August 23, 2021
Cannabis edibles are growing in popularity among cannabis users. According to a study, over 25% of Canadian cannabis users tried them in the first six months of legalization, and 66% of non-users expressed an interest in trying them.
Edibles have some advantages over combusted cannabis, as the two types of usage differ in their speed of effect and duration. Edibles take longer to have an effect on you but have a much longer duration than combustibles. They’re also more discreet, as there isn’t a smoky smell involved.
Some users may not wish or not be able to inhale smoke in order to use cannabis, since any burned and inhaled substance can increase the chance of bronchitis, lung inflammation, or other health risks. Edibles solve that problem.
Edibles also allow users to minimize ingestion of THC, the compound in cannabis that will create the feeling of being high. Since edibles have a long duration, they’re an excellent choice for those using cannabis for certain health conditions.
While edibles are not challenging to make, some caution should be used. Newcomers should understand the risks and complexities of using cannabis in edible form as with any controlled substance before whipping out a recipe book.
To make a high-quality edible, you’re going to need to start with high-quality cannabis. Consult experts at your Co-op cannabis store for more advice on the best options. The process isn’t as simple as taking cannabis and sprinkling it into a recipe. You’ll need to prepare the cannabis to activate it.
Decarboxylation (or “de-carbing”) is the process of activating raw cannabis into a more enhanced potent form by altering the chemical composition of the cannabis. This is typically done by heating the cannabis.
Grind up the cannabis using an herb grinder, place it on a baking sheet with a parchment paper lining, and put it in the oven at 250F for 35 to 45 minutes. Note that this process will also release the smell commonly associated with cannabis. This could be a concern if you’re living in an apartment or shared-living space.
When the cannabis has taken on a browned, toasted look, you’ll know that it’s ready for the next step. You’ll want to combine the cannabis with oil or butter to make it easier to use through the process of infusion.
You can add it to melted butter and stir in, or drizzle olive (or coconut, or other) oil over the top of the baking sheet and work the cannabis until it’s a solid substance. Using fats (like oil and butter) is essential, as water won’t become infused with cannabis; it’s not like making tea.
The infusion process will take at least an hour and likely longer. The longer you infuse, the more potent the cannabis will become. You’ll want to monitor and continue stirring the mixture to help it to infuse. Then strain the cannabis from the fat using a cheesecloth or sieve and place the oil or butter in the fridge.
You can use the butter or oil as a direct substitution in recipes, a one-for-one ratio. It’s also possible to use the de-carbed cannabis that you strained as well, though it may have an unpleasant texture.
While the most popular edibles are of the snack variety, including cookies, brownies, gummies, and chocolate, it’s possible to use cannabis butter in more savory foods. It can be spread on toast, stirred into macaroni, cheese or pasta sauces, or dolloped onto baked potato in butter form. Use it instead of regular oil to make a potent salad dressing. Cannabis oil can be used to fry up anything you’d use a standard oil for, including stir-fry, or add it to the pan while making bacon. You can also add it to tea or coffee for a twisted take on ‘bulletproof’ coffee.
With current controls and the ability to measure THC levels in cannabis, the days of guessing are over. To calculate the THC content in your edibles, simply divide the total milligrams of THC in the cannabis by the number of end products.
If you’re making a dozen brownies with 1200 mg THC cannabis, you’d have 1200mg/12 brownies, or 100mg of THC per brownie, as a rule of thumb. Keep in mind that 100mg is fairly potent compared to something you’d buy in-store, so instead of slicing those brownies into 12 bars, make it 24, or 48. After all, you can always eat more, but you can’t undo what you’ve already ingested. And while the math will be relatively accurate, it’s essential to understand that there is the potential for varying levels of potency, so caution is always advised when making your edibles.
If you prefer to use cannabis more discreetly, or you’re looking for a longer-lasting effect, edibles are a great choice. They’re easy to prepare and can be used in a variety of foods and snacks. While some care is needed when dealing with controlled substances, edibles provide many options to those looking to consume cannabis without having to smoke or vape.
Visit your local Co-op Cannabis store for expert advice on cannabis consumption and products.
Please Note: Health information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional health advice. This general information is not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Any information, advice, or suggestions given by Calgary Co-op staff is not a replacement for medical advice from your Doctor, Dentist, or professional Practitioner. Consult with your healthcare professional with any questions you may have.