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Cooking with Cannabis — How to make Cannabis Cooking Oil

Devin Cole
May 9, 2019 · 5 min read

Wouldn’t you agree with how the idea of additives and preservatives present in our packaged edibles often bother us? That even products claiming to be a 100% organic may have a tad bit of that something extra inside to increase its shelf life, right? It sure bothers us. The same thing applies to all these Cannabis infused and cannabis-containing medicines and products. We have every right to be skeptical.

We all may know a small busines s or two that are organic, produce fresh from the plant extracts. The hefty price tag though can be a turn-off. It can seem problematic for those looking for a way to incorporate cannabis and its infusions into their cooking and consumption lifestyle. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. We’ll explain to you how to make cannabis cooking oil , use it cooking and make drinks.

How to make Cannabis cooking oil?

Cannabis cooking oil or butter both are used by many as a plain cooking medium. The process required for making these both is practically the same. If you’ve already heard about it, the ‘ Decarboxylation ‘ method is a far widely used method, but it is lengthy, requires controlled heat and a lot of patience. The idea is to extract the maximum amount of cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant and into the oil during this process. To gain maximum benefits the plant has to provide.

Preparation

Before jumping into the process, it is necessary to know a little back story. The basic know how that everyone must have is that Cannabis plant contains two chief constituents. THCA and CBDA. The former is found in Cannabis type of plant and is psychoactive while the latter is found in hemp type and is non-psychoactive. These both vary in potency, concentration and bioavailability according to plant, method of extraction, use, and storage. Both of these are present in the female plant but are not available to the human body. Upon decarboxylating, both THCA and CBDA are toned down to their neutral forms THC and CBD respectively. These are what we aim to utilize as beneficiary substances. So what we’ll need is:

  • 1 cup of ground cannabis flower
  • 1 cup of cooking oil (preferably light ones like coconut or extra virgin olive oil)
  • Strainer/Cheesecloth/Fine Muslin
  • Slow cooker/Saucepan/Double boiler
  • Grinder (a simple one works best)

Procedure

Take the flowers and grind them. It is advisable not to grind them smaller than the strainer pore size, or they’ll end up in the oil. Fine grinding isn’t a goal here. Combine the ground cannabis material and the cooking oil in equal proportions in the utensil of choice.

Depending on the utensil used, extra care has to be taken. Excessive heat and carelessness can affect the quality of the oil.

  • For saucepan — Heat at low for at least 3 hours. Stir repeatedly. This method needs the most attention because the pan is most susceptible to scorching. Chances of burning and sticking to the side or ‘contamination’ are high.
  • For slow cooker — heat at low for 4 to 6 hours with occasional stirring. It is safer than a saucepan and does not require constant supervision.
  • For double boiler — heat at low for at least 6 hours or preferably 8. Occasional stirring is ideal.

: Add a small portion of water to prevent scorching or burning. Do not add more than a small amount. Whichever utensil in used or mode of heat, the temperature should not exceed 245 degrees F throughout the process.

Straining and storage

Take a storage container preferably glass, place strainer or cheesecloth on the top and pour the oil. Do not squeeze the cheesecloth while straining. The filtrate or residue in the strainer can be stored separately. It can be dried and used in the dressing, salad topping, etc.

The oil can be used up to 2 months. Its quality can be retained if refrigerated for longer periods. Cooking with cannabis oil is not advisable for items that require a high temperature to cook. Nor is it advisable to microwave or oven bake items at a high temperature which has cannabis cooking oil or butter in them.

Cooking with Cannabis

It’s an unchartered territory still since people are still experimenting and discovering new ways of using cannabis in their food and drinks. Cooking with cannabis depends on your area, your taste palette and the availability of various ingredients. It is best to start from the basics and work your way up from there. So here’s a little startup guide on what to do with your cannabis.

The Strain

It’s essential to know your strain before starting to cook with it. For example use Sativa strain to revitalize and energize while Indica is ideal for relaxing, calming down and unwinding. The entire family of this plant has different terpenes with different qualities. Delving into the taste and aroma combinations and can bring forth an exciting dining experience.

The recipe

What would it be like to infuse cannabis into your favorite dish? Hypothetically it can be used in anything but its heat susceptible which means that high temperatures that our usual food cooks at can denature our cannabis. So choose a recipe that requires low heat and has preferably low-fat oil like olive oil, coconut oil or butter as part of ingredients. There are many so you can choose any one and experiment away from there.

Infusions

There was a time when weed brownies were all the rage for the ‘fun of it.’ But lately, we’ve seen a more sophisticated and responsible approach towards cannabis. When choosing a medium for infusion, one can experiment with other types of low-fat oils and butter on the market. Each infusion leads to different taste combination and aroma. Chefs and lifestyle gurus are coming up with recipes solely for this purpose. Ground cannabis is also in use as a dressing, topping and even garnishing for salads and such.

Drinks

What’s better than a calming chamomile tea? Cannabis infused chamomile tea. Imagine a more calming yet energizing experience than ever before. Cannabis infused drinks and beverages have already started hitting the markets. This industry is only likely to grow with more time and social acceptance of these drinks. Cannabis tea requires the incorporation of the same cannabis infusion that we prepared earlier. Coconut oil infusion or butter is a good option for teas. Recipes for cannabis infusion drinks and beverages are available online.

Wouldn’t you agree with how the idea of additives and preservatives present in our packaged edibles often bother us? That even products claiming to be a 100% organic may have a tad bit of that…

How to make cannabis cooking oil

Infusion is often the most challenging part of cooking with cannabis and the reason why many people turn to their vaporizer in defeat. I’m here to tell you that you can do this! Not only is it doable, but it’s worth it.

