Beyond Brownies: The Best Foods to Infuse with Cannabis

We’ve all know about “special brownies”, gummies, or chocolates, but with the explosion of the cannabis industry, foods with infused cannabis oil don’t just have to be baked goods and sweets. Before we get into the best foods to infuse and how to infuse them, let’s cover some edible basics.

Consuming cannabis through infused foods has many benefits, but it comes with some cautionary warnings. Although the effects of infused foods take longer to work, they tend to last longer and are stronger in potency. Consuming 15 mg through conventional smoking methods will have very different effects than consuming the same amount through an edible.

As you may already know, if you’re new to consuming edibles, most experts suggest starting with a micro-dose of about 2.5-5mg your first time, and in future consumption events, slowly titrating up to get your desired effect. This will help to ensure you don’t over-consume and find yourself feeling a little uncomfortable. Once you have consumed your dose, it may take anywhere from 1-3 hours to feel the full effects so it’s best to not consume more unless you know you can handle the extra dose.

New Age Edibles

When it comes to choosing the best foods to infuse, it lies in the eye of the beholder. Some people enjoy the traditional special brownie, but others are looking for a health-conscious meal or beverage to consume. One way to determine what type of edible to consume is to start with where and why you will be consuming it. Are you looking for a fun treat to consume before an event where smoking is prohibited? Maybe you want a small and mild dose to help with aches, pains, or to aid in better sleep. Each unique situation may call for a different dose and a different delectable route to consume it.

The good news is that you no longer have to rely on just the sugary gummies, brownies, or candies you’re used to seeing due to the creative explosion of the edibles scene. Now, you can find options like infused pretzels, granola, teas and coffee, infused salad dressings, and so much more.

Infused cannabis oil, cooking with cannabis, oils to infuse with cannabis

We spoke to one cannabis chef who says there is a shift happening with infused foods, and for good reason. “Sugary foods aren’t for everyone. I, personally, don’t want sugar in my medicine. I want to know I’m getting a dose that’s helping my body – not giving me more problems because it isn’t good for me.”

Liv Vasquez specializes in curating vegan, wholesome, infused meals for her cannabis-infused catering company, Livvie Smalls Events, and says one way she ensures her meals are dosed properly is by adding infused oil to the food once it is prepared instead of cooking with it. “You can control the amount and dosage more effectively by topping your dish with infused oil.” She said.

Fats and Oils Infuse with Ease

When infusing foods, it’s best to start with infusing a fat like butter, coconut oil, or olive oil due to the fat-soluble compounds found in cannabis. When asked what her preference was, Liv said, “I like coconut oil best – because it’s so versatile. You can eat it on its own, or make a topical with it. It’s easy to infuse, simple to repurpose, and can be used in so many different ways. Plus, it increases the bioavailability of terpenes.”

Infused cannabis oil, cooking with cannabis, oils to infuse with cannabis

Bioavailability is a fancy way to say that more of the good nutrients, terpenes, and compounds are able to be processed and utilized by the body. Because coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride, it metabolizes quickly and aids in the absorption of other nutrients. When we consume cannabis, we want to be absorbing as much as possible to utilize the plant effectively. So the pair is a natural match.

“A really good olive oil infusion is great too, especially as a finishing oil” she added. “ You can infuse the oil with other flavors like rosemary so you have really herbaceous flavors in with the infusion. You can drizzle it on anything – and it’s relatively easy to microdose with.”

And when asked if she prefers finishing oils over cooking with it she explained: “when you cook with it you’re just firing off a lot of the cannabinoids.” Once cannabis has been through the decarboxylation process of being heated and infused into the oil, reheating it can burn through the terpenes in the oil. “You’re not doing yourself any favors – you’re wasting your oil.”

How to Infuse Cannabis Oil

The next step toward creating your infused food is to make the oil. You can make it the old school way or use new technology made for infusion. Liv suggests a brand called Levo. “It’s smell proof and child proof. Set it and forget it – like a coffee pot. It makes infusing so easy.”  Another option is the Magical Butter Machine which is a step down from the technology of the Levo and a step up from a crock pot. Of course, if you have a crockpot, that will work just fine.

With such a versatile plant, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to infusing your food. Infuse an olive oil with herbs and cannabis and drizzle it on a salad. Infuse coconut oil and blend it into your coffee in the morning. Make some canna-butter and melt it into your mashed potatoes. Trial and error, properly calculating your dose, and trying new things are all a part of the process of finding the right edible options for you. Get creative, document your process, and remember – if you consume too much, a healthy dose of CBD will help to dissipate the effects quicker. Enjoy!

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Bri Smith

Bri Smith is the host of The Grass Class, a podcast and vlog that dives into the culture and business of cannabis. As a Los Angeles transplant from the land of lakes, cheese, and The Packers, she brings Midwest nice to the West coast advertising and marketing industries. She likes talking to dogs in weird voices and long blunts on the beach.