At Nirvana Farms, we love edibles. From chocolate to weed tea, to salad dressing, to butter, to oil—we’ve literally tried them all. We’ve even popped a few CBD strips and THC strips (a quasi-food if there ever was one).
Throughout all that delicious experimentation, one edible has occupied the top of our list for a long time: cannabis-infused honey.
In this article, the experts at Nirvana Farms reveal everything you need to know to create your own batch of this tasty treat. We’ve also included a simple recipe that even cooking noobs like us can’t mess up.
But before you break out the mixing bowls, it’s important to understand a few details about the chemistry of the cannabis plant. Specifically, terpenes, cannabinoids, and decarboxylation. Don’t worry, it won’t be as bad as it sounds.
Cannabinoids are chemicals that give marijuana its “get-up-and-go” (be it psychoactive or medicinal). As the name suggests, these unique molecules are only found in the various varieties of the Cannabis plant (whether sativa, indica, or ruderalis).
Common cannabinoids include:
All told, there are over 110 different cannabinoids, and more are being isolated every day.
Terpenes are oils secreted by the glands of the pot plant that affect the flavor, aroma, and medicinal properties of the bud you burn or bake with. As you can see in the picture above, there are over 100 terpenes to satisfy any preference and taste.
Common terpenes include:
- Delta 3 Carene.
At this point, you may be wondering why all this is important. What you came here for was the cannabis-infused honey recipe, right?
Think about this for a moment: if you’re brewing a batch of honey and your strain of choice has cut grass terpenes (see it just to the left of the bottom of the image), how do you think that’s going to taste? You might love it, but it wouldn’t be our first choice of flavors.
When you understand what terpenes do, you gain more control over the flavor of your cannabis-infused honey.
Now that you understand the building blocks of marijuana, let’s discuss how you can make the plant itself ready for consumption.
Decarboxylation—Yes, It’s Important!
Here’s something you may not know: raw weed is not psychoactive. That’s right. The ganja you get at your local dispensary will not get you high if you swallow it whole.
So if you just dump a baggie of bud into a jar of honey (or any food for that matter), at best, it will be just like eating spinach. At worst, you may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and other stomach distress. Don’t do it, man!
To make marijuana useful as a recreational product or medicine, you first need to activate the cannabinoids through a process called decarboxylation. Decarboxylation is just a fancy term for removing an acid molecule from the chemical makeup of the plant.
Pot plants in their raw form contain very little THC buttons of THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). Drying the weed after it’s harvested converts a small percentage of THCA into THC, but it’s still not enough to feel any results (except maybe stomach cramps).
To transform as much of the THCA into THC as possible, add more heat. Essentially, you need to bake before you get baked.
If you’re a long time Mary Jane smoker, you’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute! I’ve never decar-whatchacallit before and I still get plenty high.” To that, we say, “You’re right!”
Smoking or dabbing (or burning of any type), is, in fact, the simplest form of decarboxylation.
So in the process of lighting a big fat doobie or sparking up a bong, you’re instantaneously transforming the THCA in the raw bud into THC. The THC is floating around in the smoke you then inhale into your lungs. Cool, huh?
Unfortunately, flicking a Bic won’t work for decarboxylating the marijuana you need for your cannabis infused honey recipe. The temperatures are too high. The bud is destroyed because of the high heat. It literally goes up in smoke.
To decarboxylate your marijuana for inclusion in edibles, you need considerably less heat for a longer period of time.
Decarboxylation In Two Steps
1. Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven’s heating up, spread your plant material in a single layer on the baking sheet. One with sides works best.
Note: We suggest a low temperature, like 240 degrees, because terpenes begin to vaporize at 320 degrees. It might take less time to decarboxylate at higher temperatures, but you lose the valuable terpenes in the process. Be patient.
2. Bake the cannabis for 40 minutes. Be sure to rotate the sheet and stir the cannabis a couple of times so that all the marijuana is cooked evenly.
Now that you’ve got your reefer ready for consumption, we can turn our attention to the main event:
The Recipe for Cannabis-Infused Honey.
- Slow cooker (Crockpot).
- 15 grams of your favorite marijuana (decarboxylated, of course).
- 2 cups of honey (local, if possible).
- Cheesecloth (10” x 10” or larger).
- Quart canning jar with a lid.
- Wrap the 15 grams of decarboxylated cannabis in cheesecloth and tie it closed with a small piece of string.
- Place the cheesecloth in the quart jar.
- Pour 2 cups of local honey into the quart jar.
- Place the quart jar in your slow cooker.
- Pour enough water into the slow cooker so that all the honey in the jar is surrounded.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker.
- Set the slow cooker to LOW and cook for 8 hours.
- Check back every 2 or 3 hours to make sure the pressure in the jar isn’t building. Crack the lid slightly and then tighten it back down.
- After 8 hours, turn the slow cooker off and let the honey cool. You can leave the jar in the slow cooker or take it out (watch out, it’s hot!).
- When the honey is cool enough to touch, remove the cheesecloth from the jar and squeeze out as much of the golden goo as possible.
- Don’t discard that cheesecloth! Use it to steep some tea.
- Put the lid back on, and store the jar in your refrigerator or in a cool, dark place.
That’s it! See, we told you it would be easy.