Adding lecithin to your cannabis edibles will take your product to the next level of quality and consumer satisfaction and help you stand out above your competition.
Lecithin is a binding agent. It helps your cannabis edibles hold together and keeps them from drying out and crumbling while they are stored on the shelf. It protects both THC and CBD, making your product more potent. And although lecithin has no flavor and very little odor of its own, it brings out the aromas and flavors of the other ingredients in your cannabis edibles, enhancing both mouth feel and consumer appeal.
What Is Lecithin?
A well-known basic premise of food preparation is that oil and water don’t mix. Oil and water mixtures will separate into an oil layer on top and a water layer on the bottom, unless they are bound by an emulsifier.
Lecithin is an emulsifier. In fact, it is one of the most versatile emulsifiers in the food industry. A phospholipid usually extracted from soybean oil, sunflower oil, or egg, it is composed of organic molecules that have areas of positive and negative charge. This makes it amphiphilic, binding to either oil or water and holding complex mixtures together.
Lecithin is used as an emulsifier throughout the food industry, especially for keeping chocolate bars, ice cream, cakes, salad dressing, cooking oil, processed cheese, cakes, cookies, candies, and gummites moist. They don’t dry out on the shelf while they are sitting in your inventory.
Lecithin is an entirely natural ingredient. The human body uses lecithin to create cell membranes. Lecithin makes the linings of cells elastic and protects them from free radicals of oxygen. Lecithin supplements play a role in treating liver and gallbladder disease as well as diabetic retinopathy, and lecithin is added to cosmetics for dry skin relief.
Two Reasons You Should Add Lecithin to Your Cannabis Edibles
Lecithin is an important ingredient in almost any recipe for any cannabis edible, for two important reasons.
- Lecithin keeps cannabis edibles fresher on the shelf. Nothing is less appealing to a customer than to unwrap a cannabis edible and have it crumble in their hand. Edibles made with lecithin are more aesthetically appealing, and deliver a higher potency of THC, CBD, CBG, and/or CBN.
- Lecithin for baking makes the extrusion process easier. As you mechanize your production, you need to keep equipment running smoothly. Adding lecithin to recipes facilitates extrusion from mixing machines and removal from molds. It also minimizes damage during wrapping and boxing individual pieces of the product.
If the only reason to add lecithin to cannabis edibles was to prevent costly breakdowns and repairs of manufacturing equipment, they would be worth far more than the small amount they add to the cost of ingredients. But lecithin benefits for other foods also apply to cannabis products. Lecithin helps you grow your customer base by creating a better customer experience.
How to Add Lecithin to Recipes for Cannabis Edibles
There is a simple rule of thumb for adding lecithin to baked goods incorporating cannabis:
For every cup of flour, use a teaspoon of lecithin.
Of course, if you are doing mass production, you don’t measure flour or lecithin in cups or teaspoons. The principle is to use 4 percent as much lecithin as flour. Use 40 grams of lecithin with a kilogram of flour. Or use 2 pounds of lecithin with a 50-pound bag of flour. Although the amount of lecithin you need is calculated on the basis of dry ingredients, you add lecithin to the product by mixing it with the wet ingredients.
Not using flour? Add 1-1/2 teaspoons of lecithin plus two teaspoons of water for each egg yolk. That’s 40 grams of lecithin plus 75 ml of water for every 100 grams of egg yolk.
Just don’t add lecithin to cannabutter. It will separate from the rest of your recipe and create a runny mess as your edibles bake.
What Is the Best Source of Lecithin for Cannabis Edibles?
The highest-quality lecithin for food preparation is derived from egg yolk. Of course, if you are making vegan products, you do not want to use lecithin made from eggs.
The most versatile lecithin for making cannabis edibles is made from sunflower oil. Lecithin is made from cold-pressed sunflower oil, extracted from sunflower seeds without heat or chemicals. Soybean oil is made from soybeans that are sent through a process that is analogous to refining oil to make diesel. The process of making soybean oil involves solvents and heavy-metal catalysts, and the methods of removing these noxious chemicals from soybean oil products like lecithin is not perfect.
Another issue with soybean lecithin is the fact that most soybeans are GMO, and most consumers of cannabis edibles prefer to avoid them.
Lecithin comes in both powder and liquid forms. Liquid lecithin is easier to add to recipes, but lecithin powder is easier to clean up in case of accidents in the kitchen or the baking room.