Cooking With Cannabis

Smoking anything is almost certainly not good for you. However, there is an alternative for people who don't want to smoke but still want to enjoy the effects of cannabis - you can eat and drink it.

a cupcake witha cherry on top

Cannabis Cooking

Cannabis Tincture

Download UKCIA flier "Getting Baked"

Of course, it should be pointed out that eating cannabis is just as illegal as smoking it and it carries a few risks of its own, but it does avoid all the hazards of smoking.

Cannabis can be added to a wide range of foods and drinks. Using it this way is called "ingestion" and perhaps explains how ex - US president Clinton "never inhaled", yeah, he probably munched hash cakes, after all politicians never lie...

THC, the main psychoactive chemical found in cannabis along with all the others, is soluble in non-polar liquids - bet you never knew that! What this means is that you can extract it into fats, oils and alcohol but not into water, in English, it doesn't dissolve in water but does dissolve into fats and oils ... or alcohol.

While eating it is just illegal as smoking it, it is a lot less obvious and so perhaps you're less likely to get busted for possession of a cake than a hash pipe.

Cooking with Cannabis

Rather than tell you how to make a cake (go look up the recipe!), this section is dedicated to the theory of how to use cannabis successfully in any recipe that requires butter, fats or oils.

So you can add cannabis to any food that contains animal or vegetable fats, such as cakes, biscuits, stews or drinks such as milkshakes, drinking chocolate or yoghourts.

Important points to remember when cooking with cannabis are that you need to ensure an even spread of cannabis throughout the chosen dish and that the meal or item produced should not be too heavy. If you have a full stomach then the cannabis constituents will take longer to enter the bloodstream.

The basic principal in cooking with cannabis is to first extract the THC into a fat, for example butter or an oil. You do this by grinding up the cannabis into a fine powder and then adding it to a small amount of hot oil and allowing it to dissolve, then you add the oil/cannabis mix to the food you're preparing.

If you live in or near an Asian community, you can do even better by using ghee (clarified butter) which is widely used in Asian cookery. Because ghee has been clarified, had all the impurities taken out, it tends to become very hot when liquefied, so be very careful when melting it.

When powdering the cannabis, the pieces should be as small as possible. Now we come to the difficult issue of how much to put in. One suggestion is to make several items each the same size, for example cup cakes or squares of chocolate. Think of each one as being a spliff and put that amount in the mix, times the number of items you're making. If you assume 20 items to 2 grms (a "teenth") - 0.1 grm in each - that might be as good a starting point as any but remember, it's impossible to give firm advice. If it's too weak, you can always eat another but be warned you might find that even this dose is a bit too much..

If you're making a few items with a couple of grams of cannabis, you only need a small amount of oil, say a large spoonful or so. Heat this in a ladle or serving spoon but be careful not to burn your fingers.

Once up to temperature turn down the heat so that the oil is not burning or cooling off.. Sprinkle in your crumbled cannabis and stir gently. It is up to you how long you heat the mixture, stirring occasionally, to ensure the THC fully dissolves, but around an hour is a good guide. When this is done, add it to your cooking - any recipe calling for marg or butter - biscuits and cakes are a favourite or if you're really lazy melt it into chocolate.

Getting the strength right is the difficult part, since this depends on the strength of the cannabis you're using as well as simply the amount, as we say thanks to prohibition there's no way of knowing how strong it is without "sucking and seeing". UKCIA sugests that you make a large number of cakes or biscuits - say make 20 from 2grms (1/16th ounce) for starters and see how you go from there. You can always eat more than one if you think you need it.


Tincture of Cannabis

Not so sure about this one as it involves mixing cannabis with strong alcohol and on the whole we wouldn't advise mixing the two drugs, but one way to make a drinkable form of cannabis is to infuse it in a a strong spirit. A reasonably sweet drink with a high percentage of alcohol is recommended, for example fruit schnapps.

