Back in 1981 my wife Lisle and I began experimenting with alcohol extracts of Cannabis for medical needs, and created a number of simple recipes using using Cannabis buds and good quality brands of liquor. These recipes later became part of “Marijuana Foods”, published by Simon & Schuster in the early 1980’s. The book is still being published in its original form by Ronin Press in 2017 under a new title. While the language of this old book is outdated, the extract recipes are still valid, and are still a pretty cool way to enjoy Cannabis.
Herbal Marijuana Liqueurs (from Marijuana Foods by Bill Drake 1981)
The delightful taste of sweet sinsemilla can be captured deliciously in any liqueur, but there are several combinations that work like a charm. These delightful little potions are probably among the nicest ways of using Marijuana either medicinally or for sheer pleasure. Preparing a good marijuana liqueur is a two-stage process.
First you must prepare the alcohol extract of marijuana. Vodka makes an excellent base, Scotch is sophisticated, grain alcohol is effective but harsh, blue Agave tequila is a treat, and heavy, dark rum is excellent, particularly 181 proof. Any 60 proof and above alcohol beverage can serve as an extract base, but the more sugary varieties low on alcohol (40-60 proof) do not do as good a job as the higher proof whiskies, rums, tequilas, vodkas and the like.
Decide how potent you want your liqueur to be. A ratio of 1/4 – 1/2 ounce of good buds to 1 quart of alcohol base results in a super effective liqueur. For weaker marijuana, you may have to use an ounce or more of marijuana to a quart of base. If you don’t have homegrown sinsemilla, any other good-tasting, good-smelling marijuana will do. The taste of the marijuana you use in making liqueurs is important, so stay away from musty-smelling marijuana and from wild weed.
To Prepare The Base
Heat the alcohol in a double boiler on an electric burner. Remember, you can’t heat alcohol directly on an electric burner and you can never use a gas burner.
When the alcohol comes to a slow simmer, turn off the heat. If you have a candy thermometer, use it to determine when the alcohol has reached 180 F, and then remove from the heat.
Now add the Buds and let them steep for 30 minutes, then pour the mixture into either a large-capacity Thermos if you have one, or a couple of big canning jars with sealing lids if you don’t.
Add a pinch of powdered Vitamin C ester. Don’t use a crushed Vitamin C pill, but instead use pure crystalline Vitamin C ester available in most health food stores or pharmacies. The Vitamin C helps keep your extract base clear; without it you often get a muddy brown liquid.
Put the cap on loosely until the bottle is fully cooled, then close it tightly and set the jug aside. Let the liqueur mellow for a 24 hours with the marijuana steeping, and then decant the liquid into a fresh, clean jar or bottle, setting the marijuana aside. This will be your Marijuana alcohol extract base, or perhaps your final product.
The marijuana you’ve set aside should not be thrown away. For reasons we haven’t been able to determine, the tincture extraction process just described sometimes absorbs all the potency of the marijuana, while other times it absorbs most but not all of it, and the buds remain potent enough to make quite respectable marijuana butter.
Flavoring The Alcohol Base
After producing the tincture, you can decide whether to make it sweet, to add other flavors, or to leave it as it is. To make an easy, classic sweet liqueur base, take equal parts of honey and water. Heat the water to a boil, remove it from the heat, and stir in the honey. Be discriminating about the honey you use. Many supermarket honeys have little taste and sweetness. That’s because the bees have been fed on sugar and water only – no flowers. Many other honeys may have a taste that works well on toast but is a disaster in blend with the flavors of the food it’s sweetening. Good organic clover, sage, tupelo, or orange blossom honeys are wonderful. By the way, when measuring honey, if you first lightly coat the spoon or cup lightly with a bland oil like grape seed oil the honey will all pour right out.
Extracting Herbal Flavors
Now to think about which herbs to add to the liqueur . . . If you’ve had the pleasure of growing your own herbs, you need no prompting to use fresh herbs in every endeavor. If you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand and want to try a few good marijuana herbal liqueurs right away, there are many flavorings that you can use instead of fresh herbs.
Prepare the herbs for flavoring in the appropriate way. Generally, fresh aromatic leaves are lightly crushed in the fingers, seeds are ground till cracked but not reduced to a powder with a mortar and pestle, peels are lightly bruised with a wooden mallet on a cutting board. Place the herb in a heatproof glass jar and add a pinch of vitamin C.
Then, heat the alcohol as described for the marijuana base, using the same precautions – NO OPEN FLAMES – and pour over the prepared herb till it’s just covered with hot alcohol. Close the jar lightly and let the mixture set for 24 hours in the dark.
After the 24 hour blending period, uncap the alcohol marijuana tincture and add the herbal alcohol tincture, and the sweet syrup if you intend to do so, then re-close the container tightly and let it stand for 10 to 14 days.
Orange, lemon, and grapefruit peels are such wonderful flavoring ingredients. It’s always important to use skins from fruit grown without toxic sprays, and packaged without toxic dyes, because the liqueur-making process will concentrate these chemicals right along with the essential oils and essence of the citrus peel.
Fennel grows wild in many parts of the country, but nowhere so prolifically as in northern California. Marijuana Marin is an appropriate name for this mellow liqueur.
Take 2 tablespoons of sun-dried fennel seed, and crush lightly with a mortar and pestle to release the aroma.
Take the peel of 1/2 orange, preferably a ripe, sweet organically grown Valencia, and slice into 1/4 inch strips.
Bruise with a mallet, but don’t crush.
Put the fennel and orange peel into a jar or Thermos bottle, and sprinkle in a pinch of vitamin C. Cover the contents with warm alcohol, close the jar or Thermos tight, and set aside for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, pour the mixture into the prepared marijuana base (vodka is best), along with honey/water syrup to taste – approximately 1 cup will do for 1 quart of fresh alcohol – and steep for two weeks.
