7 Cannabis Kitchen Myths: Busted
By Cheri Sicard
A beginner searching for ways to cook with cannabis faces a daunting challenge. Online research yields word salads of myths, half-truths, and in some cases self-serving sales pitches and outright falsehoods. If you’re lucky you might find some accurate advice and worthwhile tutorials.
How can you tell the difference and separate the experienced canna chefs from the charlatans? Begin by familiarizing yourself with the most oft repeated misinformation. If you know what’s not true, you’re better equipped to evaluate any given source’s level of knowledge and cannabis kitchen credibility.
Myth 1: My way is the best and only way to make edibles.
If you encounter someone with the fervor of a televangelist claiming that a specific method for making edibles is the only way, consider looking elsewhere for cannabis cooking advice. There are many infusion methods and ways to cook with cannabis. Legitimate practical reasons should dictate your choices and those may change depending on circumstances. For instance, a large batch of infused butter or oil would be better accommodated in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. On the other hand, infusing a small amount of cream or honey needs only a canning jar and double boiler on the stovetop.
Myth 2: A special gadget is needed to make quality infusions.
People have been successfully making cannabis edibles for thousands of years before cannabutter machines and special infusion gadgets came on the market. However did these primitive beings manage? Very well, thank you very much. And so can you.
Infusion gadgets may add convenience, but not enough to justify adding another appliance to an already crowded kitchen. If you already own a slow cooker, that’s all the special gadgetry needed. If you want a special tool, consider an Instant Pot. Use the slow cooker setting to make cannabis infusions with no telltale odor wafting through your home, or into your neighbor’s. It also does the work of other kitchen appliances.
A double boiler on the stovetop works, albeit with a bit more babysitting.
Myth 3: Finely grind your plant material.
This bad advice is repeated nearly everywhere, but it makes little sense. The resinous cannabinoid-rich trichomes you want are on the plant, not in it. Fine grinding deposits more fine plant particulate in your finished butter or oil, and that means more acrid green flavor. Instead, use your fingers or a hand-held grinder to coarsely grind the plant material, much like packing a bowl or rolling a joint.
Myth 4: Ten milligrams of THC should be the maximum dose.
Who can blame new cannabis users for believing this myth? Most states legislating edibles have capped commercial products at 10 milligrams, despite the fact that no single ideal minimum or maximum cannabis dose exists. Some states, such as California, also limit the types of edibles legally sold to the public, virtually confining commercial edibles to the realm of unhealthy, processed, fat and sugar-laden goods.
Making your own edibles bypasses unhealthy fare and arbitrary dosage restrictions, but dosing is highly individualized and your perfect dose may differ substantially from those of your friends. Ten or even 5 milligrams of THC will be too much for some, while others require 100 milligrams or more. While recipes may suggest measurements, cooks should always adjust these according to the potency of their cannabis and personal tolerance. Start low and go slow is a good adage to follow.
Myth 5: You should never cook at a temperature higher than 300 degrees.
Warnings against baking edibles in an oven set at anywhere between 250 to 300 degrees populate the internet. Nonsense.
THC will completely break down by 392 F and start degrading long before, but oven temperatures have little to do with actual food temperatures. Think of a Thanksgiving turkey that roasts for hours at 350 degrees only to emerge from the oven at a delicious 165. From a temperature perspective, cannabis cooks have little to fear from normal home ovens, save the direct heat of the broiler.
Myth 6: Don’t bother decarboxylation before making an infusion.
To get the most from your weed, cannabis must first go through decarboxylation, which converts the nonpsychoactive THCA in the raw plant into psychoactive THC. You know by now: Raw cannabis plants won’t get you high. Some experts say this step is often not necessary as the heat involved in long, slow cooking extractions will naturally decarboxylate the cannabis. While that’s partially true, potency always increases by decarbing first. As oven temperatures vary, you might not convert 100 percent of the THCA to THC this way, but you will get most, and any non-psychoactive THCA left over will still impart medicinal benefits.
Myth 7: CBD is medicinal, and THC is recreational.
Mainstream media and public misconceptions have somehow adapted a false narrative that non-intoxicating CBD, contains all of the plant’s medicinal benefits, while THC only serves to get you high. Nothing could be further from the truth.
THC arguably offers more medicinal benefits than CBD, which are indeed impressive on their own. But cannabis works best as a whole plant medicine, the way nature intended it. This is what scientists call the entourage effect: the collective medicinal benefits of all the cannabinoids—even THC and terpenes— are far greater than any of them individually. For maximum medicinal benefit, always preserve as many cannabinoids and terpenoids as possible and opt for whole plant medicine.