Wanna grab the positive health effects of cannabis compounds without inhaling the smoke? Cannabutter is the best way to get a slow-burning euphoria and pain relief. For some people, it’s much better suited than smoking marijuana since the effects peak later and last longer.
This is true for most edibles, and a lot of those recipes actually require cannabutter as an ingredient. So, here’s the right way to make pot butter at home, and why you should cook it up yourself instead of buying it.
What Is Pot Butter & Why You Should Make Your Own Mix
Cannabutter, cannabis butter, pot butter, THC butter – whatever you choose to call it, is a marvelous recipe ingredient made from your regular, ordinary butter, but also containing the active substances from marijuana – THC, cannabinoids, terpenes, etc.
Since these are basically oils and fats we’re talking about, the butter basically acts as the ideal extractor, so you can be sure that the active substances are going to be utilized to their maximum potential.
The infused butter ends up being fairly homogenous in terms of the content of these active substances, since they’re evenly distributed.
Pot butter can be homemade or purchased at medical marijuana or recreational marijuana dispensaries. Usually, it’s got a good shelf life, lasting up to 6 months if refrigerated.
But there certainly are benefits to making your own:
- You can determine the strength, flavor, type of butter, and know that there are no additives or flavor enhancers added to the mix.
- You choose whether you want more high or more of the health benefits. If you want the high, go for high-THC strains, if you want less psychoactive substances but keep the health benefits, go for high-CBD strains.
- It’s not a long procedure, and given the potency and usefulness of cannabutter, it’s gonna last you a long time, just keep it in the fridge, as you would do with the store-bought variant.
- Note that if you make it extra potent, you can also add it to regular butter in smaller quantities. Basically, this way you just use the butter as a carrier for concentrated cannabinoids. The drawback to having more potency in the same quantity is that you’d have to be very precise in dosing it out. If you don’t have experience with determining correct dosages from various strains, we suggest you make it less concentrated.
- It’s also cheaper, requiring just butter and weed.
- It’s an excellent way to use trim, leaves, kief, etc. Material that is otherwise unsuitable for smoking, but still contains all of the good stuff!
Cannabutter Recipe Breakdown – Decarbing And Cooking
We said the procedure is fairly simple, and we’re gonna prove that by outlining everything in just several steps. The base procedure is as follows:
- Apply heat to weed.
- Melt the butter.
- Add the weed to the butter.
- Simmer slowly!
- Strain the cannabutter through a cheesecloth.
Use 1 oz (30 grams) of dried bud or 3 oz (90 grams) of trim per every 1 lb (450 grams) of butter. This ratio also varies depending on what strain you use, and every recipe you find will mention a different ratio. Such is life. Experiment!
This is the barebones procedure that you can memorize in 30 seconds or less. But, as they say – the devil is in the details, so proceed with caution.
Now we’re gonna go through each step and learn all the caveats you need to know to make the perfect butter every single time:
Cannabis Heat Treatment & Decarboxylation – Step 1
Heat is supposed to “decarb” the parts of the plant you’re using:
- The quick & dirty explanation is that you simply heat up the buds to make them more potent, and make the active substances more easily extractable. For more details on the chemical process of decarboxylation, check out this post. It’s pretty in-depth without being too long of a read.
- In a nutshell, keeping temperatures from going too high during decarboxylation will help preserve the flavor-rich unstable compounds like terpenes. If you turn up the heat too much, say goodbye to those sweet compounds, and your cannabutter might end up being even less tasty and less healthy than the store-bought. This would defeat the purpose of making it at home.
- Using a double boiler to decarb weed (if you have one) is one of the best ways to ensure a steady temperature, without relying on your oven’s thermometer. If you don’t have a double boiler, the oven will have to do.
The first thing you need to do is to grind up the marijuana so it’s fragmented enough, but don’t overdo it. You can even tear it up with your hands and then spread it evenly across a baking sheet or oven pan.
Then, put that ground up marijuana in a preheated oven at a temperature between 102 and 107 Celsius (215 to 225 F).
Different recipes found online will mention different temperatures but bare in mind that higher temperatures can decompose the good stuff and leave you with just inert garbage. The general consensus is to keep the temperatures on the lower side and extend the baking time a bit.
Do not exceed 107 Celsius. Bake it for no less than 45, and no more than 60 minutes. A study cited by Wikileaf states that as soon as decarboxylation is complete, THC starts to degrade if its exposure to high temperatures persists.
Also, prepare your nostrils as it will get very smelly in your kitchen, very fast!
Preparing The Butter To “Carry” The Weed – Step 2
Set the butter to melt. Put water in a stove pot or saucepan and bring it to boil, then add the butter to the boiling water in a 50/50 ratio. Some suggest that you should use water with low mineral content, as hard tap water (with too much calcium and other chemicals) might negatively impact the taste.
