Cooking with flower can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time making edibles or you’re not an experienced cook. There are a lot of variables and opportunities for mistakes that don’t exist in regular cooking. Knowing what to expect going in as well as what mistakes to avoid can make the cooking process (and the outcome) a lot smoother.
Edibles are created by infusing cooking oils or butter with psychoactive flower. Since they go through your digestive system instead of directly into your bloodstream, it takes a lot longer for their effects to kick in than other consumption methods, but they usually last longer. That sensitive timing is exactly where the consequences of some of these mistakes can play out. (We’ve all heard the horror stories.) Read on to learn how to avoid these rookie mistakes when making edibles and embrace your inner canna-chef.
1) Cooking With Raw Flower
Contrary to what you’ve seen in movies, consuming raw flower will not have any psychoactive effects on you. That’s because the flower first has to be activated. The therapeutic compounds, or cannabinoids, of the raw plant exist in their acidic form. That means they’re too big to bind to cannabinoid receptors in our body, so they physically can’t impart a high. Activating them removes the acidic element, enabling them to fit into our receptors. So, before you infuse your oil or butter with flower, you first have to activate it if your goal is to experience psychoactive effects.
Activating flower requires heat. You can do it in the oven by breaking your flower into small pieces, spreading them out on a sheet of parchment paper, covering it with foil, and baking it for 25–30 minutes at 230℉. Be careful, though—too much heat can degrade cannabinoids, so keep an eye on the time and make sure things are cooking evenly. For a consistent, guaranteed activation with less degradation, try using the LĒVO II. Our lab test results show that the LĒVO’s temperature-controlled patented system maximizes the potency and consistency of your flower. You can easily activate your flower with the default Activate setting, and you can also use it to infuse your oil or butter once the activation is complete, all in the same machine. You don’t need to use the Dry setting on your LĒVO II for flower, only Activate.
2) Not Testing Your Infusion’s Potency Before Cooking
Edibles are infamous for hitting harder than other consumption methods, so it’s helpful to know what you’re getting yourself into. Before making your edibles, test your infused oil or butter on its own to get a feel for how strong it is. Fortunately, infusions are easy to dose since they’re liquid. Use a teaspoon or dropper to try your infusion on its own, or drizzle it onto some food and ingest it that way. Wait at least 2 hours before judging its effects. This will give you a better idea of how strong your batch of edibles will be so you can start to figure out how much might be too much. If you’re using a LĒVO machine and need to increase potency, simply add an extra LĒVO Power Pod to your infusion.
3) Over-Grinding Your Flower
Over-grinding your flower can seriously impact the flavor of your edibles, and not in a good way. What you’re trying to infuse your oil or butter with are the trichomes on the outside of the flower, so there’s not really a need to finely grind your flower anyway. Doing so just adds extra plant material to the infusion, which makes for a more earthy, green taste and a greener color.
Try to grind your flower into the same texture as coarsely ground salt. This also applies if you’re infusing with the LĒVO II since anything too finely ground will seep through the herb pod into your infusion.
4) Not Evenly Distributing Your Infusion
If your infusion is not evenly distributed throughout your recipe, you risk the possibility of consuming too much.
You want your edibles to offer a consistent experience so there’s less risk of under-doing or overdoing it. If your recipe doesn’t have an even distribution of c-nnabinoids, you’re not going to have a consistent experience with each treat.
The best way to avoid one bite doing nothing and another bite doing too much is to stir your recipe like you mean it. Seriously—once you add your infused oil or butter to your recipe, stir until you’re sure everything’s evenly distributed, and then stir it again. And again.
5) Spending Too Much on Flower (And Using Too Much of It)
When it comes to making edibles, there’s no need to buy top-shelf flower. In fact, you don’t necessarily even need whole flower—you can infuse oils and butter using stems, leaves, trim, or shake. You also don’t need a ton to achieve the desired effects. The Cannabist notes that “…it is safe to assume that a gram of [flower] contains at least 100mg [of] THC,” so keep that in mind when divvying up your herbs.1
The LĒVO II makes it easier to avoid using too much with its stainless steel Power Pod. It can hold up to half a cup of dried herbs, leaving you room to create an infusion with as little or as much potency as you want. Simply pack your coarsely-ground flower, stems, or leaves into the pod, making sure to leave room for air circulation. Plus, if you need to increase potency, you can easily add another LĒVO Power Pod.
6) Ignoring Strain Choice
As with any other consumption method, the strain of flower you choose has an effect on your experience. It’s important to not only consider indicas versus sativas but to also consider the terpene profile of the strain.
Terpenes give flower—and all plants—their taste and smell, but they also interact with our bodies. Myrcene, for example, is a terpene with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Limonene, a citrusy terpene also found in fruits like oranges and lemons, offers mood-elevating effects and can even improve the absorption of other terpenes in your digestive tract.2
Paying attention to your strain choice can help you determine if you’re making daytime or nighttime edibles and help you better tailor the effects of your edibles.
7) Trying to Get Every Last Drop of Your Infusion
If you’re not making your infusion with LĒVO II, you’re going to need to manually strain the flower out of your oil or butter. The best way to do so is usually with cheesecloth. You’ll be tempted to squeeze out every last drop, but don’t. Doing so can cause excess plant material to seep through which can negatively impact the flavor. Instead, put the cheesecloth over a bowl or pot, pour the infusion on top, and let gravity strain it for you.
Better yet, infuse with LĒVO II and don’t worry about straining anything—just get straight to making edibles.
8) Eating Too Much
And lastly, the most common advice given for making edibles that’s also the most often ignored—don’t eat too much. Ingesting flower is not the same as smoking or vaping it; it will take longer, sometimes much longer, to feel the effects.
If you tested the potency of your infusion before making your edibles, you should have a decent idea of how potent your batch is, but it’s still important to start low and go slow. Take one bite, eat one cookie, have one serving—however you want to start—and then wait, at least an hour, before considering a second helping.
Making edibles is trial and error, but there are steps you can take to avoid as much error as possible. The important thing is not to rush it and pay attention to every step. Too much heat, too much flower, too little stirring—it all has an effect on the outcome of your edible and its effects.
The easiest way to avoid these rookie edible mistakes is to create your infusions with the LĒVO II. With an activate and an infuse cycle ready at the push of a button, you don’t have to worry about over-cooking your flower or over-straining your infusion. Plus, with its large herb pod, you can add other herbs into the mix for a flavorful edible with even more therapeutic benefit. The edible rookie just became the edible MVP! For more information on what you need to create your own edibles at home, check out this post highlighting important THC Edible Essentials.