The Culinary Road to 4/20: Cannaoil

With the continuous legalization of cannabis in North America, consumers look to edibles as part of their cannabis experience. Ahead of 4/20, DINE is presenting weekly recipes for our readers to try at home. This week, a staple you can use for almost all of them: Cannaoil

Cannaoil

Another week, another recipe. We started off our culinary journey into cannabis edibles with our DINE Cannabutter last week. This time we show you the other staple you need for your exploits. Different from the butter, it is lactose-free and vegan: It is Cannaoil.

The process of making cannabis-infused cooking oil is very similar to what we’ve shown you with our butter. But, it is a lot more customizable. Do you want to spruce up your salads with a “special” olive oil? Infuse olive oil. Would your stir-fry be more enjoyable with a little buzz? Infuse peanut or vegetable oil. It’s entirely your choice. Let’s get started.

When making butter we recommended to decarboxylate your cannabis ahead of cooking it. This is not a must when making oil, but it makes for a better tasting product. Here is how you do it.

Decarboxylation:
  1. Preheat your oven to 120°C (245°F).
  2. Line a non-stick baking tray with parchment paper and spread your cannabis (for this recipe we recommend 10g)
  3. Insert into the oven and put a timer on for 40 minutes. Your bud might change colour slightly during the process.

 

Toasted Cannabis
Credit: @weedworthy

Let’s Make Some Cannaoil

We will show you two different ways of making the oil. One is with a double boiler, the other with a slow cooker.

Ingredients and Equipment:

1 litre of the oil of your choice
10g of decarboxylated cannabis flower
double boiler/slow cooker
cheesecloth
empty glass bottle (1 little minimum)
cannabis grinder

Method:
  1. Grind the cannabis coarsely with a hand grinder. A fine powder makes it more difficult to activate the cannabinoids. It is also more likely that plant material ends up going into the finished oil when you strain it. That is why we do not recommend chopping it in your food processor or coffee grinder.
  2. Double Boiler: Put enough water in the bottom part of the bain marie, so that it can simmer on low for a few hours without the need of refilling. Combine your oil and cannabis in the upper part and let the mixture cook on low for 7-8 hours, stirring occasionally. Slow Cooker: Combine oil and cannabis and cook for 5-6 hours on low, also stirring occasionally. If you haven’t got a double boiler or slow cooker, it is possible to do it in a saucepan as well. The problem is that you will have to be a lot more vigilant to make sure your product doesn’t burn. You can cook the cannabis with oil on low for 3 hours directly in the saucepan. Add some water to prevent burning. The temperature of your mixture should never exceed 120°C (245°F).
  3. This is not really a step, just a warning: The steam emitting from the pot has a potent cannabis smell. If your landlord does not condone use in your building, consider making this elsewhere.
  4.  Once your Cannaoil has cooked enough, Set a funnel on top of your empty storing bottle and line the funnel with cheesecloth. Pour the mixture through the cloth and let it strain freely. Many other recipes will tell you to really squeeze out every bit of oil once the dripping has stopped. We recommend against that. It may push some not-so-great tasting plant material through your cloth.
  5. This oil has a shelf-life of about two month. Since a litre is a lot, you can refrigerate it and keep it longer that way.

Cannaoil

Dosage and Potency

It is very hard to measure how potent your homemade cannabis edibles are going to be. For an exact measurement you would have to get it tested in a lab. The potency of the strain, as well as the conversion percentages achieved in the process vary widely. We will show you in a calculation below what the highest potency for this recipe is likely to be. If you can’t be bothered following our math, try half a tablespoon of the oil in your salad dressing or stir-fry.

Note: It takes far longer for THC edibles to take effect. Wait for an hour before you consume more. If you want to feel a stronger buzz, take some more after that. The effect of edibles are longer than when you smoke weed. Highs can last anywhere from 1-12 hours. You should not be driving or operating heavy machinery for at least 12-18 hours.

If you feel like you have taken too much, don’t panic. Lie down and continuously hydrate. Contrary to popular belief, do not eat fatty foods. Studies have shown that eating prolongs the effect. Other tips on what to do can be found here.

Let’s Do Some Math

The recommended dose for an inexperienced consumer of THC edibles is between 5-10mg of THC. In our calculations (which are again nearly impossible to get right) we’d like to err on the side of caution. We are taking idealized numbers and are confident you can adapt your calculations accordingly.

Your purchased cannabis should say the THC potency on the packaging. Sometimes the THCA value is printed on the label, which is a little higher than the effective THC percentage (THC% is smaller by a factor of 0.88). We will disregard this fact, since we want to be careful anyways. To make our calculations easier we use a cannabis strain with a THC percentage of exactly 20% (a rather common value.)

Experts say that THC extraction into fats and oils is highly ineffective, only transferring between 40-60% of the cannabinoids. Manufacturers say that number is even lower, around 30%. As a compromise and to make it easier on us, we say that we manage to convert 50% of cannabinoids into our cannabutter. As mentioned in the recipe, we use a cup of cannabis buds, which is around 10g – the number we’ll use for the calculations.

Calculation:

Ok, let’s get started. These are the numbers we need to know:

  • 10g (=10,000mg) of cannabis
  • The cannabis has a potency of 20% THC
  • The ideal conversion rate used here is 50%
  • Recommended dose per person is 10mg

Since only a fifth of the bud is THC, we have 2g (2,000mg) of THC in the plant material. Only half of the THC infuses into the butter. This leaves us with 1g (1,000mg) of THC in our Cannaoil. In the recipe we use a litre (1000ml) of oil, which means that in every millilitre of oil we have 1mg of THC. If you follow our guidelines of only ingesting 10mg of THC, you should use 10 millitres (or 2/3 of a tablespoon) of Cannaoil per person.

Did this go over your head? Summary: About half to 2/3 of a tablespoon of oil per person should be enough for the euphoric effects you seek. If it is not, try a little more the next time.

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Kevin Sachs
Kevin Sachs was born and raised in Zurich, Switzerland. As a former broadcast journalist for SRF, his previous works were featured in Haaretz, Le Matin, Tagesanzeiger, Süddeutsche Zeitung and AWE Magazine. With his passion for all things food and travel, it was only a matter of time until he ended up at DINE Magazine.