Although the word “cannabis” conjures images of hippie college students rolling joints, the real world of cannabis consumption is much more varied. Young professionals use it to treat anxiety, new parents use it to help them sleep, and people with chronic pain use it as addiction-free pain relief.
As cannabis users become more diverse, so do the different methods for consuming cannabis. Smoking remains the most popular method, but interest in edible cannabis products is growing. Some edible users stick to classic cannabis brownies, while others get creative with cannabis cakes, tea, and more.
Whether smoked or eaten, cannabis produces mild mind-altering effects. This is mainly due to two compounds: THC and CBD. Both compounds are still being studied, but the scientific consensus is that THC causes the feeling of being high, whereas CBD is reported to reduce anxiety, soothe pain, and produce a general feeling of well-being. As a result, medical cannabis users tend to prefer CBD products.
CBD is milder than THC, but any cannabis product can have side effects. VidaCann is a leader in the medical cannabis industry and an advocate for cannabis safety education. Before cooking with CBD or any other form of cannabis, learn the tips and tricks from one of Florida’s most advanced medical cannabis providers.
Ingesting CBD vs. Smoking CBD
At safe doses, both eating CBD and smoking it causes feelings of relaxation and pain relief. The main difference between the two methods is how quickly you experience effects and how long the high lasts.
When people smoke CBD, they begin to feel the effect within about 15 minutes. The sensation lasts 2-3 hours, depending on the strength of the dose and the sensitivity of the person. Smoking cannabis gives you quick results, but it has some downsides. It’s unclear if smoking cannabis causes long-term lung damage, but it does cause mild lung irritation and coughing. Because the effects wear off quickly, it’s also somewhat less effective for chronic pain relief.
Edible cannabis products require much more time to take effect, but they create a longer-lasting high. Most people don’t feel any effect from edibles until 2-3 hours after consuming them. Once the high hits, however, it lasts anywhere from 6-12 hours. People who want long-lasting results or who worry about the potential lung damage from smoking generally prefer edibles.
Due to the long delay before the high, first-time edible users sometimes become impatient and take another edible to speed up the process. This will not get you high any sooner, and it may cause over-intoxication. Over-intoxication from cannabis is not life-threatening except in rare circumstances, but it is unpleasant. Symptoms include a racing heart, anxiety, and even hallucinations.
It’s easy to avoid overdosing as long as you do your research and follow safe cannabis cooking practices. Protect yourself from a bad edible trip by adhering to the five rules below.
5 Tips for Safely Cooking with Cannabis
Never Use Raw Cannabis
The compounds in raw cannabis are not psychoactive, so using it in cannabis cooking doesn’t have any beneficial mild-altering effects. Plus, the taste is unpleasant. If you purchase raw cannabis, dry and cure it before using it.
Choose the Right Strain
Different cannabis strains have different properties. Some are high in CBD, others in THC. Research the strains or talk to the staff at a dispensary to pick the right one for you.
Different cannabis strains also have different flavors, which is important when you’re cooking. Smelling the cannabis will give you an idea of what it will taste like and whether it will mesh well with your recipe.
Prepare the Cannabis Correctly
Whether you buy raw or cured cannabis, you need to decarboxylate it before cooking with it. Decarboxylation is the chemical process that occurs from heating cannabis. Start by cutting the cannabis flower into pea-sized pieces. Put these pieces on a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake them for 20 min at 275ºF. Technically, any temperature between 240–295°F is fine, but 275ºF is recommended for beginners.
If your recipe calls for butter or oil, you can skip this step by buying cannabis-infused butter or oil.
Measure the Right Amount
The standard serving size for edibles is 5 mg of THC. However, this dose can be too intense for first-time users. If you are new to cannabis cooking, start with 2.5 mg. Depending on the results, you can gradually increase your dose or keep it the same.
A dose of 50 mg or less is considered a low dose of CBD. At this dosage, CBD rarely has psychoactive effects. If you are trying a CBD-infused edible for the first time, stick to about 50 mg. If you feel fine after 2-3 hours, you can try taking more CBD.
In some respects, storing edibles is just like storing any other type of food. You can package leftovers in ziplocks or Tupperware. However, if you live with other people, always label foods containing cannabis. No one wants an accidental drug trip.
Keep edibles and the cannabis used for infusion out of reach of pets and children. Children are more vulnerable to over-intoxication because of their low body mass. Similarly, cannabis is dangerous for dogs and cats due to differences between their metabolism and human metabolism.
- Chocolate chip cookies. Break up a square of THC-infused chocolate and use it in combination with regular chocolate chips to make truly unique chocolate chip cookies.
- Baking. Cannabis is easy to infuse into fats, which is why you often see cannabis butters and oils used in baking. Substitute a small amount of cannabis butter for regular butter in any baking recipe to create a delicious and relaxing treat.
- BBQ. Don’t limit yourself to sweets. Check out this list of summer BBQ recipes, including dipping sauces and vegetarian burgers.
Learn More About Cannabis Cooking
Cannabis is a versatile ingredient when used safely and correctly. Whether you’re new to the world of cannabis or an experienced connoisseur, you’re sure to enjoy cannabis cooking. Learn more about cannabis and how to use it by exploring VidaCann’s website.