cooking with weed

If you think marijuana’s only connection to food are memories of satisfying your munchies with drive-thru nachos or packaged foods, you’ll be surprised to find out that cannabis and cuisine can have a much higher brow relationship. In fact, experts say that cooking with cannabis can lead to some mouth-watering meals and pairing certain strains with certain foods can make for some amazing couplings. With more locales legalizing marijuana, you might find yourself wanting to play with matching recipes and reefer. Here’s what you need to know.

Cooking With Cannabis

Expert RecipesThe History and Evolution of Cannabis CookbooksMany people are surprised to find out that the smell and flavor of cannabis doesn’t have to overpower a dish or its flavors, says Keena Moffett, author of “Cannabis Creations: Beyond the Brownie.” “When the bases [butter, oil, etc.] are made properly, cannabis becomes a complement and not merely something to tolerate in exchange for its effects,” Moffett says. Cannabis and chocolate work really well together, she says, which is why the classic pot brownie is an enduring example. Cannabis usually tends to have a “cool mint-like sensation” on the palate, so it works really well in recipes calling for the herb, like homemade Thin Mint cookies.

“Additionally, it is believed that citrus fruits reduce the effects of THC, so be careful pairing with citrus-based recipes if reducing psychoactive response is not your goal,” she says.

Pairing Strains With Foods

Much like wine, certain types of food play well with particular strains or types of cannabis (and figuring out which goes with which takes some trial and error), says Patrick Dalton, owner of recreational marijuana store Durango Rec Room and marijuana consulting company MJ Business Consulting. “Cannabis contains terpenes that are found in all plants and can be teamed up with like terpenes, and ones that taste and smell similar to foods,” Dalton says. He also recommends taking into account the time of day the cannabis-enhanced meal will be ingested. “During the day, Sativa-dominant strains will give the consumer a lift that can carry them through the rest of the day without feeling sleepy,” he says. “In the evening, Indica-leaning strains will lead consumers into a more comfortable and relaxed state.”

He continues: “For example, a lunch menu rich in fruits and vegetables with a fish dish would be nicely paired with a strain like Durban Poison which is considered the espresso of marijuana due to its uplifting effects as well as the terpene Limonene which gives it a lemon aroma and taste,” he says. “Fish is always complemented with lemon, and this would make a wonderful lunchtime pairing. A dinner menu including beef dishes would be paired wonderfully with a strain like Northern Lights that will have high levels of Myrcene leaving its consumers feeling euphoric and relaxed. Myrcene has an earthy smell, and would go perfectly with beef or mushroom stock sauces over beef.”

Have specific questions about your food game plan? Ask an expert at your local dispensary for some advice!

Hosting a Cannabis Event

Live in a place where weed is legalized for recreational use? Then you may be intrigued by cannabis events that are popping up, where pot is center stage. Hosting one of your own? Samantha Montanaro, owner/operator of events company Prism House PDX, co-owner of digital cannabis community Tokeativity, and chair of Historic Parkrose, shares some dos and don’ts: Make sure you have great music (whatever that means to you and your crowd), which can make and break the vibe, and ensure that you have non-infused foods for people to eat. “If the food is all infused, people are guaranteed to over-consume,” Montanaro says. Another tip: Label cannabis goods so everyone knows what they’re consuming.

She also emphasizes that it’s key to encourage responsible consumption. “Set the stage for responsible consumption by making a disclaimer at the start,” she says. “Remind guests that everyone has a unique body and to not feel pressure to hit every joint or eat every app that circles the party. Guests can always have more…it is really not fun to have too much, and can be quite embarrassing at a cannabis party.” If you’re serving infused foods, Montanaro recommends keeping it low-dose. “This is the only way to ensure nobody will over consume,” she says. “Five [milligrams] or less is best! Encourage people to wait a while before going back for seconds.”

Hosts should also have tools on hand just in case someone inadvertently overdoes it. CBD tincture, capsules, and lemon juice, or essential oils like black pepper can help reduce the intoxication of cannabis, Montanaro says. Finally, encourage safe transportation by making it easy for guests to take a rideshare or public transit after the soirée.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out the best marijuana apps of 2018 for iPhone and Android

Disclaimer: This article is about cooking with cannabis, which may or may not be legal in your area. Neither Chowhound nor its parent company encourage or endorse any irresponsible behavior or illegal activity. If you choose to use cannabis, please do so responsibly and only where permitted by law.

Header image by Chowhound.

Kelsey Butler is a reporter and editor based in New Jersey. She has written for a number of health and lifestyle publications, including Women's Health, Brides, and NBC News Better. Hot sauce, black coffee, and bacon make up 50% of her diet.
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