At Honest Marijuana, we love edibles. From chocolate, to weed tea, to salad dressing, to butter, to oil—we’ve literally tried them all. We’ve even popped a few CBD strips and THC strips (a quasi-food if there ever was one).
Throughout all that delicious experimentation, one edible has occupied the top of our list for a long time: cannabis infused honey.
Cannabis infused honey is super easy to make, super easy to use, and can be added to everything from cookies and tarts to coffee and tea.
In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana reveal everything you need to know to create your own batch of this tasty treat. We’ve also included a simple recipe that even cooking noobs like us can’t mess up.
But before you break out the mixing bowls, it’s important to understand a few details about the chemistry of the cannabis plant. Specifically, terpenes, cannabinoids, and decarboxylation. Don’t worry, it won’t be as bad as it sounds.
Let’s Talk Terpenes & Cannabinoids
If you’ve spent any time around canna enthusiasts, you’ve probably heard the terms “cannabinoids” and “terpenes” at least once. If not, here’s your introduction.
Cannabinoids are chemicals that give marijuana its “get-up-and-go” (be it psychoactive or medicinal). As the name suggests, these unique molecules are only found in the various varieties of the Cannabis plant (whether sativa, indica, or ruderalis).
Common cannabinoids include:
All told, there are over 110 different cannabinoids, and more are being isolated every day.
Terpenes are oils secreted by the glands of the pot plant that affect the flavor, aroma, and medicinal properties of the bud you burn or bake with. As you can see in the picture above, there are over 100 terpenes to satisfy any preference and taste.
Common terpenes include:
- Delta 3 Carene.
At this point, you may be wondering why all this is important. What you came here for was the cannabis infused honey recipe, right?
Think about this for a moment: if you’re brewing a batch of honey and your strain of choice has cut grass terpenes (see it just to the left of the bottom of the image), how do you think that’s going to taste? You might love it, but it wouldn’t be our first choice of flavors.
When you understand what terpenes do, you gain more control over the flavor of your cannabis infused honey.
Now that you understand the building blocks of marijuana, let’s discuss how you can make the plant itself ready for consumption.
Here’s something you may not know: raw weed is not psychoactive. That’s right. The ganja you get at your local dispensary will not get you high if you swallow it whole.
So if you just dump a baggie of bud into a jar of honey (or any food for that matter), at best, it will be just like eating spinach. At worst, you may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and other stomach distress. Don’t do it, man!
To make the marijuana useful as a recreational product or a medicine, you first need to activate the cannabinoids through a process called decarboxylation. Decarboxylation is just a fancy term for removing an acid molecule from the chemical makeup of the plant.
Pot plants in their raw form contain very little THC but tons of THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). Drying the weed after it’s harvested converts a small percentage of THCA into THC, but it’s still not enough to feel any results (except maybe stomach cramps).
What Is Cannabis-Infused Honey?
As you can guess, it is honey that contains marijuana. What you may not be aware of is the relationship between bees and cannabis. A study by Colton O’Brien, published in Crossing Borders: Entomology in a Changing World in November 2018, wrote about how bees began visiting hemp fields in Colorado.
According to O’Brien, 23 species of bees living in the state were caught in traps set in hemp fields in a single month (August). He experimented because he noticed a constant buzzing sound as he walked through the fields. Hemp could be a ‘rescue’ crop for bees because it flowers between late July and early September, a period when other crops have finished their blooming periods.
O’Brien’s paper stated that hemp has a potentially strong ecological value.
According to Elizabeth Vernon, founder of Bird and the Bee, and also nicknamed ‘Queen Bee’, the best method of making cannabis honey is to create the marijuana tincture first before adding it to honey. While many herbs are easy to mix with honey, cannabis doesn’t have the necessary fats to bind with honey. As a result, Vernon advises the use of the MagicalButter machine if possible.
In theory, the combination of honey and marijuana should have an array of possible health benefits. Honey is primarily composed of carbohydrates and consists of compounds like vitamins, amino acids, organic acids, proteins, and minerals. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are linked with medical benefits such as a reduction in chronic pain, a decrease in seizures associated with epilepsy, and an improvement in conditions such as stress and anxiety.
How to Create Cannabis-Infused Honey
The first step is to decarboxylate your marijuana to transform the THCA into THC. If you fail to complete this process, all you’re doing is adding plant matter to the honey and you’re unlikely to experience much of a high.
- Firstly, preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit and place your herb on a baking sheet in a thin layer. It is best to keep the temperature fairly low to preserve as many cannabinoids and terpenes as possible. (Once you get into the 320+ degree range, a fair percentage of weed’s amazing compounds begin to vaporize).
- Bake the marijuana for at least 40 minutes; some users ‘cook’ their weed for up to an hour at this low temperature. Make sure you stir the cannabis and rotate the sheet a few times during the process, or else it won’t cook evenly.
- Once the precious weed is “decarbed” and ready for action, you can add it to your honey.
Cannabis Honey: The Recipe
Follow this step-by-step guide for easy DIY cannabis honey. Make sure your marijuana is decarboxylated before proceeding.
Place the weed into the cheesecloth and tie it with the piece of string.
- Add the cloth to the glass jar, and insert the honey.
- Put the jar into the crockpot with a cloth between the pot and the bottom of the jar.
- Fill the pot until the jar is 75% submerged in water and set it to a temperature of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Allow the honey to cook for approximately eight hours and give the jar a slight shake every couple of hours to make sure the pressure inside doesn’t build up. Never allow the mixture to come to a full boil.
- Carefully remove the jar from the pot, take away the cheesecloth, and strain the weed trapped in the cloth. Be wary because your jar will be incredibly hot.
One of the many great things about your cannabis honey concoction is its long shelf life. It will last up to several years as long as you store it in an airtight container. Ideally, you will keep the jar of honey in a room away from direct sunlight at a temperature of between 50 and 70 degrees.