What are the advantages of using lecithin in edibles?
For many recreational and medicinal users, cannabis edibles are an exceedingly popular means of consuming marijuana. Consumers can discreetly devour these delectable treats anytime and anywhere, and, more importantly, they don’t introduce damaging substances to the body.
Like being a cuisine chef, adding marijuana into food recipes to create cannabis edibles is an art form. Even though it requires a learning curve, you can infuse almost any sweet or savory dish with cannabinoids.
As with all cuisines, though, cannabis chefs have many secret “weapons” at their disposal. One such ingredient is the use of lecithin in edibles.
The compound is a binding agent, enhancing the structural integrity of edibles. It also improves the absorption of the cannabinoids in the food, seemingly increasing the potency, effects, and therapeutic properties of the edibles.
Read on as we explain what this compound is, what it does, and when and why you should use lecithin in edibles.
What is lecithin?
Lecithin is a phospholipid, a class of fatty acids essential to the proper functioning of certain cells in the body. It naturally occurs in various plant and animal sources, such as:
- Sunflower seeds
Lecithin in edibles acts as a binding agent, keeping ingredients stuck together. It also plays a role in the potency of cannabis-infused food products.
While you may not be used to cooking with lecithin, it’s quickly becoming an important staple ingredient for all cannabis kitchens.
Soy vs. sunflower lecithin
Even though manufacturers can produce lecithin from various organic products, they most commonly extract it from egg, soy, or sunflower.
For several reasons, sunflowers produce the best lecithin for edibles. These merits include:
- Egg and soybeans are two of the eight sources that account for 90% of food allergies, making sunflower-derived lecithin the least harmful as it affects fewer people.
- Lecithin made from sunflower oil allows you to share your edibles with more people.
- The extraction method used to produce sunflower-derived lecithin doesn’t involve using solvents, eliminating the risk of chemical contamination.
- Sunflowers are typically grown organically and seldom genetically modified. For this reason, it doesn’t pose the concerns consumers have regarding GMO plant sources.
What does sunflower lecithin do?
Lecithin for cooking has many medicinal and commercial benefits. It has both oil- and water-soluble parts, making it an excellent emulsifier (allows specific, otherwise repelling substances to bind and stick together).
Over time, a mixture of water and oil, for instance, naturally separates, resulting in a layer of oil forming on top of the water. As an emulsifier, lecithin counteracts this effect, allowing oil-based elements to interact, stabilize, and bind with water-based ingredients.
Due to this interaction, lecithin seemingly increases the potency and effects of edibles while also extending the shelf life of these products.
Lecithin for cooking is a frequently used additive and commonly found in products like:
- Processed cheese
- Salad dressing
- Cooking oil
- Ice cream
Lecithin also plays a key role in the makeup parts and body of cell membranes. It provides elasticity and protects these cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. For this reason, it’s commonly used as a dietary supplement to help with:
- Liver and gallbladder disease
- Digestion problems
- Cholesterol level reduction
- Dry skin problems, etc.
Why use lecithin in edibles
There are various reasons why you should use lecithin in edibles. It improves the structure of your cannabis food products while extending their shelf life by preventing fats and water from separating.
More importantly, using lecithin in edibles speeds up your cell membranes’ absorption rate for cannabinoids. The compound is also a known surfactant (a substance that reduces surface tension), distributing THC and other cannabinoids more efficiently.
In essence, it makes cannabis edibles faster acting and seemingly more potent. So, although the effects come on quicker and feel stronger, a 50mg dose remains a 50mg dose.
Furthermore, lecithin in edibles helps mitigate fatty compounds, making it easier for the liver to process.
Increased absorption causes the body to waste less CBD and THC because it’s easier to digest the bound ingredients. As a result, using lecithin in edibles delivers higher therapeutic efficacy and an enhanced experience.
Sunflower lecithin powder vs. liquid
In terms of consistency, there are two types of lecithin for cooking available on the market:
- Lecithin granules or powder is a processed version of this compound, produced as a by-product when making lecithin oil.
- Liquid lecithin is a less processed variety of this substance, most commonly found in soy and sunflower versions.
While it may be a matter of choice for most people, using powdered lecithin in edibles is the better choice for various reasons, including:
- It has a lower fat content than liquid lecithin (about 10%).
- It’s easier to clean up.
- It dissolves better in water.
- You can use it without the fear of adding the flavor of sunflower or eggs to your recipes.
On the other hand, liquid lecithin has a 20% to 30% fat content.
It also contains more lipophilic properties, making it ideal for infusing oils and high-fat content recipes. On the downside, consumers may find the slight odor and taste of this version of the compound a little off-putting.
How to dissolve lecithin granules
To dissolve powdered lecithin for cooking purposes is a straightforward process. Merely set aside the amount of lecithin powder you’ll need.
Next, mix the lecithin powder into the liquid ingredients necessary for the recipe to dissolve the compound. Finally, mix all the components and proceed to bake the goods.
How much sunflower lecithin to use
While adding the substance to edibles is a simple process, knowing how much sunflower lecithin to use is tricky. For instance, if you’re using the compound as a dough conditioner:
- Set aside one teaspoon of lecithin per cup of flour used in the recipe.
- Dissolve the lecithin granules in the liquid ingredients.
- After thoroughly mixing all the ingredients, bake the goods as per the recipe’s instructions.
