CBD derived from hemp is great because it has so many benefits for both the mind and the body, but the elixir can be a bit hard to swallow.
Some people don’t want to inhale CBD, the capsules may not contain your ideal dosage, and topical creams don’t cut it if you’re suffering from disorders like anxiety or insomnia.
For these reasons, you may have noticed an uptick of CBD infused snacks and edibles, coffee drinks, and even CBD focused cafes popping up. But can you, the average Jane or Joe, cook with CBD oil?
The answer is…kind of.
To better explain whether you can or more specifically, should cook with CBD or not, it’s important to first understand what CBD is, how the body absorbs CBD, and what affects its bioavailability.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that occur naturally in mammals and work within your endocannabinoid system or ECS to maintain balance and stability in various systems of the body. Cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids contain various receptors that the ECS utilizes to do its job.
The ECS is responsible for things like pain, immunity, sleep, mood, etc. When there is an imbalance of receptors that cannabinoids like CBD and THC content, the ECS can’t function properly and disorders like insomnia, chronic pain, depression, and anxiety, among others, can occur.
CBD and THC function in similar ways, but the most notable difference is CBD doesn’t give you that psychosomatic high feeling like THC does. CBD is also concentrated in the hemp plant, a species of cannabis. This has garnered a new generation of cannabis users.
People who believe in the health benefits associated with cannabis but do not desire to get high.
What Is Bioavailability
Each form of CBD, whether it’s in a liquid meant to be vaped, a tincture, oil, cream or edible, carries with it different degrees and rates at which the body absorbs and processes the CBD, otherwise known as it’s bioavailability.
A CBD infused cream applied topically, has a lower bioavailability than CBD in liquid form because it doesn’t quite make it to the bloodstream, yet it is still able to connect with the ECS receptors in the area in which it is applied, making it an effective remedy for localized pain, inflammation or acne.
How Does Cooking Affect Bioavailability
Another factor that affects bioavailability is the preparation, freezing or cooking of plant-based foods. When you cut and prepare these foods, the cell structure of the plant is damaged, and some of the nutrients are lost, meaning the bioavailability or rate and ratio the nutrients are absorbed into the body is decreased. Same goes with cooking or freezing.
With that said, some plant compounds are more bioavailable when heated.
Lycopene in tomatoes, CBD in hemp and THC in marijuana are examples of compounds that are activated where heated.
The CBD oil that you bought went through a heating process, called decarboxylation to extract the CBD from the hemp plant.
When you heat your CBD oil, you are re-processing an already processed plant. So, if the bioavailability of your oral CBD oil is 13-19%, (13-19% of the product reaches the bloodstream and has an active effect) cooking it at high temperatures will decrease its bioavailability, rendering it less effective than when you bought it.
CBD also evaporates at temperature higher than 320° F or 160º C, which you definitely don’t want. The same goes for cooking CBD for an extended amount of time, even if it’s being cooked at a lower temperature. Another thing to note is that overcooking CBD oil can result in a bitter, almost astringent flavor. You don’t want to ruin your food and make that precious CBD oil useless.
CBD is fat soluble, which means the CBD dissolves and is stored in your body’s fatty tissue and then metabolized accordingly. Taking an oral dose of CBD with fat of after a fatty meal has been shown to greatly increase the CBD bioavailability.
Cooking with CBD Without Losing Its Benefits
Infusing CBD oil in butter, oil, or lard is the best way to cook with CBD because it increases the bioavailability and butter, oil and lard tend to have lower boiling points.
Treats like cookies and brownies made with CBD infused butter or oil are great since they don’t require long cooking times of high heat. Mixing CBD with some olive oil and making a pesto sauce, drizzling over hummus or making a CBD salad dressing has yielded some pretty positive results.
If you want to be uber trendy, drizzle some CBD infused MCT oil on your avocado toast and upload to Insta stat. Smoothies are a great way to take your morning CBD.
Just mix your CBD with some coconut of flaxseed oil first, add a splash of hemp milk and your favorite fruits and veggies.