So, you’ve just hit up your local Seattle dispensary, picked up a nice bag of your favorite bud, but today you’re feeling experimental. You’re feeling creative. Today you want to make cannabutter!
‘What in the heck is Cannabutter?’ I hear you cry. To answer this, let’s look at the cannabis industry today compared to where it was just a few decades ago.
Nowadays, you can just pop down to any of the many Seattle dispensaries and choose from a wide range of cannabis-infused edible goodies. You can suck on mind-altering mints, pop a potent pretzel in your mouth, or sip on a Sativa-laced soft drink. Hell, you can even get high eating potato chips and chocolate bars.
The choices are endless and growing larger by the day. Some states are even approving legislation that allows for the social use of cannabis. Cannabis lounges, cafes, and restaurants with entire menus of cannabis-infused foods are beginning to pop up around the country.
It’s true; we’re living in a golden age of cannabis consumption. But this wasn’t always the way. Cast your mind back a decade, before legalization was just a pipe-dream for cannabis users, and the choice of cannabis edibles were few and far between. If you wanted to make weed brownies in those days, preparing home-made cannabutter was the only way to go.
Cannabutter is butter infused with cannabis. Yes, it’s that simple!
Once you have made your cannabutter, it can be used anywhere that you would use regular butter. Brownies? Check. Home-made bread? Check. Lemon butter prawns? Check? Feeling super lazy and just want to spread it on some toast? You betcha! Butter is used in so many dishes, which is why cannabutter is a super-easy and versatile way of creating your own edibles.
Homemade cannabutter vs. cannabutter from a Seattle Dispensary
Okay, okay, most good dispensaries will stock cannabutter, but where’s the fun in that? And let’s face it, with lockdown stretching on and on with no end in sight, a lot of us have time at home to kill.
Making your own cannabutter definitely has some advantages over its store-bought brethren. For starters, there’s the satisfaction factor. It’s the same with any home project. Sure, you can hire someone to decorate your living room or maintain your garden. You might get a bit messy, and it might take you longer than an expert, but nothing beats that feeling of stepping back, wiping the sweat from your brow, and admiring your handiwork. Plus, you get the bragging rights for anyone who cares to listen.
Another reason why making cannabutter at home beats popping to a dispensary is that you can make it exactly how you want it. People from all walks of life use cannabis, and they do so for a vast range of reasons.
Some people want to get creative and inspired from their high. Others want to improve their sleeping habits or take advantage of some of the other health benefits that cannabis can provide. Whether it’s clearer skin, a respite from anxiety, or relief from pain and inflammation. Or perhaps you just want to get stone baked like a New York bagel and rip a twelve-hour video game session. There’s no pot shaming here.
When you’re lovingly crafting your home-made cannabutter, you can tailor it to your exact needs. You can make it as strong or as mild as you like. You can use Indica, Sativa, or create your own hybrid. You can use CBD heavy flower, THC heavy, or a fifty-fifty mix. You can experiment with your favorite tasting cannabis and combine strains to make unique flavors. You’re basically Walter White, searching for the ultimate cannabutter formula.
What do I need to make cannabutter?
Don’t worry; you don’t need an underground lab or a bathtub full of acid for this little science experiment. If you’re a keen home baker, you’ll probably have everything you need to get started. If not, there’s nothing here you won’t find on a quick trip to a grocery store.
- 1 Cup of unsalted butter
- 1 Cup of cannabis flower (7-10 grams)
- Kitchen Scales
- Bud Grinder
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
- Metal strainer
- Spatula/mixing spoon
- Glass mixing bowl
- Mason jar
In this recipe, we’re using one cup of butter (227 grams) for one cup of cannabis (7-10 grams). Let’s do the math for a second. Let’s say you’ve chosen a strain that is 15% THC. If you use 10 grams (1000 milligrams), that will result in a total of 1500mg of THC. You can always use more or less cannabis, depending on your desired outcome. We’ll talk more about dosage later on.
Step by step instructions
There are a variety of different ways to make cannabutter. Today we’ll outline two of the most simple, but no less effective methods. But first, we will start with one crucial step that is often overlooked when making edibles at home.
Decarboxylate the weed
Don’t be scared. This step sounds complicated, and if you want to delve into the science, it can be. But it essentially boils down to ‘shove your weed in the oven for an hour.’
Why are we cooking the cannabis? Most other methods of cannabis consumption involve heating it in some way, whether it be in a joint, dab rig, bong, or vaporizer. When cannabis is heated above a specific temperature, the cannabinoid THCA converts into the active ingredient we all know and love – THC.
If you attempt to make cannabutter, or any other kind of edible, without activating the THC, your end product will not reach its full potency potential, and you will waste a lot of the active ingredient.
