Cooking with cannabis is easier than you might think.

Maybe you’ve already tried it at home, or you’ve seen it done before and have had your curiosity piqued.

If it’s the latter, it’s easy to wonder how to start.

We caught up with Diandra Phipps, an expert in cooking with cannabis, to share a few first-time tips. You can watch the video or read the transcript below — and feel free to drop us a line in the live chat if you have any questions.

Hi, my name is Diandra Phipps and I am a plant-based chef and I also work for National Access Cannabis. We are a medical cannabis clinic and we have locations all across Canada. We do a lot of cooking classes and things at National Access Cannabis to really empower patients to be able to cook on their own and use healthy products to make into different medicals and topicals, suppositories, and even infuse [cannabis] into some of their foods.

Today I’m going to share a couple of tips on how to get started if you’re a little nervous about cooking with cannabis.

1. Calculating your dose is crucial

I think a lot of people don’t want to put too much cannabis into their infusions, so definitely calculating your dose based on the THC percentage or the CBD in your dried flower is really an essential step in making sure that you have a really good end product.

So essentially you take the THC percentage that’s in your dried cannabis and for every one gram there’s 1000 milligrams of dried weight. So if the THC percentage is 18 percent then in one gram of cannabis that would be 180 milligrams. So that’s some easy math on how to calculate how much cannabis is actually in your oil infusion that you make.

2. Which oil to use depends on context

A lot of people ask “what kind of oil should I use? Should I use butter, or coconut oil, or olive oil?”

You can really pick any oil or butter that you like or want to use in your cooking. It really depends on the flavour profiles and what you want to do with the end product. I like using coconut oil a lot because it’s liquid just under room temperature but then it solidifies in the fridge, so it really helps if you’re doing little treats and to help really bring dishes together. If you’re doing something like a salad dressing, you may actually opt for a grapeseed oil or a light olive oil instead.

3. Watch your temperatures

Another big tip is to always watch your temperatures. Depending on what cannabinoids or other medical compounds in the plant that you want to activate, they’ll really dictate what temperature you’re going to decarboxylate or infuse at.

Terpenes, which are one of the compounds found in the cannabis plant, they’re very volatile, meaning they evaporate at much lower temperatures than the cannabinoids themselves like CBD, CBN, or THC. So if you’re looking to activate the terpenes, which are really crucial to get the entourage effect of the total medicinal experience that we’re looking for as medical patients, then you actually need to back off your temperature to about 160 degrees fahrenheit to 190 degrees fahrenheit.

If you have an infusion machine like the Levo or the Magic Butter, then it’s really easy to regulate that temperature, but of course on your oven the lowest temperature is 190 degrees. So it’s something to be aware of, and if you head to a site like Leafly.com, you can actually find the evaporation points or boiling points of the different cannabinoids,

So whether you’re looking to activate THC to help with maybe some pain or inflammation in the body, you could infuse it at about 300 degrees fahrenheit, but if you’re looking to really capture those terpenes then you’re going to have to back that off quite a bit.

These are just a few tips, but if you really want to learn more and get a step-by-step guide on how to properly decarboxylate, how to infuse into oils, how to use different cannabis products and oils and infuse those into foods, then you can head to my website, diandraphipps.ca, and you’ll find lots of articles and videos and tips on how to get the most out of your cannabis.