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An Expert Tells Us How To Start Making Edibles At Home This Weekend

There’s nothing quite like riding out the weekend sufficiently stoned off a weed brownie. Even if you’re a heavy smoker, the experience of being high off an edible can take you to near psychedelic places. Probably the closest any of us are going to get to any kind of journey this Memorial Day, right? Bummed about Burning Man going virtual this year? With a good edible, you’ll feel like you’ve dropped right into Black Rock City.

Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic. You’d need something a little stronger for that.

Nevertheless, edibles are rapidly increasing in popularity and are readily available in dispensaries (in weed legal states). But considering that everyone is suddenly a baker now, we thought it might be time to learn how to make edibles at home. To get you started, we reached out to Weedmaps‘ resident edible expert, Lesley Nickus, for info on the basics of entering the edible game. She gave us advice for how to calculate your dose so you don’t end up couch-locked, the easiest way to make edibles even if you have no baking skills, and how to make cannabutter/oil. As a bonus, Lesley provided us with edible brownie and lemon bar recipes so that you have no excuses not to try it this weekend.

Let’s dive in!

What’s an easy at home edible recipe to start with?

If you’ve never made edibles at home before, the first thing you want to master is how to make cannabutter. If you’re a vegetarian, you can also infuse cannabis into coconut oil — the one thing to remember when you’re making edibles is that the cannabinoids and terpenes bind to fat, so you want to use that fat as the carrier for the cannabinoids and terpenes that are in the cannabis plant and it’ll help you to take your brownies from a plain brownie to a brownie that could possibly take you places or simply relax your body.

You can use cannabutter or oil in any recipe that calls for butter or oil. So if you’re a novice baker and can’t find flour, you can use boxed brownies from the grocery store and just replace that quarter cup of oil or whatever the recipe calls for, as a one-to-one trade for cannabis-infused oil.

If you’ve never baked before, go to the grocery store, get that brownie mix and substitute it! If you enjoy baking, then you want to level it up. Find your grandma’s brownie recipe, get all those ingredients, and once again substitute the oil.

How can we infuse cannabis into other cooking, aside from baking?

There are a couple of other ways you can use cannabis in cooking preparations, and not all of them are to get you high. Some of the things I’ve seen are pulverizing the cannabis flowers into flour, and getting those aromatic terpenes. Weed has a very specific smell… you might have this beautiful aromatic bouquet, and you can infuse those aromas into the food by grinding the raw flower and using it as an enhancer.

Raw flower doesn’t make you high, It doesn’t have active THC in it, so it’s not going to give you an active head change, but if you really love the smell or flavor of cannabis you can use the raw flower in cooking preparations or as a garnish. You can press whole leaves into different types of flatbreads. Anything you want, if you’re creative.

What are good guidelines to follow when it comes to dosing?

Dosing control is extremely important and also pretty challenging because the actual cannabinoid concentration depends on the flower that you select. You want to pay really close attention to the lab analysis that comes with your purchase to figure out what the percentage of THC to CBD in the flower that you’ve chosen is prior to making your cannabutter or canna-oil.

One gram of cannabis flower is equal to 1,000 milligrams. If the cannabis flower you’re using tests at 15% THC, then using 1 gram will produce 150 milligrams of THC. With 3.5 grams of flower, it will make 525 milligrams of THC. To reduce the margin for error, Jeff the 420 Chef has a convenient calculator which helps determine dosage. [We’ve linked to it.]

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What should a “good” edible taste like?

It should not taste like weed. A good edible will taste like what it should taste like if there was no cannabis in it. If you think about the old school way people used to make weed brownies, you could taste it, you’d know it was a weed brownie, it had a very distinct flavor of cannabis. Now that people are starting to experiment with things and are understanding terpene profiles, They are understanding flavor combinations.

With the best edibles, cookies taste like a cookie, a brownie tastes like a brownie. There is no lingering skunk flavor in the food. That makes it dangerous because you want to eat a lot of it if it tastes good. If you’re ever baking edibles for friends or family, you absolutely have to let them know there is weed in there!

How long does the high typically take, or is that dependent on a bunch of different factors

It is dependent on metabolism, body weight, and if you have recently eaten, if there is something in your stomach already. There are a lot of things, but it can take up to three hours to feel anything from an edible. I think that’s why people usually overdo it, they wait 30 minutes and think “oh I don’t really feel anything, let me take another piece of this brownie” and then suddenly four hours later they’re stuck to the couch with a bottle of water.

If you do take too much, drink a lot of water, possibly take a shower, you will have to just ride it out, it’ll be okay eventually.

Why do you think the popularity of edibles is increasing as of late?

