Lecithin is a phospholipid that can be found within eggs, avocados, soybeans, and sunflowers. The substance acts as a binding agent that keeps ingredients stuck together. It may even play a role in increasing the potency of edibles. We take a closer a look at what is going on.
Just like the process of growing cannabis plants, adding the flowers into food recipes and creating edibles is an artform. There are countless recipes out there now and almost any dish, whether sweet or savoury, can be infused with cannabinoids for either medicinal or recreational purposes. Making edibles isn’t always simple, especially for those cannabis enthusiasts who are new to the world of cooking. There are many ways to improve certain dishes and recipes, and factors such as flavour, texture, and presentation can be optimised in order to really make an edible experience fun and memorable. One secret weapon when it comes to baking with weed is the use of lecithin, an ingredient that can greatly improve the structural integrity of an edible, and may enhance the absorption of the prized cannabinoids within.
What is lecithin?
Lecithin is a phospholipid, a type of fat, that is often used as an additive within food to enable certain ingredients to bind and stick together that would usually repel each other. Lecithin can be found within egg yolks, which is why eggs are frequently used in recipes to thicken sauces and bases. Vegan sources of lecithin include avocados, soybeans, and sunflowers. Lecithin serves an essential role within the body and makes up parts of cell membranes – the protective barrier that separates the interior of cells from the outside. There is evidence to suggest that lecithin may be useful in cases of liver and gallbladder disease, and some even employ it in attempts to treat cognitive impairment, dry skin, and numerous other conditions.
Aside from being used as a health supplement, lecithin plays a major role in cooking and food products. It works as an emulsifying agent and additive that works to stabilize processed foods. It helps foods that usually don’t mix to stay together. For example, when adding a teaspoon of coconut oil into a cup of coffee the oil will rise to the top of the liquid, the two substances won’t mix together. When adding an emulsifier such as lecithin, the two will mix together and stay together, creating a more pleasant beverage. It’s easy to see why lecithin is so important and widely used in food products that use oils and water. Lecithin basically helps oil-based ingredients interact and stabilise with water-based ingredients.
Why you should add lecithin to your edibles
There are multiple reasons to use lecithin when cooking up a batch of psychoactive cannabis edibles. As alluded to above one great reason is to improve the structure of your edibles. Adding lecithin to a mixture before baking will help certain particles bind together instead of rejecting each other and falling apart. For example, when making chocolate brownies or cakes, lecithin will help sugar and cocoa stick to cannabutter. Sugar and cocoa bind well with water, yet cannabutter doesn’t. Lecithin can be used to remedy this issue. Additionally, the presence of lecithin within your cannabis edibles can increase the shelf life by preventing the separation of fats and waters. This may lessen the chance of mould formation which will ruin your stash.
Perhaps the best reason to add lecithin to your edibles is one that will really get cannabis enthusiasts excited. The emulsifier can act to increase the potency of cannabis edibles in numerous ways, helping users to make the most of the weed they are using. Your body may have an easier time digesting the bound ingredients and will be able to access and digest THC and other cannabinoids more easily. As well as this, lecithin is known to be a surfactant, a compound that lowers surface tension. This fact means that lecithin helps to distribute THC and cannabinoids more efficiently.
How to add lecithin to recipes
Now that we have covered what lecithin is and why it acts to optimise cannabis edibles, it’s time to get baking. Adding lecithin to edibles is an easy and straightforward process. When using it is as a dough conditioner add around 1 teaspoon of lecithin to every cup of flour used in a recipe. Next, dissolve the lecithin in the liquid ingredients. Bake the goods using the normal directions that the recipe states. When your goods are finished it’s time for a taste test. If the texture isn’t as good as it could be, add some more lecithin to the next batch of your edible of choice. If it has left behind an obvious flavour, add a little less.
When it comes to vegan options and eggless baking, the process is slightly different. Mix 1 ½ tablespoons of lecithin granules into 2 teaspoons of water for each egg yolk that is needed within a typical recipe. Next, add the required fats, flavourings, and binding ingredients and bake away. Because eggs provide a good binding effect, vegan options will need these additional ingredients.
The best source of lecithin
Eggs are probably the best source of lecithin to use in edible recipes, however, they won’t suffice in vegan recipes. Soy lecithin is commonly used in many processed foods, though there is a large debate about just how healthy it is. Soy lecithin is known to be highly processed and manufacturers often used solvents to extract it. Therefore, sunflower lecithin is advised instead. It is also worth noting, while egg and sunflower based lecithin are superior, they are also harder to get hold of – with soy being the most common in powder form.
Binding in Baking With Cannabinoids
After you make cannabutter or oil you’ll need to then turn around and use the infusion in creating your edibles, and lecithin will help your finished infusions bind to your water-based ingredients.
Ingredients that are water-based include sugar and cocoa, and in some recipes, water itself. Without lecithin, you run the risk of the edibles crumbling your hands. While it may not be a huge deal for you to make a crumbly cake or cookie if it doesn’t contain T-C, if you’re looking to get a great high, you may find that it isn’t as easy to come by when your cake is all over the place.
In addition to helping your it also helps your cannabinoids bind to the fats in your butters and oils during the infusion process itself.
Creating a Better Dispersed Dosage
When you first tried making special brownies, did you know what you were doing? If so, you’re amongst the very few that did! If not, can you remember what one of the top mistakes was when making edibles at home?
If the answer was, “not dispersing the herb correctly throughout the baked good,” you win! You might even remember not understanding how it works and realizing you had to eat the entire tray of brownies to get the high you were looking for.
This is a common problem for people who don’t know a lot about making canna products or edibles, and they end up having an unenjoyable time. Having a stomachache while you’re flying isn’t really what you’re looking for.
Lecithin helps keep water and fats close together, which in turn helps to make a uniform dosage of T-C throughout your baked goods. For example, if you and friend both eat 1/8 of an edible cake you’ve made, you’ll both get the same amount of T-C. While how high you’ll get may vary person to person, you’ll still know you’ve dispersed it evenly.
This means you’ll be able to eat the same amount of cake the next day and know exactly how high you’ll get. That’s a significant win.
Lecithin May Help Make Your Edibles Feel More Potent
Yes, you read that right. Lecithin may help make your high that much more effective. Lecithin is a phospholipid, and phospholipids help increase the bioavailability of cannabinoids. This also means that it helps your body absorb the T-C that much better, which may make the effects feel stronger.
Sunflower and Soy Lecithin
Lecithin is made from a variety of different products, and you’ll most commonly see it made from sunflower, soy, or egg. But for our purposes, we’ll skip the egg lecithin and discuss the two most common: sunflower and soy.
Sunflower lecithin is much better for you for a variety of reasons. The first being that many people generally are allergic to soy, and they don’t have the same reactions to sunflower oil.
If we include eggs in the mix, many people also have allergies to eggs. As such, sunflower oil is the least harmful and means you can share your edibles with even more people.
Secondly, when extracting sunflower lecithin, there is no use of solvents as there are with soy. This means when you eat soy lecithin, you’re at risk for chemical contamination, which most people try to avoid.