After two weeks, strain off the liquid and store it in a dark bottle in a cool but not cold place. This is a nice dessert liqueur with custards and pies.
Cannabis Creme de Menthe
It’s so easy to grow a little mint, particularly in the spring and summer in a cool, moist place around the house, that it’s hard to imagine anyone who can’t get some nice fresh mint to use in making this fine cordial.
Use 3 tablespoons fresh crushed peppermint or orange mint leaves, 1 tablespoon lightly crushed caraway seeds, and the lightly bruised peel of 1/2 organic orange, cut into 1/4 inch strips. Sprinkle all with a pinch of vitamin C.
Steep in hot alcohol for 24 hours in a closed heatproof jar or thermos, using just enough alcohol to cover the herbs.
After 24 hours, strain off the liquid and discard the fennel seed, the mint, and the peels. Add the liquid to the appropriate amount of marijuana alcohol base (vodka is best), depending on your own taste for the right proportion.
Then add 1 tablespoon fresh crushed mint to the marijuana base mix. Add honey/water syrup to taste, in the ratio of about 1 cup syrup to 1 quart alcohol, then set the whole thing aside to steep for two weeks. Finally, filter out all the flavoring herbs, and store the liqueur in a dark bottle in a cool dark place.
When the Scots gave us Scotch, it’s unlikely that they were thinking about whether or not it makes a good base for marijuana liqueur, but with the right luck in mating marijuana to whiskey blend or, better yet, to the proper taste of malt Scotch whiskey, you can produce a fine liqueur reminiscent of Drambuie, the drink devised by the Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Smell your buds to get an idea of whether you want a light Scotch blend like J&B or a heavy malt whiskey like Glenfiddich. Then make of marijuana base using 1/4 ounce sinsemilla buds and a whole bottle of Scotch whiskey.
Also prepare 2 tablespoons crushed aniseed, sprinkle with a pinch of vitamin C, and cover with warm Scotch, and allow to steep in a closed heatproof jar overnight.
Next day, add 1/2 cup honey syrup, the steeped aniseed and its liqueur to the pint of marijuana base. Steep closed for two weeks, then decant, carefully straining out the tiny aniseed using several layers of cheesecloth.
Store the liqueur in a dark bottle in a cool dark place.
Many people prefer tequila to any other alcohol base for marijuana. Its woody aroma with a suggestion of lemon makes an excellent background for marijuana liqueur.
Take 1/2 ounce of fine buds and pack them into a 1.5 (or so) quart Thermos bottle. Heat 1 quart of good tequila not the cheap stuff, in a double boiler as described earlier, on an electric burner only, and using the same precautions.
Sprinkle a pinch or two of vitamin C over the buds, then pour the hot tequila over them, and close the Thermos. Allow to stand and blend for two weeks.
After two weeks, drain off the emerald aromatic tequila, and store it in a dark bottle in a cool dark place.
Don’t forget – don’t throw away the marijuana. Test a little of it to see if you can make marijuana butter with it.
Lemon Ganja Brandy Liqueur
Brandy also makes a good base for marijuana liqueurs, but it will do a better job of picking up the potency if it is blended half and half with a good vodka.
Make 1 quart marijuana brandy extract using 1/4 ounce sinsemilla buds, 1 pint brandy, and 3 pints vodka. Sprinkle with a pinch of powdered vitamin C. Heat to a low simmer in a double boiler – no open flames.
Add 3/4 cup fresh lemongrass or lemon verbena, lightly crushed. You may substitute the fresh peel of an organic lemon if you want, but the two lemon herbs have a nice subtlety.
Lemon Grass is available at many Asian markets, whereas Verbena can be easily raised indoors or out. Decant into a large Mason jar and allow to cool. Steep for 24 hours, then filter.
Add 3/4 cup honey syrup to the marijuana brandy base. Allow to stand closed for two weeks. Re-filter the liquid and store in a dark place.
Glasnost Chili Liqueur
Pour a quart of Stoly pepper vodka into the top of a double boiler. Add several buds or approximately 1/4 ounce Marijuana, plus a few twists of lemon peel.
Barely simmer over low heat for half an hour (no open flames), then transfer to a thermos and allow to steep for 24 hours.
Decant into a nice bottle, straining out & reserving the Marijuana for butter, and store away from the light. Label the bottle clearly – this is potent stuff!
Everyone expects Meth labs to explode regularly because the process of making Meth, while simple, is inherently vulnerable to explosion because of the chemicals involved or if, as often is the case, the operator is inexperienced, careless, inattentive or stoned or, as also often happens, the equipment is poorly made or the work location is poorly vented.
But for some reason, makers of Hash Oil appear to think that they are working with a less dangerous process, or that they have more leeway to be careless or stupid, which isn’t the case – a fact testified to by dozens of hash oil facility explosions every month, especially in states where Cannabis is now legal and so there is a surplus of waste material that practically begs to be used. Squeezing the last drop of goodness out of waste Cannabis leaf is an almost irresistible temptation, and that is completely understandable.
While making hash oil safely on a large scale is absolutely possible, given the right knowledge, equipment and procedures, in this short blog I want to address the small-scale grower/maker who is equally vulnerable to deadly explosion and fire unless they are informed and careful, but who are much more often working in a basement or garage where other people, often their own children are present.
There are safe and effective ways to extract the delightful properties of Cannabis from waste leaf left over from trimming, and the internet if full of kitchen chemists and their advice. I’m writing this blog to encourage these small-scale alchemists to think twice before just googling “How To Make Hash Oil” and then following the first advice that pops up on their screen.
Like the old coach says – there’s a right way, and a wrong way to do things. Here then is a short set of illustrations of what to watch for, illustrating the range of good-to-bad advice available on the internet.
This Recipe is Safe
This excellent article offers safe method for small-batch home extraction. It is detailed and the steps are all well-illustrated, and the results should please anyone who is willing to follow the directions.
