The growing popularity of smokable hemp flower seems unstoppable since Congress passed the 2018 federal Farm Bill. But many consumers don’t know that there’s a whole lot more you can do with hemp flowers besides smoking them. You can vape CBD buds in a dry herb vaporizer, use them to create DIY topical creams, and make handy infusions to add to your favorite recipes.
Why Make Your Own CBD Edibles
Homemade edibles offer you the ultimate in customization. You can use your preferred ingredients, whether they be organic, vegan, or locally sourced, and you won’t need to worry about any unwanted additives.
You’ll also save a considerable amount of money when you make your own CBD edibles from hemp flower. When you buy commercial edibles, you’re paying for the extraction process, which often involves costly equipment. Hemp flower is reasonably priced in comparison, and you can save even more cash when you buy CBD buds in bulk.
You can create delicious homemade CBD edibles in three relatively simple steps:
- Decarb the hemp flower.
- Make an infusion.
- Use the infusion in your favorite recipes.
Let’s get started.
Preparing Your Hemp Flower
Before you make your edibles, you’ll need to prepare the hemp flower through a chemical process called decarboxylation. While it's still in the hemp plant, CBD naturally exists in its acidic form, CBDA. The process of decarboxylation, also called “decarbing,” removes the acidic group from the molecule and makes CBD easier for the human body to metabolize.
Although the process sounds scientific and complicated, decarbing hemp flower is simple and easy. It’s just a matter of adding heat. When you smoke CBD pre-rolls or vape hemp flower, your buds get decarbed automatically because you’re adding heat. Fortunately, you can decarb hemp flower for CBD edibles in less than an hour using a typical kitchen stove or toaster oven. Here’s the procedure:
- Preheat the oven to 220 F. You don’t want to set the heat too high, or you’ll risk burning your buds.
- Break the desired amount of hemp flower into small chunks. Anywhere from ⅛ to ¼ ounce is usually enough depending upon how strong you want your final infusion and how much butter or oil you’ll be using. When in doubt, use less hemp flower.
- Spread the hemp flower pieces evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet or a shallow glass baking dish.
- Heat the buds for around 45-60 minutes, checking them occasionally.
- Once the hemp flower changes from green to golden brown, remove the tray from the oven. Let the buds cool for 20 minutes before storing them or using them to make your infusion.
Making Infusions with Oil or Butter
Cannabinoids are fat-soluble and don’t easily dissolve in water. For this reason, most cooks make infusions with oil or butter before creating their edibles. All you’ll need is a crockpot or a stovetop, a few household materials, and some decarbed hemp flower.
Making CBD Butter
CBD butter is excellent to have on hand for making infused gravy and baked goods. You can even spread CBD butter on toast for a quick pick-me-up or add it to macaroni and cheese when you’re craving a little comfort food.
While it isn’t absolutely necessary, clarifying the butter first will ensure that it won’t burn when you’re cooking at higher temperatures.
- 2 sticks of clarified, unsalted butter
- ⅛-¼ ounce decarbed hemp flower
- Heat-resistant glass canning jar
- Cheesecloth and butchers string
- (optional) Wire mesh sieve
- Wrap the hemp flower in cheesecloth and secure the package with butcher’s string. This makes a handy little bundle that you can easily remove at the end of the infusing process. If you don’t have any cheesecloth around, you can strain the hemp flower from the butter at the end using a wire mesh sieve.
- Melt the butter in an electric crockpot or on a stovetop at the lowest possible temperature setting.
- Once the butter has melted, add the hemp flower packet.
- Simmer the mixture for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally. If you’re using a gas stovetop, you’ll need to check your butter more often to ensure that it doesn’t burn.
- Turn off the mixture and let it sit until the butter is cool enough to handle before pouring it into a glass mason jar for storage.
CBD butter will last for several weeks in the refrigerator or around six months in the freezer.
Making an Oil Infusion
Infused oils are excellent for making salad dressings or as vegan alternatives for recipes that typically call for butter. The type of cooking oil you use is up to you, but olive and coconut oils are the most popular. You can take your infused CBD oil alone, add it to topical products, or use it in recipes. Keep in mind that coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you may need to soften it before adding the hemp flower.
- 2 cups cooking oil
- ¼ ounce decarbed CBD flower
- Coffee grinder
- Wire-mesh sieve or tea strainer
- Heatproof glass canning jar
- Grind the hemp flower to the consistency of flour using a standard coffee grinder.
- Add the cooking oil to a crockpot or double boiler and adjust the temperature or flame to the lowest possible setting.
- Sift the ground hemp flower into the oil using a wire mesh sieve or tea strainer. Sifting the CBD flower will help you achieve an even distribution.
- Cook the mixture for up to 12 hours, stirring occasionally. If you’re using a double-boiler, add water as needed.
- After infusing the oil for the desired amount of time, remove the mixture from the heat.
- Line the wire mesh strainer with cheesecloth to strain the plant matter from the oil.
- Store your hemp flower in a cool, dark location, and it should remain fresh for several months.
Making Alcohol Tinctures
Another way to extract CBD from your hemp flower is by making an alcohol tincture. Alcohol infusions can extend the shelf-life of edibles and work particularly well for gummies or hard candies. CBD tinctures are also well-suited for adding to cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.
It’s easy to make alcohol tinctures, but you’ll need to let them infuse for a few weeks to ensure maximum potency.
- 8 ounces food-grade grain alcohol like Everclear or high-proof vodka.
- ¼ ounce decarbed hemp flower
- Well-sealing glass jar
- Coffee grinder
- Coffee filter
- Grind the hemp flower into a fine powder.
- Place the ground CBD flower in the jar, and pour in the alcohol.
- Close the lid, and lightly shake the mixture.
- Store the jar in a cool, dark area, and shake it once or twice per day.
- After at least two weeks, strain the mixture using a coffee filter. Your CBD tincture will last up to a year if you keep it away from light and heat.
So, there you have it. Making edibles from hemp flower is a breeze once you master the simple art of infusion. You’ll be well on your way to making delicious CBD-infused edibles in no time. If you’re looking for a more psychoactive experience, you can use the same techniques with traditional cannabis or federally legal delta-8 hemp flower.
Remember: Start low and go slow. It’s easy to unintentionally consume too much. When in doubt, make your edibles weaker by using less of your infusions.