I think there are a lot of people that are uncomfortable with the traditional methods of consumption. There are a lot of concerns about the quality of vape cartridges. Edibles are acceptable to a lot of different types of peoples. People who have ailments of the lungs are able to take edibles medicinally and it doesn’t cause the same types of negative effects as smoking or vaporizing would.

Edibles became really popular with Brownie Mary. She was in the cannabis buyer’s club, working with people who were terminally ill with HIV/AIDS, and I think the popularity has always been there but has always been a little bit underground because for the most part it has been people who are trying to use cannabis to combat nausea, and lack of appetite and things that terminally ill individuals tend to encounter. Now that it has entered the mainstream people are interested because I think in general people like food. Everyone loves food. But also its an interesting challenge for people who aren’t comfortable smoking not comfortable vaporizing. They can use this skill that they have an explore a whole other world of consumption.

Another factor I think is the stigma around consuming cannabis. For the most part, you can be presumably anywhere, eat an edible that looks like any other piece of food, and not have to worry about being judged for your consumption.

When shopping for edibles in a retail space, what are the dosing guidelines beginners should be aware of?

The main thing is to be very very careful about reading your labels. You want to know how much THC in particular is in the total package. Know how much a dose is. If you’ve never taken an edible before, take that recommended dose and cut it in half. We recommend starting with 2.5 milligrams, seeing how that makes you feel, waiting 24 hours, and then increasing the dose by another 2.5 milligrams. That’s a process called titration.

For somebody who is looking for the minimum viable dose, you’ll want to start very very slow and increase gradually.

What’s your favorite edible recipe to make at home and why?

Brownies, because they’re easy. I also really love chocolate. Another favorite for me is lemon bars. They’re my favorite summer/spring dessert. Here, let me send you the recipes. [She did, they’re below!]

How To Make Pot Brownies

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Sometimes we just want a delicious, decadent, chewy, ooey-gooey brownies, warm from the oven. If you happen to have a favorite brownie recipe that calls for oil or butter, swapping the fat out with cannabutter or distillate, can help you make space cakes instead. Our preferred method for these chocolatey cannabis edibles uses cannabutter.

Ingredients for Brownies

  • 1 cup cannabutter
  • 2 cups cane sugar, coconut sugar, sugar in the raw, or sugar substitute
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil or fat substitute
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions for Brownies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an aluminum 8” x 8” baking pan. A glass dish or dark metal pan will work as well, but you will need to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and knock off about 3-5 minutes for baking time.
  2. Melt the fat and add to the large mixing bowl. Now add the vanilla and sugar. Beat with a stand mixer or hand mixer.
  3. Add in the egg and beat again.
  4. Add in all of the brownie dry ingredients and blend until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour and scrape the batter into an aluminum pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. After baking, remove from the oven and completely cool before frosting.

Directions for Frosting

  1. Add the room temperature butter and cocoa powder to a small bowl and beat with a mixer.
  2. Add powdered sugar and milk in increments. Then, add the vanilla extract.
  3. Using a spatula to spoon out the frosting into the desired thickness. Cool in the fridge to get picture-perfect brownies or you can frost warm and eat immediately. Enjoy!

Celebrate spring or summer with cannabis-infused lemon bars

As the weather warms and the sun comes out, nothing satisfies a sweet tooth like a lemon bar. And bonus points if that lemon bar has weed in it. When it comes to infusing edibles, it’s important to remember that the compounds in cannabis bind to fat, so for this recipe, the infusion is in the crust – not the filling. Before you begin, read up on how to make cannabutter.

Ingredients for the crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Dash of salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cannabutter, softened at room temperature

Ingredients for the filling

  • 4 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup lemon juice
  • Dash of salt
  • Powdered sugar and lemon zest for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. For the crust, whisk together all-purpose flour, salt, and sugar until incorporated
  3. Using a fork, slowly incorporate the cannabutter until a crumbly mixture forms
  4. Press the crumbly mixture into an 8 x 8 pan
  5. Bake for 30 minutes
  6. While the crust is baking, whisk the eggs, yolk, and sugar together and fully incorporate
  7. Add the flour and salt, then the lemon juice
  8. Set the filling aside to rest and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees
  9. Pour the filling on top of the warm crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling has set
  10. Remove from the oven and let them cool before dusting with powdered sugar and lemon zest (optional)
  11. Cut into squares before serving

Can’t find flour during social distancing? Not to worry! You can use a boxed lemon bar mix, such as King Arthur Flour Essential Goodness Lemon Bar Mix — just be sure the box calls for butter and swap out the butter for cannabutter at a 1-1 ratio.

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