Safe, But Confusing
Lengthy article that reviews a lot of different methods and is full of cautionary notes that should be read and clearly understood, but given the length and complexity of the piece not everybody will come away knowing exactly how to make hash oil safely.
Safe – If You Take Precautions
This is a decent description of how to use alcohol instead of butane to make small batches of hash oil. The writer doesn’t seem to care much about the quality of the Cannabis being used, but the steps to take are well-illustrated with photos and if you follow the directions the method is safe. The key is evaporating the alcohol without an open flame and the writer’s suggestion of a rice cooker is a good one.
Here is an example of a well-meaning writer giving advice that can cause serious injury or death. Although the article has a lot of positives – it talks about using high quality organic Cannabis and being selective about the strains you choose – your first clue to the fact that the writer may not be totally safety conscious is the first photo.
He is illustrating the point that you need to work in a well-organized, clean space and the shot is of a very nice kitchen – with a four-burner gas stove! Later on, he goes into great detail about how to use a double boiler over high heat (on the stove!) to evaporate the alcohol.
There’s only one thing to say about this – alcohol fumes ignite, and they are ignited by open flames, and they can ignite explosively. This article is an excellent example of why you have to be careful where you get your advice!but
I hope that the following suggestion isn’t too self-serving, if you want dozens of safe, effective, and diverse Cannabis extraction methods explained in clear, step-by-step fashion, I believe that my 1981 book “Marijuana Foods” is probably still one of the best around. I covered dozens of natural, non-explosive extraction methods for producing Cannabis extracts for cooking medibles, and they are all safe and effective. In fact, even with all the recipes floating around today, almost 40 years later, there’s not much that wasn’t covered pretty thoroughly in this original book – the first of its kind, incidentally.
Here’s the Amazon link if you want to take a look. Note: while the cover is different from the original, the contents have not been altered. Enjoy!
Dear Reader: I wrote the following words as the introduction to my book “Marijuana Foods” in 1982. For several years my life companion Lisle and I had been experimenting with Marijuana as a medicine and saw clearly that many sick people simply couldn’t stand the physical stress of inhaling smoke, even through a water pipe, which was the only smoking alternative back then. Not only that, but older people and non-smokers were almost completely cut off from the health benefits of Cannabis. Vaporizing technology was still decades away, and there was no such thing as the Internet for people to use to inform themselves.
So we did a lot of experimenting with extraction methods and food & beverage recipes – my wife is one of the world’s best cooks, especially when it comes to subtle things like balancing flavors and aromas – and I am gratified to see many of the ideas from this book showing up in the market today. I thought that I would share this “Marijuana Foods” introduction with you to show that the benefits of non-smoking alternative uses of Medical Marijuana have been a topic of conversation for a long time.
When I see all the great new ideas and new Cannabis products created to address every kind of health, happiness and quality of life issue in ways that Pig Pharma can’t touch, I love it that new generations of young people are finally making the Cannabis revolution so strong that it cannot be stopped. Rock On!
(from “Marijuana Foods”, Simon & Schuster, 1982: Chapter One)
Cannabis has been used for centuries as a medicine, and has held a central place as a natural healer and reliever in the pharmacy of societies around the world. America has yet to come to an appreciation of the medical usefulness of Marijuana large because of the successful maneuvers of the cigarette and alcohol industries to get a grip on both the political and the moral institutions of the country. It has been a classic maneuver, well executed and enormously successful, and it has taken over fifty years.
Frustrated in their attempt to impose a prohibition of alcohol on all of society, the forces of morality were quick to spot the far more productive target presented by Marijuana, used almost exclusively by the African-American people in the cities.
The powerful cigarette and alcohol industries saw this situation as an opportunity not to be missed. Knowing that it would be a mortal threat to their industries if Marijuana ever escaped into regular White society, because it would quickly supplant alcohol & cigarettes and couldn’t even become a profitable legal monopoly because it could be grown by anyone, they crafted a long-range strategy which after decades of work and the investment of billions of dollars has almost succeeded.
Moral outrage and self-righteous indignation at the distantly observed and perversely fantasized habits, behaviors and presumed moral degradation of poor people, especially minorities, has long been the habit of a certain breed of White people with withered souls. These people have historically tended to congregate in church-based prohibitionist movements. Recruiting and building this barely latent racism into a religiously sanctioned nationwide crusade against drugs was the strategy chosen by Marijuana’s adversaries.
In executing this simple strategy, the legal drug industries quietly aligned themselves with the forces of morality, feeding them with propaganda and funding, employing layers of sophisticated “foundations” to spare the moralists the pain of taking blood money, and together these evil sisters set out to rid America of (competitive) drugs.
Out of this strategy came the federal bureaucracy designed to “fight drugs” and deal criminally with the “drug problem” which the newspapers of the time defined in large headlines, displaying photographs of either Black people or Whites who were clearly low-life types, and stressing that even a moment’s lapse, a single puff, would lead to such as this.
That was scary stuff to the folks who had just suffered a decade of depression and now faced a worldwide threat of really dangerous aggressors… and it worked. The anti-drug laws of the late 1930’s marked the success of this tactic.
The cigarette and alcohol industries boomed during the War in every community of the world. It was cool to drink, cool to smoke, and everyone who wasn’t dead was alive so what the hell. After WWII there was no room for consciousness-expansion except via martinis in the U.S. because everybody was too busy pursuing the materialist dream of industrial expansion designed to keep the converted war production machinery humming.
The industrial empires left over from the last century, decimated by the crash and the depression, had recovered too well and made too much money producing machinery and other war materials for them to allow the factories to simply close down and people return to their peaceful way of life in the towns, villages and small cities.
Besides, farming and small town living was no longer very attractive to the millions of young men and women who had seen the world, survived a war, and come home as saviors and heroes.
