The History of Pot Brownies + Tips To Infuse Just About Anything

Episode 168

Show Notes

The Easiest Way to Infuse Your Food

Ever wondered how pot brownies became such a widespread phenomenon? In today’s show, we’re taking it all the way back to the 1980s to bring you the history of pot brownies and the fearless woman behind the recipe. Plus, we’ll also offer step-by-step instructions on how to easily infuse just about anything — just in time for the holidays. Enjoy!

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Ellen Scanlon:

This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over.

Chef Michellee Fox:

I make pickle plates. I pickle everything that you can imagine. Let me think of the weird ones. I pickled green walnuts and I pickle cherries. So when I’m really high, I’ll make this pickle platter, literally is making my mouth water thinking about it right now, and then I like to do a little bit of goat cheese in the middle. So then I’ll dip the pickles on the goat cheese and eat it like that. I don’t eat dinner if I’m high. If I have my pickle platter, everything is all right in the world.

Ellen Scanlon:

Welcome to How To Do The Pot, a podcast helping you feel confident about cannabis for health, wellbeing, and for fun. I’m Ellen Scanlon.

You just heard Chef Michellee Fox share her favorite thing to eat when she’s high. Was your mouthwatering? This holiday season, we are talking all about cooking with cannabis, and today we’re sharing an episode from our very popular series about cooking with weed. We’ll give you a history lesson about pot brownies, share expert tips and get you started with some easy to make recipes.

Before we get into this week’s episode, I’d like to ask you to take a second and subscribe to How to Do the Pot’s newsletter. We are working hard to grow our audience and signing up will really help. The newsletter is a little reminder to feel confident about cannabis for health, wellbeing, and for fun. I love to hear from you too, so you can always reply and tell us about topics or guests you’d like on the show. Join the thousands of people who look forward to it twice a month by going to sign up today. Thank you. I really appreciate your support for the show.

In episode 166, we shared a lot of tips if you’re new to cooking with cannabis. Here’s a recap. Relax and have fun. You get to decide how intoxicating to make your food. Consider how you want to feel and remember that when you eat cannabis, it can take one to two hours to feel the effects. Find a good cookbook that will explain the amount of cannabis to put in your recipe, and it’s probably a good idea to microdose as you’re figuring it out. The best way to choose your strain is to smell it, a lot like with wine. Keep tabs on the THC level of the strain so you know how potent your food will be. And don’t forget to cook the weed. You have to decarboxylate, or heat, the cannabis in order to feel any intoxicating effects.

Believe it or not, brownies actually play a central role in the cannabis legalization movement. In the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, a woman named Mary Rathbun started baking pot brownies for patients in San Francisco. She soon became known as Brownie Mary and became internationally famous when the police arrested her multiple times for helping dying patients. A few years ago I went to an event at UC Berkeley with a pioneering AIDS doctor who worked with Brownie Mary, and that’s where I first heard about her. The doctor told a story of being at a conference in Europe and seeing her arrest on all the TVs at the airport on his way home. He called it a watershed moment for cannabis and the start of it being accepted as a plant with medical value.

So back to cooking and to eBay. I found a hard copy of Brownie Mary’s Marijuana Cookbook, that’s the name, published in 1996 and co-written by Dennis Peron, another legend in the cannabis industry. Brownie Mary and Dennis Peron were crucial advocates for California’s 1996 medical cannabis law, which was the first in the nation. It’s a gem of a book and I’ll post an article about Brownie Mary in the show notes. So how do chefs make their way to cannabis? Chef Michellee started cooking for herself and friends and then figured out the dosing that makes a great meal by catering a cannabis themed wedding.

Chef Michellee Fox:

I started to figure it out, how to cook with cannabis, in a way that didn’t feel super overwhelming. And for about two years, I cooked for me and my friends just kind of [inaudible 00:04:29] kitchen style. And then in 2012, I catered this intimate wedding. The entire wedding was related to cannabis and there was a big old platter with joints in it and there was no cake, it was all like donuts. And so it was really fun. And in a wedding for example, you can’t just get so blazed that you need to go to sleep.

