I tried incorporating CBD oil into my daily cooking routine and these are the tricks I learned along the way. See the golden rules for cooking with CBD oil, including what you need to know about dosage, heat, and the best foods to start with. Want to start cooking with CBD oil? This guide will teach you all about CBD oil and how you can use it in your favourite recipes!
I Tried Cooking With CBD Oil for 7 Days and Here’s What Happened
There are a lot of things you can do to boost the healthfulness of your cooking. The current trend: CBD oil, a nonpsychotropic derivative of the cannabis plant that won’t get you stoned, but has been shown to combat such illnesses as epilepsy, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, early onset Alzheimer’s and dementia, and even inhibit the growth of some cancer cells. The degree to which CBD oil can affect those varied disorders is still being investigated, but studies have shown the oil to have anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and anxiety-reducing properties. So if you’re into feeling better, feeling happier, and feeling more calm, you may as well pull up a dram.
Not to be confused with non-CBD hemp oil—which is also used by as a health aid, usually as a protein supplement—CBD oil is typically extracted from the leaves, stem, and flowers of the hemp plant, while hemp oil is extracted from the seeds. The bottom line: hemp-derived CBD oil is THC-free, legal to buy in all 50 states, and easily accessed online.
While it’s easy enough to take a pill or spoonful of liquid CBD oil to obtain your daily dose—or to nibble on a chocolate anytime you’re feeling anxious—more and more people are choosing to incorporate the product into their everyday routines. I took on that challenge for team Epi: stirring, whisking, and drizzling CBD oil across my diet over a seven-day period.
This super-green pesto is about to get a lot greener! (Not really; most CBD oils are more of a golden color).
Photo by Alex Lau
I sourced my CBD oil from HempMeds, a company that makes three different extractions: a green-labeled raw version, a blue-labeled decarboxylated (i.e. heated to intensify the CBD compound), and a gold-labeled decarboxylated and filtered version (the filtering is purely to remove any residual plant materials, thereby creating a mostly flavorless oil—which is probably why the gold bottle is the version most recommended for cooking). Over the course of a week, I tried cooking with all three bottles.
I started the day by adding the filtered version to a fruit smoothie. I couldn’t taste anything different. And unlike when I had tried a spoonful of the oil on its own and had felt a little foggy (and, tbh, queasy), I didn’t notice any mental or physical effects.
For my first attempt at actually cooking with CBD oil, I grabbed a bottle of the raw extraction—Dr. Stuart Titus of Medical Marijuana, Inc. had instructed me to try using the green label in the evening as it has demonstrated a “remarkable effect on the central nervous system,” and he often prescribes it as a nighttime supplement for patients who suffer from sleep issues—and mixed it one-to-one with butter in a skillet. I tossed in some sliced carrots, a drizzle of honey, and a splash of water for an easy riff on glazed carrots. As soon as that oil started to heat up, my tiny enclosed kitchen smelled like I’d just gotten trapped in an elevator with an excessively sweaty pot-head. Once the carrots were tender, I tossed in a generous handful of chopped parsley in an effort to mask the acrid flavor I’d no doubt just created.
Once tasted, however, the carrots weren’t nearly as bad as I had expected, and my boyfriend—who hadn’t smelled them cooking—thought they tasted fine. As I ate, though, that astringent, herbal eau-de-bong-water essence kept growing in my mouth and, after finishing my dinner, lingered on my palate for some time.
Immediately after getting up from my dining table, I felt a dizzying rush followed by a wash of inertness. Translation: I felt high—but only very briefly (maybe for 3 or 5 minutes) and the feeling dissipated as quickly as it came on. (I should stress that there is no THC in any of these products, so this doesn’t make any sense. But it happened to me, so it’s worth noting. FWIW, I didn’t experience that sensation again at any time during the week.)
In addition, besides the noxious odor, I realized my gaffe too late: cooking with the green label probably negates any added benefits the raw product brings to the table in the first place. #GoMe
Lessons Learned: Don’t place CBD oil over direct heat. While warming the oil may increase its effectiveness, heating the oil too high can cause it to loose terpenes, volatile compounds that work in tandem with the CBD to increase the medical potency. Also, more importantly, it tastes absolutely foul.
Pick your non-poison.
Photo by Chelsea Kyle
My boss wanted to know if you could fry an egg in CBD oil, but after the whole sweaty-pothead odor fiasco on Day One, I was not eager to get that oil anywhere near a frying pan. Instead, I made a breakfast sandwich and drizzled the CBD oil over the bread after toasting it, before topping it with a regular old fried egg. It was a success.
