Many cannabis users buy cannabis candies. Or people will make brownies at home. None of this is necessary though. Any food that we eat that is cooked or processed at home can be a cannabis edible. It’s very easy and simple to do. All one needs is the cannabis itself, a microwave, and whatever cooking oil one prefers. And of course the food itself. There are recipes on how to make edibles online. Most overly complicate a very simple process. Simply make the oil containing THC, and you’re in business to make whatever cannabis edible one desires.
THC in the raw cannabis flower is not active. Therefore using the raw bud will do no good. Heating at high enough levels activates the THC in the bud. Oil easily absorbs the THC. To make THC oil, one can simply put a gram of cannabis in a small microwave-safe container. Pour some oil in the container. Put the container in the microwave for a few minutes and be careful one does not burn the bud. One can let the oil sit for awhile. It can be directly sprinkled on top of the food you’re eating, or it can be put in food that is being cooked however you want it. It can also be put in a blender with whatever you use to make a smoothie.
Experiment with the amount you need in food to get the effects you desire. Be aware that it can take an hour to start feeling the effects of eating cannabis edibles, so don’t get greedy when you don’t immediately feel high.
For those that don’t like to smoke or cannot for medical reasons, cannabis edibles are a safe way of consuming cannabis. And for those that like to use the kitchen, making one’s own edibles is a very fun way to get high. The research for this article was made possible by Candid Chronicle.
TORONTO — Pat Newton has been experimenting with cannabis-infused cooking for more than 15 years.
The Toronto-based chef and founder of cannabis company Munchy Brothers has made avocado toast, mojito cocktails, cricket brownies, and an entire Thanksgiving turkey — all with added buzz. When he feels like a high in the morning, his go-to ‘wake-and-bake’ staple is scrambled eggs made with weed-infused butter, sometimes called “cannabutter.”
Since cannabinoids (the compounds of a cannabis plant) are fat-soluble, butter has long been one of the best ways to integrate cannabis onto your plate.
Cannabis-infused eating and drinking will soon become more accessible than ever as edible products start to hit the shelves across the country after October’s legalization. But many of the proposed products won’t be available for months yet. Newton’s Munchy Brothers creations — which include infused chocolate chips, salt, sugar and simple syrup for cocktails — likely won’t be available for purchase until late 2020.
Here’s what you need to know to add some kush to your kitchen on your own.
DRY FLOWER OR BOTTLED OIL
Using bottled tinctures with a measured dropper takes some of the math out of the equation, but may not be as effective as using dried cannabis flower. The oil will have a greater possibility of evaporating if you add heat to it, which will diminish the potency of the cannabis.
So use bottled cannabis oils for almost anything that doesn’t use much heat, like a salad dressing, suggests Newton, or on top of pizza, in pesto sauce, and in smoothies.
If you’re using dried flower, you need to decarboxylate, or “decarb” the cannabis (this has nothing to do with fewer carbohydrates). This is the process by which you activate the psychoactive qualities, turning the tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA, into THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the “high” sensation. Decarboxylating happens when you light a joint, or when you heat dried cannabis flowers in the oven.
‘DECARB’ LOW AND SLOW
Heat an oven to 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay a crumpled piece of parchment paper on a pan. The crinkles of the paper will prevent the cannabis from close contact with the hot pan, which could burn the flower, according to Leafly, a cannabis lifestyle site. Break up the flower (or keep it whole, suggests Newton) and spread it out on the parchment paper. Place the pan in the oven and after about 45 minutes, remove and let it cool.
You can store it in a jar for later, or use it in your next dish. Warning: Your kitchen may smell like weed.
OTHER WAYS TO ‘DECARB’
Cannabis flower can be decarboxylated in many different ways, including some that will minimize the smell.
“You could literally break up some bud, heat up olive oil in a pan and that would convert it,” said Newton. But that’s the “express” route, he added, since the cannabis plant is quite delicate.