In the late 40’s and throughout the 50’s, going to college and then out to work in rapidly growing companies making consumer goods for the exploding population of babies and families, these organization men and women never got high, couldn’t understand why anyone else would, and using the logic and “information” so carefully fed them by the prohibitionists through the increasingly pervasive media environment, judged those who used any drugs but alcohol and cigarettes as weak in character or racially inferior – probably both.
This is the environment we inherit today. Those at the top of our institutions, agencies and organizations are those who survived WWII, stayed straight, and either bought the anti-drug propaganda or cynically helped promote it, as part of a bargain with the devil in their rise to power.
They have inherited the mantles of power and influence created by the robber barons of the last century, along with the ethics and morality of those brutal humans, and are absolutely dedicated to reducing the people of this country to shackles. These people intuitively understand that the unrestricted use of psychoactive drugs would change society in ways which would make their feudal style of social and economic prerogatives and control too vulnerable to more desirable alternatives.
Marijuana And The Health Care System
All health care systems have a “delivery” component, a set of ways in which the benefits of the system are delivered to the people in need. When we look to the healing rituals of so-called primitive societies around the world we see that a consistent major difference from our own delivery system is the participation of family, friends and community in the “primitive” healing processes and their virtual exclusion from our own.
Scientists studying the effects of group participation on individual human physiology have long noted that whether through church, through kin-centered social activities, or just plain having fun with friends, the health benefits of socializing are indisputable. Such activity is known to speed healing, lower stress, and maintain good health.
Medical technical specialists have developed tremendous analytical and therapeutic tools, but until the institutions they have created for those tools allow the participation of those with whom the person is emotionally and spiritually bonded, the healing potential of much of this wonderful technology will continue to be limited and subverted by the physiological, psychological and spiritual effects of the stressors like isolation, confusion, fear, dread, pain, and despair which so many people feel while “being cared for”.
The Technodoc attitude generally downgrade this as a minor problem, to be dealt with by further medication, and indeed they do have medications which “de-stress” you – for as long as you take them. These substances interfere with the biochemical media in the brain which carry stress messages from mind to brain, and chemically sever the nerves which carry the stress messages from your brain to the rest of your body. They render your nervous system incapable of transmitting the signals which the major stressors produce; they do not change the conditions which generate the fear, the sense of isolation.
You’re still alone, still afraid, in a world full of things you never bargained for, but now you can’t feel the stress, or even register its existence on your conscious mind, so your problems are considered managed.
A New Marijuana-based Therapy
With the ever-present exposure we all get to the “modern health care system” it’s easy to forget that all this is relatively new. Until a few years ago almost all Americans dealt with disease, illness, injury, impairment and old age in the context of a family and a community of friends and neighbors.
This isn’t a good old days fantasy. Sure there were lots of people without friends or family who suffered and died alone – that’s one of the origins of the centralized health care delivery system, the urgent social need to care for the millions of people, many of them immigrants, who lay sick and dying alone in the city streets of the last century. Centralized health care institutions grew out of this core failure of the industrializing American system, when the very closeness of family and community which enfolded those in need was not available to outsiders and strangers, and when there was no alternative but the brutal poorhouse.
But there were also tens of thousands of smaller cities, towns, villages and rural communities where few lay alone, whether sick or injured, where aging people were passed from family member to family member if need be, but were kept, and where the medical profession was an enormously useful adjunct to the family-based health care delivery system but was not the primary caregiver. These days are recalled as quaint by some modern docs who chuckle about the days of house calls, though many wish that they could make a decent living doing just that. Marijuana therapies offer that option.
We live now in an age when care has become interpreted as skilled technical intervention alone. When a person becomes seriously sick or gets badly injured they are removed from their family in a manner that brooks no interference. Medical emergencies convey license upon lifesavers who rush you to the central facility where you are handed over to technical specialists, who then take charge as you are transformed into a “case” or “patient”.
Your family or friends, if you have any, are reduced to huddling in a waiting room where they are visited from time to time and provided reassurance that you are in good hands and everything possible is being done.
If and when the emergency subsides you are then passed on to other specialists who apply whatever medical technologies they are familiar with and choose to use in the name of standard medical practice. Their choice of technology and strategy is determined by many considerations, and their motives are usually the highest, but their methods are not to be questioned, and there is literally no room for family or friends to function in the role of caregivers. They can come visiting hours, and that’s it, because the institution is in total charge of care-taking, and their version of care-taking is how its going to be.
If the institution and the specialists can’t fix the problem you will be designated incurable and sent somewhere called a home, but probably not a home with your family in it, for “long-term care”. You generally won’t go with your family because they “aren’t able to take care of you”, meaning that there is no system to provide the resources which would enable them to “take care of you” at home. The systems that exist to provide and allocate society’s health care resources choose to allocate those resources to “taking care of you” in institutions which they administer and from which they profit, not to home-based alternatives which, while better and more cost effective for you, do not benefit them. They’re not evil, just doing what comes naturally which is surviving at all cost.
If you recover you are “released” which means you are free to go, after dealing with the bill of course. You walk out to rejoin your family, and maybe on the ride home in the car someone will ask you – ” So, how do you feel?” Well of course you feel “fine”, and that’s about it. Everybody goes home and goes on with their lives until the next time they crash or drop or break or pass out and then it all begins all over again.
But are you “healed” by all this? Your disease certainly seems to have passed, your bones mended, your new organ functions perfectly, your heart beats. But what about how vulnerable, how violated, how isolated you feel even behind the pills?
Given the institutional cultures of the current health care system, the isolation and emotional and spiritual deprivation of the severely ill or merely very old person becomes almost inevitable.
Family-Centered Marijuana Therapy
Family centered Marijuana therapy can be a powerful way for the family to re-assert its legitimate role in the process of caring for and healing the sick or hurt family member. Through the therapeutic use of the Marijuana experience families can draw closer, open up to the feelings and words so necessary for healing, reach out to each other and resolve issues, build upon the loving relationships which may have lain fallow for many years while all were healthy.
