Interested in making the best homemade edibles possible? Well whether you’ve dabbled in homemade edibles or are looking to start, there’s a few simple but important steps to ensure your edible creations are accurately dosed and delicious. The below guide dives into the tips and tricks to get you cooking up some truly “special” treats in no time!
To kick things off, we’ll first provide some background into the science behind one of the most important steps: decarbing.
Cannabis plants contain an abundance of various chemicals including cannabinoids, terpenoids, flavonoids and other biomolecules. The most prevalent compound found in cannabis is called tetrahydrocannabinol acid – or simply THCA. Research suggests this compound has some medicinal benefits, but it is not to be confused with the cannabinoid delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC-∆-9), which is responsible for the high most cannabis users expect.
When applying heat to the compound THCA, you convert the cannabinoid into THC-∆-9 so it’s available for consumption. This process is called decarboxylation, and its exactly what happens when you smoke cannabis. Decarboxylation, or “decarbing,” is the chemical reaction that removes a carbon atom from a carbon chain in the plant’s carboxylic acid, releasing carbon dioxide (CO2). Breaking up the carbon chain in this way activates the THC-∆-9, necessary to get high.
Left on its own, partial decarboxylation of cannabis buds happens very slowly as cannabis dries. But heating the flower – to just the right temperature for the right amount of time – kicks off the chemical reaction and increases its potency. It’s also why you can’t get high from just consuming the buds or leaves of a cannabis plant.
Decarbing Your Cannabis
Decarboxylation takes place whenever you smoke or vaporize: Applying the heat turns one compound into the other and releases the THC-∆-9 into the smoke. But with too much heat, THC and other important cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids burn off; too little, and decarboxylation doesn’t even happen.
To decarb cannabis in the oven, the golden rule is to bake at 240 °F (115 °C) for one hour.
Creating Cannabis Butter From Your Decarbed Cannabis
Now that you have your decarbed cannabis ready to go, the next step would be to infuse the bud into butter to then bake with. Grind it down but not too fine (the finer the ground the weedier taste in the final product). Melt a cup of butter in a saucepan on low heat and stir in the bud. Keep it at a light simmer – meaning the occasional bubble or two – for at least 30 minutes (do not allow to boil). Next, Strain the residue into a glass container using a metal strainer or cheesecloth.
Determining Dosing of your Cannabutter and Final Product
One of the most common questions among medical cannabis users is how to determine the THC content of a homemade edible. Using the potency and quantity of the bud your using to infuse your cannabutter you can determine the final dosing of your edible through a certain formula. Even if you don’t know the exact percentage of certain cannabinoids, you can get a pretty close estimate, all it takes is a simple formula. To anyone mathematically challenged: An online calculator (like this one) can approximately determine the THC percentage for you. If you’d prefer to do the math, here’s how the formula works.
Start your estimate by identifying the THCA percentage of the bud – if buying from a dispensary you will find that % listed on the label. In the example below, we’ll assume we’re working with bud testing at 10% THCA.
First, you multiply your THCA by 10 to get your mg/g of THCA
So, one gram of 10% cannabis contains 87.7 milligrams of THC-∆-9 as long as there was no THC-∆-9 in the cannabis to start with. If there was 0.2% THC-∆-9 in your cannabis before you decarboxylate then you must add that in as well.
Next, you divide the amount of THC-∆-9 in your recipe by the number of servings it makes to get the per-serving dose. For example, suppose you make cannabutter with a cup of butter and a cup of average-quality ground cannabis (about 7 grams). Multiply 7 by 89.7 (7 x 89.7), and you have 627.9 milligrams of THC-∆-9 in the butter. If you used half the cup of butter to make 24 cookies, the batch would contain 313.95 milligrams of THC-∆-9. Divide that by 24 (the number of servings), and you know each serving contains approximately 13 milligrams of THC-∆-9.
There’s no single way to make impeccable edibles – only trial and error can determine the right potency for each person. However, one of the most important things to keep in mind is to always start low and go slow. With the above knowledge in mind, you are now ready to take your homemade edible game to the next level.
Topics: Cooking with Cannabis
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