The water is a necessary component to stop the butter from scorching, even though butter already has around 16% water in it.
Or just melt it in a double boiler, the same way you’d melt chocolate. Once it’s melted, just maintain its temperature until the oven weed is done.
Mixing The Pot With Butter – Step 3
Once the butter has melted completely in the water/butter pot, pull back on the heat, add the decarboxylated weed into the mixture, and gently stir it. The ground pot should be suspended in the butter (on the surface) and not submerged in the water below.
The Long Simmer Process – Step 4
Simmer it on low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring the mixture occasionally. Make sure it doesn’t reach boiling point. The bubbles may rise up gently, but no turbulent movements should be happening. If you can’t manage to simmer it on low such that it doesn’t boil, cook it for 60-90 minutes.
Don’t be afraid to add more water if it evaporates to a critical point. The water doesn’t absorb the important active substances – all of those end up in the butter itself.
Strain Through A Cheesecloth – Step 5
Take a bowl that you intend to store the butter in (refrigerate it), and put a mesh with cheesecloth over it, then pour the butter on top and let it drain into the bowl. The cheesecloth should hold all of the plant matter, while all of the butter and water should end up in the bowl where it will start to separate.
Refrigerate The Cannabutter And Congratulate Yourself – Step 6
To cool down and speed up the separation of water and butter, put the bowl in the fridge for 3-5 hours.
The butter should solidify completely during that time and you should see a thin layer of water on top, then a chunky layer of butter, and then most of the water filling out the bottom of the bowl. The color difference should be very telling.
The water also serves to filter out chlorophyll and other inert stuff that might taste bad or weird without affecting the potency since all of the THC, terpenes and CBD oils were “captured” by the butter.
The Caveats Of Making Potent Cannabis Butter
Regarding ideal temperatures and exact cooking times, there are as many combinations as there are recipes online. That means a lot! The important thing to note is to not mix different recipes – once you’ve decided on a recipe to follow, stick with it to the end.
Depending on the recipe you follow, your previous culinary experience, and the equipment you have – expect to have the final product ready for consumption in about 2-4 hours. If you’re making it for the first time:
- Don’t start late at night.
- Don’t start if you have to be somewhere in 3 hours or less. You can’t put a pause on this procedure until the refrigeration step.
It takes about 45 minutes just to decarb the buds, but you need to preheat the oven, first.
The stronger the weed, the more potent the cannabutter. Our advice is that you should experiment and start out stingy when dosing the product, increasing the dosage gradually over time and testing different strains.
Know the THC content of your plant matter! The difference in THC content can be enormous across strains, and that compounds with the way you treat it (40 minutes in the oven vs 50 minutes in the oven), as well as the parts of the plant you’ll be using.
How to Make Cannabutter in a Crock Pot (Slow Cooker)
Many have tried using a Crock Pot for this purpose, but you need to know that it’s easy to burn the butter if you turn the heat too high up. If you prefer to use a crock pot, that’s ok, here’s a recipe for you.
For those who aren’t kitchen savvy, a Crock Pot (which is a brand name) is basically a slow cooker. It works by using heat and saturated (moist) air to slowly cook food. Perfect for tenderizing meat, but also good for making cannabutter!
Here’s what you need:
- A slow cooker
- Lecithin (from soy or sunflower)
- A filter (mesh or cheesecloth)
For every 500 grams of butter you’ll need ¼ oz (7 grams) of flower, or if you’re using trim, shake or rosin chips, use 1 oz (30 grams) of that stuff.
Decarb the weed using the method above, and then it’s ready to use.
Put the butter and lecithin into the Crock-Pot, turn it to high and let it melt. Use 1 tablespoon of lecithin for every 500 grams of butter. The soy lecithin acts as an emulsifier and it should keep the ingredients from separating in the long run (although this is just for increasing shelf life).
Lecithin is not that important if you plan on eating the whole batch within a month or so. But for longer storage, it does help.
Once the butter is melted in the Crock Pot, add the decarbed weed and turn up the heat until it reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit (104 degrees Celsius), then turn it down to low heat and continue for 4-6 hours. You can also skim off the milk solids that foam up at the top of the butter if you want.
You’ll know it’s done when the bubbles stop rising.
What’s left to do now is just strain it through a mesh and cheesecloth to remove all of the solids and you should be looking at a fairly dark liquid. Once it cools down, it should turn a bit brighter and much greener!
What If You Don’t Want To Use The Buds?
Dry flowers would be ideal for cannabutter, but there are more affordable ways to get quality cannabutter – trimmings are the name of the game. Also, don’t forget about leaves and kief. Just because a part of the plant isn’t ideal for smoking, it can still be used for edibles or other products. That’s the magic of cannabutter.
Enjoy your favorite new base ingredient, and start your own adventure making edibles at home!