Evidence based

Beginner’s Guide to Cooking with CBD

Learn how to add cannabidiol (CBD) to your food and reap the benefits of this healing supplement — including some example recipes to get you started.

Article By
Jodi Allen , posted 2 months ago

  • Table of Contents

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. It’s been extensively studied for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.

As the popularity of new CBD products increases, you may start seeing it added to a variety of food and beverages such as coffee, chocolates, brownies, and candies.

A recent phase I clinical trial found that when CBD is taken with a high-fat meal, its bioavailability is increased by approximately four or five times [1].

As a clinical nutritionist, I find this news very exciting, as it means the rate CBD is absorbed in the target tissues is increased considerably when taken with food.

The question is: “how can I incorporate CBD into my cooking?”

Let’s take a look at CBD in more detail and how it can be added to your daily diet to take advantage of its many health benefits.

First of All, What Is CBD?

The plant Cannabis sativa contains over 80 biologically active chemicals called cannabinoids.

The two most studied cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Endocannabinoids are created naturally within the human body, and their receptors are found throughout many organs, regulating biological processes such as sleep, appetite, mood, memory, and immune function.

CBD is the main non-psychoactive cannabinoid and is considered safe at high doses. Plus, it does not have the intoxicating psychological side-effects of THC.

The ECS plays an essential role in maintaining homeostasis; basically, its job is to monitor the body’s internal conditions continuously, keeping it in a state of balance.

This system is made up of receptors known as CB1 and CB2 receptors — found throughout the human body — in the organs, brain, connective tissue, glands, and immune cells.

CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant but can also be made synthetically. We use it primarily to treat conditions such as epileptic seizures, pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as the debilitating side-effects of cancer treatment.

Cooking With CBD

Cooking with CBD is one of the easiest ways to introduce the compound into your daily health routine.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Add CBD to Oils and Fats

CBD is lipid-soluble, which means it’s easy to add to most recipes when combined with healthy fats — such as olive oil, coconut oil, coconut butter, grass-fed butter, or ghee.

PRO TIP: add CBD to your favorite healthy cooking oil — such as olive oil or coconut oil — and drizzle over your meals. It’s especially good on salads.

Whisk, stir, drizzle, and shake!

Adding garlic or chili will add a warming effect. Just make sure you shake well before using, so the CBD is evenly distributed.

2. Mix CBD into Your Favorite Dishes

You can add CBD to virtually any meal — even if it isn’t high in fat.

However, anything without a high-fat content will involve more whisking to get the CBD to distribute more evenly.

Here are a few examples of meals you can use to sneak some CBD into your diet:

  1. Scrambled eggs
  2. Salad dressings
  3. Pasta sauces
  4. Marinades
  5. Guacamole
  6. Pizza
  7. Mashed potatoes
  8. Soups

CBD-Infused Dressing Recipe

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Although this makes a great, simple salad dressing, it is equally delicious as a marinade for meat or drizzled over steamed vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

In a mason jar or other container with a tight lid, combine all the ingredients. Shake until all ingredients are combined.

3. Adding CBD to Sweet Treats

You can also use CBD in confectionery and baking.

Here are some of the most common sweet treats people are adding CBD to:

  • Chocolates
  • Cakes
  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Gummies
  • Energy/protein balls

CBD Bliss Balls Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 1/4 cup mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 16 medjool dates pitted
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp natural vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 30 mg CBD

Method

Process nuts and cacao powder in a high-speed blender or food processor until crumbly. Add vanilla and dates and mix.

Form into balls and roll in coconut, dates, seeds, cacao, crushed nuts, or goji berries…the options are endless!

4. Add CBD to Your Morning Smoothie or Turmeric Lattes

Why not start the day with a simple breakfast smoothie? CBD and a tablespoon of coconut oil, avocado, yogurt or coconut milk — plus fresh berries — will give an anti-inflammatory boost to your day.

CBD Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond/coconut milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 30 mg CBD

Method

Blend all ingredients on high speed for 30 seconds.

Turmeric Milk Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond/coconut milk
  • ½ tsp organic ground or grated fresh turmeric
  • Pinch of organic ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp natural vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey (optional)
  • 30 mg CBD

Method

  1. Whiz all the ingredients in a blender (this makes it nice and frothy).
  2. Pour into a saucepan over low heat, gently stir, and bring to the boil.
  3. Allow it to cool a little before serving.

