10 Common Marijuana Cooking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Top 10 Cannabis Cooking mistakesAvoid these marijuana cooking mistakes and put yourself well on the road to making great tasting potent marijuana edibles!

Top 10 Marijuana Cooking Troubleshooting Tips

1. Over grinding the plant material when making marijuana butter or cannabis oil.
For some reason the majority of internet sites tell people to finely grind the marijuana being used to infuse marijuana butter or cannabis oil. There is even a commercially made electronic gadget for making marijuana butter that includes a built in electric grinder. I have never understood this advice. If you want better tasting edibles, DO NOT FINELY GRIND THE MARIJUANA! What you are trying the extract, the plant’s resinous trichomes, are ON the buds and leaves not IN them! All grinding accomplishes is to put more plant material into the finished product which in turn increases green color and unwanted herbal flavors.

Marijuana Infusions made With and Without Water in the Mix2. Not adding water when infusing cannabutter or marijuana oil.
OK, this one isn’t a mistake as there is more than one way to infuse.  Some people do not like to add water to the mix, but I do.  Especially on the stovetop, the water will help things infuse at a lower temperature and avoid things burning and scorching which will result in unappetizing taste and THC that’s rendered useless by being cooked at too high a temperature. The water also helps with appearance and flavor by washing away some of the green color and strong herbal flavor.  The photo at the right shows marijuana butter made with and without water in the mix and marijuana oil made with and without water.  The same type and amount of marijuana was used for each of the infusions in the exact same amount. In all instances there was a better final yield when using water, and a lighter color and less herbal flavor.  The amount of water is not important, but I always add at least as much water as butter or oil. I do this even when infusing in the slow cooker.  Click to find instructions for how to make marijuana butter and cannabis oil.

Cannabis Cooking for Home Cooks Course3. Cooking marijuana at too high a temperature.
Generally speaking, lower cooking temperatures are better. THC is completely degraded at temperatures in excess of 392 degrees F although it starts to break down long before that. Since water boiling never gets above 212 degrees F, I always recommend adding water when making cannabis infusions (see point 2 above).  You will also need to pay attention to cooking temperatures when using the infused butter and oils, or when cooking with marijuana concentrates. Do not use infused marijuana oils for direct sautéing for frying. If you are making something battered, make sure the medicated part is inside the batter. You can cook at oven temperatures up to 375 degrees F, as the food itself will not get that hot.

4. Not decarboxylating the cannabis first.
While too much heat will kill your THC, some heat is necessary. Most people do not realize the raw cannabis plant contains no THC at all. It does contain THC-A (or THC-acid). It takes the process of adding heat or decarboxylation to make the chemical reaction that converts THC-A to THC. If you are infusing butter or oil, decarboxylation is taken care of in the process of infusion, mostly.  But lab tests show that even when making infusions, decarbing first will up the percentage of THC extracted.  If you are cooking with kief you will need to decarboxylate first. I recommend this step when cooking with hash too, as it can help maximize THC potency.   Simply put your concentrates in an ovenproof dish or your crumbled plant material on a baking sheet and heat for about 20 minutes at 250 degrees F. Once decarboxylated the marijuana or concentrates are ready to cook with.

5. Adding too much cannabis/over medicating.
There is no easier way to ingest too much marijuana than by eating it. Sometimes people are impatient and think “it’s not working” and eat more. By the time it all kicks in they have overdone it. While “overdoses” are not dangerous in that they are never fatal, they won’t shut down your organs, they can make you feel anxious, paranoid, and/or disoriented. Dosing edibles is somewhat of an art, a lot of factors need to be taken into consideration and people’s tolerances run a wide range. An amount that one person does not even physically feel might be enough to make someone else experience couch-lock for hours. When cooking with marijuana, especially new plant material you are not familiar with, it’s a good idea to vape or smoke a little to get general idea of its potency.  Keep in mind that cooking can intensify potency somewhat. If you do find a batch of your edibles is more potent than you intended the remedy is easy – eat less! Learn more about dosing when cooking with marijuana at this link.

6. Adding too little marijuana/undermedicating.
Likewise, if you ever find yourself with a weak batch of food, eat more! If you make a batch of infused butter or oil that is less potent than you’d like, you can always augment it later by heating gently to dissolve some decarboxylated kief or hash into it before using in recipes.  I know marijuana is an expensive ingredient and the natural urge is to use as little as possible.  But think of it this way, you can always eat smaller portions, but if your batch of edibles does not deliver, there’s no way to avoid disappointment.  I won’t say that you “wasted” the weed as you will still be getting medicinal benefits even if you don’t feel high, but if you were expecting/desiring a buzz and you use too little, then you certainly did not put your plant material to its optimal use. Learn more about dosing at this link.

