Unless you’re hiding under a rock this month you will be aware that February 14th is Valentine’s Day and this means that we will all be encouraged to get out there and do something romantic. For most couples this will involve some kind of dining experience and if you have a shared love of cannabinoids, this may include cooking with weed.
Cannabis and food have always shared a symbiotic relationship. Many users’ first experience of smoking weed has been accompanied by a sudden inner body command to eat, eat, eat and beware the contents of any fridge or grocery cupboard that gets in the way! Back in the day, the combination of cannabis and food was often a recipe for disaster as many a cannabis user fell victim to the strength of THC infused Brownies (especially when they tasted so good that one wasn’t enough).
However, cooking with weed has become more popular in recent times especially since that nation of the world with a legendary love for food – the USA – has followed the path to legalization. The rising popularity of CBD has also led to more restaurants and eateries integrating this noon-psychoactive cannabinoid into their dishes, although this is usually in the form of extract rather than cooking with weed itself.
Cooking with Weed: from Buds to Butter
There are many guides out there showing the steps needed to take to turn your weed into an ingredient you can cook with. One of the biggest mistakes new cannabis chefs make is to just break up the bud and sprinkle into the dish they are cooking.
In order to activate the psychoactive qualities of your weed you need to decarboxylate it (essentially heat it up in a process also known as decarbing). This requires placing your bud on a baking tray in the oven and heating it. Once this has been done your weed is ready as an ingredient to make cannabutter, which you can then use as an ingredient for cooking your culinary masterpiece.
There are many cannabutter recipes out there to suit your needs depending on whether you have 3 or 4 grams to play with or half an ounce of prime bud to play with. Do note that the freshness and potency of your weed will have an effect on the decarbing process and your cannabutter recipe.
Cooking with Weed – The Risks
The risk associated with getting culinary with cannabis is basically the same as it ever has been. In one word: Dosage. The advantage of smoking cannabis is that the hit is instantaneous and if you’re stoned after a few puffs you can just put that joint down and wait for it to pass. Ingesting cannabis is a whole different ball game and if you’re not careful can become like a nightmare fair ride that you want to get off of but can’t.
Every cannabis chef will give the same advice – it’s better to have a lower dose than a higher one. Toronto chef Pat Newton gives a rule of thumb guide in the math – 1 gram = 1.000mg of weight. So So let’s say your source material has a THC content of 15% (which is the lower end of the THC range for a Paradise Seeds strain such as Pandora), there will be 150mg per gram of weed. He uses the example of cookies cooked with cannabis butter. If it is infused with 1 gram of cannabis, then each cookie (of 12 in total) will have approximately 12.5 mg of THC. In other words, it’s a good idea to do some research before you cook!
Cannabis and Cooking an alternative view...
There are other ways to combine cannabis and weed of course. Brian Applegarth, head of the California Cannabis Association, told an audience at the EuroAmCBC business conference in Prague recently about the increasing popularity of a trend identified as effect pairing. He sees this as a trend which will drive cannabis tourism in parts of the world where legalization makes this a reality, such as California.
The wide availability of different cannabis strains allows canna-tourists to choose a variety that stimulates appetite and enhances taste buds and therefore is a perfect complement to a meal in a high end restaurant. He sees effect pairing with cannabis and food as a trend that is only going to get bigger as the cannabis tourism industry grows.
So this Valentines Day, why not do something different and combine your love for cannabis with your love for... the love of your life? Cooking with weed, or even just having cannabis feature as a side dish to your main entree in traditional sprinkle, wrap and burn form is certainly a far more healthier way to show your love this February than buying into all that Valentines Day marketing!