Recently The Portland Mercury, which is where the “Cannabuzz” columns began and ran for nearly six years, asked if I would like to contribute to their annual “Holiday Food and Drink Guide”.
They wanted my hot take on single malt scotches for the guide, until I reminded them I write about weed, and we thus settled on my writing about how to make alcohol based cannabis tinctures, and cannabis infused cookies, as gifts for those you love, which might include yourself.
With an 800 word limit, I didn’t get as deeply into cannabis edible making as I would like, so beginning next month, we’ll look at how cooking and extracting cannabis can provide benefits for those seeking relief from both serious medical conditions, and seasonal/pandemic related complaints.
I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to write and syndicate a weekly cannabis newspaper column without The Portland Mercury. They could use your support, as mentioned in the pitch at the end of the piece.
Homemade gifts rule, and that includes cannabis edibles. You know who could use some cannabis-infused edibles this holiday season? Every adult in this batshit country.
Cannabis edibles can help with the common physical and psychological manifestations of the stresses of the pandemic, including insomnia, anxiety, and pain. (“Just wanting to be high right now” is frequently cited as well.)
Gifts made with love are awesome, and with cannabis, even better. So let’s make some!
Get You Some Ganja
You’ll need cannabis: small b-buds (smaller flower formations near the bottom of the plant, AKA “popcorn buds”), shake (tiny pieces of flower that break off larger buds), or sugar leaf (the small leaves that hold cannabis buds together). The recent annual “Croptober” harvesting of outdoor cannabis means you, or someone you know, probably has access. It doesn’t need to be pretty, or have a high THC content—just produced as cleanly as possible, and definitely free of any mold from poor storage.
Dispensaries often sell ounces of shake and b-bud from their inventory for as little as $25 an ounce. Shake can be strong af, as the THC falls and collects at the bottom of pound bags. Either are great options.
Booze or Butter?
THC is soluble in fat (butter, nut/seed oils, lard) and alcohol. The higher the fat or proof, the stronger the finished product. Your gifts can be edibles made with an infused fat, and tinctures of infused alcohol.
Tinctures allow for a more precise dose of cannabis compared to homemade edibles, as what qualifies as a “bite” varies. They take longer to produce when using time instead of heat to extract the THC and other cannabinoids from the cannabis. Here’s how to make it.
• One ounce (or more) of decarbed cannabis
• One 750 ml bottle of Everclear 190
• Optional: Amounts to suit other botanicals—lavender, chamomile, ginger, citrus, or mint
Place cannabis and any other botanicals into a mason jar, and add the bottle of Everclear. All plant matter should be fully covered by the alcohol. Place in a paper bag to block out light, and shake the jar three times a day for 15 seconds.
The longer you wait, the stronger the final product—yet waiting too long will extract the bitter chlorophyll of the cannabis. With 190 proof, wait three to five days.
Strain through cheesecloth, squeezing to remove all alcohol. Divide into dropper bottles.
Held under the tongue, the effects will be felt much faster than with an edible. It can be swallowed, but expect a delayed activation time.
Oregon’s Favorite Cookie
Here’s where you can learn how to make any type of THC-infused “canna fat”—butter, coconut, olive, or other oils—you’d like to bake with. There are negligible variations in strength between the fats, and the intensity of the “weed” taste, smell, and coloring in the final product can be reduced by a fat/water extraction process.
Decarboxylate your cannabis first, by turning non-active THC to active through the removal of water molecules. It’s as easy as a very closely watched cookie sheet of cannabis in an oven at very low heat. (As ovens notoriously vary, you can go from perfectly decarbed to burnt if not looked after.)
Warning: Even experienced, daily tough-puffers will be taken to their knees by an edibles OD, often with VWTHS (Vomiting While Too High Syndrome). Dose properly! Learn how to determine the strength of your fat, and thereby the strength of each serving.
Once you’ve made your canna fat, use it as you would regular fat. Eggs made with a tablespoon of canna-fat result in a stony breakfast that’s liable to put you back in bed.
Want to give your edibles a holiday-style spin? Try sugar cookies. They store and travel well, are fast and simple to make, and provide the perfect canvas to shape and decorate. They are also, according to Real Simple, the favorite Christmas cookie of Oregonians.
Got kids? Make the child-safe version first, then the “adult” version. This will eliminate any issues with cross contamination, or having to bake with children while super high (bless their hearts).
Recommended Sugar Cookie Recipes
No matter which recipe you choose, always add a tablespoon or two of liquid lecithin to cookies. It helps strengthen and extend the effects of cannabis—kind of a “turbocharger” for edibles.
Now it’s time to make them extra festive. Get your “Stoned Martha” on, as there are no wrong choices when decorating cookies: Santas, trees, Munch-like “Scream” faces… share your holiday truth through frosting and sparkles. Check out the cannabis cookies that came out of my oven!
• Happy Birthday White Jesus, Sorry You Dead
Nothing puts the “Christ” in Christmas cookies like these festive reminders that this isn’t gonna end well for a certain “Onsay of Odgay.” Nom nom nom his delicious crown of thorns.
But remember, not everyone celebrates Christmas, so also consider:
• Kwanzaa Kush Cookies
Kwanzaa celebrates the importance of African culture, family, and community—because not everyone is dreaming of a white Christmas.Kwanzaa Kush Cookie JOSH JARDINE
• Hanukkah Haze and ‘Dro Dreidels
These Kosher cookies will keep the recipient lit up for eight nights, too.
The Mercury depends on your continuing support to provide articles like this one. In return, we pledge our ongoing commitment to truthful, progressive journalism and serving our community. So if you’re able, please consider a small recurring contribution. Thank you—you are appreciated! CONTRIBUTE NOW
Joshua Jardine Taylor is the Mercury‘s Senior Cannabis columnist and correspondent.