Pot chef

Not much of a smoker? One local cannabis cook whips up edible solutions.

Follow Jessica from El Camino Wellness Center’s recipe, then make treats of your own—such as these snacks from J Street Wellness Collective.

Follow Jessica from El Camino Wellness Center’s recipe, then make treats of your own—such as these snacks from J Street Wellness Collective.

Photo By Shoka

Everyone knows you can smoke buds to get a buzz. But for those who can’t smoke—or don’t want to—there’s plenty of other ways to enjoy the magic of cannabis. Namely, cooking or making pills and tinctures. And a handful of cannabis dispensaries in Sacramento offer cooking classes to members to help get the best results out of their kitchens. To learn some tips on cooking with cannabis, SN&R sat down with Jessica of El Camino Wellness Center (2511 Connie Drive), where she teaches weekly cooking classes. Want to learn more? Feel free to swing by on Tuesday nights—just be sure to bring your doctor’s recommendation.

What do you cover in your classes?

I talk about the two different types of cannabis and what they’re generally used for. Sativas produce more of a neurological high, which is good for Alzheimer’s [disease], seizures and depression. Indicas give you more of a body high, which is good for pain or sleeplessness. I also talk about the chemical reactions in your body and what happens when you ingest cannabis.

Wait, you mean there’s science involved in this class?

(Laughs.) Yes. I was kind of a science and biochemistry nerd in college.

Explain the science to me—but, keep in mind, I was a liberal arts major.

Basically, your cells have different receptor sites all around them. These receptor sites are how your body sends and receives different chemical signals, like pain, for example.

Our cells have two cannabinoid receptor sites: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are generally found in the brain, and CB2 are generally expressed in the immune system. [Tetrahydrocannabinol] attaches to CB1 sites, and CBD attaches to CB2. That’s what gives you the high sensation.

How do you make cannabis butter?

Basically, you want to melt butter, pour in the cannabis and let the butter soak up the THC. I recommend using a crockpot as the butter sits on low heat for 24 hours. Then, you strain out the leaves, and store your butter in a sealed container.

What are the secrets to making good butter?

The key is to grind your buds in a coffee grinder first. Grind it up to a fine powder. I like to use trim and whole buds.

What else?

Some people use cheesecloth to strain their butter. But that can absorb some of the product. I use knee-high stockings instead.

What kind of butter do you suggest?

I like to use organic butter—keeping it as healthy and natural as possible.

How should you store your butter?

Sunlight will degrade the THC. I suggest using a freezer; it’s nice and dark in there.

How much cannabis should someone use when they make butter?

Generally, I suggest mixing one cup of butter with a half-ounce of cannabis. But that varies from recipe to recipe. That also depends on the individual. I suggest experimenting to find out what strength you like. But you should make it strong first, then you can cut it down with more butter later, until you get the strength you’re looking for.

You talk about more than just cooking butter, right?

Right. I talk about making cooking oil, tinctures that you can put under your tongue or pills you can make yourself. You don’t have to cook anything. For people with diabetes, pills give them that option for getting their medication without worrying about dietary restrictions.

How did you get involved with cooking?

I started a couple of years ago. I was growing for eight years before I did this. When I was growing, I wondered, “What do I do with my waste product?” The answer was to try cooking. Now I teach this class and our hydroponics class.

Do a lot of people attend?

It varies. We usually get two to six people per class.

Why do you offer cannabis-cooking classes?

For some patients, cooking is the only way they can get their medicine. If you think about patients with throat cancer, for example, they can’t smoke it, so edibles is one way to get the medicine that they need. It’s just one part of our compassion program, which also includes free massages and affordable medicine for low-income patients.

What do patients who come to the class suffer from?

We get a lot of terminally ill people. We have a lot of cancer and AIDS patients.

What’s your favorite recipe?

My oatmeal raisin cookies. They’re famous. I spent my life perfecting the recipe.

Did you bring any with you?

No, I haven’t made them in a while.

Damn. Do you bring them to class?

Maybe I’ll bring them to class one night.