Cannabis is Legal in the Garden State!
It’s been a long time coming so go ahead and ge baked in celebration! No more excessive policing of a plant less harmful than alcohol, no more lives being ruined by possession charges, and no more unnecessary stigmatization of a substance that so many of you, and your grandmas, already use.
What does this mean? When can adults in NJ start buying weed?
By voting yes, NJ residents have opened the door to allow NJ legislators to form a bill for recreational legalization. There are many details to this bill that are not yet decided, including homegrow, social equity measures, automatic expungement, and quantity/potency limits. While the legislature works all that out, the already established NJMMP dispensaries are gearing up their production to be able to provide for the general public. The medical dispensaries have a long way to go; many of them still struggle just to keep up with increased medicinal demand. So most likely it will not be until later in 2021 that we will start to see adult use sales, although the entire industry is pushing for sooner. For the time being, if you want to legally purchase cannabis in NJ your best bet is to apply for a medical marijuana prescription.
In Favor of Edibles
Once you get your choice strain of legal, Jersey grown cannabis, what’s the best way to use it for pain, stress or insomnia (or all of the above…) relief? In the times of the Covid-19 pandemic it is important to be conscious of respiratory health, which is why it’s so important for cannabis consumers to consider using edibles as a healthier alternative to smoking or vaping. Cannabis edibles work differently than smoking or vaping cannabis; it takes longer for your body to feel the effects of a cannabis edible, but the effects can be stronger and will last longer then if it is just being smoked or vaped (typically 6-8 hours for edibles as compared to around 2-4 hours for smoking/vaping). Many medical marijuana patients report feeling increased relief for physical symptoms when consuming edibles, a better body high if you will.
You can use edibles in different ways depending on what relief you are looking for. Because edibles stay in your system for a longer period of time, they can be great for all day or all night relief. Microdose or low dose edibles (5mg THC or less) can be beneficial for coping with stress, anxiety, or daily pains. Moderate or stronger edibles should only be consumed by individuals who have a tolerance to cannabis, but they can be especially beneficial for people using cannabis to replace an opioid prescription for pain or using cannabis for insomnia. Edibles can be great recreationally as well; it’s a discrete way to consume and you stay high for hours so there’s no need to keep lighting up.
The motto with edibles, is start low and go slow! Like with any substance, if you consume too much THC it will be an unpleasant experience. Start by microdosing, consuming 5mg THC or less and see how that affects you. You may not feel the psychoactive effects, but you can still notice medical benefits like anxiety relief and mild pain relief. Tolerance, body weight, and body chemistry are all things to consider when trying to figure out what potency is right for you. If you feel like you want to increase the dosage, do so slowly! You don’t want to be consuming more when you haven’t felt the effects from the first edible.
Here are some ground rules I use when introducing a new person to cannabis edibles. 1. Start low and go slow, it’s worth repeating! If you make tasty edibles, it’s a good idea to have some non-infused snacks around so you are not tempted to eat any more edibles if the munchies kick in.2. Make sure to have CBD around! CBD has been legal throughout the US for two years now, and hemp products are readily available in the Garden State. CBD can be used to help treat the potential negative side effects of consuming too much THC. CBD is especially helpful for anyone who may feel paranoid or panicky after consuming cannabis (edibles that have a 1:1 CBD/THC ratio are also a great option, but we will get more into the benefits of different cannabinoid combos in future posts). 3. Make sure to have another person around especially if you are new to cannabis. Cannabis is a psychoactive substance and people respond differently to it, some even experience mild hallucinations. It is always good practice to get high in good company. 4. Have an open schedule when trying a cannabis edible for the first time. Again people respond differently to cannabis, some people are active and some people may just want to nap. The amount of time you’re high is also variable, some people have reported feeling the effects of a cannabis edible for up to 12 hours after consuming it. So definitely don’t have any important work plans or plans that require you to drive anywhere (never, ever drive high!)
Making Your Own Edibles
There are currently very limited options for edibles in New Jersey. Breakwater Dispensary provides microdose edible lozenges, but currently that is the only edible option available for sale in the state. So until the cannabis market has expanded, it’s up to cannabis consumers to bake for themselves. Although it can be a little bit intimidating at first, once you get your method down, it becomes second nature and even something you can enjoy experimenting and making some kitchen magic with. I’m providing a basic cannabis infusion below for 4oz of coconut oil or butter.
Basic Cannabis Infusion
Ingredients:● 3.5g Cannabis● 4oz Unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
Supplies: ● Aluminum Foil● Mason Jar● Cheese Cloth● Instant Pot
Directions:1. Decarboxylate your cannabis: Heat oven to 240°F. Grind cannabis as fine as possible (a coffee grinder works perfectly). Put cannabis in aluminum foil and seal foil to make somewhat air tight. Bake at 240°F for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, open slowly, and inhale a little if you’d like. You can get a little high standing around for this process, you’re essentially vaping your weed at a low temp.2. Melt 4oz of butter or coconut oil in a mason jar (8oz or 12oz mason jars work great). Pour in your decarboxylated cannabis and stir to combine.3. Place the mason jar on top of the trivet in your Instant Pot and fill your instant pot with water, so that the water is at about the same level as your butter or coconut oil in the mason jar. Put the lid on your mason jar, and seal so that it is only finger tight (otherwise it will be hard to get off afterwards). 4. Cook for 30 minutes on high pressure and allow your instant pot to naturally release.5. Once the infusion has cooled down enough to handle, use the cheesecloth to strain the herb out of your butter or oil. Throw away the leftover herb. 6. Calculate the potency and plan out your baking! If you are going to be making cannabis infusions regularly, I strongly recommend buying an at home potency tester (the tCheck works great) because it is the only way to get accurate potency readings. If you don’t have a potency tester, I recommend using https://kindmedsaz.com/education/thc-calculator/ . You will need to know the percent THC in your cannabis strain, and then can determine how many servings to split your infusion into in order to reach your desired potency. This basic infusion should make over 60 microdose (5mg THC) servings if you are using a NJMMP strain of cannabis. Use your cannabutter or cannabis coconut oil in place of regular butter in your recipes, and make sure to use a kitchen scale to portion out equal servings.
Baked by the River is a small, woman owned canna-business just starting up in Lambertville, NJ. If you are interested in learning more about cannabis baking and get help walking through the process step by step, check out our “Get Baked” weekly series. Starting 11/10 we will be providing weekly online, live cannabis edible baking tutorials every Tuesday, so that we can interact with participants and walk them through our process. We’ll be going over the benefits of different cannabinoids and how to highlight THC, CBD, and CBG in your baking. We will also introduce you to weed terpenes, and show you how to pair the terpene profile of your cannabis to the flavor profile of your edibles for a variety of different tastes and effects. As a NJMMP patient who has been using cannabis edibles for over 7 years to help cope with chronic pain, PTSD, and to get off of opioids, I have a lot of personal experience baking with this plant and promoting conscious consumption. I’m looking forward to leading a different weed themed discussion each week as we bake, to help answer questions and reduce the stigma around cannabis. To sign up for classes, please visit our website at http://www.bakedbytheriver.com
Baked by the River is also working towards opening a store front! Our goal is to open the Baked by the River Cafe and Bakery to be able to start providing our line of CBD edibles and provide locals and tourists a 420 friendly space where they can consume their legal cannabis. We want to create a safe place where adults can get together for something other than drinking. If that’s something that sounds promising to you, please consider supporting our Kickstarter at http://kck.st/3o5HlmH . In exchange for custom batch rewards, you can help support our dream of opening cannabis friendly cafe!
In the meantime, stay posted for more cannabis baking blog posts and recipes to come!