Cooking with CBD: a Beginner’s Guide

Much of the discussion about cannabidiol (CBD) has been on the compound’s medicinal value, but there are a few reasons why CBD could be a good general addition to your diet as well. Studies have shown that taking CBD provides mental and physical benefits, such as reducing stress, alleviating pain, regulating the immune system and more, all by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.

Keeping homeostasis in the body and a well-regulated endocannabinoid system is vital to our overall health, and natural cannabis medicine has helped achieve this throughout human history. Our long-time association with cannabis is no accident, and the cannabinoids that produce the potent therapeutic effects are yet to be found in other plants.

Modern-day research has significantly advanced our knowledge of cannabis and understanding of cannabinoids, and the ability to isolate compounds and study them independently should help to improve cannabis as a medicine. Indeed, we have already seen the plant embraced by new users thanks to non-psychoactive CBD products. And in the future, we may see products centered around other non-intoxicating cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene (CBC).

Understanding the therapeutic value of cannabinoids

Uncovering the endocannabinoid system has been a revelation in biology, as we have been made aware of a whole new network that influences our emotional and physical wellbeing through previously unknown receptors and lipid-based neurotransmitters.

The neurotransmitters that function in the endocannabinoid system are called endocannabinoids, which essentially means endogenously-produced cannabinoids. These compounds, along with cannabinoids, can affect variables such as inflammation, stress, mood, appetite and pain perception by binding with or suppressing receptors, and inhibiting enzymes.

Cannabis may also help researchers to identify the causes for several illnesses that are without treatments, cures and known causes. This includes fibromyalgia, a bizarre condition that happens to have many symptoms indicative of endocannabinoid system dysregulation. There is now a name for such an issue: Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD), a theory that Dr Ethan Russo has helped to advance. For some people, CECD may be caused by genetics, but it is also thought to be exacerbated by poor sleep patterns, high stress levels and a lack of exercise.

A dysfunctional endocannabinoid system can cause a range of health problems, but notably autoimmune disorders, illnesses where the body attacks itself through inflammation.

However, there are many more simple reasons for consuming CBD regularly. In small doses, the anxiety relief may improve focus and also enhance mood. The relaxation and positive sense of wellbeing that can be derived from a dose of CBD is beneficial for those who suffer from low self-esteem and depression. It can also be used, like alcohol, as a social aid.

In the United States, the demand for CBD has suddenly spiked thanks to good media coverage and the slight liberalization of federal industrial hemp legislation. Since the 2014 Farm Bill was passed, vendors have been allowed to sell products made from hemp providing they are not psychoactive – a ruling in the law prevents products from exceeding 0.3 percent THC.

These hemp-derived CBD oils are medicinal but can also be considered a general health supplement. Furthermore, they make it easy to include CBD in literally hundreds of recipes.

Cooking with CBD

Do bear in mind that hemp-based CBD oil and hemp seed oil is not the same, although the latter is also very popular. But while hemp seed oil does contain essential fatty acids, the seeds of the hemp plant do not have CBD in them. For the full array of therapeutic and medicinal effects, you’ll have to use an oil made with CBD extract. Full-spectrum oil is even better, as this contains an entire plant extract, instead of a product with just the CBD compound.

Why cook with CBD? In addition to increasing the health value of your meal, it can be preferable to take CBD with food as the effects last longer. If you’re familiar with cannabis and CBD, you’ll know that edibles produce long, drawn out effects, as opposed to vaping which is more potent but wears off more quickly.

Add CBD to your soup

Make your next soup healthier with CBD oil, that can be easily added in the cooking process – just be sure not to heat the pan above 400°F or the CBD may burn off. Improve your results by adding butter to the soup, which should help increase absorption of CBD into the body and improve immune system functioning.

Salad with a CBD kick

Give your salad an extra nutritional boost by infusing CBD into the dressing – approximately one teaspoon of oil per serving should suffice. Some CBD oil has a strong earthiness to it, so you may wish to mask the flavor with some strong herbs. Including CBD oil in your salad not only benefits the body with cannabinoids and terpenes, but also omega-3. You could even go all-in with the hemp and throw in some hemp seeds too.

CBD beverages

Premade CBD coffee has emerged in recent years, but you can add CBD to just about any beverage yourself. Once again, given the strong, hempy flavor of CBD oil, make sure to use a drink with a strong taste. If whizzing up a juice or smoothie, use pungent fruits and vegetables such as oranges, beetroot and spinach.

While this may not taste very nice, you could even add raw hemp flower into your juice and smoothie and enjoy the benefits of CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), which is CBD in its raw, pre-activated form. CBDA is also non-psychoactive and is quite similar to the more familiar CBD.


Sooner or later, the general public will have to start learning more about cannabis, and how sensible use can provide significant health benefits. More clues as to how CBD edibles and other CBD products can be helpful should come with more insights into the workings of the endocannabinoid system – nutritionists will also need to come on board and embrace the potential of cannabis.

Finding the best ways to incorporate CBD in your cooking may take some trial and error, but the upsides are numerous.