San Diego

San Diego Woman Cooks Traditional Mexican Dishes With Cannabis

Yvanne Castañeda has been cooking with cannabis for years and hopes to one day open her own restaurant in California

A San Diego resident who’s been cooking with cannabis for her own personal use is becoming more inspired in the kitchen now that recreational marijuana is being legally sold in California.

For years, Yvanne Castañeda has been cooking with marijuana for medical purposes. She said she began inventing recipes to help her deal with unspecified chronic pain.

In her kitchen at home, she uses marijuana in a variety of traditional Mexican dishes – from chilaquiles and tamales to tacos, enchiladas, pozoles and more.

NBC 7's Mari Payton shares what lessons California is learning from mistakes made by states that have previously legalized marijuana.

Castañeda said she typically starts her culinary creations by letting marijuana buds soak in any type of cooking oil – such as olive oil – so the plant seeps into the oil.

“You let it soak over low heat – don’t let it get hotter than 100 degrees – for at least three hours,” she told Telemundo 20.

After that process, Castañeda said the oil is ready to use for cooking just about anything. When Telemundo 20 visited Castañeda at home this week, she was using the oil to cook “Cannabis Chilaquiles.”

Chilaquiles are strips of fried corn tortillas simmered in salsa and typically served with cheese, eggs or beans.

NBC 7's Alex Presha reports on the demand for recreational marijuana on the first day of its legalized use in California.

Castañeda used her cannabis-infused oil on the salsa for the dish and, as the tortillas simmered in the sauce, the scent of marijuana wafted in the air.

According to Castañeda, if someone were to eat this cannabis-laden dish, they would likely – in a matter of time – feel relaxed. She likens the effect to drinking a glass of wine or beer.

She warned that food made with marijuana should be eaten slowly so as not to overindulge. Castañeda said the effects of eating marijuana are more intense than smoking it, and take longer to be felt. She said patience is the key to preventing a bad experience.

From marijuana-inspired dinners to cannabis-infused massages, Californians are capitalizing on the unique ways they can cash in on the state's new pot law. NBC 7's Ashley Matthews reports.

As California learns to adapt to changes to the marijuana law, Castañeda hopes to capitalize. Her dream is to one day open a restaurant in the state where the menu is focused on dishes made with cannabis.

On Jan. 1, legal sale of recreational pot began across the Golden State.

The state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued licenses to a small number of retailers to sell marijuana, including Torrey Holistics on Rosselle Street in San Diego. The business is licensed for both recreational and medicinal sales of marijuana to adults.

The expanding marijuana sales market is expected to grow by $7 billion annually by 2020.

NBC 7's Mari Payton shares what will be legal, and what will remain illegal, in San Diego after January 1.
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