Making Your Own CBD Edibles: The Comprehensive Guide
Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer savory dishes, making your own CBD-infused edibles allows you to experiment and tailor your creations to your liking while still getting the CBD you need. Homemade CBD treats are a valid option if CBD gummies or chocolates just don't cut it for your dietary needs. Whether you're following a low-sugar, keto, vegan, or gluten-free diet, CBD cooking gives you full control over the ingredients to meet your dietary goals. But if you're new to the idea, you might wonder how to get started. Here's everything you need to know about making CBD edibles so you can cook like a pro.
Making CBD edibles: What to know before you get started
Before we jump in, there are a few key things to consider when making CBD treats. We're going to give a few brief explanations here and dive deeper into the processes in the following sections.
Decarboxylation is one of these essential processes. It involves heating hemp flowers to activate the CBD within them. Decarboxylation removes a carboxyl group from cannabinoids like CBD and THC, making them active and bioavailable for consumption. This process is critical to ensure the CBD is active when incorporated into your recipe if you’re starting with hemp flowers. More or less, the process transforms the inactive CBDa into CBD that your body can use. But if you’re using commercially sold CBD, this has already been done for you as part of the commercial extraction process.
Another important aspect is emulsification, particularly useful when working with pre-made CBD oils and tinctures. Solubility can be challenging — you know how oil and water don’t mix? Thus the issue of how to mix CBD evenly into your recipes.
Emulsification is the process of evenly blending those CBD oils into your recipes to ensure you're getting a consistent serving throughout the entire dish instead of concentrating it. It usually involves breaking down the CBD oil into tiny droplets, allowing it to integrate seamlessly with other ingredients. This step is vital for creating uniform mixtures in your CBD-infused treats. If you skip the emulsification step, you might make a gummy recipe with only 5mg of CBD in one piece and 150mg in another, even though they were made from the same batch.
Cooking and Storage Tips
With those steps taken care of, let's get to cooking. CBD has a super low boiling point compared to other cannabinoids. It's very sensitive to high temperatures. If it gets too hot, CBD will begin to degrade and lose potency. For example, if you baked an apple crisp made with 150mg of CBD at 375 degrees for an hour, you might have virtually zero CBD by the end of the baking process. We recommend cooking CBD edibles at lower temperatures, between 300-3250 degrees if possible. Ideally, you'd want to shoot for the lower end to be safe, especially if you have to bake for an extended period.
Lastly, proper storage practices are essential to protect the quality of your CBD-infused goodies. Like all cannabinoids, CBD is volatile¹ and prone to breaking down quickly when exposed to light, extreme temperatures, oxygen, and moisture. Your CBD treats should be stored in a cool, dry place away from light and heat. Utilizing airtight containers also helps to keep oxygen and humidity out. For dry, shelf-stable infusions, a dark kitchen cupboard away from kids and pets is a good start. You can also stick things that must be kept cold in the fridge in the same airtight containers.
How to Emulsify CBD Oils Into Your Treats
If you are starting from hemp flower, and need to decarboxylate first, there are lots of good guides³ out there. We’re going to assume you’re starting with high quality CBD oil and jump right into emulsification. To emulsify you'll take a blender, food processor, immersion blender, or milk frother to combine your oil-based CBD tincture and an emulsifying agent into other liquids like milk, butter, oil, water, broth, or otherwise.
CBD tinctures are pretty hydrophobic, so seamless integration is a huge challenge. To achieve successful emulsions, certain key factors come into play, starting with the Hydrophilic-Lipophilic Balance (HLB) value.² This scale, ranging from 0 to 18, categorizes substances based on their affinity for water, oil, or both. Pure THC and CBD oils extracted from the cannabis plant are inherently water-insoluble. Without additives, they won't mix with water without help. Here's how to do it:
Step 1: Begin by adding the oil to another type of natural oil, like a neutral-flavored vegetable oil or butter. This step helps to thin out the highly viscous CBD oils, making it easier to emulsify them in the following steps.
Step 2: Gently heat the two oils together over low heat, ensuring they blend seamlessly, and then allow them to cool to eliminate any separation.
Step 3: You'll need an emulsifier to create a stable emulsion. Most people opt for Polysorbate 80,⁴ which checks in at 15 on the HLB scale. This emulsifier will help your oils be more receptive to water, so mix it into the liquid portion of your recipe. As the emulsion forms, it facilitates the breakdown of CBD oil into extremely tiny droplets. This interaction stabilizes the emulsion, preventing the separation of oil and water.
The ideal ratio of Polysorbate 80 to your batch weight varies depending on the recipe, whether it's gummies, brownies, lozenges, molded chocolates, or other baked goods. Use approximately 0.5% of Polysorbate 80 by weight and adjust as needed to achieve the right consistency. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so be sure to check and follow the instructions on the packaging.
Step 4: Combine the oil with your liquid and emulsifier mixture, and use a blender to combine. From there, you can use it in your recipes.
Pro Tip: You can skip the emulsification process if you make a dish with a single serving. For example, you can squeeze a measured dropper of CBD tincture onto each ball of cookie dough or into a single serving of coffee, tea, juice, or salad dressing. You only need to emulsify when making a big mixture of gummies or following a recipe with multiple servings where the CBD must be mixed thoroughly for consistency.
Low-Temperature Recipes To Get You Started
When crafting CBD-infused edibles, it's essential to choose recipes that cook or bake at temperatures below 350°F to prevent CBD degradation. This allows you to incorporate CBD into treats like salad dressings, frostings, BBQ or wing sauces, and cold desserts. If you want to infuse CBD into a recipe that needs to be baked at higher temperatures, you can always add it later. For example, you can toss hot chicken wings in a CBD-infused sauce. You can also wait till a pastry cools and add CBD-infused frosting later. You can even make chocolate chip cookies by incorporating CBD chocolate into cookies during the last two minutes of baking.
You can also add CBD oil infusions directly to your favorite treats. A measured serving of CBD from a tincture helps you skip the emulsification process, especially if you're going to eat the whole thing in one sitting. Feel free to take a serving of CBD oil and add it directly to coffee, tea, salad dressings, pasta sauces, or smoothies.
If you're ready to get started, try your hand at some of our delicious low-temp recipes below, like our cranberry-pecan overnight oats.
At the end of the day, creating your own CBD-infused edibles at home offers a wealth of culinary opportunities. It allows you to customize your treats according to your preferences and dietary requirements while exploring the science behind CBD infusion. Key concepts to remember include decarboxylation to activate CBD, emulsification for consistent dosing, cooking at low temperatures to preserve CBD potency, and proper storage practices. Now that you've got the hang of it, grab your favorite CBD tincture from Lazarus Naturals and give it a shot! We're excited to see all of the delicious things you come up with.
Want to try it yourself? Grab some Full Spectrum Mango Pineapple CBD Tincture while supplies last!
Give these muffins a try at home! You can use your preferred CBD flavor, or stick with our version and use THC-free CBG Tincture.