The oven is the more advanced method. You can decarb on a pan (as above) or you can decarb in a mason jar, which, according to Leafly, will help prevent the pungent aromas. It will also preserve the terpenes, the compounds that give cannabis its flavour profiles.
An even more advanced technique is the sous-vide method, which requires an immersion circulator to slowly heat an airtight bag of cannabis in a water bath. If you’re willing to shell out some cash, you can invest in a “decarbox,” a “decarboxylator” contraption that looks like a smoothie blender or small box.
INFUSE BUTTER AND OIL
The most common cooking ingredients to infuse with cannabis are butter and oil. While you can decarboxylate your cannabis within the butter or oil, it will extend the cooking time by several hours. Instead, take “the path of least resistance,” said Newton, and decarb separately before cooking.
For butter recipes, Newton recommends you melt 2 pounds of butter in a pot, stir in 4 grams of decarboxylated cannabis flower and keep it simmering around 180 F for 90 minutes. Use a cooking thermometer to ensure it stays under 250 F. Use a cheese cloth to strain the butter, removing the cannabis flowers. Pour the clarified, cannabis-infused butter into the desired mould (like an ice tray) and store in the refrigerator overnight.
For oil recipes, use a double-boiler method and mix 500 ml of your desired cooking oil and 10 grams of decarboxylated cannabis into an aluminum bowl placed over a pot filled with a few inches of water. Heat so the oil simmers at 160 F for 60 minutes. Use a cooking thermometer to ensure it is under 200 F. Strain the oil through a cheese cloth and pour into desired moulds (like an ice tray) and store in the refrigerator overnight.
A NOTE ON DOSING
Though you may fancy yourself an at-home chemist, cooking with cannabis may require some modesty when it comes to the science of it all.
“Exact dosing is not possible unless you have a lab analyze the infused ingredients,” said Newton.
Always be aware of what the THC percentage is of the cannabis purchased. Here’s a general guide for dosing:
1 g of cannabis is 1,000 mg of weight.
If the cannabis strain you’ve chosen has 15 per cent THC, that is 150 mg of THC in the 1,000 mg of cannabis.
That means 1 g of cannabis has 150 mg of THC to be extracted and infused into the food. So if you make a dozen cookies with butter infused with 1 g of this cannabis, each cookie will have approximately 12.5 mg of THC. But it’s best to account for a 25 per cent loss.
“It’s definitely a sweet science and getting that right is a little trickier than one would imagine,” said Newton.
It’s best to play it safe if you’ve never done it before, he added.
“It’s important to just know that it’s better to dose low than to dose high.”
Something good is cooking in B.C. and the rest of the world wants a look at the menu.
Vancouver has quietly transformed itself into a hotbed of cannabis culinary delights since Canada legalized the drug over a year ago. The second wave of legalization, which will soon bring extracts and edibles to store shelves, will only expand the offerings of local chefs, such as marijuana maestro Travis Peterson.
“I see, two years from now, other countries will start to follow Canada’s lead,” Peterson told CBC. “They’ll look at Canadians as the experts in this.”
Peterson is currently showcasing his cannabis chops to a pair of chefs who made the trip to B.C. to learn from one of the masters. “It’s such a new thing to approach,” said Silvia Barban, who hails from Italy but runs a restaurant in Brooklyn. It’s hard for her to get hands-on with the drug in New York because it is still not permitted for recreational use.
“I’m just curious about the quantities. Cannabis is a whole new bag, literally.”
The province’s culinary schools need to start putting marijuana on the menu if B.C. is to stay ahead of the curve in this emerging space, Peterson said, explaining the importance of getting the dosage right. “I think that’s the really important thing, to be able to do the math,” he said.
“What’s in your butter? What’s in your oils?”
Barban certainly knew the answer to that question as she whipped up a modern twist on a meal she has been making her whole life. “I’m going to put a little weed in my grandmother’s dish,” she said, laughing. “It’s my grandmother’s dish on steroids.”
Where do we order?
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There’s a lot to love about Dee Russell, who’s better known as Edible Dee or The Happy Chef.
