Want to start cooking with cannabis oil? Check out this blog for 9 easy tips that will help introduce you to the world of culinary cannabis.

Cooking with Cannabis Oil: 9 Easy Tips

When you’re cooking with cannabis, the options feel almost unlimited. As long as the dish you’re preparing incorporates either oil or butter (and chefs know, that’s just about everything), it’s possible to whip up THC-infused culinary creations of all sorts: from brownies to salads, ice cream to pasta, French toast to carpaccio.

Whether you're a seasoned chef (get it?) or you just want to try out a recipe you saw on YouTube, this blog will give you practical tips to confidently integrate cannabis oil into your kitchen routine. Let’s get started!

What Are the Benefits of Cooking with Cannabis Oil?

There are a number of benefits to cooking with cannabis oil. First off, it provides a more controlled and discreet method of consumption. Unlike smoking, eating food infused with cannabis oil emits no strong odor and produces no smoke, making it a more socially acceptable and lung-friendly option. If done carefully, it can also allow for easier dosage control, which is essential for achieving consistent effects and avoiding overconsumption. (You should always be careful with edibles to avoid taking too much, though, because of the slow onset of effects – especially if you’re new to cooking with cannabis.)

Cannabis oil can be infused into a wide variety of dishes, enhancing the culinary experience with its subtle herbaceous flavors. This method of consumption also prolongs the effects of cannabis, as the active compounds are metabolized more slowly through digestion. For those seeking therapeutic benefits, such as pain relief, anti-inflammation, and anxiety reduction, cooking with cannabis oil can provide a steady and prolonged release, making it an effective and enjoyable way to manage symptoms.

How to Make Cannabis Oil

Cannabis oil is made by infusing the plant’s active compounds into a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil. Its lighter taste is ideal for those who want the benefits of cannabis without a strong herbal undertone. Additionally, cannabis oil can be stored for an extended period, making it a convenient option for those who like to plan their cannabis-infused culinary adventures in advance.

Ingredients

1 cup oil (your choice)

¼ ounce decarbed cannabis (see instructions)

How to Prepare Cannabis Oil

1. Decarboxylation

Preheat your oven to 245°F (120°C).

  • Grind the cannabis buds coarsely with a hand grinder.

  • Spread the ground cannabis evenly on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

  • Bake it in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even toasting.

Note: If your cannabis is still green, continue baking until it is lightly browned (not dark or burnt). You can experiment carefully with turning the heat up a few degrees as well.

2. Choosing and Preparing the Oil

  • Select an oil for infusion. Common choices include coconut oil, olive oil, or canola oil, depending on your preference or recipe requirement.

  • Measure the oil based on the ratio you desire. A common ratio is 1 cup of oil to 1 cup (about ¼ ounce) of ground, decarboxylated cannabis.

3. Infusing the Oil

  • Combine the oil and decarboxylated cannabis in a saucepan or slow cooker.

  • Heat the mixture on low heat (ideally between 160°F and 200°F) for 2 to 4 hours. This slow process helps infuse the oil without burning the cannabis. If using a slow cooker, this can be extended to 6-8 hours.

4. Straining the Oil

  • Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl or jar.

  • Slowly pour the oil and cannabis mixture through the cheesecloth and strainer. Let the oil drip through; avoid squeezing the cheesecloth to prevent excess plant material from entering the oil.

  • Discard the leftover plant material.

5. Storing the Cannabis Oil

  • Transfer the strained oil into an airtight container.

  • Store it in a cool, dark place. The refrigerator is ideal for long-term storage.

9 Tips for Cooking with Cannabis Oil

Now that we know how to make it, here are nine tips for how to get the most out of your cannabis oil.

1. Choose the Right Strain

Different cannabis strains have different flavors and effects. Choose a strain that complements the dish you’re planning to make. For instance, for savory dishes, you might want a strain with earthy or herby notes, while for desserts, a strain with fruity or sweet undertones might be better.

2. Understand the Dosage

As we said earlier, when you’re making or eating edibles, it can be easy to overdo the dosage. That’s why you should calculate the dosage per serving to avoid overconsumption. The key is to start low and go slow, especially if you’re new to cooking with cannabis.

3. Avoid High and Direct Heat

Cannabis oil can lose its potency when it’s exposed to high heat because high temperatures degrade valuable cannabinoids and terpenes. If you’re baking, try to use it in recipes that cook at 350°F (177°C) or lower. If you’re cooking on a stove top, avoid putting cannabis oil directly into a hot pan on its own and instead use it as a component in sauces and dressings.

4. Mix Thoroughly

To ensure that each bite of your dish has a consistent amount of cannabis oil, it's important to mix your oil thoroughly with your other ingredients. This helps to distribute the THC evenly throughout the dish.

5. Consider Using a Carrier Oil

To help distribute THC more evenly in your recipes and improve absorption, consider diluting your cannabis oil with another high-fat carrier oil such as extra virgin olive oil or canola oil. If your infused oil is particularly potent, this can help make dosing easier and more consistent and make the cannabis flavor less overpowering.

6. Start with Simple Recipes

If you're new to cooking with cannabis oil, start with simple recipes like dressings, sauces, or brownies. This will help you get a feel for how it mixes and cooks without committing to a complex dish.