Preheat the oven to 230°F or 110°C
While the oven is heating, grind up your cannabis as small as you can.
Cut a piece of parchment paper to the same size as the baking tray and line the bottom of the tray with paper. Evenly spread your freshly ground weed on the paper. The paper stops it from sticking to the tray when oils and resin from the bud are released during the heating process.
Once the oven is up to temperature, place the baking tray on the middle shelf and heat for 30-40 minutes.
Check on the weed every ten minutes or so. Dry weed will take less time to de-carb than fresher, wetter weed, and the last thing you want to do is burn the whole batch to a crisp. The ground cannabis will begin to turn golden – if it starts to go deep brown, black, or you notice it smoking, remove it immediately.
While the decarboxylation process is humming along nicely, you can begin to get set up for the infusion stage. First off, grab your saucepan and glass mixing bowl. You will want to find a pan that is the right size for the bowl. The mixing bowl should sit on the rim of the pan and not be so small that it just drops to the bottom.
Next up, fill the bowl with water. Again check the amount is just right – enough water that the bowl is touching the surface. Then bring the water to boil. Ensure that the water does not run dry during the infusion process – boil the kettle so you can top it up with hot water without losing temperature.
Place the butter in the mixing bowl and let it slowly melt.
Butter has a very low melting point and burns quickly. We use the mixing bowl and water in this way to heat the butter slowly without the risk of it burning.
By now, the timer on your oven should have sounded, and your cannabis is perfectly de-carbed. Once the butter is entirely liquid, stir in the ground weed.
This part is where the magic happens, and the butter becomes infused with the cannabinoids and terpenes that give us that lovely blissful high. The butter should be hot but never boiling.
There’s some debate around how long you should leave your cannabis infusing. Some sources say thirty minutes; others say two hours. Personally, I leave mine for around forty-five minutes, and I have never had any problem with potency.
There’s no harm in leaving it longer, but the end product will have a much stronger flavor. It comes down to personal preference. Some people like the earthy, heavy taste; others find it overpowering. As it is with all home cooking, it comes down to experimentation and finding out what suits you.
So your butter is now infused with all the terpenes, cannabinoids, and essential oils of the cannabis plant. Impressive! Now it’s time to strain out all the unwanted plant matter.
Grab your strainer, glass jar, and cheesecloth. Allow the butter to cool for a few minutes – any longer than this, and it will start to solidify and you’ll have a hard time straining it.
Line the strainer with cheesecloth and slowly begin to pour in the mixture, allowing it to fill up the jar. Once you are left with all the plant matter in the cloth, you can gently squeeze out the last few drops of oil. Don’t squeeze too hard, or you will force small bits of plants into the mix and potentially lose the smooth, creamy texture.
Voila! Your cannabutter is complete! Pop the jar in the fridge, let it solidify, and it’s ready to go. Cannabutter will last in the refrigerator for about a month. It’s also perfectly fine to freeze it and defrost it as and when you want to make your edibles. Frozen cannabutter will remain fresh and potent for at least six months.
Slow cooker method
To make cannabutter in a slow cooker, you’ll need the same ingredients and material as above, minus the saucepan and mixing bowl.
You will still need to de-carb your weed, so follow the first four steps outlined in the traditional method. While your cannabis is gently heating, place the butter in the slow cooker and set the temperature to low or 160°F.
Once the butter has melted and the cannabis is ready, simply stir the ground flower into the butter, put the lid on, and leave it to infuse. Again, the amount of time you leave it cooking is down to personal preference. I find that three hours is plenty of time to make great tasting, effective cannabutter, but if you want to leave it for twelve hours to extract every last drop of potency, the choice is yours.
Whatever your selected time frame, once you are satisfied with the results, follow steps 8 and 9 from the method above to strain and cool your cannabutter.
Now that your cannabutter is ready, the world of edibles is your oyster. Anywhere butter is used in cooking, you can swap it out for cannabutter. Sweet, savory, sauces, marinades, cakes, or condiments – the choice is yours.
One thing to keep in mind is the difficulty in predicting accurate dosage when making homemade edibles. All good shop-bought edibles will be lab tested and have the dosage clearly labeled on the packaging. Homemade treats will not have this luxury.
One good tip is to test your cannabutter’s potency by eating a small tablespoon and observing the effects. This will give you some indication of the strength of your concoction. If you’re following a recipe that uses a lot of butter and you’re worried that it may be too strong, you can always use half regular butter and half cannabutter, or whatever ratio you think is suitable for your tolerance.
You can find cannabis at any of Seattle’s dispensaries, and while you are there, you can always get some advice on which strain to use. A knowledgeable budtender will point you in the direction of a strain with the right potency, taste, CBD/THC ratio, and psychoactive effects to suit whichever itch you are trying to scratch.