So I made a lot of CBD oils, CBD butter, and then on the THC side, just a little bit of THC through the entire course, but then a lot of eating the bud in the green state without being decarboxylated, which means it’s just really kind of like a vegetable in a way, a flour, and it doesn’t get you high, but it gets you aware. If you are starting in the course, a seven course, and you have consumed a total of 20, 30 milligrams let’s say of THC, I would make a dessert with probably 50, 60, 70, 80 milligrams of CBD at the end. It’s really important because CBD balances THC. So if you consume just a little more of CBD on top of the THC, it kind of balances you out and it doesn’t get you too high.

Ellen Scanlon:

We believe you can never have too many favorite podcasts, but with so many to choose from, I also know that finding the right shows to add to your rotation can require some legwork. So we started How to Do the Pot’s Podcast Club to share some really great podcasts that we think you’ll like too. If you feel like reciprocating with podcasts you think we might enjoy, please reach out at or you can DM us @DothePot.

Pretty much everyone who cooks aspires to have a clutch of recipes that they can make their own, the one dish that you keep in your back pocket that you send to friends and you know it’s going to work every single time. I have to confess, I am still looking. But do you have one? The One Recipe podcast is about building that library one recipe at a time. Host Jesse Sparks, senior editor at Eater, talks to chefs and gifted cooks from all over the world about their one recipe and the story behind it. Episodes about chocolate chip cookies from Paola Velez or an epic devil’s food snacking cake from Jessie Sheehan sound delicious on their own, or maybe you want to try them with some cannabis infused butter to add a little lift. This month, Jesse is talking to people all about their favorite holiday recipes. You can find Jesse’s work, cooking and daily antics at Jesse A. Sparks on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. And listen to the One Recipe wherever you get your podcasts.

Chef Amanda Jackson moved from Georgia to California so she could cook and build her business in a state with legal cannabis. Now she teaches chefs and home cooks how to modernize cannabis cooking and what that fusion means for traditional foods.

Chef Amanda Jackson:

Teaching A, how to explore food in an honorable way that does not forget the humanity in the hands that make it and B, how to modernize that food with honor to the cultures that we take from. We included cannabis in it because we were modernizing and especially with food from the Black American South, I do loads of things with grits. I love grits. A modernization for me might be taking crab grits and I might actually deconstruct it, or I might make something like an arancini ball that’s a bit different. I might use a pesto. I don’t live in the south anymore, I live in Long Beach, so my food technically is a Southern Cali fusion literally. I now have to eat based on my new geography. So there are things that I have here that I didn’t have back home all the time, and some things that I don’t have here that I used to have back home. And even when I order those things, I’m still using California produce. There are those little changes that get made and it’s really honoring that fusion.

Ellen Scanlon:

Ashley Ray, the California based host of the podcast TV, I Say with Ashley Ray shares her go-to infused dessert.

Ashley Ray:

If I do do sweets like a weed fudge, cause you can make a lot of it and you can make like weed hot chocolate with the fudge, you can put the fudge over ice cream, there’s a lot you can do with weed fudge. I love to cook with weed. And once you kind of figure out your method, it’s really easy to adapt different recipes. So it’s a lot of fun. I say I have very few mishaps, but I would guess I have a lot of roommates who are like, “It smells.” That is the truth. And always remember to carb your weed in the oven before you cook with it, before you get it in the butter.

Ellen Scanlon:

As Ashley said, the crucial part of cooking with weed is that you have to actually cook the weed, or decarboxylate it, to bring on the effects of the THC. And be warned, it is probably going to smell up your kitchen. Can you just throw the weed onto a cookie sheet or do you need to grind? It seems to be personal preference whether you grind the weed before or after cooking it. Whatever you decide, experts recommend grinding it to about the same consistency you would use for a joint. You can use a grinder, scissors, or your hands, and after it’s cooked, you’re going to be straining it, probably with a cheesecloth, so don’t make it too fine. There are a few ways that chefs recommend starting to cook with cannabis and infusions in oil or butter are the easiest place to start. Chef Michellee says salad dressing is a great first time cannabis food to make, and she shares how she infuses the oil.

