By Luke Sumpter Reviewed by: Erin Willis

Today, there's no shortage of recipes out there to infuse any dish, whether sweet or savoury, with the magic of cannabinoids—whether for recreational or medicinal purposes. However, making edibles is as much an art form as growing cannabis is, and there are several things you can do to take your edible game to the next level. One of them is using lecithin to add better structure and more potency to your cannabis edibles.

Keep reading to learn all there is to know about lecithin and what it can do for your edible game.

Understanding Lecithin and What It Is

Lecithin is an umbrella term for a host of emulsifying fats. It is a common ingredient in processed foods and, as you'll learn further down in this article, may also have certain health benefits. Below we'll run you through the basics of what lecithin is, where it comes from, and how it's used.

Sources of Lecithin

Lecithin refers to natural fats found in:

  • Egg yolks: considered the best natural source of lecithin
  • Soybeans: a popular source of vegan lecithin
  • Sunflower seeds and oil
  • Avocados
  • Whole grains
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Meats
  • Peanuts and other nuts
  • Milk
lecithin cources

Common Uses of Lecithin

Lecithin is a group of phospholipids and an emulsifier—in other words, a type of fat that is commonly used as a natural food additive to help ingredients bind together (especially those with a tendency to separate). In the processed food industry, for example, lecithin is a staple ingredient used to help bind ingredients like liquids (such as water) and oils, which normally repel each other.

Besides helping to bind ingredients in food, lecithin also plays a vital role in the body. It makes up cell membranes (i.e. the protective barrier that contains a cell's structures and information), and there's also research to suggest that lecithin may be beneficial for the treatment of liver[1] and gallbladder[2] disease. Moreover, studies have also explored the use of lecithin in the treatment of dementia and cognitive impairment[3].

Lecithin in The World of Weed Edibles

So, lecithin is clearly an important ingredient in the making of processed and pre-cooked foods. But what about cannabis edibles? Could lecithin help take your homemade edible game to a new level? Thanks to its efficacy as an emulsifier, it seems using lecithin in your cannabis edibles can not only improve their texture but also impact their potency.

The Role of Lecithin in Making Weed Edibles

As we mentioned earlier, one of the most common uses of lecithin in processed foods is as an emulsifier. When making cannabis edibles, lecithin and lecithin-rich ingredients like those mentioned above can have exactly the same effect, helping to bind together the ingredients in your edible recipe (much like eggs are sometimes used to thicken bastes and sauces or improve the texture of baked goods). Moreover, lecithin is particularly good at blending oils and water/other liquids that usually want to separate from one another, making it very effective at ensuring your cannabis oil or butter spreads evenly through your entire recipe.

How Does Lecithin Impact The Strength of Cannabis Edibles?

Besides helping to bind the ingredients in your edibles, lecithin may also improve their potency. More precisely, research shows that lecithin and other dietary fats in edibles increase the amount of cannabinoids our bodies are exposed to[4] when we consume them. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD (among others) are fat-soluble, meaning they need to be extracted into some kind of fat in order to be bioavailable (or, available to your body). If you've ever tried eating dry weed or brewing it into tea, you likely found that out the hard way. Using lecithin in your cannabis edible recipes, therefore, may increase the amount of cannabinoids available to your system when you ingest your homemade cookies, brownies, space cakes, etc.

leithin in endibles

The Benefits of Using Lecithin in Cannabis Edibles

Thanks to its effectiveness as an emulsifier, using lecithin in your cannabis edibles has many benefits. These include:

  • Improving Bioavailability of Cannabinoids and Other Fat-Soluble Compounds

Using lecithin in your edibles recipes can help improve the bioavailability of cannabinoids and other fat-soluble nutrients[5], such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. If you're interested in getting as much potential out of the cannabis you put into your edibles, using lecithin is a great way to do just that.

