Does Cooking With Cannabis Get Rid of the THC?



Photography by Jonathan Coward for Herb

Cooking with cannabis doesn’t have to be a gamble between accidentally being locked to the couch, or wondering, after hours of waiting, if you wasted all that weed for nothing. Edibles can be a truly enjoyable experience so long as precision is involved.

The first place to start is knowing how cannabis reacts when heated. THC starts to degrade and evaporate at approximately 365 degrees, which is why most recipes suggest hitting around 350 degrees, and staying there. Generally speaking, lower cooking temperatures are better to not lose potency.

While using butter and oil for frying is common, if you’re using canna-butter or oil, just be aware that you have to add it in at the end. Shut the heat off and mix the butter or oil around to coat everything while the pan is still hot.

Be sure to know how much THC you’re starting with to grant you some power over how you prepare the edibles. On average, most strains have about 10 percent THC, and a good starting point would be aiming for five milligrams per serving.

Does Cooking With Cannabis Get Rid of the THC 3 Does Cooking With Cannabis Get Rid of the THC?
Photography by Jonathan Coward for Herb

Beyond not evaporating the potency of your cannabis concoctions, there are other important considerations when cooking with cannabis.

While too much heat will annihilate your THC, some heat is necessary. It takes the process of adding heat or decarboxylation to make the chemical reaction that releases the THC in the first place. When cooking oils, tinctures, butter or other edible infusions, the process of decarboxylation starts at about 220-240 degrees Fahrenheit, with about half an hour to 45 minutes of exposure to that heat.

Grinding the plant material too finely when making marijuana butter or cannabis oil is counterintuitive. What you are trying the extract, the plant’s resinous trichomes, are on the buds and leaves not in them. According to Ardent Cannabis, there’s no need to grind cannabis before decarboxylation. Plus, leaving the trichomes intact can increase shelf life.

A common mistake with edibles is thinking they aren’t working and eating more. By the time it all kicks in, you’re stuck with anxiety or couch-lock for hours, and completely turned off from the experience. Go slow, eat less than you think, and wait longer than you would for most things.

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