For dinner I used the raw extraction again to make an easy salad dressing that I loaded up with herbs to mimic (i.e. mask) the product’s herb-forwardness. It’s a simple enough procedure whether you’re making salad for one or for ten—just substitute about 3/4 to 1 teaspoon CBD oil for every serving of whatever oil is called for in your recipe. (So if your recipe makes enough salad dressing for four people, take out 3 to 4 teaspoons of the recommended oil and replace it with CBD.) It was good, and easy, and delicious while eating; but once dinner was done, that telltale muskiness lingered again.
Lesson Learned: I think the raw product is just really not for me.
I started with a smoothie again, this time a green, spinach-based one loaded with cherries and bananas and flax seed and chia seed, plus the blue label CBD oil and a dollop of cashew butter. It was delicious and I felt virtuous AF.
I was a little more ambitious at dinner and made this curried lentil soup, whisking a dose of gold-label CBD oil into the coconut milk I used to garnish the soup. Per Dr. Titus, “if you ingest CBD with other beneficial fats (such as the fat in coconut milk) it aids in absorption into the lymphatic system, which regulates the body’s immune function.” Plus, that oil, when emulsified into the milk, added body and thickness to the garnish so it drizzled a little more satisfyingly.
Lesson Learned: Sauces and garnishes are the way to go when you’re cooking with CBD oil. (But to make sure you’re getting your full daily allowance, just make sure to eat all your sauce.)
A Word of Caution: After eating that soup, I had a super-weird dream about being stuck in a long corridor with a cartoon hippo. I can’t prove that the CDB oil had anything to do with that, but if you have a similar dream after ingesting some, please let me know.
Wake up and chill out.
Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell
I don’t know if peanut butter counts as a beneficial fat, but that’s how I got my morning CBD boost, by stirring it into a spoonful of the stuff before spreading on a PB&J. I guess I could have used almond butter, but. peanut butter is so much better.
The herbiness of pesto seemed like a great option for incorporating the earthy blue label, so that’s what I did. Using this recipe for inspiration, I simply added the CBD oil to the blender in place of some of the grapeseed oil called for in the recipe. Total success, and with the strong flavors from cilantro, miso, and sesame oil, the inherent muskiness of the CBD was barely noticeable.
Lesson Learned: Strong flavors can handle the addition of the less-refined CBD oils a lot better than subtly-flavored foods. So if you’re cooking something very herb-forward, an unfiltered oil can be a great choice since it contains more amino acids and vitamins than the filtered version. If you’re sensitive to flavor, however, and want to incorporate the product into something more delicate, stick to a filtered extraction.
I thought about making a yogurt cup, but then went for that cherry-spinach smoothie again. For dinner, I reheated my lentil soup, and—having run out of coconut milk—simply drizzled the gold-label CBD oil over the top of my soup as a garnish. It worked just as well, although the flavor of the oil was a little more pronounced than it had been when first incorporated with the coconut milk.
Lesson Learned: Mixing the oil into another ingredient is a better option for flavor’s sake, but simply drizzling it on top of a soup, stew, or curry works in a pinch.
I whisked the oil into scrambled eggs, which I like to make with a dollop of Greek yogurt, and cooked the eggs in butter. I was nervous that I would have a repeat of Day 1, but whisking the oil into the eggs first (and using the filtered oil instead of the raw one) seemed to temper any volatile aromas. The eggs tasted okay. I would say that I prefer my scrambled eggs without CBD oil, but it works if you want to try it.
I went out that night. And even though I planned ahead and packed the gold label along with me, I didn’t take my evening dose. I guess the good news is that I actually didn’t feel that bad about it, so maybe the cumulative calming affects of the oil were actually working.
Lesson Learned: You’re not going to go into a tailspin of anxiety if you miss a dose. Hooray!
I stirred the filtered oil into a yogurt sauce to drizzle over a breakfast grain bowl. Simple, elegant, easy.
For dinner I made fish ‘n’ chips and I stirred the CBD oil into my tartar sauce. (Side note: this is decidedly not one of those healthy fats Dr. Titus was talking about.) But it worked, and I ate all the tartar sauce and I was happy as a clam. (A fried clam. Dipped in tartar sauce.)
Lesson Learned: I ultimately found that the more refined oil (i.e. the decarboxylated and filtered oil) was best for all cooking applications. Because while the other two oils could blend into some recipes easily—especially herb-heavy ones—they often left a lingering aftertaste that I found unpleasant.
As with any health supplement, it’s important to talk to your doctor to make sure that it won’t adversely affect any of your current medications. And since the tests are still out on an official recommended daily allowance, Dr. Titus suggests adjusting the amount of CBD oil you take, starting at around 5 to 10 mg per serving, 2 to 3 servings per day until you find a dose that works for you. But if you start seeing any cartoon hippos or find yourself aimlessly roaming endless corridors, maybe cut back just a little bit.
