Over the past few years, many CBD-infused food and drinks have been popping up — from gummies to coffee, tea, and cold beverages. Several restaurants have also been offering CBD-added food on their menu. So, can you also cook with CBD? The answer is yes, and it’s not as complicated as you think.
One of the oldest printed cookbooks in the world contains a recipe for cooking with CBD-rich hemp flowers, and Ojai Energetics reintroduced CBD to the food scene with some modern upgrades. We’re proud to have started the CBD-infused food and drink trend, from introducing CBD cocktails in Los Angeles and working with the first CBD-infused restaurant to establishing the first CBD coffee house partnership.
Cooking with CBD means you have complete control over the amount of CBD you put in your food, unlike buying CBD-infused drinks or edibles on the market. It’s also more cost-effective.
Cooking with CBD is a fun and engaging way to incorporate it into your lifestyle. This out-of-the-box ingredient pairs well with nearly everything, but it may act differently in the kitchen than other ingredients. For example, cooking CBD in direct heat can change its consistency and degrade its effectiveness.
Before you start, check out this guide for everything you need to know when cooking with CBD.
Health Benefits of CBD
CBD naturally interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a crucial system that regulates essential functions, including sleep, pain sensation, mood, immune system, and appetite. The ECS sends signals within our body to maintain an internal state of balance. It’s a conductor that regulates and directs activity to support a balanced body.
Introducing CBD to our bodies triggers our cannabinoid receptors to regulate various bodily functions, maintain homeostasis, and achieve optimal cell function. In simpler words, CBD helps support restful sleep, manages occasional stress, and maintains an overall healthy lifestyle.
Tips for Cooking With CBD
Cooking is one of the most popular ways to take CBD. Once you’ve selected the correct type of CBD for you, the possibilities are endless. Just make sure to keep these essential tips in mind.
1. Use water-soluble CBD
Adding oil-based CBD to your drink will result in a film sitting at the top — not the most palatable way to enjoy CBD. Unlike oil-based products, water-soluble CBD mixes well with liquids and absorbs into your system more quickly. Fat-soluble CBD also requires huge dosages (500mg minimum and up) to have a real effect.
Cooking with regular CBD oil requires another cooking oil or fat as a carrier for our body to absorb the CBD well and make it more effective.
However, not every recipe calls for oil. Water-soluble CBD is more versatile because it easily absorbs without needing an additional carrier.
Moreover, our body doesn’t naturally absorb standard, fat-soluble CBD oil well. The enzymes in our liver and stomach destroy over 90% of the regular CBD oil we consume because our body acts as a natural gatekeeper to block fats from entering our bloodstream. This internal process means that for every 20 mg of regular CBD oil you consume, your body only gets 2 mg of CBD.
In a water-soluble CBD product like Ojai Energetics Full Spectrum Hemp Elixir, CBD is encapsulated in tiny water bubbles called micelles designed to emulate our natural gut encapsulation processes.
When consuming water-soluble CBD, it enters our bloodstream immediately and bypasses the digestive process, so you get what you pay for.
2. Don't overheat your CBD
As CBD gets very hot, it will begin to evaporate and lose some of its beneficial properties. CBD also gives off a bitter taste when overheated, eventually ruining your recipe. Baking with CBD works best because the temperature in the oven gets distributed throughout the food.
Avoid cooking CBD past its boiling point at 320°F. Don’t use it primarily as cooking oil. Instead, use it as a finishing ingredient. Avoid using it for frying or sauteing. When cooking on a stovetop, you can also opt to remove the pan first, let the food cool down, then add CBD.
Additionally, many baking recipes can bake below 320°F. Despite its limitations, there are many CBD-infused dishes you can try.
3. Start small and use sparingly
Less is more, especially when you’re just starting. Be mindful of how much CBD you add since it can affect how your food tastes. Use CBD sparingly to avoid disrupting the consistency of the final product. If you’re used to taking the product sublingually, add your usual dose when cooking for yourself. If you are cooking for more, determine how many servings are in a recipe first, then calculate the amount of CBD to add.
For example, if your cake recipe serves six people and you want 20 mg of CBD in one serving, then you’ll need 120 mg of CBD added to the batter. You may need to do a little math here, but it’s always a good idea to understand CBD dosage and serving size, especially if you’re serving it at social gatherings. Some people might want to know the amount of CBD added. Always inform your guests that you’ve added CBD to the food, as some people may have allergies or sensitivities to it.
4. Choose High-Quality CBD
Not all CBD products are created equal. Some are less bioavailable and thus less effective than others. The CBD industry is still largely unregulated, so some CBD products may not be as effective as they say on their labels. Only purchase products from reliable brands tested by third-party vendors that can provide you with a Certificate of Analysis (COA). A COA is a report that shows you the product’s list of ingredients and its potency and ensures you get the advertised product.
For example, Ojai Energetics’ Full Spectrum Hemp Elixir only uses premium, organic ingredients free from synthetic fillers, additives, toxins, and other highly-processed ingredients.
You can view our COA anytime on our website.
How To Add CBD To Your Food
Cooking itself is therapeutic and meditative. Cooking with CBD sounds intimidating, but it is easier than you think because you can infuse CBD into virtually everything. Here are four ways to do it and five easy recipes to try.
1. Add It to Smoothies and Drinks
Just like any undertaking, the key is to go slow. Adding a few drops of CBD to beverages is an excellent way to start without worrying about the complexities of cooking. It’s also the easiest way to notice the effects sooner since drinks don’t usually have many ingredients that can potentially alter CBD’s effects.