Alternatively, whisk all the ingredients in the saucepan over low heat, gently bringing to the boil.

Make sure you read the instructions on the label of your CBD product, considering the dosage for each portion.

Tips For Using CBD in Food

Adding CBD to your meal is simple, but there are some critical points to remember if you want to get the most out of your CBD.

1. Watch the Temperature

Don’t use CBD over direct heat.

Cannabinoids are sensitive to light and heat, so be mindful of cooking at low temperatures. Although warming CBD increases its effectiveness, heating it at high temperatures (above 365 degrees Fahrenheit or 185 degrees Celsius) causes it to lose valuable terpenes, which are diverse organic compounds that work in tandem with the CBD to increase its therapeutic effects.

Adding too much heat can also cause the CBD to break down into smaller, less potent compounds.

2. Pay Attention to the Dose

If you’re a first-time user of CBD, it’s essential to start with a low dose in your recipes until you know how your body responds to it.

Perhaps you can start cooking in smaller batches using conservative amounts of CBD until you find what works for you. This will also avoid wasting your CBD. You can always increase the amount you add over time as you find your optimal personal dose.

As you get used to using CBD in your recipes, you will get an idea of what works for you and your taste preference.

The best option is to use good-quality odorless and flavorless CBD oil. Inferior oils may have artificial additives or low cannabidiol content.

Always consider the potency of the product you’re using before adding it to your food. The potency of a teaspoon of low-strength (10 mg/mL) oil will be very different than a teaspoon of a high-potency oil (33.3 mg/mL).

Below is a chart outlining the recommended dose ranges depending on the strength you’re looking for. Here, we describe how this dose can change depending on the potency of the oil you’re using.

For example, a high-strength dose will require 15 mL of a low-potency oil, but only 5 mL of a high-potency oil.

Ideal Doses per Serving of CBD

Dose StrengthDosage Range300 mg Oil (30 mL Bottle)600 mg Oil (30 mL Bottle)1000 mg Oil (30 mL Bottle)
Low10 mg to 30 mg1 mL to 3 mL0.5 mL to 1.5 mL0.25 mL to 1 mL
Medium30 mg to 50 mg3 mL to 5 mL1.5 mL to 2.5 mL1 mL to 1.5 mL
High50 mg to 150 mg5 mL to 15 mL2.5 mL to 7.5 mL1.5 mL to 5 mL

Taking these doses into account, you can determine how much CBD you should be adding to your food. If you’re making a larger batch of something, such as cookies, you can calculate the number of servings and add enough CBD to be divided into each serving.

For example, if you’re baking enough cookies for eight people, you should add eight doses of CBD at the desired strength.

3. Store Your CBD Correctly

As CBD is sensitive to light, storing your CBD in a dark, cool place will ensure it keeps its taste and quality. It will also reduce waste due to spoilage.

Benefits of CBD and a List of Foods to Make it Even Better

Adding CBD to your cooking is an excellent way to incorporate its healing properties into your daily routine. CBD has been used for centuries for its calming and pain-relieving properties, with excellent benefits shown for:

  • Sleep disorders and insomnia
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Chronic pain syndromes
  • Patients undergoing cancer treatment
  • Improving symptoms of inflammatory conditions and type 2 diabetes
  • Reducing high blood pressure

1. CBD for Insomnia and Nightmares

Sleep is essential to maintaining both physical and mental health. For many years, patients have used CBD as a sedative-hypnotic to improve quality and quantity of sleep [2].

Clinical trials have shown that people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sleep better and have significantly reduced flashbacks and nightmares after taking CBD [3].

Certain foods can help you to fall asleep faster and wake less often during the night. Experiment with foods that contain nutrients such as tryptophan, melatonin, and serotonin that aid in promoting a good night’s sleep.

Foods that Are Useful for Insomnia

  • Turkey
  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Milk and cottage cheese
  • Avocados
  • Kiwi fruit

2. CBD For Anxiety and Depression

The simple act of taking CBD with your favorite food one hour after exposure to a stressful event can have long-lasting and calming effects, reducing any increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and improving overall stress resilience [4].

In a recent large case study, researchers found CBD rapidly reduced anxiety scores in patients and continued to provide relief with minimal side-effects [5]. The study used only small doses of between 25 mg/day to 175 mg/day, which is an easily achievable addition to your daily routine and diet.

Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can help ease symptoms.

