Cooking With CBD
One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to experiment with CBD is to use it in cooking. Consumers taking CBD often use it in their dishes and drinks: it makes for a creative way of consuming CBD and also masks its characteristic earthy flavour, for those who do not particularly like it.
Although there are no specific rules when it comes to cooking with CBD, users tend to follow certain guidelines to make sure the CBD in their dishes retains its qualities while still maintaining its properties and making the most out of its potential.
CBD and its variety of forms
Nowadays, there are several ways we can consume CBD: edibles, gummies, tinctures, oils, nano-emulsions, crystals, isolates, and pills, to mention just a few. While edibles and gummies are usually consumed on their own, other CBD forms can be added to food and drinks.
Why should I use CBD?
Although there is ongoing research regarding the effectiveness—or not—of CBD, many people choose to experiment with this cannabinoid to alleviate conditions and illnesses.
According to both initial research findings and anecdotal evidence, CBD may help alleviate the symptoms of inflammation and chronic pain, anxiety and depression, and social anxiety. It is proven to work with epilepsy and in January 2020 the NHS approved Epidyolex for children who suffer from two rare forms of epilepsy.
While research is still ongoing on other potential health benefits, people are already exploring the world of CBD.
CBD is legal in the UK as a food supplement as long as it contains under 0.2% of THC. However, there are few NHS guidelines concerning CBD dosage, which means that users need to determine their own CBD doses.
Thankfully, and according to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence of CBD addiction or overdose. This makes experimenting with CBD relatively safe.
How should I choose my CBD?
Before you can start cooking with CBD, you need to buy your CBD oil. But not all CBD is equal. And with so many brands out there, how can you choose the right one?
Below, you will find some basic tips on how to choose your CBD.
Always choose high-quality CBD products
Don’t be fooled by a cheap price. CBD production is an expensive process. Although there have been reports of exorbitant CBD prices that don’t reflect the end product, it’s preferable to choose a quality CBD product—and that often means a more expensive one.
Ask around, research online, and contact a CBD manufacturer to gauge their quality and attention to detail. Also, read the online reviews. People will tell you which products work and which don’t.
Prefer organic CBD
Whenever possible, choose organically grown CBD. CBD is obtained from the hemp plant, which is often used in phytoremediation. Phytoremediation is a process whereby farmers use plants to clean up soils from heavy metals and pesticides. Hemp is excellent for this: it’s hardy, grows everywhere, needs little care, and easily absorbs pollutants from the soil.
Choosing organically grown CBD means that your CBD does not contain such harmful substances and is better, purer, and safer for consumption.
Ask for Certificates of Analysis
Even if your CBD is not organic, you can choose the right CBD manufacturer or producer by checking to see if their products carry a Certificate of Analysis.
These certificates indicate the exact composition of their CBD products, including the content of THC—which should always be under 0.2%—and the content of CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes.
The certificates should also inform consumers of any other ingredients such as coconut oil. Overall, these certificates can help you determine the purity and potency of the CBD product.
Most reputable manufacturers display their certificates online or make them available upon request. In contrast, producers who don’t carry such certificates appear relatively dubious and unprofessional.
Cooking with CBD: basic rules
Cooking with CBD can be enjoyable, particularly because it requires no extra work or preparation.
Tell your friends you are cooking with CBD
Keep in mind that if you are cooking with CBD for friends, you should always mention it. CBD interacts with medication such as antidepressants, antibiotics, and blood thinners among many others. It won’t cause a “high” and its use is not recreational. Your guests might be on medication or suffer from a condition like glaucoma, which CBD might exacerbate.
CBD likes oily substances
CBD is fat-soluble, which means that it dissolves in fat rather than water.
For CBD to better dissolve in our food, it’s best to infuse it or mix it with fatty ingredients such as butter, nut oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or any other oily substance of your choice. It works well with naturally fatty foods such as avocado, nuts, olives, dark chocolate, and eggs.
CBD loses its potency in high temperatures
CBD loses its potency in high temperatures. Likewise, any terpenes—natural compounds that give cannabis its characteristic aroma—that might be present tend to disappear when heated. Also, CBD tends to taste bitter when overheated, making it quite unpalatable in a dish or drink.
That’s why connoisseurs cooking with CBD prefer to prepare dishes and drinks that require minimal heating. If you choose a dish that needs heating, try not to heat it beyond a maximum temperature of 150 °C (300 °F).
For all these reasons, CBD should be either consumed raw or after preparation that only requires medium heat.
Start low and go slow
This is the most oft-repeated advice regarding CBD: start low and go slow.
Starting low means a daily CBD dose of 5 to 10 mg. Increase the dosage incrementally until you perceive some possible benefits. You can also consult our CBD dosage calculator.
