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Market Street Wellness offers cannabis cooking classes twice a month

Making cannabis butter — with CBD, THC or both — is not rocket science, but it’s also not a walk in the park.

That became clear during one of the twice-a-month cooking classes offered at Market Street Wellness in Medford.

There’s a fair amount of important information you want to master, starting with the need to decarboxylate your green matter. Now, don’t let that five-syllable word scare you off. It just means you have to heat it up to activate the useful cannabinoids for edibles.

The process is the same whether you are using CBD or psychoactive THC or anything in between.

Doing this is simple. You break up your cannabis with your fingers and spread it over parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 240 degrees for 45 minutes. Keep the foil on while it cools. It’s best to have an oven thermometer to make sure of the temperature.

“This is the stinky part, so have some ventilation,” teacher and budtender Amy Harper said during the Saturday class in August.

While you’re lightly baking your green matter, boil 1.5 quarts of water and pour it into a preheated crockpot. Add 2 cups unsalted butter, melt. Reduce to a low simmer.

Once the decarbed cannabis has cooled, stir it into the hot, buttery water. Simmer for 3-4 hours. During this phase, the THC and/or CBD is being cooked out of the marijuana and being absorbed into the butter.

When it’s done, let it cool enough to handle without risk of burning yourself, and strain the mixture into a glass bowl; then further strain the green matter through a large piece of cheesecloth, squeezing the cheesecloth to get as much liquid out as you can. Refrigerate the bowl for several hours until the butter has floated to the top of the water and become solid.

At this point, skim the butter off the top and store it in a container for future use.

Once you’ve got your green butter, you, as chef, can go in many directions, Harper said. Any recipe that takes butter can be turned into a cannabis recipe once you have a batch of green butter. She rattled off a handful of ideas, including chicken pot pie, green eggs & ham, cake, rice cookies, mac & cheese, pesto pasta and of, course, brownies.

“The most common mistake is how much cannabis goes in it,” says Harper, referring to the recreational sort. You want to be careful about the volume when using THC — but with CBD, it doesn’t matter.”

She suggests eating 2 mg to 5 mg of THC to start, and give yourself a couple hours to see where it goes. Often people think nothing is happening and eat more, only to find out they are already getting high.

To help take the guesswork out of this, search Cannabis Edible Dosage Formula and enter the grams, potency per milligram, strength in percent and number of servings desired. A couple tries and you should have located the “sweet spot” for future wake-and-bake journeys.

In any case, notes a Market Street Wellness info sheet, “If you get too high, don’t panic. Rest, drink fluids and distract yourself until the feeling passes, which should happen within several hours. Consider having a dose of (high-potency) CBD on hand to balance your system.”

The class, curiously all female, was quite high-spirited, even giggly. Afterward, Linda, one of the attendees, said she plans to use the new skill to ease her neuropathy. Chelsea said she plans to use it on “tasty treats,” such as brownies and cake. It will go in Peggy’s pesto pasta, while Ann plans to put it in snickerdoodles to help with arthritis pain.

“A cookie a day keeps the pain away,” she said with a smile.

Apprentice budtender Cynthia Pohlman said she will bake with coconut oil instead of butter and mix it with coffee to help her epilepsy — recovery usually was 13 hours and now, with CBD help, it’s half an hour, she notes.

It’s important to keep the oven temp below 240 degrees during the decarb phase because, if hotter, it starts burning off vital cannabinoids. You also don’t want to boil the butter-water mixture too vigorously. You can use a saucepan instead of crockpot, if you watch the temps and keep it at a low simmer. As for the weed you wrung out in the cheesecloth, it (and the water) still has some good stuff in it and can go into tea, said Harper.

Market Street Wellness, 633 Market St., Medford, offers cannabis cooking classes twice a month. Topics that followed the cannabis butter lesson included hard candy and salves.

For more information, call the store at 541-622-8340 or see https://marketstreetwellness.com/.

Instructor Ann Shepperd, right, and apprentice Cynthia Pohlman discuss cooking methods using cannabis during a recent class at Market Street Wellness in Medford.{ } Photo by Denise Baratta
Amy Harper shows off her "canna butter" during a cooking with cannabis class at Market Street Wellness in Medford. Photo by Denise Baratta