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cooking with cannabis - infusions
Guide

Cooking with weed: How to infuse your food like a pro

Samantha KanterJune 7, 2021

Cooking with cannabis can be simple. If you set yourself up, you can add your infusion to your food anytime with confidence and ease. This simple guide isn't the only way to make infused food, but it's a great place to start.

Do your math.



1 gram of cannabis is equal to 1000 mg of product. The percentage of THC in the cannabis will determine how potent your infusion will be. Remember, this is not a perfect system, even if you have tested product, you will likely lose some potency in the process. It's extremely difficult to be specifically accurate, but this math will certainly help. 


If your cannabis is tested, great, makes your math way easier. We'll say this cannabis has a 20% THC level, which means 1 gram of cannabis will yield 200mg of THC if the process is perfect.


THC percentage can really vary, if you have no idea what you're working with and this is outdoor / maybe not the best quality, I tend to use 17% for my math. Some of the newer, best cannabis can top 30%, but odds are if you're working with product that good, you'll know it.

Activate your cannabis.



Cannabis needs to go through a process for the plant to cause psychoactive effects. This process is called decarboxylation, which is a hard word to say, so we'll use decarb for short. When smoking cannabis, you heat it up in order to ingest it, so this process is all in one step. With cooking, it's a bit more complicated. If you don't do this step and just ingest cannabis without heating it, you will not experience any real psychoactive effects. It's a common misconception - see Super Troopers, although one of my favorite movies, they got this part wrong.


The “sweet spot" for this process is between 230-250 degrees. You can certainly heat cannabis on a stovetop and it will do the trick. I can attest from my college brownie making, however, the more control you have, the better the effect. To have more control, I suggest using an oven so you are more easily setting the temperature. 


First, grind your cannabis - you want to break your cannabis up into small pieces. This gives you more surface area for infusion, but you don't want it too small as you will be straining the plant material out. A classic grinder works well. Dry cannabis works well so it's a great option for older cannabis that may be too harsh to smoke.


Next, preheat your oven to 240 degrees. Add a sheet of parchment paper to a baking sheet and spread your broken up cannabis evenly across the sheet. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes for the decarb process to take place. Boom, you have activated cannabis.

Pick a fat.



I'm personally a big olive oil fan. I like to use my oil in things like vinaigrettes where the flavor is upfront and important so I tend to use a nice extra virgin olive oil. Not crazy nice as you are adding flavor to it, but middle of the road works well. Other options: coconut oil, avocado oil, canola or vegetable oil. All of these will be similar in process, if you want to add to butter you certainly can, but temperature will be more important to adhere to as it changes states when heated.


The amount of oil you use will determine your potency. For the sake of ease, we will use 1g of cannabis with a 20% THC level in 1 cup of oil. This gives you about 4mg per teaspoon of oil when all is said and done, which I think is a nice potency level for adding to food as a beginner, but it really depends on your tolerance and goals.

Infuse.



Once you have your fat and your decarbed cannabis, you're ready to create an infusion (combine them). You will want to gently heat your oil and add the cannabis. You want to keep the cannabis at 350 degrees or below at all times in order to avoid any degradation. Since it's hard to be precise, keep the heat low to avoid getting close. Stir the cannabis in the oil and let it bloom. This process of gently warming and stirring extracts more from the plant and makes your infusion more efficient.


Stirring is important in this process to equally distribute the THC, you will want to stir before serving as well for more consistent dosage throughout.


Let the cannabis bloom for about 20 minutes, then turn off the heat, move to a covered container and let steep. I allow the cannabis to steep overnight. You will see a difference in color when you re-visit which proves the assistance with the process.


Once ready to use, you want to strain the plant out of the oil. Some people save this cannabis to use as a garnish, or attempt to infuse with it again if any THC is left. Not really my style, I trash the product after the infusion process. 

Dose your food.



Now you have infused oil, sweet, time to add it your food. I recommend adding to sauces / dressings as these items often have oil in them anyway and you can mix and match infused and non-infused oil to get the dosage you're looking for.


Vinaigrettes are my favorite item to dose as I use them on hearty salads and the infusion works seamlessly. If you're infusing a pre-made item, put aside the amount you will be using to infuse, so you don't waste infusion on product you're not using. 

You don't want to use your infused oil to cook with as you will lose quite a bit in the process and not dose properly.

Eat!



Consume your food and wait for the effects. Remember, cannabis typically takes about on hour for onset, but can take up to 2 hours. I recommend waiting at least 90 minutes prior to ingesting most cannabis to ensure you don't consume too much and feel overwhelmed. 


There's a bit of guess and check when it comes to home infusion, so try it and see how it works for you. If you do consume too much for your level of comfort, drink some water, take a nap and be patient. The feeling will subside, you're not in danger, and you'll be back on the cannabis-consuming horse in no time.


Samantha Kanter
Samantha Kanter
Sam Kanter, owner of Sam Kanter Events and Dinner at Mary's, has worked in the food industry since 2007, garnering extensive experience in on-premise events and catering in the Boston restaurant scene. She started DAM to bring quality cannabis to the people; working to remove the stigma and show the true benefits of this wonder plant. A Zagat 30 under 30 winner, Sam is known for pushing the envelope, creating unique experiences for her guests with a focus on hospitality, and providing easily accessible education for all
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