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Everyone who takes CBD (or has thought about taking CBD) knows about edibles. Now that the once-niche cannabinoid has become mainstream, you can find gummies, chocolates, and teas from reputable companies who post lab-tests of their products so that you know what you’re getting. This satisfies most people – but maybe you aren’t like most people. You might find yourself wanting more options – you want to include CBD in a savory dish, a nutritious morning smoothie, or a healthy salad. So here you are, wondering – can I cook with CBD? The simple answer? Yes, you can. Here are some easy guidelines to help you along the way:
1. Make Sure to use High-Quality CBD
I mentioned this a little bit already, but it’s so important that I don’t mind repeating it. CBD products are mostly self-regulated. This means that individual companies are responsible for the quality and safety of their products. It is critical for educated consumers to buy from companies that post lab-tests for their products and be weary of cheap knock-off products that might not actually contain any CBD.
2. Use High-Fat Recipes
CBD is lipid-soluble, meaning it is easily absorbed by fats. On top of that, Dr. Angela Birnbaum of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy published a study which indicated that taking CBD with food – especially with high-fat foods – increased the absorption of the CBD by the body. If you’re trying to get the most out of your CBD – high fat foods are the way to go.
3. Cook With Isolate for the Best Taste (But use Full-Spectrum Oil if you Can)
If you’re cooking with heat, adding some isolate to your oil or butter-based sauce is the way to go. By using isolate, you can easily measure your dosage and avoid the strong herby odor and taste that comes with heating up a full-spectrum oil. Maintain a low-heat if you can; there is some evidence that suggests heat combined with oxygen exposure might cause CBD to degrade and be less potent – why not err on the side of caution.
If you don’t mind the taste and you’re looking to add CBD to your healthy salad, just add a few drops of full-spectrum oil to an oil-based dressing and mix it in. Easy. If you’re trying to give a boost to your morning super-food smoothie (or any other food), adding a few drops certainly won’t hurt, but remember that high-fat foods can increase CBD absorption in the body. Including something like milk or peanut butter would be a big plus. If you’re going to use this strategy, consider working with strong flavors – the taste of the CBD oil can overcome subtle foods.
The bottom line: CBD oil isn’t a great cooking oil on its own, but you can infuse your normal cooking oil with CBD isolate or use it as a finishing oil (without heating)
4. Start Low and Be Patient
If you’ve never used CBD before, the general advice is to start with a low dose (5-10mg) and see how you feel. You might want to consider taking sublingual CBD before cooking with it to more easily get a feel for your dosage. If you’ve been taking tinctures, expect your edibles to be less potent per mg of CBD. Edible CBD can take longer to take effect and have a lower absorption rate than a sublingual dropper. Your body has to digest the food before the CBD content can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Even though I would stick with these guidelines, don’t be afraid to get creative! As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet. Good luck!