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.
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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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:
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.