FREE Dosing Course
7. Not paying attention to portion size.
If you don’t know how many portions your recipe makes, it will be difficult to determine how much medicine to add. To get a proper dose divide the total amount of cannabis or infused marijuana butter or oil in the entire recipe to achieve an amount that usually works for you. Exercise will power if necessary.

Marijuana cooking with hash and kief

Marijuana Cooking with Hash and Kief

8. Improperly Incorporating Concentrates
Cooking with kief is a joy. Its fine texture allows it dissolve almost instantly in warm (and sometimes even cold) liquids and other ingredients like mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream and more. Hash can be a little trickier. It can come in many textures from dry and crumbly to sticky and putty-like. Dry hash can be sent through a small food processor or coffee grinder to turn it into a fine powder. You can even use a mortar and pestle for this. The sticky variety is best heated in a liquid until it dissolves. Even so, hash can sometimes leave a slight gritty texture, which is why when given the choice, I choose kief. Learn more about cooking with hash and kief here.

9. Using too delicate a hand with seasonings.
Most people do not like the green herbal flavor of marijuana shining through their foods. Likewise recipes with lots of spices and flavors going on tend to mask this better than delicate and subtle fare. Use as much or a little more seasoning and flavor adding ingredients (such as onion and garlic) when cooking with cannabis than you would if you were cooking without marijuana.

Marijuana Cooking -- Cannabis Infused Brownies

10. Believing brownies, cookies and sweets are the only foods suitable as marijuana edibles.
The number of people who think that sweets are the only kind of edibles you can make with marijuana consistently surprises me. The fact is most any food can be infused with cannabis. In fact, it is usually easier to hide the green herbal flavor that most people don’t like in spicy and/or savory foods. There are lots of terrific cannabis cookbooks on the market to help you expand you cannabis culinary repertoire, including my own Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook.  You can also find lots of recipes, both savory and sweet, on this blog.

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43 Comments

  1. Kathryn Hegarty on

    Hi im kat,
    My father in law is baking for the first and ive been showing him what to do but hes burning everything and i just want to know if burning the cookies is burning out the hash?

    • If you read the point you would understand that while some decarb happens when you cook, you will get INCREASED potency and maximum extraction if you take the extra step and cook with decarbed material. So no it is not necessary, but my edibles will be stronger than yours for taking the extra step. I have seen the lab tests that prove it. Sorry.

  2. You do not need water when cooking with oil in slowcooker, I would recommend only using it if you have to cook on stove top.

    • You do not NEED to have water, but I recommend you DO use water for the reasons I state, temperature regulation and to help leach out some of the green flavor and color. You have your methods and while you are entitled to your opinion, these are the tried and true methods that I recommend, you can take them or leave them.

  3. Hi, I used 15g of quality stuff here in Hawaii, 2 cups coconut organic oil and 2 tablespoons of litchen granules. Spelled in wrong. Anyways I decarb in the oven for 30 min at 240, put everything in crock pot on a low for most the day and keep warm for some sitting occasionally. I cooked for 10 hours strained and chilled. Used it later that the next day in brownies and cookies adding 1/2 cup to a gluten free brownie mix, and and 3/4 cup to chocolate cookies. I ate two cookies. It only felt a little bit but I was high all day. Should this be enough for decent edibles or will I have to eat a lot?

    • There is no one answer to what constitutes a “decent edible.” If it made you feel good and you were happy with the amount you felt, then it was a decent edible. Doing a calculation based upon marijuana containing 20% THC, your half cup of oil likely contains about 750mg THC. Divide that by the number of cookies to get an approximate per cookie dose. (The government says average weed is 10%, since you have what I assume is good Hawaiian, I figured it at 20%).

      Coming soon we will have a free online class on figuring dosage along with a free calculator tool. Stay tuned!

  4. Well since my last comment I am on my Third batch. And yes. Adding water is great advice. So I take back what I said. I have question tho. When making brownies the oven is set at 350C and takes about 25 min. Am i losing any THC? That heat is not high enough right?

