Getting new formulations just right is always a challenge for bakers, but baking with cannabis poses special challenges, especially considering the cost of it.

“Cannabis, generally speaking, is about $10 per gram,” explains Jessica Cristadoro, chief executive officer of The Vivid Team and chief operating officer of Food Business Consulting. “Depending on your batch size, that can be very, very expensive to throw out. Most of the time, you cannot rework a bad batch.”

Cristadoro and her teams helped organize and plan the IBIE Cannabis Central Pavilion, located in the North Hall, and The Vivid Team is teaching several classes.

Precision is key when baking with cannabis because each serving of a product must contain the same amount of cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. This means getting the processing, temperature and time right.

“If you’re off by a tiny bit with your cannabis, then your THC amount or your CBD amount will have a variation. It will not be homogeneous; therefore, you will not pass compliance regulations,” Cristadoro says.

This is further complicated by the fact that the strength of the cannabis varies with each batch and harvest. Every batch comes with a certificate of analysis to document its strength. For instance, a cannabis distillate might contain 80% to 95% THC, so bakers would need to adjust the amount of distillate used to hit the amount of THC on the label.

Once bakers decide what product they want to make with cannabis, they can then select which format of cannabis to use. It comes in several forms, such as cannabutter, water-soluble powder, distillate and more. And the baked products must be easily portionable as that determines the amount of cannabis in each serving.