Sage Elyse

IN THE PAST, I’ve written about how long I’ve been making super-strong cannabis-infused cookies [Cannabuzz, June 24, 2015], and how their strength has resulted in some serious mishaps [Cannabuzz, June 1, 2016]. For two decades, people have asked about my trade secret. But unless the person asking was an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program patient of mine, I’ve always politely sidestepped how I manage to make my cookies “so damn strong.”

But since I’m not planning on opening up an edibles company, I recently decided it was time to share what I know. Sadly for some of you, this involves the Great White Devil to most of the GOP... science. If facts and the like offend you, I suggest chalking up the how and why of that part to the magic of one J.H. Christ.

First, start with trim, sugar leaf, and/or larf (i.e., “popcorn buds”). Most of us don’t have access to enough cannabis flower to cook exclusively with it, and so we use the aforementioned, less potent parts of the plant. I use a ratio of one cup of fat (coconut oil or high butterfat, unsalted butter) to four ounces of high-quality trim.

Second, don’t hesitate to decarboxylate. After you’ve mastered saying it, decarboxylating cannabis isn’t that difficult. In short, you want to remove a carboxyl group from the plant matter. Fresh, wet cannabis is full of THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), the precursor to the wondrous and highly sought after (see what I just did there?) THC, AKA that stuff that gets you high. We want to convert the THCA to THC and release carbon dioxide with low heat.

The internets are rich with advice about how to best achieve decarboxylation, but I place my cooking material in a large Pyrex dish or cookie sheet and put it in the oven at 240 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. The length of time is dependent upon how wet your plant matter is when starting.

After decarbing, I place the weed into a large pan and add the fat. I then add enough water to cover everything and place it on a slow, low simmer. My stove burners go from 1 to high, I set mine at 1.2 and let it sit for eight hours, stirring at least once an hour.

A friend from India grew up with access to bhang, a drink made with cannabis. He was taught to repeat the eight-hour cooking stage for three days, placing the pan into the fridge between sessions. I’ve done so without much noticeable difference in strength, but he swears by it.

After cooking, carefully strain the plant matter from the liquid using a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. Wear two pairs of clean rubber gloves for this next part, which involves vigorously squeezing the plant matter in the cheesecloth as though it were Donald Trump’s neck. That foul-smelling, dark green liquid that’s wrung out is a mixture of water and cannabis-infused oil. Collect it in a bowl, and put the bowl in the fridge for the night. The next day, the fat will have solidified into a green disc. Carefully remove it, and discard the remaining brackish liquid.

Now you can use that infused oil to prepare a baked good, making sure that you add the magic ingredient that this whole column is about: liquid lecithin.

Lecithin is an emulsifier, and helps the body utilize the available THC. (You can Google to read more about how it creates temporary bridges that allow your liver to take in more THC.) I prefer liquid lecithin made from sunflowers, but soy is fine as well.

For a cookie recipe that uses one cup of fat, I add a quarter cup of lecithin. For patients with digestive issues, I will add a teaspoon of turmeric, as it helps with digestion.

Much like the Wu-Tang Clan, the resulting canna goodies ain’t nothing to fuck with. Keep away from pets and children, and go slow with your intake—wait 120 minutes before even thinking about eating a second dose. You’re welcome.