A Guide to Homemade Edibles

What’s better than homemade cookies on a snow day? Infused ones of course. Edibles are a great alternative to smoking or vaping if you want to give your lungs a break and they also last longer, 6+ hours whereas inhalation-based consumption lasts anywhere from 1-4 hours. If you require a higher mg in edibles, it can be much more cost-effective to make your own, as well as giving you control and peace of mind if you have any dietary restrictions. Edibles affect the body differently than inhalation as they travel throughout your entire GI tract and the THC is absorbed through the liver rather than through the lungs directly into the bloodstream. This means that your tolerance may be vastly different in edible form due to numerous GI related things like metabolism, if you’ve had your gall bladder removed, how much you have eaten that day, etc. It also takes much longer to feel the effects, up to 2 hours sometimes, which has led many to the classic mistake of not feeling the effects, taking a second edible and ending up on the moon, so to speak. You can always take more but you can never take less so be patient, especially with edibles you haven’t tried before.  

 

PREPARATION:

 

FIRST: Choose an Infusion Host 

For these recipes, we’re using butter as our infusion host given its versatility in cooking and the abundance of fat molecules for the THC to bind to, but coconut, olive, vegetable, avocado, and canola oil are also all totally fine to use. You can put the infused butter on toast, a cracker, or incorporate it into recipes, you just don’t want it to get too hot when cooking to preserve the cannabinoids (no deep-frying).   

 

SECOND: Determine if the Product Needs Decarb 

First things first you need to determine if you need to decarb your cannabis- the process of turning THCa to THC which when consumed provides a psychoactive effect whereas THCa would not. Flower and concentrates generally all will need to be decarbed whereas RSO and distillate usually do not. An easy way to check is just look at the test results and see if the THC or THCa is in the majority – both will be listed on the label on most products, if THCa is the highest, it needs to be decarbed. 

THIRD: Calculate Dosage 

Calculating dosage requires a little math: start by checking the test results on the back of the packaging. Most concentrates are sold in 1g quantities so if it says 70% THC or THCa, that means that there will be roughly 700mg of decarbed THC. If you add that to 2 sticks of butter (16tbs), your butter will have around 43mg THC per tablespoon. For whole flower, if we are using 7 grams, or 7000mg, of flower that tests at 20% THCa,  we will roughly have 1400mg of THC that we infused into 2 sticks of butter, about 87mg THC per tablespoon.  

However, this is in a hypothetical, ideal world where testing is exactly accurate for every product in the batch and that all the cannabinoids stayed intact during the cooking process. With making homemade edibles, it is recommended to try a very small piece, see how it affects you and then move forward with that knowledge. It’s also important to look at the total servings of your recipe, if you want 10mg edibles and your butter is 87mg THC/ tbs and the recipe calls for 8 tbs of butter, you’re going to need to substitute some regular butter. Multiply the servings (16 for example) by the desired mg you want (10) = 160mg, the total amount of THC we’re going to add to the recipe. Now take the total mg (160) and divide it by the mg/tbs in your butter (87mg) to get the amount of infused butter to add (1.8 tbs). For ease, you could round down and add 1¾ tablespoon infused butter and 6¼ tablespoons regular butter.   

 

THE BASICS OF COOKING: 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If You’re Using Pre-Activated Concentrates: 

Let’s start with the easiest method: decarbed concentrates. If you don’t feel like dealing with the decarb process, using a distillate or RSO syringe is a super easy way to make edibles at home. Distillate is odorless and flavorless making it an appealing option for those whose living situation does not allow for a cannabis aroma, as making your own edibles can really stink up the place (in a good way). However, distillate doesn’t preserve the full spectrum of cannabinoids like RSO does.  RSO can be kind of annoying to work with on its own as it’s very sticky so mixing with butter or oil can make dealing with it much easier. Melt 2 sticks butter (1 cup) over low heat, take off heat, and mix in contents of 1g syringe, let cool 20 minutes before putting in fridge to finish cooling.

If You’re Using Whole Flower: 

Next up is whole flower. When choosing flower to cook with, I’d recommend small buds or untrimmed flower– there’s no real need to pay for big, perfectly manicured buds but you still want trichomes present. You’ll need about 7-10g of flower: loosely break it up and evenly disperse on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat in a oven set to 240 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, gently mixing the cannabis every 10-15 minutes to ensure an even decarb. It’s important to go low and slow with the decarbing process to preserve cannabinoids and terpenes as well as avoid scorching the cannabis. Remove from the oven and let cool. On low heat, melt 2 sticks of butter in a saucepan and a half of a cup of water to prevent the butter from browning. When the butter is fully melted, add in the cooled, decarbed cannabis. Simmer on low for 2-3 hours, if you have a candy thermometer you can use it to monitor the temperature, we don’t want the butter getting over 200 degrees. If not keep an eye on it, making sure the butter doesn’t come to a boil, gently stirring occasionally. Put a mesh strainer or cheesecloth over a jar and pour the mixture through, discarding the plant material. Let cool before using or storing in the refrigerator. 

 

If You’re Using Loose Concentrates: 

The final medium we’re going to go through is concentrates like wax, kief, thca isolate. I had some live batter that I forgot was in the back of my fridge and wanted to try this method for the first time. These need to be decarbed as well – preheat your oven to 200 degrees F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the concentrate (out of the jar) on to it, I ended up using the glass jars (sans plastic lid of course), as paper weights because my parchment paper kept rolling into itself.

Bake 15-25 min, watching closely and stirring every 5 minutes for dry concentrates, for wet concentrates remove when it starts to bubble, watch carefully as some melt down faster than others; for dry concentrates remove after 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before use- the wet concentrates can sometimes be difficult to get off the parchment paper but popping it in the fridge after it’s cooled can help with removing it.

You can either add the decarbed concentrate directly to dishes or you can infuse butter/oil by melting butter over low heat and adding the decarbed concentrate, mixing until the concentrate is fully incorporated into the butter, remove from heat and cool before using. The concentrates will melt into the butter so you don’t need to strain it, and also don’t need to let it steep for hours like whole flower as we’re not removing the plant matter.  


Tips & Tricks:  

– Stir the butter or oil thoroughly to ensure the cannabis is equally distributed and you have equally dosed edibles, especially with sticky substances like RSO 

– You don’t need to stress about finding sativa/indica specific strains when purchasing flower to make into edibles as there’s really no research to support that strain specific edibles have any different effects unless specific cannabinoids (CBN, THCV, etc.) are added, as those do have tangible effects 

– If you’re a flower smoker, get a grinder with a good kief collector and let it build up. When you’ve got a gram or two of kief, decarb and infuse your own butter. It’s almost like it’s free! 

– Label your canna butter jar with the date and mg per tablespoon, it can be easy to forget its potency and you also don’t want anyone unknowingly eating the goods  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

Lasalle, Janelle, and Pat Goggins. “How to Make Edibles with Concentrates and Dabs.” Leafly, 15 Aug. 2023,

www.leafly.com/learn/consume/edibles/how-to-make-edibles-cannabis-concentrates.  

Ward, Andrew. “Cooking with Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Marijuana Edibles.” NuggMD, 25 Aug. 2023,

www.nuggmd.com/blog/cooking-with-cannabis-a-beginners-guide-to-making-marijuana-edibles.