Foods That Relieve Anxiety and Depression

  • Fatty fish — salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout
  • Brazil nuts and almonds
  • Eggs
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Blueberries
  • Asparagus
  • Probiotic foods — yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and miso

3. CBD For Pain and Inflammation

Cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents [6]. CBD has long been used as a natural analgesic to treat chronic pain and inflammation, offering a non-habit-forming alternative to pain medications without their negative side-effects.

Many patients have reported replacing their prescription pain medications with CBD, with evidence that its use can help people to wean off opiates and opioids, particularly in the treatment of headaches, mental health disorders, insomnia, arthritis, and fibromyalgia [6].

One of the most potent tools for fighting inflammation comes from food. An anti-inflammatory diet consisting of healthy fats such as olive oil, fruits such as berries, green leafy vegetables, and oily fish can help fight inflammation and joint pain.

Foods that Help Relieve Pain and Inflammation

  • Fatty fish — salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout
  • Almonds and walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Berries — strawberries and blueberries

4. CBD For Side-Effects of Cancer Treatment

CBD can help relieve pain in patients who have advanced-stage cancer where opioids have not proven to be effective [7]. Studies have shown CBD offers relief of neuropathic pain, a common side-effect caused by chemotherapy drug treatment [8].

CBD has a long history of use as a treatment to relieve cancer-related nausea and vomiting, and increase appetite.

Cancer patients often add CBD to snack foods and meals to help ease the debilitating side-effects of cancer treatment. As we have already discussed, CBD can be added to many different foods.

  • Brownies and cookies
  • Gummies
  • Candies
  • Chocolate
  • Soup
  • Infused in oil for cooking
  • Water, juice, tea, or smoothies

Is CBD Safe?

You can’t overdose when adding CBD to your food.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that in its pure state, CBD does not cause harm or have the potential for abuse even at high doses [9].

Side-effects are usually mild but can include diarrhea, nausea, dry mouth, fatigue, and headaches.

As everyone processes CBD differently, your dose will vary from that of your family and friends.

Whether supplementing or cooking, we recommend starting cooking with a small dose, such as 25 mg per day, and seeing how you react — gradually increasing by 5 mg to 10 mg per day.

Recent studies have looked at high doses of 750 mg or 1500 mg twice a day, and if consistently taken with food, these high doses can maximize treatment outcomes in a host of conditions [1].

However, you don’t need to take high doses to reap the benefits of CBD.

Of course, if you are going to add CBD to your food, you need to ensure you are using a high-grade, high-quality product.

Final Thoughts: Cooking with CBD

CBD is effective in relieving insomnia, anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation, as well as improving the many side-effects that can occur during cancer treatment.

As you become more familiar with using CBD, you may find yourself incorporating this powerful natural supplement to many of your favorite healthy recipes.

Most importantly, have fun and experiment with your cooking!


References

  1. Taylor, L., Gidal, B., Blakey, G., Tayo, B., & Morrison, G. (2018). A Phase I, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Single Ascending Dose, Multiple Dose, and Food Effect Trial of the Safety, Tolerability and Pharmacokinetics of Highly Purified Cannabidiol in Healthy Subjects. CNS Drugs, 32(11), 1053–1067. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40263-018-0578-5
  2. Russo, E. B., Guy, G. W., & Robson, P. J. (2007, August 1). Cannabis, pain, and sleep: Lessons from therapeutic clinical trials of sativexρ, a cannabis-based medicine. Chemistry and Biodiversity. Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbdv.200790150
  3. Jetly, R., Heber, A., Fraser, G., & Boisvert, D. (2015). The efficacy of nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, in the treatment of PTSD-associated nightmares: A preliminary randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over design study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 51, 585–588. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.11.002
  4. Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015, October). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
  5. Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
  6. Baron, E. P., Lucas, P., Eades, J., & Hogue, O. (2018). Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort. Journal of Headache and Pain, 19(1), 37. https://doi.org/10.1186/s10194-018-0862-2
  7. Johnson, J. R., Burnell-Nugent, M., Lossignol, D., Ganae-Motan, E. D., Potts, R., & Fallon, M. T. (2010). Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients with Intractable Cancer-Related Pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 39(2), 167–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.06.008
  8. Casey, S., & Vaughan, C. (2018). Plant-Based Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Chronic Neuropathic Pain. Medicines, 5(3), 67. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5030067
  9. World Health Organization. (2017). Cannabidiol (compound of cannabis). WHO. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/features/qa/cannabidiol/en/

Further Reading

Further Reading