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Cooking with Cannabidiol: Dosing Basics and Recipes

If you know how to cook with THC, then you can cook with cannabidiol (CBD). The two essential cannabinoids have a lot in common; after all, they come from the same plant—cannabis sativa.

If you’re cooking with a high-CBD whole-plant cannabis strain, the techniques are identical to a high-THC strain. But in many areas of the country, the only options people have is CBD isolates or distillates. No worries. Whether it’s concentrated CBD or a crystallized CBD isolate, you can still use it to cook with.

Decarboxylation, Temperature and CBD

The acidic form of CBD-A present in raw cannabis has many medicinal benefits. However, for the full CBD effect, you’ll want to decarboxylate (heat in oven) at least some of your cannabis, just as you would when extracting THC. CBD concentrates or isolates may be decarbed already (most are), so check the labels to see if this step is necessary.

Decarb high-CBD strains (defined as 90% or more of total cannabinoid content) for 15 minutes at 220°F in order to dry the plant material, and then another 60 minutes at 250°F for decarboxylation. Since oils and isolates don’t need to be dried, you can just decarb for 60 minutes at 250°F, if it’s needed at all.

Add the decarbed concentrate or isolate to butter or a cooking oil and heat gently until dissolved and well combined. Use a slow cooker or double boiler for this step.

According to Project CBD, there’s no exact boiling point for CBD, but it’s in the 320°F-338°F range, slightly higher than THC. Make sure to keep your infused butter or oil temperature well below this temperature range.

If recipes involve stirring ingredients into hot liquids, you can forgo the infusion step with concentrated oils and stir the CBD directly into recipes. Crystalized distillates are even easier; simply sprinkle on or in nearly any food you’re preparing.

Keep in mind that CBD, like THC, metabolizes better in the presence of fat, so it’s best to use in recipes that contain fat. Alternately, consume nonfat CBD edibles accompanied by a fat-containing food or beverage.

CBD Edibles Dosing

The most challenging part of cooking with CBD is dosing, but since CBD is non-psychoactive, the effects of too much CBD, if they’re felt at all, will not be as intense as too much THC. Consuming too much CBD has no known side effects.

When mixed with THC, far lower doses of CBD are needed, often as little as 2.5 milligrams. However, those using a pure CBD isolate will require a much higher dose.

Everyone’s CBD needs are different, and while one person may do well on a low dose of 2.5 mg, others will need up to a gram more.

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil

Some people are confused when it comes to hemp oil. CBD oil can be made from the hemp plant, usually pressed from the flowers, leaves and stems. However, not all hemp oil is CBD oil. Nutritional hemp oil, which does not contain CBD but is still a healthy oil to incorporate into your diet, is pressed from hemp seeds.

Very Green CBD and Hemp Smoothie

Get your day off to a healthy start with this smoothie packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidant-rich super foods.

¾ cup coconut water
1 cup spinach leaves, packed
1 small banana, peeled and frozen
1 cup pineapple chunks, frozen
½ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 large dates, pitted
1 tbsp. raw hemp seeds, shelled
¼-½ gm concentrated CBD oil or CBD isolate/distillate

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Makes 2 servings

Photo by Mitch Mandell

Spicy CBD Kale Chips

This is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to use CBD-infused olive oil, regardless of if you make the oil from a high-CBD strain of cannabis or a concentrate or distillate.

12 oz. kale, fresh
2 tbsp. CBD-infused olive oil
1 tsp. seasoning salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 250ºF. Wash kale well to remove all dirt. Run your fingers down the length of the stem and strip leaves while keeping the leaves as large as possible. Dry the leaves using a salad spinner, a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Place dry kale leaves in a large bowl, drizzle with CBD-infused oil and toss to coat, massaging the oil in to give the kale a thin, even coating. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and cayenne and toss again. Spread leaves in a single layer on two large baking sheets taking care not to overcrowd them. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets once halfway through. When finished, leaves will still be intact, but completely dry to the touch. Cool before storing in an airtight container. Makes 6 servings.

Photo by Mitch Mandell

CBD Vegan Stir-Fry

This handy stir-fry recipe is a terrific way to use up leftover veggies in your fridge and cook with what’s on hand.

2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. soy, canola or vegetable oil
3 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup soy sauce
1 gm concentrated CBD oil or CBD isolate/distillate
8 cups assorted fresh vegetables, sliced and diced
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. cornstarch
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
Cooked brown rice for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together honey and sesame oil. Add cut vegetables into honey/oil mixture to coat. Set aside. In a small sauce pan, mix vegetable stock, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, CBD concentrate or isolate, cornstarch and pepper. Heat oil in a wok over high flame. Stir-fry honey-coated veggies for two minutes. Add sauce mixture to vegetables, reduce heat to medium-high and cook until thickened, stirring constantly, for six minutes. Serve over cooked rice, garnished with toasted almonds. Makes 4 servings.

Photo by Mitch Mandell

CBD Tuna and White Bean Salad

Canned tuna fish pairs with delicate white beans in this fiber-rich entrée-sized salad.

1 can tuna, preferably packed in olive oil and drained
1 can (15 oz.) white beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup yellow onion, minced
¼ cup celery, minced
½ tsp. garlic, minced
3 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼-½ gm concentrated CBD oil or CBD isolate/distillate
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups salad greens for serving

In a large bowl, toss together drained tuna, beans, onion, celery and parsley until well mixed. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, CBD oil or distillate, salt and pepper. Add dressing to tuna mixture until all ingredients are well combined. Place one cup each of salad greens on two chilled plates and divide tuna mixture between them. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Vegan CBD Chia Seed Pudding

Neutral in flavor and a natural thickener, nutritious chia seeds boost the intake of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

1 container (13.6 oz.) coconut milk
2 tbsp. real maple syrup
½-1 gm concentrated CBD oil or CBD isolate/distillate
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup chia seeds
3 tbsp. raw cacao powder
Fresh berries for serving

Combine all ingredients, except cacao, in a blender and mix until well combined and emulsified. Pour half of the mixture in four clear serving dishes (or one large one) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Add cacao to remaining chia mixture and blend another 10 seconds. Carefully spoon the chocolate chia mixture on top, keeping the layers distinct. Cover and chill and for at least six hours. Serve chilled accompanied by fresh fruit, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

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This article appears in Issue 34. Subscribe to the magazine here.

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