little as thirty minutes, whereas complex carbohydrates may need around an hour.
The effect of inhaled cannabis generally peaks after about an hour, while the effect of ingested cannabis has been known to last up as long as twelve. It is, however, important to understand that the exact effect of ingested cannabis depends a lot on the individual. Each endocannabinoid system operates unique to that individual, in particular, their body mass index and their metabolism.
[caption id="attachment_1999" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Cannabis can be tasty, too! For example, these Madam Munchie Macarons.[/caption]
It’s easy to see that getting the correct dosage could be something of a challenge with cannabis edibles, at least in the beginning. Even if you’re used to smoking cannabis, ingesting cannabis is very different. As is generally the case, practice makes perfect, and with bit of it you’ll become a regular Anthony Bourdain.
Now go and turn on the oven.
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