CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has been well-studied for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective effects. The cannabinoid is also taken by recreational users to achieve feelings of serenity and relaxation, without getting high in the process. The traditional method of consuming CBD is via smoked or vaped CBD-rich flowers, extracts, or oils. However, the cannabinoid can also be infused into edibles for a discreet and selective dose.

COOKING WITH CBD

CBD is lipid-soluble and is therefore extremely easy to add into a massive variety of recipes when infusing it with a fatty base ingredient, such as butter or coconut oil. The cannabinoid can easily be added to savoury dishes in the form of dressings, sauces, and marinades. It can also be infused into sweet dessert options like brownies, cakes, and even drinks such as coffee creations and cocktails.

However you choose to use CBD and whatever you choose to craft in the kitchen, there are certain guidelines you should follow to avoid making mistakes and potentially wasting some of this valuable cannabinoid. Below are some vital tips to remember when cooking with CBD.

DECARBOXYLATION IS KEY

There is a common misconception that raw cannabis is psychoactive. Sure, the herb is loaded with cannabinoids, but they are not present in their active form. Both THC and CBD exist in their acidic forms within raw cannabis as THCA and CBDA. To convert both of these molecules into THC and CBD, a process called decarboxylation needs to take place. This involves heating cannabis to a certain temperature in order to remove a carboxyl group from the molecule. Therefore, sprinkling raw cannabis onto a salad or blending it into a beverage will only provide the user with CBDA, but it's CBD we are after in this context.

If you’re a cannabis smoker, then you are decarboxylating weed all the time without realising it. Smoking a joint works on the same premise; it uses very high temperatures to instantly combust and decarboxylate the cannabinoids in raw cannabis to induce a high. The temperatures of certain hot dishes may be enough to decarboxylate raw flowers if you choose to use them, but it’s best to fully decarboxylate your herb beforehand just to be on the safe side.

To achieve this, simply grind up your raw flower and place it on a baking tray or a sheet of baking paper. Place your prepared herb in the oven at 110–120° and bake for 1 hour.

Cooking CBD at Home

GRIND YOUR BUD TO THE CORRECT CONSISTENCY

It might seem tempting to grind your cannabis flowers to a granular consistency in order to achieve maximum surface area when cooking. Although this does make sense to some degree, it can also cause the taste of weed to dominate the dish and will turn butters, sauces, and dressings green. Grinding your herb up into small pieces instead of a powder will allow for subtle tastes, colours, and textures—important details for those cannabis chefs who want to optimise their dishes.

How to Cook CBD at Home

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Making cannabis oils and butters takes some patience as the ingredients need to infuse at relatively low temperatures for several hours. You will want to lightly simmer your fatty CBD infusion at a temperature between 160–200°C. You can use a kitchen thermometer to help you here. Your infusion will need to remain at this temperature for approximately 3 hours.

Cooking CBD at Home

ADDING WATER WILL IMPROVE YOUR OILS AND BUTTERS

Adding equal amounts of water to oil or butter when making infusions is recommended to boost the quality and aesthetic of the end product. The water will boil off during the heating process, leaving a result that is less green and looks more washed and smooth. Moreover, water will help prevent the infusion from burning and the cannabinoids from degrading in the process.

CBD Cooking Home

FILTER WITH CARE

After your raw plant material has been infused into a base of oil or butter, it will need to be strained using a filter, such as cheesecloth. This process requires patience as the infused solution slowly but surely drips through into the container below. Try to resist the temptation of squeezing the cheesecloth to speed up the process. Although your patience may be wearing thin, you will most likely push plant material into the solution.

Cooking CBD at Home

OILS AND CONCENTRATES CAN MAKE THINGS EASIER

If you want to avoid the perceived hassle of decarboxylating and grinding up raw flowers, then you can always opt for readymade oils and concentrates. Many CBD oils exist that give the customer exact dosage measurements, which also makes it far easier to determine the exact amount of CBD you are consuming with each bite. Simply read the information on the label of the bottle and add drops according to your preferences.

CBD isolate is an even easier and more precise option. CBD crystals can easily be added to almost any meal or drink imaginable. They can also be sprinkled artistically over cakes and brownies as a crunchy dusting, or poured into coffee creations much like sugar.

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