Do you *have* to cook pot?
October 6, 2007 8:11 PM   Subscribe

I want a definitive, science-backed answer and I can't find it -- do you have to heat marijuana to a certain temperature in order for it to be psychoactive when eaten?

I am getting conflicting (amateur) opinions. Some suggest it needs only be dissolved in butter or oil, but some suggest it has to be cooked, as in heated up. So, at what temperature? For how long?

Personal experience says that eating the stuff works real good. But do you have to heat it?
posted by Camofrog to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
IANAPH (or a scientist)

4 oz water
3 sticks of unsweetened butter
1 oz reggies

Boil for 20 - 30 minutes.


Pour water / oil mixture into a nice big bowl (the ones from the kitchen)

Throw bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Take out of freezer and skim the, now hardened, butter off the top of the water.

Throw back in the freezer for 10 minutes.


End result: Brownish Green Butter (hopefully more green)

posted by B(oYo)BIES at 8:19 PM on October 6, 2007

Not really, but Wikipedia suggests the absorption process is enhanced.

THC and other cannabinoids are hydrophobic oils. They are insoluble in water but soluble in alcohols, fats, and other oils. As cannabinoids are insoluble in water alone, they suffer from low bioavailability when eaten. By dissolving the cannabinoids in alcohol, fats, or oils (such as the fat in butter and cheese), their ability to be absorbed by the body is increased. Heating the THC in the presence of fats or oils simply accelerates the process of dissolution in the fats, from some hours at room temperature to minutes in the microwave.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:19 PM on October 6, 2007

What would heating it do? Unless it exists as a polymer, heating it would just damage the molecule. (unlikely though, since the boiling point is 200C)

The wiki suggests that THC is used as a defensive mechanism, so it's gotta be active at room temp, without treatment.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 8:29 PM on October 6, 2007

Try the following resources:
The Stoner’s Cookbook
Timothy Leary Biscuit
Educational videos - The gourmet menu. (YouTube has many more)
Grandma's Cooking with Marijuana
posted by growabrain at 8:29 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm adding IANAPH to my sig.

I still want to see a hard study on this. I'm not trusting any hippies.
posted by Camofrog at 9:17 PM on October 6, 2007

A boiling point of 200C for THC is pretty darn scientific.

It's unlikely you'll find any such studies as research into illegal drugs is rare and often focuses on how bad they are (in order go get government funding) rather than how to take them effectively. Hippes are going to be your best source for that information.
posted by chairface at 9:55 PM on October 6, 2007

Anecdotally, I've eaten hash and gotten way out of it and that's not been heated.

I think that heating it does condense its effects, though. I stopped smoking it some time ago and occasionally eat it now.

Simply take a small bud (less than or equal to the amount you would roll into a spliff), dice it up (so it looks like crumbs) and gently saute it in a table spoon or two of olive oil (until it starts to smoke). Pour that over toast and eat it (if in Australia, add vegemite). Delicious, simple (you don't need to fuss over a stove trying to get a butter suspension - which is kind of antithetical to being a pot-head IMO), and very effective, moreso I believe than eating it raw.
posted by strawberryviagra at 10:15 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

This certainly does not come from personal experience because I certainly know nothing about handling controlled/illegal substances, but I have heard heating simmering butter mixed with the mary-jane for 20-30 minutes, straining out the biggest green bits, cooling it in the fridge, and using it to bake chocolate chip cookies may produce delicious, slightly green-flavored treats that produce a successful, if mild high. This has been verified by people who ate said cookies who I certainly do not know because I do not know anyone who uses illegal substances. And the high may be more potent if one uses buds or stronger forms of weed. But I don't know this either.
posted by schroedinger at 10:19 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

The plant material of cannabis is not easily digested, and so the THC is not readily absorbed into the bloodstream unless it is first dissolved in some kind of fat, oil, or alcohol.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:58 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

To summarize, it's not the heating that's important, it's the getting the thc disolved in some kind of fat that's important.
posted by empath at 11:30 PM on October 6, 2007

Best answer: THC is alcohol soluble and therefore you can make a cold tincture. If you store cannabis in a high alcohol content solution (40% or higher alcohol Vodka for example) it will most certainly leech the thc from the cannabis. As with most attempts at dissolving one substance into another, heat will increase the speed of the reaction and usually the total amount that can be dissolved. Note also that in high concentration alcohols you are heavily mixing two depressants, alcohol and thc, so the effects may compound each other.

If you want to read a lot of very scientific work on cannabis and food (and you seem to) here is
Derivation of THC Limits for Food
Pharmacological and Toxicological Basis of THC Limits for Food

posted by afflatus at 11:41 PM on October 6, 2007

I am 100% certain that the psychoactive chemicals are present pre-heating. I worked at a drug-testing lab where we took the plant, ground it up, soaked it in hexane, filtered, and dried the hexane to obtain a waxy solid that had super-high amounts of cannibinoids. No heating in the process. No heating even in the testing - we confirmed the amounts using HPLC (high-pressure liquid chromatography).

The need to heat it to solubilize it mentioned above makes sense.
posted by solotoro at 12:03 AM on October 7, 2007

When I was younger I ate a bud, plain, raw, untreated. It was kind of waxy, the flavour was not unpleasant, and it took a while to get it all out of my teeth.

Oh yes, it worked just fine. No scientific backup here, but the active ingredients seemed to do the job.
posted by tomble at 7:01 AM on October 7, 2007

You can't just "eat" a joint.
posted by ageispolis at 4:20 PM on October 7, 2007

I'd always heard that you can't just put some marijuana in the cookie batter and expect it to work, that you had to make a special butter concoction and use that in the recipe. BUT, one time I tried just sprinkling some weed in the cookie dough, and it worked like crazy! But yes, I cooked the dough, so there was heat involved.
posted by king walnut at 9:24 PM on October 7, 2007

Lipids, yes. Alcohol, yes. Water, no. That's you're solubility issues right there.

Temps? You're smart enough to not use water, right? So no 212 degrees F.

As long as you use alcohol or lipids in a temperature range that neither evaporates the alcohol or burns the lipids you've done good.

IANAPH (for years now).
posted by sourwookie at 10:19 PM on October 7, 2007

« Older When my taillights are on, my brake lights don't...   |   Do I tell my boss about the other job? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.