With its capacity to add flavor and a subtle kick to most dishes, it’s no wonder that cannabidiol (CBD) oil and cannabutter (cannabis-infused butter) are the latest trend for in-the-know foodies and culinary experts alike. Aside from being a great way to microdose cannabis, using CBD oil and cannabutter allows you to seamlessly incorporate weed compounds into a wide range of recipes—from cookies to salad dressings. And because CBD contains virtually no THC elements—the main psychoactive ingredient in weed—ingesting dishes laced with CBD typically does not induce the high that might throw off the uninitiated.
That said, there are some best practices to keep in mind when cooking with CBD and cannabutter. For one, you need to put some thought into factors such as dosage, preparation, and storage to fully maximize these unique ingredients. To guide you on this journey, we’ve prepared some tips to help you expertly infuse weed into your culinary creations—and get the most out of its benefits.
Know the Best Oils for Cooking
Before you start cooking with CBD oil, you must first determine the best ones to use. Of course, it’s a no-brainer to use high-quality CBD oils from a reliable marijuana dispensary to ensure the safety and efficacy of your ingredients. Other than that, you may want to opt for oils with sugar-free, natural flavorings that are subtle yet versatile for cooking.
You may also want to consider CBD isolates, which are pure CBD and contain little to no “earthiness” compared to full- or broad-spectrum CBD formulas. CBD isolates don’t have a distinct flavor or scent, making them great for pairing with other flavors like peppermint or citrus. Still, if you want a more prominent flavor, you can pair CBD isolates with carrier or base oils like olive, coconut, peanut, and canola oil.
Olive oil is a common choice for cooking since they taste similar to standard cooking oil. Unlike cooking oil, however, olive oil has a nutty and earthy flavor that tastes great when infused with CBD oil. On the other hand, coconut oil adds a light and fresh flavor with added health benefits. If you prefer the more experimental route, you can also go for hemp seed oil. Besides having that distinct “hempy” taste, this type of oil tastes similar to sunflower seeds and walnuts.
Mind Your Dosages
As a rule of thumb, CBD oil and cannabutter must be used sparingly to avoid disrupting the meal’s consistency and flavor profile. Don’t overdo your dosage, especially if you’re still exploring the use of the ingredient for your dishes. A good estimate would be a dosage of at least 5 to 10 milligrams per serving. Once you get comfortable with the CBD component, you can try increasing your doses.
If you’re going to use cannabutter, consider cutting it into small slices for more uniform dosing. And as with CBD oil, you can increase the amount of cannabutter once you gained enough familiarity with the ingredient.
Think Fat and Savory
As mentioned earlier, CBD is great when paired with carrier oils and other ingredients with a fatty component. This is also one of the reasons why CBD-infused sweets and pastries are common. CBD binds well with fats and oil-based ingredients, plus it’s easier to mask with chocolate or sugar.
Apart from baked goods, CBD is also great for savory dishes as well as salad dressings, pasta sauces, and soups. Alternatively, you can add small doses of CBD oil to drinks such as smoothies and lattes.
Avoid Direct Heat
When cooking with CBD oil or cannabutter, you should avoid placing these ingredients under high heat. Heat alters CBD’s composition and removes its terpenes and cannabinoids, essentially diminishing its efficacy and eliminating its potential positive effects on the body. If you’re planning to sautee some vegetables, consider drizzling the CBD oil as a final step rather than adding the ingredient to the pan while cooking. The same goes for meals and ingredients like soups, pesto sauces, pizza, avocado toast, and eggs.
Still, it’s possible to properly pre-heat cannabutter or CBD oil. Just make sure to keep the temperature at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) or lower. If you want to avoid the heat altogether but want to bake CBD-infused treats, you can opt for no-bake recipes such as whipped cream or protein bars.
CBD oil is best stored in a cool, dark, and dry place to ensure its freshness. When exposed to direct light, CBD can lose its cannabinoids, thus eliminating its efficacy. On top of that, exposure to air can also alter CBD composition. As such, you should store your CBD oils in an airtight bottle inside your pantry. When stored properly, CBD oils can last up to two years.
With that in mind, it’s also ideal to keep your CBD ingredients out of the reach of children. Aside from preventing potential damage from naughty fingers, you can also prevent accidental overdoses and the resulting side effects such as extreme drowsiness and breathing problems.
Best Practices for Savoring the Flavors
A lot of folks have already jumped on the CBD trend, especially when it comes to the creation of cannabis-infused culinary favorites. Apart from elevating the gastronomic experience, adding a dash of hemp to your cooking allows you to savor the health benefits of weed, some of which include stress relief and a boosted mood. That said, it’s still wise to be aware of the best practices in cooking with ingredients like cannabutter and CBD oil. Ultimately, these practices will help you elevate your cooking and maximize a different kind of herbal flavor—one that would make for a more interesting dining experience.