Those medical and therapeutic professionals who personally understand and value being high have an invaluable contribution to make to the healing of their own profession by working to bring back the quality of caring and life which is the hallmark of successful family-centered health care and which can never be provided institutionally. What is needed is a bridge between the institutions and the extended family in the process of caring for and healing those who are ill, injured, or aged.
The therapeutic use of Marijuana, guided and facilitated by medical and therapeutic professionals, can contribute to the building of this bridge, but not without a small revolution in which enlightened professionals and fed-up families and individuals come to some sort of simultaneous realization of how badly we are all suffering from an outmoded, crumbling and illogical system of health care delivery. Compassionate, creative, therapeutic use of Marijuana in a psychological and spiritual healing process opens new professional opportunities for many health care professionals who are personally experienced with the Marijuana high.
Why should personally enlightened professionals continue to submit to the whips of the cynics and moralists, those evil sisters, thus depriving their patients, clients, loved ones, friends and colleagues of the benefits of a holistic approach to Marijuana therapy which uses the powerful healing high, with themselves acting as compassionate Companion-Guides as well as medical professionals.
Considered, directed use of Marijuana is one of the most effective paths to healing for many people, and there is no question that it one of the gentlest, most illuminating natural agents put on this earth by the creator. To knowingly deny such a whole healing experience to the sick and dying is both sacrilegious and professionally corrupt.
Imagine the impact on the quality of the relationship and the healing potential if all parties to the process- physician, caretaker, family, spouse, and patient could use the Marijuana high to get past the kinds of barriers that typically isolate those in need from those giving care.
Wholistic therapies involving Marijuana would not seek to separate a biochemical “effect” useful in treating the disease or symptom involved. In place of trying and failing to control the psychoactive and CNS “side effects” pharmacologically or biologically in order to extract an elusive magic bullet, why not include the Marijuana high in a psychotherapeutically designed “happiness therapy”. Why not stop trying to manipulate people bio-chemically at these deeply invasive micro-levels and deal with the simple fact that whole Marijuana flowers whether smoked or eaten would, if freely available, be very useful for many of the medical needs of most people in a lot of serious situations.
There simply is no real need to make Marijuana into a pharmacological nightmare and charge people huge fees for institutionally controlled inferior variations of molecules found in every marijuana flower on earth. And even if scientists were to succeed in this absurd search for “the molecule” and “the pathway” which is the Marijuana high, the biochemical industry and the government would then be able to synthesize the chemicals and find the neurological pathways to biochemically manipulate other mysteries like love, happiness, patriotism and consumer behavior, and the arrival of 1984 will have been only slightly delayed.
I don’t expect this to be a problem , because the Marijuana high is not an effect produced by a chemical as much as it is an experience released by a chemical. The experience occurs within, with the impetus given by the chemical but moderated by the mind/body interaction, which is why it is so difficult for technicians to isolate individual Marijuana chemicals from the high and achieve clinically measurable “effectiveness”.
The experience which is partially mirrored in measurable effects like brainwaves and behaviors is embodied in the mind, not the brain, and the chemical acting on the body/brain does not produce the experience, it opens the doors of perception to the experience which occurs on a plane where complex activity leaves only slight physical or electrical tracings on even sophisticated detection machines.
As far as the machines are concerned the Marijuana experience has as much measurable substance as a ghost, and only those who have actually seen ghosts in the other realms would know when one showed up on their screens in this reality.
Archaeological evidence shows that non-western societies have known about the healing and therapeutic properties of Marijuana for thousands of years. Village and tribal societies throughout Asia and the Middle East have used preparations from the Marijuana flower for health, for relaxation, for stimulation, for worship, and for magic since ancient times.
Ritually potent high energy social interaction is a key to healing in these societies, contrasted with routine isolation and treatment exclusively by technical specialists in ours. Marijuana plays an important role in stimulating both interaction and receptivity in ritual participants, and therefore in the healing outcome. In addition, it is clear that these societies have long since discovered the pure medical properties of Marijuana in treating and curing both routine and serious diseases.
Through the use of the Marijuana plant in both ritual and medicinal context these more natural societies have found ways to put the sufferer in touch with those healing forces of the universe which are everywhere around us but which must be summoned and focussed before physical body problems can be relieved. This natural wisdom formed over thousands of years has a place in our approach to the severe health issues confronted today by millions of Americans.
Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago I was browsing a Medical Marijuana forum and noticed that one of the contributors cited the recipe for “Cannabis Caramel” from the 1981 book my wife Lisle and I co-authored “Marijuana Foods” and called it “The best Cannabis candy recipe ever”. I was pretty happy about receiving such a nice compliment, especially considering how diverse the field of Cannabis cooking has become since Lisle and I did the original recipe research in our New Mexico kitchen all those years ago.
So while my original intent in writing this post was just to offer just that recipe, then I thought – why not post the whole chapter, one section at a time starting with Cannabis Sweets. In subsequent posts I’ll cover some of the other kinds of recipes that we originally developed for friends in New Mexico and Colorado who wanted to use Cannabis for several different health issues but, each for their own reasons, couldn’t or didn’t want to smoke.
Just one further note. If you have a food allergy to cow dairy then you can substitute goat butter for cow butter in any Cannabis butter extract without changing anything else about the extraction technique you’re using. And you’ll find that goat butter actually makes a number of these recipes tastier, so even if you don’t have a cow dairy allergy go ahead and experiment with goat butter. You’ll be glad you did.
(From) Chapter Four – Marijuana Foods by Bill Drake (1981)
Cannabis Sweet Treats
Marijuana Chocolate Chip Cookies
YIELD: 48 cookies
POTENCY: 1/2 teaspoon per cookie
This variation on the classic cookie recipe which can be found on every bag of chocolate chips in the world is guaranteed to please.
