Stuff you need to know about cooking with cannabis.
The concept of consuming marijuana via edibles is not new. The famous ‘hash brownie’ has been eaten for decades, but up until recently, cannabis edibles usually tasted hideous. Fortunately, the game has changed thanks to legislative advances that have made marijuana at least medically legal in 30+ states.
As a result, the edibles market has exploded in recent years.
According to research by ArcView, Californians consumed $180 million of marijuana-infused beverages and edibles in 2017. This figure equates to 10% of the state’s weed sales.
When you bear in mind that marijuana has since been legalized recreationally in the Golden State, it isn’t hard to see a further market boost in 2018 and beyond.
In Colorado, sales of edibles more than tripled from $17 million in 2014 to $53 million in 2016. Although the taste of edibles has improved exponentially, and they offer a neat and tidy dosage, they are extremely expensive. For instance, the notorious ‘Black Bar’ offered by Korova contains an incredible 1,000mg of THC and represents one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ edibles on the market. Even so, it costs $50.
Pure Vida’s 100mg THC offering costs a whopping $20. Even when you consider the loss of cannabinoids through combustion, it is significantly cheaper to smoke or vaporize your weed. But what if you don’t want to subject your lungs to smoke or vapor? Why should you miss out?
Thankfully you won’t, because cooking with cannabis has never been easier, and it is a real boon to individuals in dire need of relief from chronic pain.
Why Choose Marijuana Edibles for Pain Relief?
Aside from the issues mentioned above, edibles are often the only viable method of marijuana delivery for individuals who are extremely ill. In general, food is considered a source of pleasure for a lot of people, but if you have cancer and are being treated with chemotherapy, for example, your appetite is likely to dissipate significantly.
When you use edibles, you can kill two birds with one stone: marijuana can help stimulate appetite, which makes the person want to eat more. Then, the power of the THC and CBD in the edibles could provide relief from intense, chronic pain.
Edibles have the potential to help people with an array of illnesses. For instance, Crohn’s Disease damages the gastrointestinal tract through inflammation. Normally, eating with an inflamed stomach is torture, but with edibles, the stomach receives much-needed cannabinoids and can handle the food.
The other thing to note with edibles is that this delivery method provides very different results than if you smoke or vape weed. While you feel the effects within minutes (sometimes seconds) when smoking a high-THC strain, it can take up to two hours (although 30 minutes is more common) for an edible to get to work. The danger here is that you believe it isn’t working, and you end up consuming far too much. Make sure you are patient and allow the medicine to do its thing.
Marijuana contains well over 100 cannabinoids, and their combined ability to act as medicine is far greater than if any single cannabinoid tries to go it alone. When you smoke weed, you burn away a lot of cannabinoids. This is NOT the case with edibles, which help you benefit from the entourage effect.
Edibles typically contain a type of fat (usually coconut oil) which improves the bioavailability of the weed. In basic terms, the addition of fat helps your body absorb cannabinoids better. Let’s say you eat a hash brownie. It gets broken down in your digestive tract and releases the psychoactive properties of the cannabis into your brain and bloodstream. Your liver metabolizes the THC, which means it passes through the blood-brain barrier. Although it takes longer for the ‘high’ to take effect with an edible, it is more intense and lasts for hours longer. The above is the ideal scenario for anyone suffering from chronic pain.
How to Cook with Cannabis for Pain Relief
If you have a severe illness or if you are cooking for someone with a serious medical condition, try and adhere to the following principles for maximized results:
- Find something that appeals to you.
- Use good fats and fresh ingredients.
- Focus on creating dishes laden with nutrients.
- Opt for easily-digested foods.
- Do your best to minimize gluten to reduce inflammation.
The therapeutic components of the plants are found in its glandular trichomes on the surface of the flowers and leaves. The plant material can be used to make olive oil, cannabis butter, or any kind of oil. It is also fine to directly throw some dry herb into a dish you’re going to cook, as carboxylated THCA is also loaded with health benefits. In this case, cook it with fat to ensure the trichomes release the medicine.
As we have already mentioned, edibles are potent, so you only need a little to enjoy the pain-relieving benefits. This is especially the case if you use buds because they have a 75% higher trichome density than leaves.
Also, it is important to note that there is a significant difference between sativas and indicas. If you are hoping for edibles that induce relaxation and treat chronic pain, choose an indica. Although sativas can also alleviate pain, they are normally used to combat fatigue.
This is an essential component of cooking with cannabis because it is the process of transforming the THCA in weed into the psychoactive THC cannabinoid. To ‘decarb,’ place your weed flat out on a baking tray and place it in the oven at 200-240 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-60 minutes. The more weed that’s on the tray, the longer it takes to fully decarb.
Regardless of what you’re trying to make, cannabutter is an essential ingredient. You need a cup of water, a pound of unsalted butter and an ounce of high-quality weed that has been lightly ground. Here is how to make it:
- Place your decarboxylated weed and butter into a pot with a small amount of water. A cup is normally enough to ensure the butter doesn’t burn.
- Heat the mixture on low simmer for 3-6 hours.
- After it has cooled, strain the plant material in cheesecloth and discard the remnants as the THC is in the butter.
- Put the mixture in the fridge where it will harden overnight.
- Remove the hardened butter from the residual water.
- Congratulations! You now have cannabutter!
What Can I Make When Cooking with Cannabis?
Once you have the cannabutter, when you end up actually making is simply a question of using your imagination. Hash brownies remain the most popular option because they are easy to make and taste delicious. You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with pot cookies or cannabis candies.
There is also a litany of more substantial and filling dishes you can make; quinoa stew is a popular choice because it is filling, laden with nutrients, and tastes wonderful. Along with the cannabutter, add raw quinoa, potatoes, onions, vegetable stock, zucchini, and a host of other vegetables and spices. You even have the option of adding toppings such as grated cheese and crumbled tortilla chips!
Another brilliant and easy to cook option is cannabis-infused salmon. This option is packed full of omegas and healthy fish oil, yet you’ll still be getting a dose of your medicine with every bite.
Final Thoughts on Cooking Cannabis for Pain Relief
It’s no secret that the edibles market is in full swing, but most THC bars and gummies are extremely expensive. Rather than paying a small fortune, why not make your own? With a little bit of know-how, patience, and high-quality weed, you can create cannabutter which can then be used in any one of dozens of tasty recipes.
For instance, you can even create a delicious three-course “cannameal” at home! Start with vegetable soup, enjoy quinoa stew or cannabis salmon as the main course, and finish off with some pot brownies topped with vanilla ice cream!
When cooking with cannabis for pain relief, make sure you decarboxylate the weed first to guarantee its potency. And please remember that, because ingested cannabis goes through the liver, the psychoactive effect is intensified and it also takes longer for edibles to have an effect. As a result, begin with a low dose, and BE PATIENT!