    • I have been a few batches of High THC cookies when I started making “vegan” cookies for a few friends.Simply put.I used clarified unsalted butter.Well with little extra moisture,I burnt the bottoms of the 1st batch.So I figured.I would try 1,It fucked me up,But tated burnt.The next batch.I said fuck it & cooked them for less time.BIG DIFFERENCE..In cookies,hey will reach the 350 F temp & you will start burning off your THC.BUT in Brownies,which are thicker & moister,the inside doesn’t reach 350 F,so you don’t burn any THC off…When I’m ready to make cookie ONLY ,I decarb my bud at 240 for 20-30 minutes in a Pyrex (name brand- I use a glass pie pan).COVER with foil.Check at 25mins.Then ever 5 minutes.Do not go over 45 mins.Leave to cool COVERED in the glass pan.THUS when cooking,the bud will finish decarbing.FOR ANYTHING ELSE THRN COOKIES….ITS 240 FOR 30-40 MINS,,CHECKING AT 30 MINUTES,45 TOPS .after 45 minutes,you’re burning it off.Beening doing this this was for over 30yrs.

  5. dang man. I have been using a half ounce of high quality buds to only 1 cup of oil (olive). Maybe I should be putting more oil?

    • That is an individual call. That will make some potent oil or butter. That, in my opinion, is good as you only need a little bit to get the proper dose.

  6. How do you know when your batch is done?

    sorry for spamming the comment section here but it’s 2:30am and i am SOOOO tired. I have had a batch on now for 8 hours. No idea when it’s done so that brings me to my question. And i been licking the spoon and i am high asf

    • Not spam if you are asking questions, so no problem. Some people simmer for hours and hours and you can, but it is not necessary. A hour or two on the stovetop is good, 4 or so in the slow cooker. You can let it go longer but you will have extracted what you need by that point.

  7. Awesome man. thanks for replying. I’m taking in as much as i can. I was thinking tho. And tell me if this is a good idea or not. When it comes time to strain your batch threw cheese cloth, why not have some hot water handy (boiled but cooled slightly) and poor it over your weed that’s in the cheese cloth to wash it out good. would that work out?

  8. Is there any “easy” way to find out how much THC is in a batch. Like right down to a piece of brownie? We did have the weed tested that i have been using and it is at 21%.

  9. Pingback: Marijuana Edibles Jobs: Careers Cooking Cannabis Infused Edible Treats

  10. please help me with this confusion. Ideally, decarboxylation takes place at a temperature just over 200 for about just under an hour. This is accomplished in boiling water, which reaches and maintains about 212 degrees. So if I boil the herb at that temp for an hour, isn’t that decarboxylating it? Why do it in the oven first and then do it again in the saucepan? What am I missing?
    Thanks

    • For making butter or oil, this is true, you will have completely decarbed. But when cooking with hash and kief, taking the extra step to decarb will yield a better potency.

  11. oh I just reread the post and I see where you say just what I said above. The decarboxylation is achieved during the infusion process of making cannabutter on the stovetop. Thanks for a great post.

  12. I took some dried bubble hash and baked it. Now that it has cooled, how long will the hash stay good if I put it in a plastic bag and suck the air out and
    seal it? Thanks

  13. I made butter that is weak can i do anything at this point. Also the water i added turned to mud, whats up with that. The butter looked great just weak and i worry about the mud issue

    • In answer to the first question, yes. You can add some concentrates like decarboxylated kief or hash to augment it, or you can make an extra strong batch of butter then add this to it.

      As to “mud” I would have had to see it to be sure what the cause is. Was there dirt or roots in the mix? Actual dirt should be gently washed off – gently you don’t want to remove trichomes. If not, it sounds like maybe the plant material was too finely ground. I know a lot cooks recommend grinding the plants finely (and the Magic Butter Machine does it automatically). But I have found it is better to just rough grind as if you were rolling a joint, or even just crumble the plant material with your fingers. What you are trying to extract is ON the plant, not within it, and I find that over grinding just adds extra plant material and green taste to the final product.

      Hope this helps.

  14. Christopher Bonds on

    Great Thread Cannabis Cheri. I have a question. My lady didn’t agree with me cook a batch of butter and oil. So I had to shut down after cook 3 to for hours. I put the oil and butter in mAson jars. They have been out going on 24Hrs and stil haven’t been strained. Can the butter and oil still be used if reheated and strained? Thank you for your help and response.

