As far back as 6000 BCE, Chinese folks were utilizing hemp seeds for food and oil, and today, edibles make up a large bite of the legal marijuana market.
There are many reasons to eat your weed. From a wholly nutritional viewpoint, cannabis provides many health benefits. It’s a complete protein loaded with essential amino acids, vitamin A, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamin E, omega fatty acids, and other nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Plus, there are times when smoking is really not an option. Sporting events, movies, and long flights all benefit from a discreet edible. Having a few “scooby snacks” at the ready is the perfect way to drift through a nine-hour flight. For folks with COPD or asthma, chronic bronchitis, or compromised immune systems, smoking is often out of the question. But, they can still receive the medical benefits of cannabis from eating or drinking the plant.
We are lucky because here in Seattle, we have a ridiculous selection of edibles at our local dispensaries (and you should go eat them). But, there’s something to be said for making your own sweet treats, especially as we move into fall and Halloween season.
Creating your own edibles allows you to determine the quality of the ingredients and strength of the dosage. Having a hard time finding items that are vegan or gluten-free? Trying to cut your sugar or salt intake? Do you have food allergies? Want to work with specific ingredients for spiritual or cultural reasons? Cooking at home with cannabis gives you total control over those variables.
Still, eating cannabis is unquestionably different from smoking, dabbing, or vaping. When you eat weed, it will come on slowly — anywhere from a half hour to two hours depending on the method and your metabolism. Edibles can provide some of the best body highs, but they can also be very disorienting, especially if you’ve also been smoking. If you’re new to eating pot, I recommend you just stick to the edibles and save the tokes for another time. If you’re a veteran, then chow down, man.
I think the simplest way to learn how to cook with weed is to make your own canna-butter (or ghee) and then… cook some food with it! Use it just like you would regular butter, from making brownies to smearing some on toast. There are about a million recipes online, but I will remind you, no matter the method, the strength of your butter will always be influenced by the amount of THC in your plant material.
One of the oldest cannabis recipes in history is from 1475, written by a homeboy named Bartholomaeus Platina. He counsels that the chef recognizes the difference between “food for the body” and “food for the head” — reminding us all that cannabis is less of a food than it is an intoxicant and a medicine.
An extra indulgent way to enjoy weed is the delightful traditional libation, bhang. Similar to Indian lassi, this drink is a favorite from Southeast Asia to Northern India. Most bhang recipes call for up to 3.5 grams per serving. I tried half that and got my ass kicked. Your mileage may vary.
Last, I would be negligent if I didn’t consider mahjoun, that legendary Moroccan delicacy mentioned by stoned beatniks like William Burroughs and Paul Bowles. Composed of a savory blend of pistachios, hash, arrowroot, honey, and Medjool dates, mahjoun is resplendent with spices like cinnamon, turmeric, clove, cardamom, and star anise, sure to send you on a magic carpet ride.