What are the most common mistakes when baking edibles?
What else can go wrong when cooking with cannabis?
This article is your edibles making troubleshooting guide. Get familiar with it and you will avoid the marijuana cooking mistakes that regularly trip up cannabis cooks and be well on the road to making potent edibles that also taste great.
And while people most frequently ask “what are the most common mistakes when baking edibles,” know that quality cannabis cooking starts long before you get to the oven. Also, there is far more to cannabis cooking than just baking.
Of course, these tips take those facts into consideration. For more details check out my comprehensive only Cannabis Cooking Course.
Cannabis Cooking Troubleshooting and Common Mistakes When Baking Edibles (in no particular order)
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 and other infusions that includes a built-in electric grinder that you cannot bypass. (Despite its widespread popularity, I am not a fan of of the Magical Butter Machine for this reason.)
I have never understood the advice of finely grinding your weed. Yet I see it repeated almost everywhere!
If you want better tasting edibles, DO NOT FINELY GRIND THE MARIJUANA!What you are extracting, 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. Read more about preparing cannabis for cooking here.
2. Medicating fat-free foods
Yes, you technically can medicate gummies, honey, hard candies and other fat-free foods, but how these became the public’s go-to food to medicate is beyond me. They are certainly not the best choice by a long shot.
OGs and other long time users know better. When it comes to edibles, cannabis binds to fat and metabolizes better with fat. It just does.
I find if I feel the effects of fat-free edibles at all, they tend to come on quickly (a plus), not last very long (a minus), and leave me with a headache at the end (a very bad thing).
You might react differently, but I know I am not the only one who reports these effects from fat-free edibles.
If you do choose to make fat-free edibles you would do yourself a favor to consume them along with something that does contain fat, for instance coffee with cream. However, I think a better choice is to forego fat free foods entirely. You can medicate most any food, why choose one of the least effective ones?
(PS you CAN successfully make gummies with infused oils, but it takes some insider know-how or else you will end up with an oily mess instead of a delicious gummy. I share all in my Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Gummies online course.)
3. 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. I
f you are infusing butter or oil, some 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 the THC potency. For more info on decarboxylation, why you need it, and how to do it, see this page.
4. Cooking marijuana at too high a temperature.Generally speaking, lower cooking temperatures are better. Various terpenes will degrade at various temperatures along the way. Furthermore, THC is completely degraded at temperatures in excess of 392 degrees F although it starts to break down long before that.
You will 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 as opposed to the coating.
When it comes to baking edibles, there is not much worry about. You can cook at oven temperatures up to 400 degrees F, (or more) as long as the food itself does not get that hot. And it usually doesn’t. For instance a Thanksgiving turkey that roasts for hours in a 350 degree + oven only reaches in internal temperature of 160 degrees.Read more about temperatures in cannabis cooking here.
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.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.
If you ever find yourself with a weak batch of food, you can eat more.
If you make a batch of infused butter or oil that is less potent than you’d like, you can augment it later by heating gently to dissolve some decarboxylated kief or hash into it before using in recipes. Or you can re-infuse for stronger potency.
7. Not paying attention to servings and portion sizes.If you don’t know how many portions your recipe makes, it will be impossible 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. My cannabis dosage calculators (see above) can help you do this.
Hash and Kief
8. Improperly Incorporating Concentrates
Cooking with concentrates like hash oils or even kief is a joy. These dissolve almost instantly in warm (and sometimes even cold) liquids. You can can also easily stir them into 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. 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. Get more tips for improving the flavor of edibles here.
10. Believing gummies, 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 amazes 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 website.
Common Mistakes When Baking Edibles and Cannabis Cooking Troubleshooting Wrap Up
No doubt there are other mistakes you can make. But these are some of the most common. Check out my online Cannabis Cooking course for more details and the answers to many, many more cannabis cooking conundrums.
Cheri’s Sicard’s comprehensive online course “Easy Cannabis Cooking for Home Cooks” will turn you (yes even YOU!) into an expert cannabis chef. Harness the power of edible marijuana for long lasting relief from pain, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, and a whole lot more, even if you have never cooked with cannabis before or have gotten less than perfect results in the past. Once enrolled you get life access on all your devices, plus easy email access to Cheri for questions or troubleshooting. Get more details here.