Beyond her great pseudonym, The Happy Chef, and her entertaining appearances on Netflix’s Cooking on High, Dee has a fun social media persona, a cannabis cooking book launched in partnership with Cypress Hill’s B-Real, and a ton of projects in the works.
This is her story.
Like many others in the cannabis industry today, Dee got into weed at a relatively young age. And, just like most of us, she recommends kids wait untill the legal age at their respective jurisdictions to give the herb a shot.
Dee first tried cannabis in her home state of Virginia, with her brother and sister in an abandoned school bus, as their portable stereo system was blasting Outkast’s SpottieOttieDopaliscious.
“I will say that my enjoyment and love for the plant began then,” she discloses.
But it took a tragedy to turn Dee from a cannabis consumer to a cannabis advocate: the loss of her sister, Amber. Amber lost her life due to a prescription drug overdose in February 26 of 2009.
“My sister suffered from Lupus, a chronic organ failure disease,” Dee says. “I cannot even count the times she was rushed to the hospital due to her kidneys or liver failing; the trips to the emergency room happened so often that our family nicknamed the hospitals mode of transportation the AmberLance.”
And prescription medicines rarely helped, Dee continues. “Steroids caused her body to bloat, more pain; her body was changing and not just physically, but in its chemistry. She eventually became depressed.”
Recently divorced, raising a kid on her own, and heartbroken, Amber turned to a relationship Dee describes as toxic. “The man she was seeing got her into drugs, heroin, and that became the worst pain on her, her body, and our family,” she voices. “When the toxicity of that relationship ended, her new habit did not.”
Rehab and therapy helped Amber overcome her addiction to heroin. But the replacement her doctors offered, methadone, proved even more dangerous.
“We, as a family, were able to enjoy a few great months together before she suffered a methadone overdose, a result of a fatal mixture with the other prescription drugs she was taking,” Dee remembers. “I will never forget the day I received the call from my brother that her body was found. At that time, I was working with the cannabis plant, more as a passion or hobby, as in Virginia, I was fracturing a law or ten back then.”
‘If It’s In A Box, It Kicks Rocks’
This experience drove Dee to dive much deeper into alternative medicines. What she learned about traditional pharma drugs made her want to stay away from them forever.
“I went to natural remedies, holistic – herbalist formulations, even changed up my eating habits to ‘if it’s in a box , it kicks rocks’ mindset,” Dee says.
She credits cannabis, specifically, for helping her kick alcohol and, ultimately, overcome her sister’s passing.
Seeing for a better suited home to her new attitude toward life, Dee went West. “Out west was where I could do what I loved to do in a more ‘legal’ fashion. I sold all my furniture, packed up my little convertible and headed cross-country.”
Let’s Get Cookin’
Dee had been experimenting with cooking using marijuana for a few years when she moved to California. With most of the information in books and online relating to very basic recipes like “cannabis butter” and “pot brownies” Dee started to conduct her own research – or as she likes to call it, R&Dee.
“I was so stoked when I made my first batch of balsamic vinaigrette,” she reminisces. “My salad dressings quickly became a favorite as I would use them on everything: salads, sandwiches, pasta… The memories I have with my sister cooking in my kitchen, listening to Curtis Mayfield’s Pusherman, as I threw the herb in are still my most favorite.”
Over the years, Dee’s passion for cannabis cuisine developed into a full-fledged career.
From cooking at home, Dee moved on to California’s cannabis collectives – focused on medical marijuana only. “At the time, there were no labs,” she says. “We, as edible chefs, would label our products as Regular, High, and Super Strength. We had our own formulations, and were doing it to satisfy our patients… But then, labs opened and we all had to get really good, really fast.”
Suddenly, products had to be predictable and reliable. Always clean, always safe, always sort of the same in terms of potency.
Ever since, Dee has been keeping track of all results.
As she experimented, she shared many of the findings in her blog, The Happy Chef (or T.H.C. for short), eventually getting them shared across other outlets like High Times.