1/2 cup marijuana butter
6 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons turbinado (unrefined) sugar
1 large fertile egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Cream the butter with the brown and white sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Sift the flour, sea salt, and baking soda together, and stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Chill the cookie dough for at least two hours. This is a precaution against the dreaded flat cookie: Chilled dough bakes vertically, not horizontally. But, if you like flat cookies, don’t chill the dough.
Drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets by the teaspoon-size lump about 2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated 375° F oven for eight minutes, or until as brown as you like them. DO NOT eat more than one. If you must, bake another batch with regular butter, keeping careful tract of which batch is which.
Jam-Filled Ganja Crumbles
YIELD: 35 to 45 cookies
POTENCY: +/- 1/2 teaspoon per cookie
2/3 cup marijuana butter
3/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1 1/2 cups good-quality rolled oats
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup fruit jam or preserves
Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg, oats, and salt. Mix well. Combine and sift together the flour and baking powder, then add to the bowl. Stir in the pecans. Chill the dough 2 hours.
Drop by the teaspoon on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Make a slight depression in each center with your thumb, and spoon in a good portion of jam. 5. Bake 8-10 minutes in a preheated 350° F oven. Allow to cool before removing from the cookie sheet.
Sinsemilla Orange Drops
YIELD: 36 cookies
POTENCY: 2/3 teaspoon per cookie
2 large, fresh organic eggs
1/2 cup light, potent marijuana butter (Use some of your most aromatic for these light cookies.)
1/2 cup raw clover honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
11/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or equal parts ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup grated orange rind (from a ripe organic orange)
1 cup flaked oats
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
In a large bowl beat together the eggs, butter, honey, and salt. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice, and stir into the egg mixture. Stir in the orange juice, orange rind, oats, and hazelnuts. Taste the batter and adjust the flavoring, if desired, by adding more salt, orange juice or rind.
Chill the dough 2 hours. 4. Drop by teaspoonful onto a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crisp around the edges.
Jalapeno Gold Muffins
YIELD: 24 muffins
POTENCY: 1 teaspoon per muffin
1/2 cup marijuana butter
1/3 cup Turbinado (unrefined) sugar
2 large fresh eggs
8 ounces creamed corn
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated lemon peel
1/2 cup seeded, finely chopped Jalapeño peppers
1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, creamed corn, and sour cream. Sift the salt, baking powder, and flour together and combine with the creamed mixture.
Stir in the grated cheese, grated lemon, peppers, and corn meal. If necessary, adjust the taste with just a bit more sugar at a time.
Grease muffin tins with marijuana butter or any other shortening, and fill the cups two-thirds full. Bake in a preheated 450° F oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
High Lime Pie
YIELD: 12 slices
POTENCY: 1 to 2 teaspoons per slice, depending on the ratio chosen for the pastry crust (See Below).
1/4 cup water
1 package un-flavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon. salt
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup lime juice, preferably Mexican limes (the tiny ones)
2 teaspoons grated lime peel, plus 1 teaspoon for the topping
1 cup whipping cream
1 baked Rich Marijuana Pastry Crust (See Below)
Sweetened whipped cream
Key Lime slices – small, Mexican limes work best
1/2 cup unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
Combine the water and the gelatin. Allow to soften 5 minutes. Mix in half the sugar with the salt, egg yolks, and Lime juice. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture just begins to boil. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in 2 teaspoons of grated lime peel. Add three drops of green food coloring at this point for a more pronounced color effect, if desired.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and chill until slightly jelled. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the cream, and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold into the chilled, somewhat jelled mixture. Fill the pastry crust and chill the pie until the filling has firmly set. Spread more sweetened whipped cream over the pie, place slices of fresh lime around the edge, and sprinkle crushed pistachios over the top.
Golden Valencia Goodies
YIELD: 40 to 48 pieces
POTENCY: 1/8 teaspoon per piece
This is a light-potency candy which makes a nice early evening treat along with a flowery white wine, a sort of a garden-party high. You’ll find a candy thermometer handy in working with this recipe. They only run about $10 and are a good tool to have around if you enjoy candy and want to create your own.
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons potent marijuana butter
Grated peel from a firm, organic Valencia orange
2 cups turbinado (unrefined) sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup chopped skins-off pecans or almonds
In a large saucepan, combine the heavy cream, butter, orange peel, sugar, and corn syrup.
Cook the mixture, stirring continuously over medium high heat, until the candy thermometer reaches 238°. Or, cook stirring constantly over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches the stage where a bit of it rolled between the thumb and index finger forms a soft ball in ice cold water.
Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the nuts. Allow the mixture to cool somewhat. Drop spoon-sized pieces onto a wax-paper-covered cookie sheet. Cool, put in a tight tin, and keep in a cool place.
YIELD: 100 pieces
POTENCY: 1/4 teaspoon per piece
Wrap each piece individually in wax paper, not in foil. Even better, if you’ll be traveling with them, wrap them in the commercial wrappers from a tin of regular wrapped caramels.
2 cups turbinado (unrefined) sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup potent marijuana butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon dark rum
2 cups pecans – use only high quality pieces
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring a mixture of the sugar, salt, 1 cup of the cream, corn syrup, and butter to a boil. Boil slowly for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Don’t scrape the bottom.
Dribble in the remaining cream, continuing to stir. Add the cream slowly enough not to disturb the boiling.
Continue to cook until a little of the mixture, when plopped into cold water and rolled between your thumb and index finger, forms a firm but not hard ball.
When the firm-ball stage is reached, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, rum, and pecans. Pour out onto a buttered cookie sheet with sides, and allow to cool.
When the mix has cooled, cut into bite-sized pieces and wrap.
YIELD: 45 to 50 1 1/2 inch squares
POTENCY: 1/3 teaspoon per brownie
An old Southern recipe, & an inspired way to use your best flowers.
