Making your own edibles at home is a great way to experiment with different methods of cannabis consumption while kicking your culinary skills into high gear. However, before you can start getting baked on your baking, you have a major concern: Which weed strains will you use to make your edibles?
There are a few different lists of edibles that make for great edibles, but it is important that you learn how to find the right strains for yourself. Here are three simple tips for selecting strains to suit your edible recipes:
Test the Terpene Profile
While there is plenty of hubbub about cannabinoid content, the amount of THC in your strain isn’t nearly as important as which terpenes are dominant within the strain. Terpenes are essentially aroma and flavor compounds; present in many plants as well as some insects, terpenes are primarily responsible for the smells of the natural world. Cannabis can produce over 200 distinct terpenes, which accounts for how some strains smell like a tropical fruity cookie and other strains smell like roadkill.
It is no secret that odor has a profound effect on flavor. If a muffin smells like gasoline, it is incredibly unlikely that it will taste like pure, sweet blueberries. Thus, you need to be careful that the strain you select to use in an edible creation has terpenes that harmonize well with the aromas and flavors of your completed dish.
Beginner cannabis chefs would do well to avoid experimentation when it comes to terpene profiles. For instance, if you are making a sweet baked good, like a cookie or brownie, you might opt for strains that have dominant sweet, vanilla aromas — like Wedding Cake, Mendo Breath or Vanilla Kush. Then again, if you are making a savory edible, like a pasta, you should opt for something that has earthier, herbier terpenes, like Jack Herer, Purple Kush or Diesel.
When you gain more experience and confidence in the kitchen, you might be able to experiment with terpenes to greater success. Just as rosemary can be delectable in a chocolate chip cookie, you might find a way to work Super Lemon Haze into a mouthwatering meat pie. Regardless, you should never neglect to consider the terpene profile of a strain before you start cooking with it.
Pay Attention to Potency
Now we can cover the importance of cannabinoids in edibles. The truth is that the human body isn’t efficient at absorbing cannabinoids through digestion; unlike inhalation, in which cannabinoids can pass directly into the bloodstream, digestion requires the body to identify cannabinoids as useful compounds worth absorption, which means much fewer compounds make it into the blood. What’s more, the act of creating an edible typically requires heat, which degrades the quality of cannabinoids.
As a result, you generally want to use strains that are a bit more potent than you might choose when smoking or vaping. Of course, this requires you to be a bit more cognizant about the effects of your edibles and avoid consuming great quantities of your culinary creations. Another concern with edibles is that it can take time, sometimes hours, for effects to manifest, and during that time you might continue to nosh, increasing your risk for overdose. By using a high-THC strain and taking small portions of dosed food, you should be able to find the right edible experience for you.
Consider the Cost
Last and potentially least, cost is a considerable factor for many at-home edible chefs. Edibles tend to require quite a bit of raw flower — more than you might smoke in a week or two. If your bud is on a budget, you might not opt for rare, new or other high-cost strains, which will almost certainly be wasted in your culinary endeavor.
To save cash, you might ask your dispensary or storefront for the “trim” of a certain strain that suits your needs. Trim is the less-valuable cuttings from nugs; leaves, stems and other bits and bobs of the cannabis plants tend to have some cannabinoids and terpenes, which can be harnessed through infusion in cannabutter or canna-cooking oils. Because most people aren’t willing to smoke trim, many sellers are happy to sell you this stuff at an exceptionable rate.
Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of cannabis is its customizability. You have access to so many different strains and different methods of use that you can cater your cannabis consumption to your needs, wants and likes. For the best edible experience, you need to be careful to choose a strain with the right terpenes and potency — but you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment in the cannabis kitchen, either.