So, You Want to Cook With CBD? These Are the Golden Rules to Follow
O nce edgy and under-the-radar, CBD has officially become mainstream. CBD tinctures and gummies are likely already part of your holistic toolkit to deal with cramps, anxiety, or trouble sleeping. But the next level of using and enjoying the popular cannabinoid: incorporating it into foods and drinks.
Maybe the idea of CBD-infused foods freak you out. But having anxiety about cooking with CBD is not only ironic, it’s unnecessary, because this primer has everything you need to know. From the best foods to start with to the rules to follow to ensure you’re not just washing your money down the drain, consider this the complete ABCs to cooking with CBD. Soon you’ll be able to switch up your CBD habit to be as delicious as it is functional. (Any scientists out there want to study the effectiveness of CBD brownies as a PMS remedy? Get at me.)
The golden rules of cooking with CBD
1. Don’t waste your pricey tinctures on cooking
While you may already be the proud owner of a CBD tincture, The Ultimate Guide to CBD author Jamie Evans, aka The Herb Somm, says there are more cost-effective ways to infuse your food rather than using up your precious vials. The easiest, she says, is to buy a CBD-infused olive oil that’s ready to cook with.
“These are becoming easier to find, but since CBD is still widely unregulated, you want to look for one that’s organically grown so that there’s less of a chance of it including pesticides,” Evans says. The dosage per serving should always be on the bottle; she recommends a dosage of between 15 to 30 milligrams per serving for newbies. Her favorite brand is Pot d’Huile Hemp Infused Olive Oil ($36).
Basically, unless all you plan on infusing is a smoothie or a vinaigrette, Evans recommends saving your CBD tinctures in favor for a pre-infused oil.
2. Be Wary of heat
Evans says that cooking heat can potentially make CBD less effective. “If exposed to overheating, the effects will burn off,” she says, adding that she recommends staying below 320˚F.
However, because CBD in baked goods is still a relatively new territory, other experts aren’t sure about the impact of heat. “It’s hard to say and is still unknown what happens to the potency of CBD oil when it’s heated at a certain temperatures while cooking or baking,” says Liz Sprinkle, the founder of CBD brand Love Always, Liz.
To be safe, “I recommend adding CBD oil after the food you are preparing has been removed from a hot surface or oven to preserve the integrity of the plant compounds,” Sprinkle says. “For instance, instead of mixing CBD oil into cake batter before it’s baked, add it to the icing that will go on the cake.” This way, you’re more likely to get the most out of the oil.
3. Be sure to incorporate healthy fats
Evans says CBD is fat-soluble—meaning that your body absorbs it best when paired with fat-containing foods—which is another reason why she’s a fan of oil-infusions. “Cannabinoids [like CBD] are really drawn to fats,” she says. Whatever oil you’re into most—olive, coconut, MCT, avocado—having it as a carrier is what’s going to make the CBD most effective.
4. be patient With the effects
Evans says that consuming CBD in food will take your body longer to digest than a dropper full of tincture under your tongue—so be patient. “When you’re infusing it in food, there’s what’s called the ‘first pass effect,’ which means that anything digestible has to pass through your gut and liver first before reaching your bloodstream,” she says. “So [CBD in food] not going to be as potent or as quick-acting.”
5. be mindful with what you consume it with
While Evans says there aren’t any studies saying that CBD is harmful when consumed with alcohol—and even says it can be fun to experiment with CBD cocktails—it’s always a good idea to be mindful of your intake. “And of course if you’re consuming CBD with any alcohol, don’t drive,” she says. If you plan on serving food with CBD to friends, Evans says it’s important to tell them in advance (along with the dosage) as CBD can interact with some medications.
The best foods to start cooking with
Sprinkle and Evans both recommend starting with something you’re already familiar with, such as using your CBD-infused oil to top off a salad. If you want to use a tincture instead of an infused oil, Sprinkle recommends adding a few drops to a beverage. “I really love adding CBD oil to my favorite beverages such as Bulletproof coffee, smoothie recipes, and fun cocktails because it’s so easy and quick acting,” Sprinkle says.
Once you have beverages down, you can get as creative as you want. (Just keep in mind how heating affects the outcome.) Evans says she’s a fan of using CBD oil in sauces, like pesto, drizzled over pasta. Sprinkle says she likes using it to make a red wine mushroom reduction to serve over steak. And of course she’s a fan of using it in baked goods too; CBD brownies was the food she experimented with first.
Ready to try it? Here’s Well+Good co-founder Alexia Brue’s CBD smoothie recipe, straight from the Well+Good Cookbook.
Strawberry CBD smoothie
1 cup packed kale leaves or other dark leafy greens
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, tops included
1/4 medium avocado, pitted and peeled
1 dried fig
Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbsp)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar (optional)
1 drop high-quality CBD oil
1/4 cup ice cubes
1. In a high-speed blender, combine the kale, basil, strawberries, avocado, fig, lime juice, salt, honey (if using), CBD oil, and half cup water. Blend until smooth.
