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The CULTA Blog

Top Eight Mistakes When Cooking with Cannabis

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By adding cannabis to foods or beverages, you can consume cannabis without any harsh smoke or irritating odors. Today, many patients are even cooking their own cannabis edibles at home.

Once you master a few basic recipes, cooking with cannabis is easy. But new users often make the same common mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes cost you an entire batch of brownies -- and, potentially, your entire supply of cannabis.

Here are some of the most common mistakes made when cooking with cannabis. Study each of these cannabis cooking mistakes so you’ll be able to avoid them in your own kitchen:

Mistake #1. Using Raw Flowers

When you’re smoking cannabis, all you need to do is grind your flowers and place them in a pipe or rolling paper. So cooking with cannabis must be just as easy, right? Wrong.

Cannabis needs to be heated to a certain temperature to activate the plant’s THC. While this happens automatically when smoked, most cooking temperatures aren’t high enough to trigger this chemical activation. It’s why you wouldn’t feel anything if you simply ate cannabis leaves. Raw cannabis flowers also have a very strong, unappealing flavor.

Before adding cannabis to a recipe, it must undergo a process called decarboxylation. There are several ways to decarboxylate cannabis flowers. However, the simplest method is to spread your flowers on a cookie sheet and heat them at 245 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes. You’ll know the cannabis is ready when it’s very dry and light to medium brown in color.

Mistake #2. Over-Grinding

Once your cannabis flowers have been properly decarboxylated, you’ll need to grind them. But don’t grind them too finely. Over-grinding is one of the most common mistakes when cooking with cannabis.

When cannabis becomes too powdery, it releases more chlorophyll and other plant matter. This means your edibles will taste very pungent and “grassy.” Over-grinding also makes it very difficult to properly strain your homemade cannabis edibles. You may end up with plant fragments that affect texture as well as taste.

Mistake #3. Using Too Much Cannabis

When you’re cooking with cannabis, a little goes a long way. Many beginner chefs simply add too much cannabis to their recipes. They end up with a batch of edibles that are way too strong and spoil or go stale before they can be consumed. It’s also a waste of cannabis.

As you cook with cannabis more, you’ll eventually figure out your personal preferences for strength and potency. Until then, err on the side of caution. Use smaller amounts of cannabis and prepare recipes that have smaller serving amounts.

Mistake #4. Using the Wrong Temperatures

We’ve already mentioned the importance of heat when cooking with cannabis. However, using the wrong temperatures can be just as big a mistake as using raw cannabis. Whether you’re decarboxylating in preparation or cooking your final dish, it’s vital to use the right temperature.

Always watch your cannabis edibles carefully as they cook. Make sure they reach the necessary minimum heat but don’t let them burn either. Whether too high or too low, using the wrong temperature is a big cannabis cooking mistake.

Mistake #5. Not Stirring Enough

This is another common mistake when cooking with cannabis. If you don’t stir enough, your cannabis may not be properly distributed within your recipe. This can affect the flavor, texture, and potency of your edibles.

For example, if you’re making cannabis brownies, some brownies in the batch may be much stronger than others if you don’t stir properly. 

Mistake #6. Straining Too Too Hard

Straining is an essential step when you’re making cannabutter or cannabis oil, which are usually the key ingredients in homemade edibles. Most instructions for cannabutter and cannabis oil recommend using a cheesecloth or paper filter to separate the plant material from the cannabis infusion.

Often, straining can be very slow. Many new cannabis cooks are tempted to squeeze the strainer to speed up the process. Unfortunately, this usually results in a strong, unpleasant taste because it forces more plant material into the final infusion. Be patient with your homemade cannabutter or cannabis oil and allow gravity to do the straining for you.

Mistake #7. Not Testing Your Batch

For newer cooks, it can be difficult to measure the potency of homemade edibles. Often, a final product can end up stronger or weaker than intended. Failing to test your batch for potency is one of the most common mistakes when cooking with cannabis.

Whenever you’ve finished cooking or baking cannabis-infused foods, test the batch before consuming a whole portion. Sample a very small amount, then wait to see how it affects you. Remember to be patient. It may take up to two hours to feel the full effects.

Mistake #8. Forgetting to Label

When properly stored, many cannabis edibles will last several weeks or months. If you’re stored leftovers, don’t make the mistake of forgetting to label them. This is extra important if you live with roommates or family members.

After cooking with cannabis, secure your edibles in an airtight container and label them. If you don’t have a label maker, you can use a piece of tape and a permanent marker. You may wish to include the date, cannabis strain, amount of cannabis flowers used, and estimated potency of each serving.

Don’t Make Mistakes When You Cook with Cannabis

Avoid these common mistakes when cooking with cannabis. This will help ensure that you get  the highest quality and the best taste from all your homemade edibles. Every good edible starts with high-quality cannabis - browse our selection of high-grade cannabis today.