7. Experiment with Sweet and Savory

Don’t limit yourself to just brownies and cookies. Cannabis oil can be used in a variety of dishes, including pastas, salads, and even meats. Experiment with different recipes to see how cannabis oil can enhance both savory and sweet dishes.

8. Taste as You Go

The flavor of cannabis oil can be strong and pungent. It’s important to taste your dishes as you go to ensure the flavor of the oil doesn't overpower your dish. Adjust seasoning and dilution accordingly.

9. Be Patient and Wait for Effects

Unlike with smoking, when you’re ingesting cannabis, it can take longer to feel the effects. It might take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours to notice the effects, so it’s important to take it easy when you’re trying out a new recipe. As tempting as it is to go back for seconds, hold off till you know how strong the dosage is. The more experience you have cooking and eating edibles, the better you’ll become at gauging your response.

FAQ about Cooking with Cannabis Oil

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about cooking with cannabis oil.

Is cannabis oil good for cooking?

Yes, cannabis oil is an excellent option for cooking. It offers a versatile and effective way to incorporate the benefits of cannabis into your life, without the smell and smoke that comes with smoking or vaping. And because the flavor is also generally considered more subtle than cannabutter, it’s especially great for more delicate recipes where you want your other ingredients to shine. Cannabis oil can be used to infuse a variety of dishes, from simple salad dressings to more complex main courses, providing an easy method for dosage control and a longer duration of effects compared to other consumption methods.

What should cannabis oil taste like?

Cannabis oil typically has a distinct, somewhat earthy or nutty flavor, depending on the strain and extraction method used. The taste can also vary slightly if the oil is refined or unrefined. Refined cannabis oils are generally lighter in taste and color, making them more versatile for a variety of dishes without overpowering the flavors of other ingredients. On the other hand, unrefined cannabis oil retains more of the plant's natural compounds, resulting in a stronger, more pronounced flavor. Some people may detect hints of the original plant's aromatic profile, such as pine, citrus, or floral notes, which can add a unique twist to your culinary creations.

Can you add flavor to cannabis oil?

Yes, you can certainly add flavor to cannabis oil to enhance its taste and complement your dishes. Infusing cannabis oil with herbs, spices, or other aromatic ingredients is a popular method to tailor its flavor profile. Common additions include garlic, rosemary, basil, or citrus zest, which can be gently heated with the oil to imbue it with their essence. Additionally, mixing cannabis oil with other culinary carrier oils like olive, sesame, or coconut oil can help moderate both its potency and its robust taste while adding new dimensions of flavor. (Make sure you’re aware of the proper food safety procedures if you’re infusing with garlic, since garlic plus the airless environment of an oil infusion can be a fertile ground for the botulinum bacteria.)

How much cannabis oil do you get from 1 oz of bud?

The amount of cannabis oil you can extract from 1 ounce of bud varies widely based on several factors, including the method of preparation and the potency of the cannabis. The recipe we’ve included in this blog is designed to yield 4 cups of oil for every 1 ounce of cannabis.

What is the best food for cannabis oil?

Cannabis oil is highly versatile and can complement a variety of foods, but some of the best choices are those that can naturally incorporate fats, as cannabis compounds are fat-soluble. Foods like sauces, dressings, and dips are excellent because they blend seamlessly with the oil without requiring high heat. Baked goods such as brownies, cookies, and bread also work wonderfully with cannabis oil, allowing for an even distribution of the oil throughout the item. Additionally, savory dishes that include dairy or oil-based components, like pasta with creamy sauces, or even homemade mayonnaise, can be ideal for integrating cannabis oil effectively while enhancing the dish’s overall flavor and texture. These types of foods not only mask the inherent taste of cannabis oil but also help in the efficient absorption of its active compounds.

How long should I cook my cannabis oil for?

The cooking time for cannabis oil depends primarily on the method you're using to infuse the oil with cannabis. If you're making the oil yourself, a common approach is to gently heat the cannabis in oil at a low temperature to avoid degrading the cannabinoids. A typical infusion can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Keep the temperature between 160-200°F (71-93°C) to ensure that the cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, are activated but not destroyed. It's important to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature closely. This slow-cooking process helps in extracting the active ingredients effectively without burning the oil or the plant material, ensuring that the potency and flavor of your cannabis oil are optimal.

Can you fry food with CBD oil?

Frying food with CBD oil is not recommended. CBD oil has a relatively low smoke point, which can be easily exceeded during the frying process, making the whole process smoky and unpleasant (not to mention setting off your fire alarm). Exposing CBD oil to high temperatures, such as those required for frying, can also degrade the cannabinoids, potentially reducing the oil’s therapeutic benefits and altering its flavor. Instead, CBD oil is better used as a finishing oil or added to dishes that require no or low heat, such as salad dressings, sauces, or drizzled over prepared foods. If you're looking to incorporate CBD into cooked dishes, consider using it in baking or gentle sautéing at lower temperatures to preserve its properties.

Let SunMed cultivate your culinary cannabis experience

When you embark on your culinary cannabis journey with SunMed Growers, you’re getting quality, consistency, and expertise. As Maryland's trusted source for medical and recreational cannabis, we ensure that every product meets the highest standards of purity and potency.

Ready to elevate your kitchen creations? Visit our website to find a dispensary near you.