It is also better to use grass rather than resin as it tends to be purer and easier to filter out the solid that remains after the extraction.

Either way grind up your chosen form of cannabis as finely as possible, before you add the alcohol soak it in warm water over night. This will remove any water soluble impurities but not any of that precious THC. After soaking drain of the excess water and place in an airtight jar and pour in the alcohol. Seal the container and place in a cupboard.

Most of the THC will have been absorbed within a week, but connoisseurs may leave it for a year or more! Whenever you feel like it drain of the liquor. If you use weed strain it through a sieve and then a coffee filter, for hash the coffee filter alone should be enough.

Pour liquor back in bottle and consume as desired. Using a fruit drink, rather than a clear spirit like vodka, will help hide the colour change and the sweetness will mask the bitter taste the cannabis extract can cause. A little practice will let you find your personal favourite flavours and strengths.

Things to be aware of

How it works:

The most important thing to know about ingesting cannabis is that it takes a while to have any effect. Nothing will happen for an hour or so, but when it does it can be far more potent than smoking the same amount. Many people say eating cannabis produces a more "trippy" effect, it can be very intense if you over do it and that may not be a nice experience, especially if you've never got stoned before and don't know what to expect.

Don't eat cannabis without a little bit of planning, including where you are and who you're with and what you intend to do for the next few hours

Dose:

When prohibition ends, cannabis foods will no doubt be available in known doses, just like alcohol is today. Until then we have to live with this uncertainty. Trouble is, street cannabis varies greatly in strength from the pathetically weak to the nailing to the ground strong, so it simply isn't possible to give any firm advice on how much to use, beyond the rather vague "go by how much you smoke".

Once the hash cake or whatever has gone down the neck, there's no going back. So it's important to start low and go slow!

If you do have a dose which is really too high, it can last a long time and might be very unpleasant. If you're in the wrong place or with the wrong people it can become very upsetting, perhaps even frightening. Although any bad effects usually pass when the cannabis wears off, for some people, especially children or young teenagers, this might contribute to emerging mental health issues. In any case, having a bad time is not the reason to take any drug.

Never give cannabis food to children, eating cannabis when pregnant included

Contamination:

There is an additional problem caused by the prohibition (illegality) of cannabis

Cannabis which you grow yourself or which was grown by someone you know will be OK But it's important to realise that cannabis is supplied by an illegal economy and the so called "black market" weed and hash may be very contaminated.

In the UK this not only means "Soap bar" (which should always be avoided anyway), but it may well apply to any imported hash or weed. Also the problem of contamination isn't limited to the "grit weed" which become so widespread.

Eating/drinking cannabis can be extremely dangerous due to the presence of chemical contaminants and / or pathogens (microbes), given the high possibility of adulterants in imported cannabis, you should really think twice before using a nonsmoking method.

There is no reliable way to clean contaminated cannabis, for example if your grass comes from sprayed crops there's nothing you can do about that. Crops in the producer countries are being sprayed by the US government (and probably by ours as well) with cancer causing herbicides as a part of the UN plan to eradicate cannabis form the world by.. er .. 2008. Seriously, that was the plan

Cooking at a high temperature will kill most pathogens, but maybe not all of them - if you crank up you're oven too high you'll nail the THC too... not to mention burning the brownies!

At the very least, NEVER eat street cannabis which hasn't been cooked, e.g., hash which has just been crumbled up and sprinkled on a sandwich; you'll probably be OK, but you might just end up with the runs - you could conceivably end up with hepatitis.

The obvious answer to all this is the end of Prohibition and the introduction of quality controls, but meanwhile please be careful regarding the eating / drinking method. It's generally good advice not to buy cannabis supplied by organised crime, get to know someone who grows at home.

Note to governments and the UNODC: All of the above problems are caused directly and solely by prohibition, they need not be happening and they are happening because of your policies. If cannabis were legal and properly regulated, consuming cannabis in food or drink would be the safest way to consume it.