This advice is also valid when cooking. It’s best to calculate your CBD dosage before starting your cooking experimentation.
Similarly, remember that putting CBD in sauces means you need to finish the whole sauce if you want to take the entire CBD dosage you initially intended. If you are unsure about the quantity of CBD you ultimately consume, it’s easier to put in a smoothie or beverage that you are bound to finish.
Check yourself regularly for any CBD side-effects such as nausea, drowsiness, or dry mouth and increase your doses slowly over several days.
Ideas for cooking with CBD
Chocolate and CBD: the ultimate combination
Most people’s first experimentation with CBD in the kitchen is with chocolate.
Chocolate is an easy way of cooking with CBD, especially because dark chocolate already contains useful fats. By adding extra fats such as coconut oil or nuts oils, CBD gets even more soluble.
CBD chocolates can be readily consumed and have an added bonus: you can easily calculate how much CBD each chocolate contains, thus keeping tab of your daily CBD dosage.
Dressings, sauces, marinades, and vinaigrettes
CBD combines well in sauces, marinades, and salad dressings, especially because such concoctions already have oily substances: think of olive oil, butter, mayo, sesame oil, or eggs.
As an added benefit, dressings, sauces, and vinaigrettes require minimum heating, making CBD more bioavailable to your body.
Spreads and purees
Purees and spreads are an interesting way of cooking with CBD.
A dish of mashed potatoes with butter is the obvious example but there are so many others such as bean dips, guacamole, pesto, cheese spread, hummus, or pesto.
Since CBD is fat-soluble, many people choose to prepare their own CBD-infused butter. Once prepared, this can be used in various dishes. Again, consumers should keep track of how much CBD their CBD butter contains.
The easiest way to prepare CBD butter is to mix butter, water, and CBD. Let it simmer for a few hours at very low heat.
Drinking your CBD
Drinking CBD is an easy and straightforward way of consuming it. It is also an easy way to measure exactly how much CBD you are consuming.
CBD can be added to coffee and smoothies: smoothies have the extra benefit that they contain fats (think of the milk or yogurt), making CBD even more soluble
Full-fat milk is better for CBD but users should always check with their doctor if they have a condition that requires a low-fat diet. It is unreasonable to start consuming a high-fat diet just for your CBD.
You may also prefer nano-emulsions instead of CBD oil for your drinks. Nano-emulsions consists of microscopic droplets of CBD oil encapsulated within water molecules. This makes them water-soluble, so you don’t end up with droplets of CBD oil on the side of your glass or cup. Also, you consume the whole quantity, thus increasing CBD’s bioavailability.
CBD and alcohol
Instead of cooking with CBD, some prefer to add it to alcoholic beverages and cocktails.
However, there’s limited research on the interaction of CBD with alcohol. People should avoid mixing CBD with alcohol, as there are concerns that they could intensify each other’s effects. Unwanted side-effects include drowsiness and sleepiness.
Moreover, the effects of alcohol depend on variables such as metabolism, body weight, and frequency of consumption. It’s likely that the interaction of CBD with alcohol also varies between individuals, making it a volatile and unpredictable combination.
A few useful thoughts about cooking with CBD
CBD may have a taste
Some people like CBD’s characteristic earthy aroma. Others don’t.
If you would like to hide the characteristic aroma of CBD, you could mix it with other, stronger-tasting ingredients.
Often, high-quality CBD products usually have milder aromas than low-quality ones. Checking various brands can provide you with a CBD product that has a smoother taste.
The process used to extract CBD also matters. Highly processed CBD products like nano-emulsions and CBD isolate have little to no flavour, while less-processed products like full-spectrum CBD carry a strong flavour because of the terpenes included with the CBD.
CBD in food is slow-acting
When cooking with CBD, the CBD you eat enters your stomach. The digestive system breaks it down before entering the bloodstream. This can take up to a few hours, making CBD consumed with food or drinks slow-acting.
Also, because CBD is broken down by the digestive system, it loses part of its potency. The bioavailability of CBD in food—how much CBD actually enters your bloodstream—can be as low as 15%.
Sweet and savoury
Cooking with CBD means you can put it in sweet and savoury dishes alike. Experimenting with what you like will give you a better picture of how to consume CBD and what works for you. All you need to remember is to use high-fat ingredients when using CBD oil. If that’s not possible, nano-emulsions may be a better choice.
Cooking with CBD: an expanding field
As CBD products flood physical and online shelves, novel recipes, ideas, and concoctions that incorporate CBD are constantly created. From CBD-infused butter to chocolate-infused CBD, there’s a whole world of culinary experimentation out there to explore.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to cooking with CBD. Have fun, get inspired, and follow the simple guidelines mentioned above. That way, you can avoid some common pitfalls and explore how CBD in your cooking can enrich your life!