South Africa’s very own Cannabis Guru is here to school you on getting green in the kitchen.
Kelly McQue is a Durban-based mom, wife, cancer survivor and cannabis enthusiast. Through her blog thecannabisguru.co.za she offers cannabis cooking courses, and expert tips and tricks for the aspiring baker.
We got the lowdown from her on getting the best out of your bud baking adventures.
How to make cannabis oil at home
“The easiest, cheapest and most versatile method of extracting cannabis is with coconut oil,” Kelly says. “Its naturally high saturated fat content makes it excellent for extraction and acts as a natural preservative.”
We should warn you at this point that infusing your own oil is a lot more demanding than a quick fry up. Good extraction takes time, and a hot stove can’t be left unsupervised. So plan on some solid hours spent in the kitchen with a wooden spoon!
The raw ingredients you’ll need are coconut oil and dry cannabis. The ratio should be about 100mls of oil for every 10 grams of cannabis.
- Remove seeds and stalks from your dry cannabis, and grind or chop it up finely.
- Put a double boiler or bain marie on the stove. There should be a big pot at the bottom with boiling water in it, and a smaller pot resting on top with your coconut oil in it. This system protects your coconut oil from overheating: it should NEVER bubble or boil, because that damages the cannabinoids.
- When the oil is melted, add your finely chopped bud and stir it in with a wooden spoon.
- Get comfortable because you’ll be babysitting your gently infusing oil for the next 6 hours. It’ll be worth it for the best possible quality oil. You can switch the stove off for a bit if you need to go do something, but the total time should amount to 6 hours.
- When time is up, let the liquid cool a bit, then strain it through a muslin cloth, stocking or sieve to remove the plant matter. Store it in a glass jar, where it will solidify as it cools down.
“Cannabis infused coconut oil can be used as medicine, in baking, in massage ad bath oils, body creams and even toothpaste,” Kelly says. “Oil based infusions are great in sauces, baking and savory meals.”
Don’t hate; decarboxylate!
If you want to feel the effects of THC in your baking, then you need to heat treat your bud before you bake or extract in oil. That’s because THC isn’t highly concentrated in the raw material of weed – only THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). Once it’s heated, like when you smoke, the THCA will be converted into THC you’re looking for.
So before you bake edibles, preheat your oven to 105 degrees celsius. Grind up your cannabis and spread it on a baking tray. Chuck it in the oven for 30-45 minutes. When it’s done, it’ll be properly potent, decarboxylated and ready to be incorporated into a recipe or oil.
But not if you’re making medibles
Kelly says that if you’re making medicinal edibles, you need to keep a very close eye on the temperatures that you heat it to.
“Many of the more delicate terpenes and cannabinoids are sensitive to heat and can be damaged or destroyed by high temperatures or prolonged exposure to heat,” she says. “Cannabidiol (CBD) degrades at a lower temperature than THC, so for medibles that require more CBD, I tend to skip the decarboxylation process and if I can, I try add the cannabis concentrate/infusion as late into the baking process as possible to try and preserve those important phytochemicals.”
Date Ball Buzz: The Cannabis Guru’s favourite recipe
“This is my absolute best recipe because it’s easy, it’s quick, it’s tasty and it’s extremely healthy! These yummy energy balls will not only give you a pleasant buzz, but they are packed with nutritional goodness that will fuel you for a while. The recipe makes about 24 balls.”
½ cup of desiccated coconut
½ cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons powdered cocoa
½ a cup sesame, sunflower, hemp and pumpkin seeds (use them all mixed or just pick your favourites)
4 tablespoons of honey (the vegan alternative is syrup)
6 tablespoons of cannabis infused coconut oil
1. Combine everything in a mixing bowl until you reach an even distribution of ingredients.
2. Using your hands, mold your mixture into 24 evenly sized balls and place them on a baking tray.
3. Place the tray in the fridge for 1 hour to allow the balls to set.
4. Eat and enjoy!
Zootly says: You won’t die from an overdose of cannabis, but the side effects can be pretty gnarly. To avoid accidentally launching yourself on a trip you didn’t bargain for, check out The Cannabis Guru’s coconut oil infusion dosing guide.