2. Pour into a glass over ice and enjoy, or pout into a jar or bottle with a lid, store in the refrigerator, and drink within a couple of hours. Shake well before drinking.
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The ultimate guide to cooking with CBD oil
Do you want to learn more about cooking with CBD oil but you’re not sure where to start? This ultimate guide will share everything you need to know about CBD oil and how to use it in your cooking and baking!
I’ve put together this resource on CBD oil to help you learn more about what it is, the benefits it has, and how you can use it in your cooking and baking.
This is everything you need to know about cooking with CBD oil all in one place!
What is CBD oil
CBD stands for cannabidiol. (can·na·bid·i·ol) It is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to help with stress and anxiety, relieve pain and even possibly help prevent cancer.
There are two main cannabinoids found in the cabanas plant. The first is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and it is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, which gives the sensation of feeling “high” when ingested or smoked. This is the cannabinoid that is often associated with marijuana. The second main cannabinoid is CBD. Which unlike THC, is not psychoactive and therefore will not get you high.
CBD oil is also not addictive and is currently legal in Canada and the UK. Hemp-derived CBD is currently legal in all 50 States of the United States, though there are some grey areas. (Watch this video to learn more about the legality of CBD in the United States.)
CBD oil can be consumed my ingesting the oil itself, through a vaporizer, or by eating it used in cooking and baking! (source) It is 100% safe to use, and can even be used for pets with anxiety.
How does CBD oil make you feel?
CBD is shown to have a relaxing effect by repressing the arousal of your nervous system, and can, therefore, help relieve anxiety. You may not notice any immediate change when taking CBD oil since CBD oil is not like taking a psychoactive drug. You may feel more benefits from incorporating CBD oil into your routine over the course of a week.
(Think of like incorporating more green vegetables into your diet. After one day, you may not necessarily feel very different, but after a bit of time, you may start to feel healthier, more energetic and experience less brain fog.)
One sensation you may feel immediately after taking CBD oil is a greater sense of calmness. Many people also enjoy taking CBD oil to help them sleep because of this calming effect.
While taking a CBD oil supplement will affect each individual differently, most people associate CBD oil with words like calm, relaxed, reduced stress and peacefulness. (source)
Health benefits of CBD oil
- Helps with pain relief
- Combats anxiety
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Works as a preventative medicine
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Helps maintain brain health
- Helps with insomnia
- Helps with inflammation in the body
- Alleviates stress
CBD oil possible side effects
Though CBD oil is completely safe to use, keep in mind that everyone’s body reacts differently to different substances. There are some potential side effects when taking CBD oil, though these side effects are generally not common.
- Dry mouth: CBD can in some cases cause your mouth to be dry, so drink plenty of water if this is the case.
- Drowsiness: in high doses, some people report feeling drowsy when taking CBD. (which for some is a benefit, if using CBD to help with sleep.)
- Lightheadedness: CBD can cause a slight drop in blood pressure, which for some may lead to lightheadedness. If this happens to you drink a cup of tea or a small coffee which will help regulate your body.
- Change in appetite: CBD can cause a reduction in appetite for some people. (source)
Tips for cooking with CBD oil
- Use high-quality CBD oil: quality matters, and there is no substitute for high-quality CBD oil. Look for a reputable brand.
- Start small: Don’t overdo it. Start with just a small amount of CBD oil when you’re first starting out using it in your cooking.
- CBD works best in recipes with some sort of fat in them. (oil, butter…etc.)
- Store your CBD in a cool dry place to keep it fresh
- You can add a few drops of CBD oil to your salad dressings, smoothies, coconut oil or butter or baking and in many other ways!
- You can add CBD oil to any of your favourite recipes. I like to add a few drops to my lattes, smoothies and chia puddings!
- Do not heat your CBD oil on direct heat. Heating the oil too high will have a decrease in the oils overall effectiveness.
CBD oil drink recipes
These drinks incorporate CBD oil in them for an easy way to enjoy your CBD oil if you’re feeling anxious in the morning, or need a little help relaxing in the evening.
- CBD Fresh Mint Tea
- Iced Chai With CBD
CBD oil snack recipes
These recipes are perfect for when you need a little afternoon snack or a dessert that will give you the all the benefits CBD oil has to offer!
- CBD Chocolate Pistachio Bark
- CBD Chocolate Fat Bombs
- Raw CBD Chocolate Mousse
- CBD Peanut Butter Cookies
Savoury CBD recipes
Try something different by using CBD oil in some savoury recipes or as a butter to use on toast, or in your cooking
CBD oil resources:
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posted by Jessica Hoffman on May 24, 2019 (updated August 16, 2021)