Everything you need for easy Do-It-Yourself cannabis edibles (except the cannabis)
If the Government of Canada adheres to its current timeline, on October 17, 2019, cannabis legalization in Canada will be expanded to include the sales of THC and CBD infused edibles (as well as cannabis concentrates, extracts, beverages, and topical products).
Health Canada is currently reviewing feedback it received from its consultation with Canadians on edibles.
This public input will be used to determine what edible cannabis products will actually look like when they’re finally rolled out through legal channels.
Based on the current proposals, a few edibles regulations can be predicted with some confidence.
It’s certain there will be limits on the amount of THC per package of edibles.
If the draft regulations (above) are approved, the max amount of total THC in every package will be 10 mg (which could be one 10 mg unit or multiple units totalling 10 mg).
It also looks like each package of 10 mg THC (or less) edibles will need to be sold separately.
Edibles available in the legal market will have to be shelf-stable (in other words, the products won’t require refrigeration to prevent spoilage before they are opened).
Most importantly, edible cannabis products won’t appeal to kids (sorry, no gummy bears or lollipops) and all the packaging will need to be child-resistant.
Cannabis edibles are attractive to many cannabis consumers.
Smoking is a big turn-off for a lot of people, and vaping isn’t always convenient or discrete.
Market predictions back this preference up, as consumer spending on cannabis edibles is expected to quadruple to more than $4 billion annually in Canada and the U.S. by 2022.
October 2019 is just around the corner, but for those who don’t want to wait that long to access edible cannabis we have good news – you can quite easily make them yourself.
2½ Key Rules for Cannabis Edibles
But before we get into the list of everything you need to make your own cannabis edibles, there are some super-important general precautions you need to know and follow.
Rule #1: “Start Low and Go Slow.” Whenever you hear a horror story about edibles, the narrative is always the same.
1. Someone eats a normal dose of cannabis-infused edibles.
2. They get impatient waiting for the effects to hit them, so they eat more.
3. An hour or two later, everything they consumed kicks in and they realize they’ve taken way too much.
Based on this all-too-common experience, the golden rule for eating cannabis is to “Start Low and Go Slow.”
The guidelines published by Health Canada around consuming edibles for medical purposes advise starting off with a very small dose of THC (1mg) and then immediately stopping if any adverse side effects occur (e.g. dizziness, rapid heartbeat, depression, hallucinations).
Health Canada also informs us that the effects from ingesting cannabis edibles can be felt within as little as 30 minutes, or as long as 3 or 4 hours later, therefore “It is prudent to wait a minimum of 2 hours between administration of single doses of oral products to avoid possible overdosing.”
Rule #1½: Cannabis edibles are not for hunger (or for when you get the munchies!). As an extension of Rule #1, the next sub-rule is to avoid approaching cannabis edibles as a form of real food sustenance.
You shouldn’t ingest edibles on an empty stomach in the first place (eating non-infused food beforehand should help with digestion and absorption and protect against edibles hitting too intensely).
But more importantly, no matter how delicious they are, it’s not a good idea to eat cannabis edibles to satisfy your immediate hunger cravings.
If you’ve got the munchies from smoking or vaping, find something non-infused to binge-snack on.
It’s way too easy to go overboard if you let your hunger control your consumption of infused edibles rather than calculating an appropriate dosage.
Rule #2: Cannabis edibles MUST be kept away from underage people. Even if you’ve had conversations with your children about cannabis being for adults-only, it’s hard for any kid to resist eating something that looks like a tasty treat.
It’s therefore a really, really good idea to follow Health Canada’s proposed recommendations when making your own edibles and avoid formats that appeal to kids.
But no matter what recipe you choose for creating your homemade edibles, make sure you store them in a secure place where little hands can’t reach them.
Please keep reading… at the end of this article we have some excellent links to products for keeping all forms of your cannabis safe from kids.
Start by making “cannabutter” or infused coconut oil
One of the easiest methods for creating your own cannabis edibles at home is to infuse butter or oil.
Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are fat soluble, which means they can be extracted from the cannabis plant by heating them in a fatty oil carrier like butter or coconut oil, which can then be used in recipes.
First, you need to decarboxylate. Before you’re ready to infuse your cannabutter or infused coconut oil, you need to activate the THC or CBD within the cannabis.
When cannabis is heated at a low temperature, the non-psychoactive THCA is transformed into THC. Non-active CBDA is transformed into active CBD through the same process.
Preheat your oven between 220-235°F. Take 7 grams of 10%-15% THC cannabis flower (obtained legally of course) and grind it into a coarse powder, then spread it over parchment paper laid on top of a baking sheet and bake the cannabis in the oven for 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 2 cups of butter (for cannabutter) or 2 cups of coconut oil (for infused oils) in a crockpot or slow cooker set to Low (which should be somewhere around 160°F, and not higher than 200°F or you’ll risk ruining the batch by burning or boiling it).
Add the ground, decarboxylated cannabis to the butter or coconut oil and heat gently for 3 hours, giving it a stir a few times each hour.
Turn off the crockpot and let cool, then strain by placing a funnel lined with cheesecloth over a glass jar and pouring the crockpot contents through the filter.