  • Increasing Potency

Lecithin causes your system to be exposed to more of the cannabinoids in your edibles, resulting in a stronger buzz. Whether you're a recreational cannabis user or a medical patient, using lecithin can increase the potency of the effects you feel when consuming edibles. This is obviously very attractive for recreational users looking for a stronger high, but it may also appeal to medical patients wanting to ensure they get maximum relief from their symptoms/ailments when medicating with an edible.

  • Improving Digestion

Lecithin hasn't earned its place as a staple ingredient in foods for nothing. Apart from being an excellent emulsifier, research also shows that lecithin can greatly benefit digestion[6]. On the one hand, emulsified fats are easier to digest and absorb by the body. However, as a key ingredient in the bile produced by the gallbladder, lecithin also plays a key role in breaking down fats in the stomach and small intestine. Moreover, lecithin can also help regulate the speed at which food moves through the digestive system, further helping aid the overall digestive process. Some sources also claim that lecithin may improve the mucous lining your intestines[7], making digestion easier (particularly for people with colitis, IBD, or other digestive issues).

  • Improving Edible Structure

Last but definitely not least, lecithin can have a big impact on the texture and quality of your edibles, making them more enjoyable. Emulsifiers like lecithin or lecithin-rich ingredients will help the ingredients in your edible recipe bind together and combine, making for a uniform, delectable final product. And that's important because, after all, edibles shouldn't just be potent, they should taste great too.

weed dough

How To Use Lecithin To Make Edible Recipes

So, you know what lecithin is, where it comes from, and what it can do for your cannabis edibles. Now, here's how to use it in your cannabis recipes and elevate them to the next level:

  • To use lecithin as a dough conditioner for recipes such as space cakes and brownies, take 1 tsp of lecithin to every cup of flour used in your recipe, dissolve it into the liquid ingredients, and prepare your dough and baked goods as normal. You should notice a notable improvement in the texture and consistency of the final product.
  • To use vegan lecithin as an alternative to egg yolks in your baking, combine 1 1/2 tbsp of vegan lecithin granules with 2 tsp of water for every egg yolk called for in your recipe. Eggs are a key ingredient in baking because they are the best natural source of lecithin and have an excellent binding effect. If you're vegan, you'll want to replace the eggs in a non-vegan recipe with the mixture described here to ensure your baked goods retain their structure and palatability.

Lecithin: Safety and Side Effects

Lecithin is a staple ingredient in all kinds of processed foods. It is considered safe for human consumption even as a supplement at doses of up to 30g daily. However, like other ingredients, lecithin may cause unpleasant side effects in some people or at high doses, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Fullness

Does Lecithin Enhance The Experience of Taking Cannabis Edibles

Lecithin is an umbrella term that refers to a group of emulsifying fats. A common ingredient in processed foods, lecithin is also present in a wide variety of natural foods, including eggs, soybeans, sunflower seeds/oil, avocados, meat, and more. Thanks to its effectiveness as an emulsifier, lecithin can serve as a great additive to cannabis edibles (especially baked goods such as brownies, cookies, and space cakes), helping to improve their structure, texture, and potency. Moreover, lecithin can also help aid digestion and improve the bioavailability of other nutrients in food, particularly fat-soluble vitamins. If you're looking for a simple way to take your cannabis edibles to the next level, a sprinkle of lecithin might be all you need.

External Resources:
  1. Dietary lecithin protects against cholestatic liver disease in cholic acid
  2. Nutritional approaches to prevention and treatment of gallstones - PubMed
  3. Lecithin for dementia and cognitive impairment - PubMed
  4. Dietary fats and pharmaceutical lipid excipients increase systemic exposure to orally administered cannabis and cannabis-based medicines - PubMed
  5. Fat-Soluble Vitamins - Diet and Health - NCBI Bookshelf
  6. LinkedIn Login, Sign in | LinkedIn
  7. Lecithin as a Therapeutic Agent in Ulcerative Colitis | Digestive Diseases | Karger Publishers
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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