Adding the compound to eggless baking and vegan options is slightly different. For each egg yolk needed in a typical recipe, you need to mix 1½ tablespoons of sunflower lecithin with two teaspoons of water.
Next, mix all the ingredients necessary for the recipe and bake away.
After baking and cooling down the goods, it’s time for a taste test. If the final product has an obvious lecithin flavor, make a note of it and add less of the substance to your next batch.
If the texture isn’t up to standard, add a bit more lecithin next time you prepare the same dish.
How much lecithin to use in cannabutter?
If you don’t know how much lecithin in cannabutter to use, you may end up ruining your edibles. If you don’t add enough, you won’t get the desired consistency, while excessive amounts may bring out unwanted flavors in your edibles.
Making cannabutter is a fairly simple process that requires very few ingredients. As a rule of thumb, the common ingredients for one stick of cannabis butter are:
- One eighth (3.5 grams) of cannabis flower
- Four ounces (one stick of unsalted butter)
- One teaspoon of sunflower lecithin for cooking
Take note: It’s essential to use unsalted butter. Salted butter draws more water into infusions, enhancing the “green” flavor that most consumers prefer not to taste.
How much lecithin to use in edibles?
In general, most recipes that use lecithin specify the required amount.
Even though it’s optional, if you decide to add the substance in cannabis foodstuffs, it’s essential to know how much lecithin to use in edibles. If the recipe fails to state the specific amount, the accepted standard is to add one teaspoon of the compound per one cup of liquid.
If the ingredients continue to separate, add more lecithin as needed.
How much lecithin to add to gummies?
The addition of lecithin in gummies is essential in preventing the final product from separating, leaving a hard layer of oil on the bottom of the sweets. Knowing how much lecithin to add to gummies is crucial.
The exact amount necessary, though, varies greatly between the many recipes available. Some recipes ask for as little as one teaspoon of lecithin, while others require as much as three teaspoons.
Fortunately, most recipes state the exact amount of lecithin necessary under the required ingredients.
When to add lecithin
For many recipes, using lecithin in edibles isn’t a required ingredient. When it comes to using it as an emulsifier and stabilizer in treats like cannabis gummies, though, it’s an essential compound.
Like water and oil, two opposing ingredients will only combine when an emulsifier gets added to the mix. Without it, these elements will separate over time, leaving the oil resting on the water in two distinct layers.
Lecithin for cooking can permanently bond two opposing substances, making it ideal for infusions.
Take note: Never combine the use of lecithin and water when making cannabutter. Using these two elements together will result in the water-binding with the butter, creating an undesirable, soupy mess as an end product.
Do you need lecithin to make magical butter?
Is it necessary to add lecithin to magical butter? There are various recipes and methods for making magical butter. Some require the addition of this compound, while others don’t.
At the end of the day, though, it comes down to your preference. However, using it does make incompatible ingredients bind together better.
When to add lecithin to cannaoil?
If you’re preparing cannaoil, when’s the best time to add lecithin for cooking to the concoction?
It’s common practice to add the sunflower lecithin to the cannaoil before infusing or heating it. As a rule of thumb, one teaspoon of this substance for every cup of oil should be sufficient.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t add lecithin for cooking after you’ve already made your infusion. In this case, you simply heat your infusion and add the desired amount of lecithin. Remember to incorporate the compound efficiently by stirring it until completely dissolved.
When to add lecithin to edibles?
Using the compound in edibles is entirely up to you.
If you prefer to include it in your cooking, knowing when to add lecithin to edibles can mean the difference between baking a brilliant batch and wasting your money.
Adding lecithin to a mixture before baking helps bind specific particles together, creating better consistency and preventing the final product from falling apart.
For instance, when baking brownies, adding lecithin to the mix will bind the cocoa and sugar to the cannabutter.
Where to buy lecithin for baking
Lecithin for cooking is a widely used product commonly available in health food stores, baking shops, and grocery outlets.
Since lecithin is also a health supplement, you should be able to find it in most pharmacies as well.
Alternatively, you can turn to the internet. Many online retailers that deal in household products stock all forms of lecithin. Simply log on to your outlet of choice, add lecithin to your shopping basket, and check out.
Within a few days, you can start experimenting with lecithin in edibles.
Making edibles better with lecithin
Nature ensures that cannabis foodstuffs get packed to the brim with recreational and medicinal properties. By adding lecithin to edibles, you enhance the consistency of these homemade products.
It also makes the absorption of cannabinoids faster and better, resulting in enhanced therapeutic efficacy and a more intense experience.
With various options available, choosing the best source of lecithin for cooking may be somewhat challenging. Lecithin produced from soybeans is the most common variant. However, it’s amongst the top allergens of all food types, and due to its genetic modification, it may pose some health risks.
Lecithin for cooking derived from sunflower seeds doesn’t have these concerns. The mechanical method of extraction of this variant ensures that no harmful chemical residues can find their way into the human body. For these reasons, sunflower lecithin is by far the better product to use.
While baking homemade cannabis edibles is a fun and worthwhile pastime, doing so using your own homegrown weed makes it all the more rewarding.
For the widest selection of premium quality weed seeds, log on to Homegrown Cannabis Co. today. We promptly deal with all orders, packaging, and shipping your favorite marijuana seeds discreetly to any destination across the USA.
About the author: Derek LaRose
Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.