1/3 cup mild-tasting marijuana butter plus 1/3 cup regular butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 large fresh eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon rum
2 tablespoons molasses or heavy dark honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup small marshmallows
Melt the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Remove the mixture from the heat; allow to cool.
Blend the eggs and sugar, and stir into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Add the rum, molasses, and vanilla and blend well.
Sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the mixture. Stir in the pecans and marshmallows.
Grease a 9 x 12 inch pan with butter or shortening. Spread the brownie mixture evenly in the pan and bake in a preheated 325° F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and then cut into 1 & 1/2 inch squares.
Black Ganja Mousse
YIELD: 8 servings
POTENCY: 1 1/2 teaspoons per serving
5 medium or 4 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups turbinado (unrefined) sugar
4 tablespoons grated bitter chocolate
2/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup marijuana butter plus 3/4 cup regular butter
1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur, such as Cherry Suisse
Grated chocolate for garnish
Beat the egg yolks until smooth. Add half the sugar and continue to beat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the grated chocolate.
In a heavy saucepan, bring the milk slowly to a low boil, then dribble it into the yolk/sugar mixture, beating briskly with a whisk. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and cook over a very low heat until it thickens nicely.
Fill a large bowl one-third full with ice cold water. Put the custard into a smaller bowl, set it into the larger one, and whisk the custard until it has cooled.
In another bowl, beat the butter and remaining sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the custard, and beat the mixture until it’s smooth and velvety. Swirl in the liqueur with a light touch.
Pour the mousse into eight small, attractive mousse dishes, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for four hours or more. Serve cold, topped with an additional bit of grated chocolate.
Red Yam Pie
Potency = 1/2 teaspoon/slice
Begin with 4-5 purple yams or dark red sweet potatoes. Scrub vigorously under warm water then slice into thin rounds. Layer them into a pot, sprinkle with a dash of salt, and cover with boiling water.
Cover & cook over medium heat until slightly tender to the fork.
Pour off & reserve liquid. Transfer the slices to a lightly oiled baking dish (peanut or grapeseed oils work well).
Take reserved liquid and add:
3/4 cup Turbinado or white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 teaspoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 cup nuts ( pinon, walnut, pecan)
2 tablespoon concentrated frozen Orange juice
Several sprigs fresh mint
Stir together and pour over sliced yams.
Take 1 tablespoon Marijuana Butter and dot the surface evenly.
Cut strips 1/2″ wide from thawed pie shell and arrange in criss-cross pattern on the surface. Drizzle small amount of Maple syrup across entire surface.
Bake at 425° for 15-25 minutes until crust is a honey brown. Remove from oven and serve after allowing to cool a little.
Classic Date Nut Bars
Potency = 1/2 teaspoon/Bar
The first choice in making these bars is very well-aged honey, you know, the kind that has turned granular in the jar at the back of your cupboard.
Combine by adding sugar gradually and whipping until very light
1 cup granular honey, (or 1 cup Turbinado or white sugar)
1/2 cup Marijuana Butter
dash of salt
In a separate bowl beat together
6 eggs, yolks only ( freeze the whites if you want to save them)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( Option: 1 teaspoon Marijuana extract like cognac or rum)
2 teaspoon ice-cold water
Combine the yolk mixture with the sugar/butter blend. Sift and gradually stir in 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour.
2 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup grated Orange & Lemon peel
1/2 cup nuts ( pecans, toasted hazelnuts)
When thoroughly mixed together transfer to an oiled & floured baking dish 9-10″ by 12-14″. Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, then remove from dish onto a surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
Allow to cool completely, then cut into about 40 small finger-length bars. These bars keep well at room temperature but do better in the fridge in a closed container.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Potency: less than 1/2 teaspoon/cookie
Combine and blend until light:
1/2 cup soft Marijuana Butter
1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
1/2 cup commercial brown sugar
Combine and blend into sugar/butter mixture:
1 cup organic peanut butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract( Option: 1 teaspoon Marijuana extract like cognac or rum)
Sift then measure 1.5 cups organic all-purpose flour and add gradually to the cookie mix, working it in until the dough is stiff & blended. Chill for an hour, then roll into little balls by hand, flattening them with a fork onto a lightly oiled (peanut oil, of course) cookie sheet. Brush lightly with honey thinned with a little vanilla extract.
Bake at 375° F for 15-20 minutes.
MAJOR HINT: Place all cookies & other things baked with Marijuana butter on hard, non-absorbent surfaces to cool, or else you’ll lose a lot of the potency to the paper towel & trash can.
Extra cookie sheets, large flat pans, even aluminum foil works fine, and the excess butter can be wiped up with a slice of bread after the cookies are cooled & removed to their permanent home.
Maui Bread Pudding
Potency: @ 1/2 teaspoon/serving
Make 1.5 cups of bread crumbs from fresh bread, such as you may have just used to wipe up from a cookie bake ( see above). Otherwise just use any good fresh whole grain bread.
Mix with 1 cup milk and heat together in a small saucepan for a minute or two. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl blend:
1 cup drained unsweetened crushed pineapple
1 egg yolk ( set aside white )
1/2 cup granulated honey or turbinado sugar
1.5 Tablespoons vanilla extract
(Option: Use a Marijuana Rum extract)
2 Tablespoons Marijuana butter
1 Tablespoons Lemon juice
1 Tablespoons grated Lemon peel
1/4 cup crushed Macadamia nuts
1/2 teaspoon each of grated nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon
Take reserved egg white, add pinch of salt, and whip until stiff. Fold into the mix in the bowl along with the cooled bread/milk. Transfer blended batter to a lightly oiled baking dish and bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned on top. Remove and allow to cool for an hour or so.
