Tips and Tricks for Creating Cannabis-Infused Cuisine
As you will discover, cooking cannabis-infused food takes practice and patience. If you’re planning to cook for others, it’s essential to learn the dos and don’ts to ensure a safe and responsible meal. Whether you're a professional or at-home chef, handling cannabis with the utmost care should be your number one priority.
Before making your first infused dish, it’s imperative to educate yourself on edibles and understand how your body will react after consuming them. Many people believe that eating an edible is the same as smoking cannabis, but this is not true. Remember that having a high tolerance when smoking/vaping does not mean you’ll have the same tolerance with edibles.
After consuming CBD or THC-infused foods, effects typically kick in within 1 to 2 hours depending on your metabolism, body weight, endocannabinoid system, what else you’ve eaten, plus many other factors. While CBD alone won’t get you high, consuming THC will produce intoxicating effects. Depending on the amount of THC you’ve consumed, effects can linger for up to 8 hours or longer. You should always strategically plan on when you’ll eat THC-infused edibles or cuisine to ensure that you have the best experience possible. If you're new to cooking with cannabis, be sure to view my beginner's guide.
Now that you know some infused food basics, there are a few additional tips and tricks that you’ll want to take into consideration before jumping in and making your own recipes. The following tools and suggestions are meant to help you as you begin this culinary journey. For a deeper dive into cooking techniques, please refer to my book, The Ultimate Guide to CBD.
Tips & Tricks For Creating Cannabis-Infused Cuisine
From the Chef’s Kitchen
As you begin to cook with cannabis, you’ll want to source fresh, wholesome ingredients that highlight the unique characteristics of the dish you’re preparing. One of the most important ingredients to source is the actual cannabis or hemp that you’ll be incorporating into the recipe. If you are planning to use professionally made cannabis oil or isolate powder, do your research before adding it to your food. Know where your product comes from and how it’s made to ensure it's clean and pesticide-free.
Also, keep in mind that many premade cannabis tinctures and oils have added flavors such as peppermint, lavender, etc. While some of these flavors can work in certain recipes (i.e., beverage recipes), I wouldn’t advise using them in your food because the essential oils and flavor extracts can easily overpower other ingredients. Instead, source an unflavored cannabis oil or full-spectrum hemp oil that’s been made with olive oil.
Remember, cannabis buds, leaves, stems, and branches, all contain different aromas, flavors, and varying levels of cannabinoids. The entire plant is fit for consumption!
A few of the chefs I've worked with also love mixing cannabis with bold flavors. Chef Holden Jagger finds the natural “funky flavors” to be the most exciting part of incorporating herbal products into the dining experience, while Monica Lo and Chef Calvin Eng love to use international flavors highlighting unique ingredients from their background such as fermented bean curd, chile peppers, yuzu, and fish sauce.
As you can see, there are many ingredients that work well with cannabis. Keep these in mind as you practice the art of pairing with different terpene profiles.
You can approach infused foods as you would infused drinks. Start on the low side of the dosage range and adjust upwards until you find a perfect balance that works for you.
Depending on what products you use in a recipe, dosages will vary. For beginners, a good place to start is between 15 to 30 milligrams of CBD and 1 to 5 milligrams of THC per serving, and then adjust accordingly. If you’re using a cannabis product that contains both, be sure to factor in both cannabinoids as you adjust dosages up or down based on your needs.
If you need to increase dosage per serving in a recipe, feel free to do so. Just make sure the ingredient ratios that are listed remain the same, so the recipe turns out the way it’s supposed to. For instance, you wouldn’t want to add more CBD or THC oil than what your recipe calls for to increase the milligrams. Instead, use a different product that contains a higher potency per serving and then use it in your recipe.
Lighter, easily digestible infused foods are known to set in faster than dense, rich recipes. When they finally do kick in, CBD effects will be very subtle (i.e., you’re not going to feel high or stoned), but THC effects should offer some enhanced euphoric effects. You’ll know when THC hits you!
Ready-to-Use Gourmet Cannabis Products
If you’re in a rush, sometimes it is easier to use a professionally made product to infuse a recipe. I am a big fan of using premade infused cannabis olive oils, honey, ghee, and cooking powder, which can be found online or at a licensed dispensary. You can think of these items as gourmet cannabis products. See a list of some of my favorite offerings here.
For additional tips and tricks, please be sure to check out my latest books or stay tuned for more!
About the Author:
Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm and author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol and Cannabis Drinks: Secrets to Crafting CBD and THC Beverages at Home. She is an author, entrepreneur, and writer specializing in cannabis, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world. In addition to her work in the cannabis industry, Jamie has over a decade of wine industry experience and is a Certified Sommelier. Having represented a wide array of organizations and wineries, she is best known for her literary work and producing high-end events. She was also named as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2018. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheHerbSomm.