It is recommended before baking cannabis edibles that patients read our THC dosing article and educate themselves by reading the other articles on our Cannabis Education section. Cooking cannabis can cause a very strong aroma so if you live in an apartment building, you should really have some kind of exhaust fan to your apartment so you don’t make the whole floor smell like a Cannabis Cup.
THC Dose in Cannabis Edibles
Baking your own edibles can be a good way to convert marijuana flower into a pastry that you can eat. It is risky, though because the amount of THC in the edible is almost impossible to determine accurately. There will be a lot of trial and error determining what is the best amount to eat for your treatment.
Let’s say you cook a quarter ounce of cannabis flower into a tray of brownies. The amount of grams in the quarter is 7 grams of marijuana (equal to 7000 milligrams). Let’s assume that the percentage of THCA in the flower is 25% and that the concentration is accurate, which (as mentioned in our Dosing article) is usually not the case. That means that there is 1.75 grams of THCA in the flower. Assuming a 100% conversion rate of THCA into THC during the baking process, you would have 1750 milligrams of THC in the brownie. This also assumes that no THCA or THC was lost during baking, when in actuality there is some lost on the trays and the pots and pans and in the left-over flower that is removed from the food (see below).
Not all of the THCA gets decarboxylated into THC either. In an ideal setting, the tray of brownies would contain 1750 milligrams of THC and if it is cut into twenty pieces there would be 87.5mg of THCA per brownie. In real conditions the amount of THC will probably be around half of that or less but it is impossible to know without sending a sample to a lab for testing.
Still, that is a significant amount of THC per piece of brownie and it is easy to see how a new patient that has not used a lot of cannabis could overdose from eating one piece with around 40mg or more of THC in it. That is why it is best for new patients to take a small bite and wait a couple hours or even until the next day before trying some more and adjusting the amount they eat. Over several days they can determine how much is enough to treat their medical condition without overdosing and taking too much.
Cooking Marijuana Butter & Oil
The easiest way to cook marijuana flower into food is to create a butter or oil that is infused with cannabis. During the cooking process, the THCA is converted into THC which can be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and has physiological activity. The butter or oil is then used as an ingredient to bake pastries or cook food.
For butter, up to one ounce of marijuana flower can be used per pound of butter (a quarter ounce of marijuana per stick of butter). It is recommended to grind the flower coarsely with a hand grinder so that it can be strained out of the butter later. The flower has a strong flavor in the final product so its good to strain as much of it out as possible to improve the taste of the food. If you use an electric grinder (like a coffee bean grinder) it will cause the cannabis to be too fine and make the food taste like weed.
If you are using cooking oil instead of butter, use a 1 to 1 ratio of ground flower and oil. For each cup of oil, use one cup of ground marijuana flower.
Mix the ground up flower with melted butter (or oil) on the stove. Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours so there is plenty of time to decarboxylate THCA into THC and allow the THC to dissolve into the butter. Afterwards, you can strain out the flower and pour the butter into ice cube trays for later use. Butter is usually used to bake brownies or cookies. Oil can be stored in a container in the fridge. Food prepared with cannabis oil is often said to be “infused” with marijuana. Be careful not to use too much so you don’t spoil your food or overdose.
Once you have your oil or butter ready, use it to bake and cook food. Below is a simple gluten-free brownie recipe that calls for cannabis oil.