Chef Michellee Fox:

I make this green goddess dressing. I infuse olive oil with decarboxylated CBD flower and then just green THC flower. I don’t put it in the oven. So I put a bunch of bud in the jar and I fill it with olive oil and I let that infuse for a few days. You can find that a lot of green goddess dressing is a pretty common standard salad dressing. And then I just use the olive oil that is infused with cannabis instead of regular olive oil. And then I use that green dressing to obviously make salads, as a dipping sauce, you can rub it on chicken, pork, steak and let it marinate, and then you fry it after. So yeah, I use the green goddess in so many ways and you can use the same idea for any dressing that you’re going to make.

Ellen Scanlon:

For today’s high five, how to make food with weed. Number one, decarboxylate it. Chef Amanda’s tip is to preheat the oven to 225 and place the buds of cannabis on a parchment line baking sheet. Let it bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until it’s very fragrant. Be careful not to allow the cannabis to burn. A good oven thermometer is useful to keep an eye on the consistency of the temperature. It will be a deep brownish green color when it has decarboxylated. Cannabis cookbooks and Google are a great help here as your oven and the quality of your cannabis play a role in the timing. Number two, infuse it. Once the weed has been decarboxylated, it can be infused with coconut oil, olive oil, really any kind of oil, or butter. Depending on the process you use, it can take between four to six hours and requires checking it frequently, about every 30 minutes. A slow cooker can make this a lot less labor intensive.

Then you’ll need to strain it with a cheesecloth or a metal strainer. Cookbooks like the Art of Weed Butter and the 420 Gourmet break down all your options and provide recipes for how the infused oil or butter can be used in all kinds of yummy dishes. Number three, label it. In episode 166, etiquette expert Lizzy Post reminds us how important it is to let people know if weed is in any food. When you eat cannabis, the high lasts a lot longer than when you smoke it, like four to eight hours longer depending on the dose. Once it’s clearly labeled, stored in a tightly sealed container or a glass jar. Number four, time it out. Think about how you want to paste the meal. It may help to compare it to alcohol. You probably wouldn’t serve each guest a bottle of tequila with appetizers. Allow each person to choose how much cannabis to consume by maybe infusing a sauce that can be added to your meal. And save some high CBD strains for dessert goodies so your guests come down a bit before they head home.

Number five, get started. Chef Amanda gave us her recipes for canna butter and her cheddar bay biscuits, and Chef Michellee gave us a recipe for pickled maraschino cannabis cocktails. We are also so grateful to Chef Cynthia Sestito of Netflix Cooked With Cannabis for her recipes for chocolate sauce and her canna jammy jam, and to Chef Andie Leon from the Netflix show Cooking on High for her recipe for rose cannabis granola bars. Visit for all of these great recipes. I’m going to leave you with one more bit of inspiration for easy infused cooking. North Carolina based Abby Jai, who is both a chef and a farmer at the Indigenous led Handewa Farms, tells us about the infused beverage her friends and family cannot get enough of.

Chef Abbi Jai:

I make a lot of things infused, but my favorite thing to make, something they really, really, really enjoy, is infused strawberry lemonade. I love it, and so do they. They get so excited when I make it, and every time I make like a gallon, it’s gone within a day. My family, as soon as I tell them like, “Hey, I made this,” they’re over in my house just grabbing a couple jars or whatever. So that’s something that they enjoy and I really enjoy watching them enjoy it.

Ellen Scanlon:

What are your favorite ways to infuse cannabis, and do you have any favorite recipes? Please reach out to us at or DM us @DothePot. We’d love to share your tips in a future episode. Thank you for listening to How to Do the Pot this year. Welcome to all of our new listeners and I am so excited to be growing our audience. We are really grateful for your support and truly appreciate it when you tell your friends. Word of mouth is really the fastest way for podcasts to grow. I hope you’ve had fun learning about cooking with cannabis and wish you a very happy holiday. Thank you to our producers, Madi Fair and Nick Patri, and check out to learn more. You can also follow us on socials @DothePot. I’m Ellen Scanlon and we’ll be back soon with more episodes of How to Do the Pot.




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