Technology makes it even easier. If all that sounds like too much of a hassle you can always get yourself a handy-dandy countertop appliance.
The Magical Butter 2 machine (above) can automatically make either infused oil or cannabutter without the need to decarboxylate separately.
How to calculate THC/CBD dosages for DIY edibles
Knowing how much THC and/or CBD is in each individual dose can be the trickiest part of making your own edibles.
To give you a benchmark, 5mg of THC is usually considered a conservative dose, and half of that (2.5 mg) is recommended as a starting point for complete beginners (after testing for adverse side effects with a 1 mg dose as per Health Canada’s guidelines above).
As mentioned, 10 mg will likely be the max for individual edibles packages available via Canadian recreational retail channels.
Thankfully, the folks at HowtoEdibles.com provide a handy interactive Edible Dosage Calculator to assist in determining the level of cannabinoids in each dose of your edibles.
Recipe #1: Using 7g of 10% THC/CBD flower. If you used 7g of cannabis flower containing 10% THC (or 10% CBD) and extracted all of the available THC or CBD into 2 cups of butter or oil, the total THC or CBD in the resulting 2 cups of infused butter or oil would be 700 mg.
Therefore, the dosage would be approximately 21.88 mg of THC or CBD per tablespoon of cannabutter or infused oil (since a tablespoon is 1/16th of a cup), or 7.2 mg per teaspoon (a teaspoon is 1/48th of a cup).
Recipe #2: Using 7g of 15% THC/CBD flower. If you utilize cannabis with 15% THC or CBD for the same 2 cup recipe, you’d extract 1050 mg total THC or CBD.
A tablespoon of infused oil or cannabutter will be around 32.8 mg THC/CBD and a teaspoon will be 10.94 mg THC/CBD.
Here’s how to calculate a batch of one hundred doses of 2.5 mg THC/CBD edibles. Let’s say you wanted to make 100 individual edibles with a dosage of 2.5mg THC or CBD each.
Using recipe #1 (10% THC/CBD): Let’s also say you’re using the cannabutter or coconut oil from the first example above (which used 7 grams of 10% THC cannabis flower to infuse 2 cups of butter/oil).
You would only need 250 mg total THC or CBD to create 100 doses at 2.5 mg, which is 35.7% of the total 700 mg THC/CBD infused into the 2 cups of cannabutter/oil you made in recipe #1.
Therefore, you only need to use 168.8 ml (just under ¾ of one cup) of the infused butter/oil from the first recipe if you want each of your 100 doses to contain 2.5 mg of THC or CBD.
Using recipe #2 (15% THC/CBD): If you used 15% THC or CBD cannabis to make your 2 cups of infused butter/oil (see recipe #2), you’d only need to use 109 ml (just under ½ of a cup) of the butter or oil to create 100 doses at 2.5 mg of THC or CBD each.
Consistent dosing/portion sizes are also important. Another key tip for creating your own edibles is to mix your recipes very well to make sure the THC and/or CBD is evenly distributed throughout your edibles.
You should also make whatever effort you can to ensure the servings are all the same size.
For example if you’re making cookies, measure the amount of dough you’re using for each unit to ensure they are all the same size.
There’s no shortage of edibles recipes
Cannabis infused oils and cannabutter are extremely versatile and can be utilized in most recipes with cooking fats or oils as ingredients.
To help you choose the recipe that’s right for you and your preferences, a simple Google search for “Cannabis Edibles Recipes” produces countless hits.
There’s also a huge selection of cannabis cookbooks available today.
Cedella Marley (daughter of legendary reggae icon and cannabis rebel Bob Marley) has published a collection of 75 infused recipes entitled Cooking with Herb.
Jamaican flavours combine with cannabis-infused oils and cannabutter to create an entire range of spicy THC and/or CBD-enriched dishes spanning from breakfast items to snacks to desserts.
Let’s watch Netflix and cook. If you’re more of a cooking show person than a cookbook person you might prefer to check out the Netflix original series Cooking on High for potential recipe inspiration.
During each episode, a pair of chefs compete for votes from a panel of “very chill” celebrity judges by creating dishes featuring one special ingredient: Cannabis.
Keep all your cannabis safe and secure with a lock box
As we mentioned earlier, keeping edible cannabis (and all other forms of the herb) away from young people is an absolute must.
The Ontario Cannabis Store website has an entire page featuring Secure Storage products.
You can get a childproof bag for under $5 or go all-out and get a multi-compartment, smell-proof Silverton Locking Storage box from Stash Logix (above) for $95.
You don’t have to wait until October for cannabis edibles
The expected expansion of the recreational cannabis regulations to include legal access to edibles, concentrates, topicals, extracts and beverages in October will be a welcome milestone for Canadian consumers.
In the meantime, there’s really no reason to wait if edible cannabis is your preferred method of consumption.
Just remember to follow the 2½ Key Rules for Cannabis Edibles and please do the supplied math and use the linked online calculator when you’re measuring your dosages.
Do you have any recipes or techniques for cannabis edibles you’d like to share?
If so, please leave them in the comments below, we’d love to hear them!
Health Canada. (2016). Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations – Daily Amount Fact Sheet (Dosage). (Link)
Marley, Cedella. (2017). Cooking with Herb. Pam Krauss Books.