If you haven’t yet discovered the wonder that is cannabis-infused eating, I’m excited for you because you’re in for an adventure. The experience from start to finish is significantly different from common inhalation methods. The effects are typically longer, stronger, and slower to set in.

For this reason, always start with a low dose and see how an edible affects you—especially if you’re cooking your own as it is impossible to calculate their potency.

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Cannabis-infused oil is probably the most versatile medium and a great place to start, since it can be used for baking desserts, sautéing veggies, frying up your morning eggs, or putting in your salad dressing. In addition, as is the case with cooking anything at home, you have complete control over its preparation. Does peanut oil hold a special place in your heart? Make cannabis-infused peanut oil!

Recipe for cannabis cooking oil

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of ground cannabis flower (or less for milder potency)
  • 1 cup of cooking oil of your choice

Note: When making canna oil, you want to use a 1:1 ratio of cannabis to oil.

Choosing the right cooking oil base for your canna oil

Picking the right oil for infusion comes down to your flavor preferences and the dishes you plan on cooking. Oils will have different consistencies at room temperature, so be sure to put thought into how you will be storing and using your oil.

Many oils work well with baking too! So you might want to choose an oil that will have a flavor and consistency that works for multiple recipes. For example, if you are looking for an oil that can be used in a stir fry as well as a pie crust, coconut oil is a great option. It adds great flavor to veggies and remains solid enough at room temperature to hold up as a pie crust.

If you are looking for an oil with a mild flavor, vegetable and canola oil are going to be great options. They are also very versatile and work with most recipes calling for oil.

If you want something a little more robust in flavor, you can infuse olive or avocado oil. Both stand up well to the cannabis flavor and can be stored in your pantry. One of the most surprisingly delicious deserts I ever had was an olive oil ice cream. So feel free to get creative!

Materials needed:

  • Strainer or cheesecloth
  • Grinder (a simple hand grinder works best; appliances like blenders and coffee grinder pulverize the cannabis, resulting in edibles with bad tasting plant material)
  • Double-boiler, slow cooker, or saucepan, etc.

Directions:

  1. Grind the cannabis. You can include the entire plant, just the flower, a little bit of both—this is all a matter of preference. Just keep in mind that anything small enough to fit through the strainer will end up in your finished product, so again, do not grind your cannabis into a fine powder.
  2. Combine oil and cannabis in your double-boiler, slow cooker, or saucepan, and heat on low or warm for a few hours. This allows for decarboxylation (activation of THC) without scorching (which destroys the active ingredients). In all cases, a small amount of water can be added to the mixture to help avoid burning, and the temperature of the oil should never exceed 245°F. Cooking can be done a variety of ways:
    • Crock pot method: Heat oil and cannabis in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.
    • Double-boiler method: Heat oil and cannabis in a double-boiler on low for at least 6 hours (8 is better), stirring occasionally.
    • Saucepan method: Heat oil and cannabis in a simple saucepan on low for at least 3 hours, stirring frequently (a saucepan is most susceptible to scorching).
  3. Strain and store the oil. Do not squeeze the cheesecloth; this will simply add more chlorophyll to your oil. All remaining plant material can be discarded or used in other dishes if desired. The oil’s shelf life is at least two months, and can be extended with refrigeration.

Note: Be cautious when using the oil to prepare dishes that require heating. Do not microwave and choose low heat whenever possible.

Tips for reducing odor when making cannabis oil

The trick for reducing odor is using the right tool for decarboxylation. The steam produced during cooking might not give off a pungent odor at first, but it gets stronger with time. It takes hours for the oil to finish, so you can imagine that the odor can build, and, if you are in the same room the whole time, you may not notice the gradual increase in dankness.

Using kitchen devices with rubber seals on their lids will allow you to lock in the majority of the odor during the cook. Finding a crock pot or pressure cooker with this feature is easy. The seal allows you to be strategic in where and when you open the lid.

Whether you take it outside or put it under your kitchen vent, not allowing the odor to fill your space is paramount when it comes to discretion. But accidents happen! If you find yourself in a situation where your space is too pungent, check out our article on how to get rid of the cannabis odor.

How to cook with your weed oil

Now that you have successfully infused your oil of choice, be sure to try a little before you make an entire meal. You want to make sure the dosage is right so the meal is delicious as well as enjoyable afterward.

You also want to be sure not to scorch the oil while cooking (just like when you are making the oil). It would be a shame for all that hard work to go to waste and to be left with a cannabis-tasting creation without any of the effects.

Now get cooking! I suggest finding a few of your favorite recipes and see if an infused-cannabis oil could work. Experimenting with different recipes is half the fun, and here are a few of our favorite recipes to get you going:

  • Martha Stewart’s “to-die-for” pot brownies: A classic done right!
  • Cannabis-infused mayo: From ranch dressing to aioli, mayo is the base to some of your favorite condiments!
  • Cannabis-infused coconut roasted citrus shrimp: Feeling fancy?
  • Cannabis-infused chocolate hazelnut spread: Find a dessert or savory snack this doesn’t make taste better, I’ll wait.
  • Canna-oil vinaigrette: Balsamic vinaigrettes are great too!

Next up: Learn how to make infused coconut oil!

This post was originally published on September 19, 2013. It was most recently updated on March 20, 2020.

Learn how to make cannabis oil to use when baking desserts, sautéing veggies, frying up your morning eggs, or in your salad dressing in 3 easy steps. ]]>