We’re no strangers to cannabis cooking around here, and cannabutter — that is, cannabis-infused better — is a staple. You can try swapping a few teaspoons of regular butter with cannabutter in all kinds of great recipes, pretty much anywhere butter is used. But to use cannabutter, you have to know how to make it. Luckily, we’re sharing a great cannabutter recipe right here, right now, and sharing a few helpful tips and tricks.
If you’re wondering what exactly cannabutter brings to the table (ha), it’s helpful to understand the role of cannabis edibles in general. A good cannabis edible can have a number of benefits depending on the strain — everything from enhanced focus, productivity and energy to therapeutic perks like a boost of antioxidants. It’s comparable to caffeine without the crash. Plus, ingested cannabis lasts longer than other methods of consumption — usually between four and six hours, which is plenty of time to get you through the afternoon slump or get you going in the mornings.
Quick disclaimer — ingesting cannabis is an entirely different experience. Effects do last longer, but it can also take longer to feel those effects. That’s because THC is transformed into the compound 11-hydroxy-THC as it moves through the digestive system. As it’s digested, the new compound is slowly delivered into the bloodstream, creating a low-dose, time-release effect. That’s why the golden rule of cannabis — start low and go slow — is particularly important when you’re eating an edible. Too much too fast is a recipe for a seriously unpleasant experience.
Now that we’ve clarified all of that, onto the recipe!
Step One — Decarb
The decarboxylation process — i.e. decarbing — is an essential first step. This is a slow heating of the flower to activate the cannabinoids. If you skip this, your cannabutter will be very low in potency or completely inactive. The best tasting cannabutter starts with decarbing in the oven.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, then lay out your flower in a single layer.
- Bake in a preheated 245F oven for thirty to forty minutes. Give the pan a gentle shake for more even baking and pay attention to the color. Your goal is a deep brownish-green shade. That’s when you know it's ready.
- Remove the decarbed flower and allow to cool before grinding coarsely. You can use a mortar and pestle, or the bottom of a cup and a cutting board — anything works. You’ll need a full cup (about 7 to 10 grams) of ground, decarbed cannabis.
Pro tip — the higher quality your starting cannabis, the better your cannabutter will be. So make like the Barefoot Contessa and opt for great ingredients (that means no margarine)!
Some recipes call for the addition of water, including this one. It helps maintain temperature and will keep your butter from scorching. Combine one cup water and one cup water into a saucepan over lower heat. As the butter begins melting, stir in your ground cannabis. Clip on a thermometer and continue simmering over low heat — between 160F and 180F — for three to four hours. Stir occasionally, and make sure that your butter mixture never comes to a full boil.
After it’s simmered for a few hours, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Use cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to strain your cooled cannabutter into a jar or bowl, but don’t squeeze the cheesecloth — just pour it through. Stick your cannabutter in the fridge to cool completely. If your jar ends up with any water at the bottom, you can drain that off. And that’s it!
Dosing Your Homemade Cannabutter
Potency depends on the cannabis you started with and cooking methods, and it’s next to impossible to get accurate percentages without lab testing. Instead, you’ll gauge it based on a trial run. Spread half a teaspoon on a cracker to see how it affects you. Give it about an hour to judge effects, and use that as a baseline dose when you start cooking with your cannabutter. Remember to keep your cannabutter stored properly and away from children. And please enjoy responsibly.