Thanks to the legalization of cannabidiol, also known as CBD, in all 50 states, edibles have taken on new meaning. CBD products have been finding their way onto menus at bars and eateries across the country, but many health departments have recently been cracking down and banning their sale at these establishments.
So if you want to sink your teeth into a treat made with CBD, your best bet may be to make it yourself. Here’s what you need to know about baking with CBD.
It won’t get you high, but it may help relieve symptoms of anxiety and pain.
CBD comes from the same plant as marijuana, but it’s non-psychoactive, meaning it will not get you high. Instead, you may feel relaxed and experience other benefits like reduced inflammation and anxiety. Some studies show that CBD is great as a sleep aid because it relaxes the central nervous system (as opposed to triggering a high), and other studies show it has the potential to help fight anxiety.
That’s why Janelle Lassalle, a Portland, Oregon, cannabis consultant and baker, is such a fan of the supplement. “While its effect may differ from person to person, for me CBD is a source of blissful calm,” she told HuffPost. Besides being fun to bake with, she likes that it helps her stay present while alleviating pains and regulating her moods.
How to get CBD into your baked goods.
CBD needs to be extracted into a fat if you’re going to bake with it. The simplest way to do this is by purchasing a full-spectrum CBD tincture (one that contains other cannabinoids besides CBD) with a coconut oil base (like this one) and dropping it into your recipe of choice. How much you use will depend on your desired dosage per serving. For example, if you’re making a dozen cookies, you’ll want to multiply the recommended dosage by 12 and add it to the recipe.
You can also get fancy and infuse CBD into butter or oil, either using an isolate in powder form or by making your own extraction. Admittedly, making your own extraction is labor-intensive, but for bakers like Taria Camerino, an Atlanta-based chef and the founder of Alchimique Botanicals, it’s worth it. “I don’t use any isolates at all,” she told HuffPost. “I take [hemp flowers] and do an extraction like in sunflower oil, olive oil or anything like that.” Making your own CBD extract means that the potency will likely be stronger than a store-bought tincture, and by choosing your own hemp flowers (which are easily available online), you can ensure that the infusion is actually high-quality.
Home bakers looking to up their game may want to consider investing in products that help make the process easier. Lassalle likes to use the Ardent Nova to decarboxylate (activate) the hemp and the Magical Butter machine to infuse it into the oil. But buying these products will set you back close to $400, so if you’re not ready to commit to pricy machinery, you may want to try one of the stovetop methods, like this one or this one.
Whether you use a store-bought CBD tincture or make your own extract, know that it will take on a strong, earthy flavor. Andrew LeStourgeon, owner of Monarch and the Milkweed in Burlington, Vermont, has been baking with CBD for nearly a decade. When it comes to the weedy flavor of CBD oils, he suggests embracing the taste and pairing it wisely. “Weedy taste and perfume and aroma [go] well with chocolates, all kinds of chocolate: white, milk, and dark,” he told HuffPost. “It can also be masked with pepperminty, menthol aided flavors, like pine, or peppermint and spearmint, menthol. Anything that has menthol teeth to it will mask the flavor.” If the earthy flavor isn’t for you, using an isolate is the way to go, as it is flavorless.
To make the most out of your CBD baking experience, try to avoid the common beginner’s mistakes. Most importantly: Watch your baking temperature. Lassalle said “the terpenes in cannabis—aromatic molecules that yield distinct types of highs—are really volatile, meaning they burn off at high temperatures. You want to make sure that you bake at temperatures no greater than 340 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures the terpenes won’t burn off, leaving you with the most potent form of the cannabis possible.” She also warns to be careful about which CBD product you work with. “Products that are full spectrum deliver all of the plant’s beneficial compounds so those are ideal; you also want to look for products that are lab tested and pesticide free.”
You can incorporate CBD into any recipe, but start off with something you know and feel comfortable with, like brownies or cookies. You can swap out the amount of regular butter in a recipe with CBD-infused butter if you’ve made your own.
Once you’ve mastered those, get creative! “My favorite was a dark chocolate cookie I made that I added orange, chili and a hint of cardamom to; you couldn’t taste the cannabis at all,” Lassalle said.
Perhaps the best piece of advice is from LeStourgeon, who said, “Take the time and make sure to scrape the [batter] bowl, and really emphasize that you’re working with something pretty special here. It’s a little bit more important than perhaps salt might be.”