Nutrition

Cooking with CBD: Some Basics to Consider

By Shauna Willetts

It didn’t take long for CBD to infiltrate the health, beauty, and food and drink industries. Coffee shop visitors rave over CBD lattes and restaurants are starting to include more hemp and CBD infused items on their menus. 

But is it safe and effective to cook with CBD at home? 

Let’s take a look at how to use CBD in home cooking and figure  out if you can make that $10 CBD coffee (or a batch of pesto CBD linguine) from the comfort of your own kitchen. 

Hemp vs. CBD: A quick recap

While hemp oil and CBD oil come from the same cannabis plant, they actually differ in chemical composition and cannabinoid profile. This means that the hemp oil + MCT smoothie you make in the morning isn’t the same as making a CBD oil infused smoothie. 

Simply put, hemp oil is made from the seeds of a cannabis plant, while CBD oil is extracted from the flowers and stems of the cannabis plant. Hemp seed oil contains no CBD.

Be Careful with Heat

The first thing to know when cooking or baking with CBD is that it begins to break down at 392°F. That means at high heat the effect of CBD may lessen or disappear completely. A good trick to test the internal temperature of what you’re cooking is to use a meat thermometer to ensure you’re not wasting your quality CBD. 

Capsules and Isolate

CBD comes in an array of forms and can add an antioxidative and anti-inflammatory boost to any of your meals if used carefully. 

CBD isolate comes in powder form and only contains CBD and no other compounds. When cooking with CBD isolate, the main issue to be wary of is, if adding it to a baked good, heat. Be cautious of the internal temperature to ensure the heat isn’t too high to break down your CBD. 

Hint, the internal temperature of a brownie is around 180°F, so it’s not likely that what you’re baking will exceed the breakdown temperature unless it’s accidentally left in the oven for too long. In that case, you probably won’t be consuming it anyways.   

A few ways to include CBD isolate in your food are:

  • Blend into your smoothie
  • Sift into cookie or cake batter while baking. 
  • Sprinkle into your morning oatmeal.
  • Mix it with honey or agave to sweeten your morning coffee or tea.

When dosing isolate in your cooking or baking, try and measure out servings of what’s prepared with the recommended serving amount of CBD isolate. If you don’t have access to isolate, try opening a powder CBD capsule and using the powder to mix in. But before doing so, be sure to read the ingredient label to be aware of any add-ins or mixtures like turmeric or black pepper that could potentially ruin an otherwise great loaf of CBD banana bread. 

A Note on Oils

CBD oils are often blended with an additional carrier oil and have a distinct earthy taste that some users dislike. The difficult thing when cooking with CBD oil is that, since it’s an oil, it’s not water soluble and will separate with other liquids that aren’t oils or fats. 

Keeping those two reasons in mind, when cooking with CBD oil it’s recommended to mix with other fats and, flavor-wise, to mix with heavily herbed and spiced dishes to mask the natural, earthy flavor of hemp. .

A few ways to include CBD oils in your food are:

  • Whisk with lemon, olive oil, and herbs for an herby salad dressing.
  • Blend with coconut milk before adding to a curry dish.
  • Mix with an oil based pasta sauce like pesto before tossing with noodles.
  • Add a few drops into your bulletproof coffee and blend.

Another tip on not wasting your CBD oil is to not use it as the primary cooking oil if you’re sautéing or pan-frying part of a dish. Using CBD in this type of cooking will result in losing the excess oil in the pan that doesn’t stick to the food or via evaporation, as well as, again, losing some of the medicinal properties if exceeding the temperature at which CBD breaks down.

If cooking with CBD feels intimidating, there are plenty of options for you including pre-made CBD coconut oil, honey, and recipes that can guide you through your CBD cooking journey. If you’re feeling adventurous, impress your dinner guests by making your own CBD oil to infuse into your dishes. 

Is Cooking with CBD Worth It?

Always take a minute to think about how much CBD you’re adding to your food. It is hard to measure a proper dosage of CBD when cooking. You’re also ingesting the CBD, which makes it less bioavailable than taking it sublingually before or after your meal. But this can be a fun, relaxing way to make a dish if done right.

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