“I ended up having the honor of working with a known advocate and hip-hop artist, B-Real of Cypress Hill, and published my first cannabis cookbook ‘The Happy Chef’ in 2014,” Dee continues. Her book was not only fun and informative, featuring B-Real on the cover; it also came with a code to download B-Real’s album, The Prescription, for free.
The book, a self-published edition, did mean Dee had to take a financial risk. But she did, and has never looked back.
“The measure of excitement as I held the first copy in my hand has yet to be matched,” she continues. ¨When I sent a copy to my parents back home, I thought the excitement would be shared – as my parents knew what I did. But the reaction I received was quite the opposite: my father called me saying, ‘you put your face on a weed cookbook?!?!?! Do you want your mother and I to come visit you in some prison?’
“And back then, his reaction was very justified… I have put my family through a lot of fear and stress over the years just doing what I loved to do, working with plants. And even though at the time it probably was not the wisest decision, it worked out, and here I was one of the first ever to put her face on a cannabis cookbook.”
The publication of her book helped Dee land a job as executive chef at a Nevada-based medical marijuana production kitchen. She eventually moved on to another job with Craig Ellens and his team.
“I felt like a lil kid in a candy shop – a pot candy shop,” she voices. “I was working side-by-side with scientists and doctors; being educated in using equipment that I had never seen; and learning things about the plant that cemented me even more of the fact that I was exactly were I was supposed to be.”
This experience was crucial to her understanding of formulations nowadays, Dee says.
She has since moved on to consulting for cannabis companies across the globe, from Germany to Canada, and from Colombia and Costa Rica to Puerto Rico.
“Along with my consultations, I work with companies in licensing my recipes and formulations and offer my expertise in their commercial kitchen build outs, equipment, and product development,” she says.
So, is cannabis cuisine a viable career?
“To answer in short, I would say strongly, yes, especially in today’s market. I have had a balance of both great experiences and very bad experiences in my rein in this industry, but that is to be expected with prohibition,” Dee says.
And Getting Hotter
Following the release of the cookbook, B-Real, his partner Kenji, and Dee remained close. “The entirety of the BRealTV and Cypress Hill crew became my family,” she says.
This, and newly forged relationships, helped Dee remain in the spotlight, scoring an invite to MERRY JANE’s Smoke In The Kitchen, and later, to Cooking On High, which would eventually land no Netflix in 2018.
“I couldn’t believe that lil Happy Chef, as I still call myself, was going to be on international television cooking with cannabis. This gave me hope that times were changing, as well as the more content I see come out I see as a positive in the progress that rights will be wronged, souls will be released from imprisonment from a plant, and people could be allowed another hope and option in healing – it was a beautiful time to be alive. I am forever blessed to have the Cypress family and Dr. Dina in my life, and I owe my television debut to that beautiful strong woman,” Dee reveals.
When asked about cannabis cuisine having become “a thing,” Dee added to her point above: “From cannabis once being in the shadows, to now, the spotlight. It is so beautiful to see so many creative in the space from all over our world and how fast it is growing.”
All Over The Web
Dee is true to her word. One of her social media platforms, @HowToHappyChef, is mostly used to shout-out and showcase All Happy Chefs, as she calls them.
The reaction to this platform inspired her to create a How To Happy Chef class series, presented as a video education platform on Patreon.
Launching this month, is a new project: How To Happy Chef live classes. The classes will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Acres Dispensary, twice a month.
“Every attendee will receive a copy of my The Happy Chef cannabis cookbook, as well as a patient swag pack. I will also be having some of my celebrity friends, industry leaders, advocates and patients dropping in the classes,” she says. “This production is unlike any other on the market and I cannot wait to get feedback from all patients and those that attend.”
They class will also be held at select locations of Dr. Greenthumb dispensaries in California.
Finally, Dee shares some advice for people looking to follow her footsteps: “Protect yourself and your IP. Read contracts and the fine print, carefully. Then read them again. Then have your lawyer read it as many times as you do.”