What Actually Happens When You Make Weed Edibles

chocolate chip cookies and bud

Making weed edibles is quickly becoming America's favorite pastime. From delectable gummy bears to medicated cupcakes to marijuana-infused kombucha, medical and recreational users are cooking up some innovative medicated products. If you've never made weed edibles, or consumed cannabis for that matter, making weed edibles can sound like an intimidating process, but it doesn't have to be.

Before embarking on your mission to make weed edibles, it's important to understand what actually happens behind-the-scenes of a weed-friendly kitchen. You may be wondering: Do edibles stink up your house? How long do they take to make? How do you dose edibles? Are edibles any good? Here's an inside scoop into the nuances of making weed edibles.

What are Weed Edibles?

marijuana corn muffins and a leaf

In the cannabis community, “edibles” is an umbrella term for any cannabis-infused food or drink that contains cannabinoids, the active chemical compounds in marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the most commonly infused cannabinoids due to its psychotropic nature. In short, it's the chemical compound that gets you high. Cannabidiol (CBD) is also another popular cannabinoid due to its non-intoxicating effects.

Cannabis can be infused into food or drinks in a variety of forms. You can use whole flower, concentrates, trim, or shake depending on what you have on-hand or your desired effects. Essentially, the sky's the limit when making weed edibles. The entire infusion process can depend on your particular skills in the kitchen as well as your cannabis know-how.

Does Making Edibles Make Your Home Smell?

Inevitably, there will be a range of marijuana odors in your home, depending on your marijuana infusion process. For example, infusing your morning smoothie or a glass of water with water-soluble THC powder won't produce any smell. Some pre-packaged powders are meant to be flavorless so they don't overshadow your recipe's flavors.

Other infusion methods are more aromatic, to say the least. For example, making weed edibles in a slow cooker for half of the day can end up filling your house with the scent of your chosen strain. In an apartment with roommates, this all-encompassing smell could pose a problem. While the smell of making edibles can be cleared with some ceiling fans and open windows, there will be some lingering scents.

The reason that making weed edibles smells is due to the decarboxylation process. This takes place when you are heating up the flower, trim, or shake in either an oven, slow cooker, double-boiler, or more. THCA or CBDA found in raw cannabis requires decarboxylation to convert them into THC and CBD compounds, respectively. During the process, however, the terpene aromas can permeate through every room of the house if the weed is left uncovered.

How Long Does Making Weed Edibles Take?

frosty growing marijuana

Edibles can be as simple or complex as you'd like. You can make a quick and tasty peanut butter and jelly sandwich infused with decarboxylated cannabis or spend hours infusing raw cannabis into butter to make a gourmet medicated dessert. It'll take longer to make an edible if you're starting from scratch than if you're using dispensary-bought oil or butter. You can also save time by using concentrates, which may already be decarboxylated.

It can take as little as 10 minutes to decarboxylate raw cannabis in an oven set to 250F, but you first have to pre-heat it. Some recipes can call for leaving cannabis in the oven for up to 1 hour. During this time, you could get started on preparing the rest of your treat or meal. After the cannabis has been heated for the specific amount of time, you'll need to do the actual cooking with cannabis.

Making weed edibles with an infused oil or butter can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a day to see the final results. For example, to make a simple firecracker with graham crackers, hazelnut spread, and decarboxylated cannabis can take 15 minutes in an oven set at 300F. Making weed butter from scratch, however, can take 45 minutes in the oven, 1 hour for refrigeration, and additional prep time. Slow cooker recipes can take up to three hours or more.

Dosing Weed Edibles

Accurately dosing cannabis edibles depends on a variety of factors from the type of starting cannabis material you use to your desired potency. You don't just toss in a random amount of cannabis into a pot, mix the ingredients, and call it a day. Decarboxylation ensures your raw cannabis flower, trim, or shake is ready-to-consume.

After all is said and done and you've finished making your weed butter or oil, it's time to put it to use. In the beginning, you're going to have to test the potency of your infused butter or oil by adding a small amount between or a teaspoon on anything you'd like. There’s a general equation home weed chefs try to use to gauge how strong their edibles will be, and you can find that in this blog on how much weed you need for edibles. Starting off small and building your way up will help prevent one of those notorious bad trips on edibles.

Dosing weed edibles gets even more complicated if other people are consuming the products since everyone reacts to weed differently. The potency of a product will depend on the potency of the flower, the amount of fat (butter or oil) used, and the serving size. Licensed producers can have a more accurate representation of potency through analysis throughout the supply chain that home chefs don't have.

Grinding Cannabis

man holding a grinder of weed

Before making weed butter or oil, you have to break apart your cannabis, but not too finely. Grinding your cannabis up too finely can give your final product a green tint and a grassy flavor. Instead, making weed edibles requires you to crumble your premium buds into smaller pieces. You don't want to damage the resinous trichomes on the flower bud leaves. These milky white or amber-colored trichomes contain cannabinoids and terpenes used to make weed edibles.

Slow and Steady

Generally, a slower and lower temperature infusion is preferred over a scorching hot rolling boil. If you heat the cannabis up too much, you risk cannabinoid and terpene degradation, which essentially wastes your cannabis. Not only that, overcooked cannabis butter and oil will taste very bad, which can ruin an entire meal.

Some edible chefs incorporate an equal amount of water to oil or butter ratio in order to reduce the green hue and earthy flavor. Adding water to a recipe can make it more conducive to a slow and low simmering process. The water boils off leaving behind a light and appealing mixture.

No-Smell Methods

cannabis oil carts
Many edible makers who have used concentrates report no significant smells when making weed edibles. If you still want to use raw flower, you can use the mason jar method to infuse cannabis into an oil or butter. You can seal all of your ingredients in an airtight oven-safe mason jar and put in an oven or double boiler for about an hour. Mason jars will contain the smell and terpenes. Just make sure to use an oven mitt or glove to grab the hot mason jar metal lid.

Straining the Weed

After the weed has been infused into your olive oil or grass-fed butter, it's important to filter out the solution using a fine mesh filter or a cheesecloth. Make sure to use a filter that can filter out the unwanted plant material leaving behind a clean and pure oil or butter. Straining the weed too aggressively can push through unnecessary organic matter that can make your edible taste like weed.

What actually happens when making weed edibles depends on many factors including your cooking skills, cannabis material, and infusion process. The first few times will always take a little longer, but once you get the hang of the cooking process, you can streamline and adapt your recipe to your liking. Making weed edibles can be a time-consuming but rewarding experience.

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Disclaimer: All information on this site is for reference purposes only. Leafbuyer is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you try from the Website, or any website linked to from this site. You may not achieve desired results due to variations in elements such as ingredients, cooking temperatures, typos, errors, omissions, ingredient quality/potency, or individual cooking ability. Recipes available on the Website may not have been formally tested by us or for us and we do not provide any assurances nor accept any responsibility or liability with regard to their originality, quality, nutritional value, or safety.The cannabis amounts specified in this recipe are a loose suggestion. You should adjust the amount based on desired potency and the strength of your cannabis.


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Fred Hernandez
Fred Hernandez is a comedy and cannabis writer from San Diego, CA. He has helped agencies, businesses, and publications craft clever, concise, and captivating copy geared for their target audiences. As a cannabis content writer, he hopes to educate and entertain people with content about the cannabis industry. When he's not writing cannabis articles, he's reading novels, planning his next trip abroad, and writing music.