I’ve answered a lot of questions since the release of my book, The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, in 2015. Family members, friends, reporters, acquaintances and strangers want to know why I cook with cannabis and, sometimes, how they can, too. A surprising number of people don’t even realize that they can cook with the herb.
People who knew me as a volleyball mom and natural living advocate ask why I would write a book promoting use of a substance that’s illegal in most of the world (but not in my home state, Colorado). People ask how my social life has changed since I began speaking and publishing about cannabis.
When you go public, you get a lot of questions about your private life. I answer as best I can.
It’s good for you
I tell them I eat cannabis leaves and flowers because the plant is a nutritional powerhouse. Officially classified as a vegetable, it’s packed with vitamins, essential fatty acids, zinc, magnesium and antioxidants. It’s as good for you as kale—and the cannabis you cook with should be grown or chosen with as much care as any other vegetable.
I like to juice cannabis fan leaves, and I believe that’s the best way to take in all of the plant’s nutritional and medicinal benefits. It’s hard to find enough leaves year-round, though, so I make a lot of infusions and tinctures to cook with, which pull beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids out of the plant material.
Making infusions from ground cannabis is simple. THC-A and CBD, the most well-known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, are fat-soluble, and heat turns THC-A into the psychoactive THC while activating CBD. Gently heating the ground cannabis with a fat (such as butter, oil or cream) for several hours pulls out all the goodies and gives you a great base to use in any type of recipe. Combining cannabis with alcohol to create a tincture creates the same effect. These tinctures make a great base for cocktails—but for one, just one.
It can help you feel better
Why do I go to all the trouble? Because cannabis is a medicinal food that competes with opioids in its capacity to relieve severe pain as well as nausea and muscle spasms. Cannabis eases my severe menstrual cramps (and the hormonal rage that comes with them) and soothes the raging inflammation I suffer from leaky gut syndrome (I told you I have to get personal.)
Since writing the cookbook, I’ve met dozens, who are among hundreds, of “canna-moms” who have moved their families from states where cannabis is illegal to Colorado, where it is legal, to treat their children who suffer with autism, epilepsy and seizures. For these families traditional pharmaceuticals have failed, and in some cases, nearly killed their children. These women are passionate, driven advocates for bringing this medicine to everyone, and hanging out with them is one cool way my social life has changed.
These days, I go to a lot more parties where cannabis, not alcohol, is the main focus. I meet the most interesting people. Cannabis feels good and brings out great conversation. No one regrets anything in the morning.
I prefer cannabis to a martini for rounding my corners. I believe it’s safer than alcohol--in fact, Scientific Reports states that it’s been found to be 114 times less deadly--and that’s a point I want to bring up when I have to answer another inevitable question: But what about the children?
My approach to family
I’ve learned how to talk about my bodily failings and associated mania with my family, but I struggle when the subject of cannabis comes up because of my children. My son is 22, but my daughter is 19, underage in the United States.
This year my daughter is a college freshman, and she knows she’s entered a rape culture fueled in part by alcohol. She and her friends talk about it all the time. I want to tell them they’re far less likely to be roofied if they bring their own vape pens to parties rather than risking the drinks, but I can’t because underage use is illegal.
I wasn’t willing to use cannabis or speak out about it until I felt safe that I was working within the law. Now, I realize that being able to share what I’ve learned about integrating cannabis into a healthy lifestyle is a privilege. That’s why I answer every question people ask about why I wrote a cannabis cookbook.
Everyone, everywhere, should be able to dig into a bowl of pasta with fresh fan leaves, stir cannabis honey into afternoon tea, and blend raw cannabis flowers into a morning smoothie without worrying about being a criminal.
- Robyn Griggs Lawrence
Image by Tracey Eller for Cosmic Sister.