Happy 4/20! Q&A with Elise McDonough, Author, The Official HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cookbook

If you’re looking for a gift for the foodie stoner in you life you’re now in luck. The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook, the first cookbook from High Times magazine, is the definitive guide to cannabis-infused cooking. According to Chronicle books, the cookbook contains easy, accessible recipes and advice to demystify the experience of cooking with grass and offers a cornucopia of appetizers, entrees, sweets, cocktails, and high-holiday feasts for any occasion.

I had the good fortune to chat with Elise McDonough, author, and editor at High Times Magazine about cooking with cannabis.

JK: Hi Elise. Interesting cookbook topic…What inspired you to write the cookbook?

EM: I have been interested in food from a young age, when I chose to go vegetarian and needed to learn about healthier ways of cooking and eating. I love cannabis and use it as a medicine as well as for relaxation and enhancement—I even juice leaves every morning along with apples, lemons and kale!

JK: Why not just light up?  

EM: Eating cannabis is healthier than smoking it, so I wanted more people to realize that they can reduce their stress, get a great night’s sleep and relax their muscles by adding just a little bit of marijuana to their diets. We’ve included many healthy, vegetarian recipes in the book, as well as some hedonistic fare that incorporates rich cheeses and hearty meats.

JK: I noticed you have recipes for cannabis-infused vodka and rum. What is the implication of mixing alcohol with weed? 

EM: The psychoactive cannabinoids present in marijuana are soluble in fats like butter and oil, but also in alcohol or glycerin. Medicinal tinctures are made with either alcohol or glycerin, and allow patients an easy way to titrate their dose as well as a discreet, low-calorie way to ingest the herbal medicine they need. These tinctures are the base ingredient for the cocktail recipes in The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook as well as the cannabis-infused soft drinks that many dispensaries carry. You can make your tinctures more potent through decarboxylation—basically, heating the jars in steaming water or a low-temperature oven. This process activates the psychoactive THC. I would caution anyone, especially the cannabis naive, against mixing too many alcoholic drinks with cannabis edibles—the effects of each can be magnified. As always, use these substances in a responsible manner. Also, remember that cannabis is a great cure for a hangover—see our Creamy Cannabis Smoothie for an excellent remedy.

JK: For those of us who might not be able to partake, can the recipes stand alone without the inclusion of cannabis?

EM: Absolutely! Cannabis is infused into butter or oil, and can be used in any recipe that calls for these fats. Likewise, you can use straight butter in any of these recipes and enjoy a fabulous meal without any medicinal effects. Stoner cuisine isn’t always about psychoactive foodstuffs, sometimes it’s about the foods you like to eat after you’ve smoked a joint.

JK: Sounds good. Thanks for joining us.

Stay tuned for recipes next…

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