About 75 cookies
Potency @ 1/2 teaspoon/cookie
Combine and whip until light:
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup butter- 50/50 Marijuana & Regular
Blend together and beat in
1 large egg
1 cup molasses
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Ginger Extract or
1 Tablespoon powdered ginger
Sift and measure 4 cups organic all-purpose flour into a bowl. measure & blend in
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
Blend the moist and dry ingredients, and allow to rest for an hour or so. Blend again and then roll out very thinly on a lightly floured surface. Cut into whatever shape you like, the equivalent of a 2-3″ round cookie. Bake at 350° F for 8-10 minutes.
Quick & Easy Cookie hint – Take any rolled cookie mix from the supermarket cooler section, open the package and peel apart the cookie dough. Take 1/2 teaspoon Marijuana butter and work into each cookie patty using a fork, then pat it back into shape using your hands.
Simply bake as directed and enjoy!
Classic Brown Betty
Potency: 1/2 teaspoon/serving
Combine in a bowl:
1 Tablespoon Marijuana butter
2 Tablespoon regular butter
1.5 cups dry whole grain bread crumbs
Lightly oil a 9-12″ diameter baking dish and press about a third of the crumb-butter mix onto the bottom. Set aside the remainder of the mix.
Prepare & set aside:
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/2 cup thawed concentrated frozen apple juice
Peel, core and dice into small pieces 2-3 firm baking apples to make:
2.5 cups chopped apple
Blend together in a separate bowl:
3/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1 Tablespoon grated Orange peel
1/2 teaspoon each of salt, clove, cinnamon & grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon extract such as vanilla or Marijuana/Cognac
Put half the chopped apples combined with 1/4 cup currants or raisins into the bowl on top of the pressed crumbs.
Drizzle with a little Lemon juice, then sprinkle with 1/2 the sugar/spice mixture, then top evenly with half the remaining crumbs. Press down lightly with your fingers, then add the remaining apples & currants or raisins, drizzle with lemon juice, top with the remaining sugar blend. DO NOT press down.
Take the 1/2 cup apple juice concentrate and moisten the surface as evenly as possible. Finally add the remaining bread crumbs, making a top layer which will brown nicely.
Place covered dish into a 375° F oven for 35-45 minutes, then remove cover and raise the heat to 400° F, and allow to brown for 15-20 minutes more. Cool before serving. Wonderful with a good whole bean vanilla ice cream.
Zesty Bread Pudding
Potency 1/2 teaspoon/serving
Combine and allow to soak:
1 cup dry whole grain bread crumbs
2 cups whole milk
2 egg yolks
1.5 Tablespoons grated lemon peel
1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 Tablespoon Marijuana butter
3 Tablespoons regular butter
Stir everything together and pour into a baking dish wiped very lightly with a bland oil. Bake at 375° F for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and serve with fresh strawberries and sprigs of mint.
Servings: @ 24
Potency: 1/2 teaspoon/serving
1.75 cups Turbinado sugar
1 cup whole cream ( not half & half)
1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
Stir together until the sugar is dissolved, then cook over high heat in a heavy saucepan for about three minutes at the boil.
Remove from the heat and add:
4 Tablespoons Marijuana butter
4 Tablespoons regular butter
Replace on the heat and cook until the toffee is light brown and quite thick. If you have a candy thermometer the mark is 290° F; if not, it is the hard crack stage.
Remove from the heat and stir in:
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract, Marijuana rum extract, or extract of your choice
Pour the toffee into a lightly buttered Pyrex dish and allow to cool thoroughly.
When cold cut into about 24 pieces.
Marijuana Pastry Crust for Quiche and Pies
YIELD: two 9 to 10 inch crusts
POTENCY: 3 teaspoons per crust
This is an excellent short crust for quiche. It’s very light and crumbly, and works well at any altitude. You don’t roll out this crust; rather, you pat it into shape in a buttered pie pan or baking dish with buttered fingers.
2 cups unbleached white pastry flour
2 tablespoons marijuana butter plus 2/3 cup regular butter, softened
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Suggestions For Preparation
Sift the flour, salt, and sugar together in a broad bowl.
Using a wide-tined fork or a dull dinner knife, blend the butter with the flour mix until you get a coarse, gravel-like mixture, then mash it around with well-buttered fingers until you have a nice grainy blend. Don’t expect a smooth mixture.
Pat the dough into a ball, wrap in a dry clean cloth, and chill in the refrigerator for two hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and pat it flat on an unfloured surface. (Whenever you are going to work a crust by hand you don’t want to flour it, because that will prevent the pieces from molding together.)
Pat the dough out in a circle with thick edges, the size of the pan bottom.
Place the dough into the pan, and pinch the dough up the sides of the pan. You may set aside a bit of the dough before beginning so that you’ll have a stockpile for repairs to this basic crust.
Finish the top edges with nice little scalloped pinches just like on Grandma’s apple pie, then prick the crust thoroughly with a fork. Prick all over the bottom and on the sides. This will prevent bubbling of the crust during pre-baking.
Set the oven at 375° and, allowing time for preheating, bake the crust for 10 minutes.
You now have a finished crust, which you can fill and continue cooking, or which you can freeze.
Rich Marijuana Pastry Crust for Pies and Tarts
YIELD: 12 slices
POTENCY: 1/2 teaspoon per slice
This crust is much richer than the preceding crust.
2 tablespoons marijuana butter, softened
2 tablespoons regular butter, softened
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup turbinado (unrefined) sugar
Suggestions For Preparation
Blend the butter with the flour until you have a grainy mixture.
Blend the egg, yolks, salt, and sugar together, and beat into the flour/butter mixture. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.
Work this dough into your pie pan with lightly buttered fingers. Poke holes in the bottom and sides with a fork.
Bake in a 400° oven for five to seven minutes if you are going to fill and bake some more, which you would do if you were using this crust in a tart recipe.
If you are going to fill a completely baked crust, as in the case of High Lime Pie, bake at 375° for 20 minutes.
NOTE: This recipe makes one l0 inch crust, with about 1 teaspoon of potency per slice. To cut the potency, use half marijuana butter and half regular butter.