You can add drops of CBD to your coffee, morning smoothies, or cocktails. Coffee with a few drops of CBD can jumpstart your day and help clear the morning brain fog. Whether you’re in the mood to socialize or wind down after a long day, you can add CBD to cocktail recipes. Mixing alcohol with CBD is pretty safe as long as you drink in moderation. Since both CBD and alcohol are known to help calm you down, CBD-infused drinks are perfect for helping quiet your mind when you are socializing at a party or getting your alone time.
2. Add It to Your Regular Dishes
Once the beverages are down, you can get as creative as possible — like adding CBD to your regular dishes. Go slow and increase your dosage according to your desired taste.
You can add CBD to virtually any meal at the end of the cooking process. Just remember that cooking CBD in direct heat changes its consistency and may diminish its benefits.
It’s worth reiterating that it’s best to avoid frying or sauteing CBD, as the last thing you want is to waste precious drops of CBD. Instead, you can add it to the final stages of cooking or when you’re waiting for the food to cool down.
Potatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients and can be cooked in various ways. Mashed potatoes are an excellent meal to infuse CBD into a dish. Plus, it’s a nice little twist to your regular Thanksgiving mashed potato. However, we recommend adding CBD to recipes you’re already familiar with instead of trying a new one.
3. Add It to No-Heat Recipes
If you want to avoid cooking CBD with heat, you can try adding CBD to no-heat recipes such as salad dressings, cold desserts, salsa, or guacamole.
Guacamole is the type of recipe you can customize according to your preference. Some people add more jalapenos than recommended, while some add mangoes for sweetness. The list of ingredients you can add to your guacamole is endless, including CBD. Drizzling drops of CBD into your favorite salad recipe is also an excellent place to start.
If you’re nervous about cooking CBD with heat or still a little wary about adding CBD to an entire dish, try these no-heat recipes to dip your toes into the water before jumping head-on.
4. Try Baking With CBD
Baking with CBD is one of the popular ways to incorporate it into your food. In the oven, heat gets dispersed throughout the food, so there’s less worry about CBD losing its potency while baking. CBD breaks down between 320 and 356°F, so only use recipes cooked below that temperature. Baking with CBD is just as easy as any low-heat baking recipe, and you won’t have to worry much about changing the consistency of your batter. If the recipe requires baking at more than 350°F, use CBD in the filling, icing, frosting, or drizzling sauce instead.
Add CBD to your tried and tested cookie, brownie, or cake recipe. Or, try our Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie recipe.
How to Store CBD?
A CBD product’s shelf life ranges from 1 to 2 years, depending on the quality of the product. Each ingredient in a product has a shelf life of its own that affects the entire product’s lasting power. Naturally, a high-quality product tends to last longer.
Always check your bottle’s expiration date. You can also try using your senses to check when a product has gone bad. Good CBD should smell and taste “earthy,” “grassy,” or “nutty.” If it smells and tastes other than that or is unpleasant in another way, now is probably a good time to throw it away. If the consistency of the product has gone thicker as usual and darker in color, that’s usually a sign of a degraded product.
Exposure to light can degrade the CBD product’s quality, making it less effective. Most CBD products come in dark-tinted bottles to help filter light and prevent degradation. Keep the CBD in its original packing rather than transferring it into a decanter or another container.
Store your CBD in a cool, dry, and dark place, and always remember to close it tight after use. Exposure to air also affects the CBD product’s quality. Keep it away from potential heat sources like windows, radiators, or stoves. Cannabinoids do not tolerate high temperatures well and may lose active ingredients in high heat.
Proper storage is crucial because heat and light accelerate degradation. When you store your CBD in ideal conditions, you can keep its potency and freshness longer.
Why Cook With CBD?
If you’re cooking with CBD, different terpenes from the other ingredients in your recipe will interact with the CBD to curate your mood. Terpenes are compounds responsible for most plants’ aroma, color, and flavor. It’s what causes lemon to smell like lemon and lavender to smell like lavender. Terpenes also enhance the benefits of CBD.
Limonene, a terpene abundant in lemons, is known as a mood enhancer. When you add lemon to your CBD-infused recipes, limonene directs CBD into your system to promote healthy digestion and boost your mood. Adding lavender to CBD-infused drinks or smelling it while drinking increases the relaxation benefits of linalool, the terpene in lavender. By doing this, you’re essentially telling your ECS that it’s time for relaxation.
Terpenes interact with our bodies differently. For example, limonene likes to go to our gut and dopamine receptors. So, if you add limonene to your food with a fast-acting CBD like our full-spectrum hemp elixir, you can curate your mood on demand! The possibilities of CBD are endless, and we are just beginning to scratch its surface. You can read more about terpenes and CBD here.
Cooking with CBD is easy and convenient. Prepare your food as usual, and add a few drops of CBD to whatever you’re cooking. Cooking with CBD means you have more CBD-infused food options than what’s available in the market. It’s also a more cost-effective option since CBD-infused products can be expensive. You get complete control over the amount of CBD to add, and you can make as many beverages as you like without hurting your pocket.
If taking CBD sublingually is difficult for you, cooking is an efficient method to get you started. Some CBD products have a fruity taste, while some have a more natural, earthy flavor. Cooking can easily mask the earthy taste of CBD, which is why others prefer adding CBD to food rather than taking it another way. Finding a product that fits your taste and pairs well with any recipe might take some time, so be patient.
Level up your cooking, impress your friends, and start cooking CBD-infused recipes by visiting our shop!