The Basics of Cooking With Cannabis

As marijuana becomes more mainstream, we are seeing a culinary wonderland of cannabis cooking in home kitchens. While eating is undeniably about necessity and pleasure, careful attention is required when marijuana enters the cooking equation. 

When we ingest marijuana — namely, its psychoactive THC compound — it is metabolized through our livers. This can create a more potent and longer-lasting high compared to smoking cannabis.

While a weed brownie, the poster-child for edible marijuana treats, wasn’t traditionally strong on the flavor front, experiments with extraction and recipes are making edibles not only palatable but downright enjoyable.

For ultimate flavor and function when cooking with cannabis, keep in mind these tips:

Dosing: Most consider 10 milligrams as one dose of THC, although this can vary depending on your tolerance levels. Your marijuana dispensary should list the THC content of each strain they carry, helping to calculate dosage levels. Figuring out how much flower you need to achieve your desired dosage requires a bit of math, but it’s well worth it for a more controllable and enjoyable experience. 

Keep heat low: Prior to turning your flowers into butter, oil, tinctures, etc., you will want to apply just enough heat to your marijuana flowers to cause the chemical reaction of converting THCa to THC (known as decarboxylating). This helps you achieve a higher yield of THC in your final cannabis culinary creation. To decarb, crumble your flowers on a baking sheet and cook it in a 250-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 30-45 minutes. 

Extract the THC: If you care about taste and texture, you’ll want to avoid eating the plant itself. Instead, you need to extract the THC from your flowers. THC is not water soluble, but it is oil soluble, which is why the most common extractions are marijuana butter and marijuana oil. The typical proportion is 1 cup of butter for 1 cup of cannabis. (Check out our easy 5-step cannabutter recipe!)

Experiment: You can use weed butter and oils as you would use their standard counterparts, as long as you avoid frying and other direct high-heat cooking methods, which can cook off desired cannabinoids and terpenes. (Baking uses inductive heat, which is why brownies, cookies, and other baked goods work.) You might want to dilute your cannabutter or oil with some of the real stuff to control dosage.

While brownies are always a good stand-by, the fun in lies in experimenting with recipes. Some of our favorites include:

Popcorn tossed with marijuana oil (olive oil, preferably), sea salt, and za’atar, paired with a good movie

Cupcakes topped with buttercream or cream cheese frosting, substituting some or all of the butter in the recipe for cannabis butter.  

Baguette with cannabis butter, prosciutto, and arugula

Chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries, made with cannabis butter

Watermelon and feta salad, with a vinaigrette of with cannabis olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and shallots

Hi&Low