  15. I take huge offense with your assumption that people don’t like the taste of weed
    , if you don’t like the taste of weed you should stay the fuck away from it!
    It tastes glorious its a creation that was made by mother Gaia the mother of our planet
    and it is a gift to us to be savored and enjoyed ! When I make a butter I want people to know there’s weed in it I want it to be green I wanted to be smelly and I wanted to taste like something , I think personally you’re confusing the details of *smoking weed with the details of *eating weed yes chloroform and all that other stuff you mentioned is very bad when it comes to smoking like if you were making a hash or an extract you would definitely want to use a method that results in fewer of these but when it comes to cooking those things are good for you they have tremendous health value and you’re only screwing Yourself by cutting out the flavor and the health benefits. you’re coming across like some kind of a Stoner burn out the way your talking about this stuff .

    • I am not confusing anything and you can choose to “take offense” all you like, but the FACT is MOST people do not like the taste of weed in their food. I get emails from people every day and talk to the public about this day in and day out at my classes, and most people cite flavor as one of the big reasons they do not like edibles. If you like the taste, have a party, nobody is stopping you, it is very easy to make medibles that taste like weed. But this is NOT the effect most people are going for. You can get plenty of medicinal effects without tasting a prominent flavor of cannabis, and your personal preferences aside, this is what the majority of cannabis cooks are looking for.

  16. All right perhaps stoner burnouts a bit harsh of a term but it’s a good vintage term ! 😆at any rate I would like to know if decarbing is necessary if you have a finished product like bag weed, that you plan to turn into butter?

    • Not a bit harsh. Ridiculous. I take offense to that. That said, I will still answer your question. Is it absolutely necessary to decarb first before making butter or oil or other long slow cooking infusions? No. But is it desirable? Yes. Lab tests show you will extract a bit more potency by doing so.

  17. Concerned mama on

    Hi my question is different but j hope you can answer it. I have a slow cooker that I let someone borrow to make butter in. It has been washed. Is it ok to use to cook my regular family meals and potluck foods without worry of left over residue interfering. I would hate to bring something to a potluck or my young children and they have marijuana in it.

    • As long as you washed it well, you have nothing to worry about you. You do not need a special separate slow cooker. I love kitchen items that multi task and the slow cooker is a great one for cannabis cooks. It’s handy for everyday meals but also great for making cannabis infusions. No need for special gadgets or machines.

  18. Alright I worded that poorly really I just take offense to people not liking the taste of cannabis , the way I see it if you don’t like the taste of Mary Jane get the fudge out! ” it’s funny because I often make fudge…:) so you’re saying I should decarb a finished product like it’s already been dried and cured and all that good stuff it would benefit me to de-carb that? And thanks for fast reply!

    • I love the taste of smoked or vaped cannabis. I do not like the taste of it in my food. Most people do not, but I know a handful of folks who do. But from a culinary/flavor profile/foodie perspective, most often the flavor of cannabis does not enhance most recipes. Your taking offense to this is the equivalent of getting mad at someone because they don’t like the flavor of broccoli, or beer, or whatever. It’s just silly. If you like it, more power to you, cannabis cooking is a whole lot easier for you. But most of my readers do not like a strong cannabis flavor in their food and neither do I.

      As to decarbing, I am not sure I am understanding you correctly. I am saying you will benefit by decarbing your plant material (or kief or hash) before making marijuana butter or oil with it. Yes you can make it without decarbing first, but you will extract a bit more more potency by taking the extra step to decarb first. Hope this helps.

  19. Hi i have a pre made cookie mix at home and some bud usually i mix my weed in a pot with butter on the hob for 10-15 mins then add the mixture straight into cookie mix, mix up and stick in oven is this method ok? Just for one batch of cookies i dont really have time for the lengthy process of making cannabutter etc

    • Anything that works for you is OK. If you get good results and are happy, then it is OK. That said, is it the best and most effective method? Probably not.

      Are you straining the plant material out of your butter at least? That step alone will improve flavor. What is the HOB sorry not sure what that means? You can cook on the stovetop, but direct heat can present challenges as it is possible to get too hot so make sure the setting is low and you stir often. I would infuse longer than 10 to 15 minutes too for maximum potency and be sure to decarb your plant material first as well. The process of making cannabutter can be lengthy but not difficult. If you use a slow cooker you can set it and forget it. Making a larger batch of butter or oil is also handy as you can keep extra in the freezer to use anytime you want it.