With the recent legalization of cannabis edibles in Canada, you’ve likely been wondering about the new products that are starting to show up in stores and online.
Cannabis edibles are food products that have been infused with cannabis, such as beverages, candy, baked goods, or dissolvable strips. Many people consume cannabis edibles rather than dried flower since they don’t require lung inhalation. Plus, the effects generally last longer than other consumption methods (up to four hours), as well as take longer to kick in [*]. As with any cannabis dosage, it’s recommended to start low and go slow.
While cannabis edibles can take many forms, they each go through a similar process to be created. Here’s how:
Step 1: A cannabis extract is created or dried cannabis flower is decarboxylated
A cannabis extract is created
The first step Licensed Producers take when making cannabis-infused food products is creating a cannabis extract using a number of different methods, such as CO2 extraction. Depending on how the extract is made, decarboxylation may still need to occur. For example, in CO2 extraction, you will need to decarboxylate the material, whereas with a rosin press, you can skip decarboxylation since heat has already been applied. During decarboxylation, THCA (the non-intoxicating compound) transforms into THC (the intoxicating compound).
Or, the dried cannabis flower goes through decarboxylation
If the cannabis edibles are made from dried flower rather than extract, then the flower has to go through decarboxylation, a process that involves baking the cannabis in the oven. When vaping or smoking cannabis, the decarboxylation process naturally occurs due to the heat of the flame or chamber, which changes the molecular compound of THCA into the intoxicating THC. If the flower isn’t decarboxylated prior to making edibles, the cannabis will contain THCA, not THC, therefore there will be no intoxicating effects [*].
Step 2: A cannabis cooking base is created
Once the herb has been decarbed, a cannabis cooking base needs to be created since the plant is fat-soluble [*]. Examples of cannabis bases include cannabis-infused butter, oil, and simple syrup. These recipes provide the foundation for cannabis edibles, no matter if the product is chocolate, candy, baked goods, or beverages. When the cannabis cooking base is created, it’s cooked on low heat in order to preserve the terpene and cannabinoid profile.
Step 3: The cooking base is added to a recipe
Once the strain is chosen, decarboxylation has occurred, and a cannabis cooking base is created, it is then added into a recipe to make the final product. This step allows Licensed Producers tons of freedom, since it can be added to unique, delicious recipes.