Usually known for smoking, cannabis can also be consumed in a variety of other forms. Juiced, vaped, applied as a cream or eaten, cannabis is popular in so many ways.
Cannabutter is the basic ingredient of many delicious space recipes. It can also be used in lieu of regular butter or oil. Spread it over a piece of bread for breakfast, use it in popcorn, or drizzle it over pasta for lunch. The uses of cannabis-infused butter are endless.
Cannabutter is also very simple to make. It can seem a bit tricky at first, but with some directions and assistance, you should be able to make the tastiest cannabutter.
This guide gathers all the information you need to know about cannabutter. From its benefits to our best recipe, with step-by-step instructions, you’ll soon become a cannabutter masterchef.
What Is Cannabutter?
Simply put, cannabutter is a butter infused with cannabis. The chemical component — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — of the plant is extracted and infused in the butter.
Cannabutter is often the key ingredient in marijuana recipes, such as cookies, cakes or brownies. Regular butter is replaced by cannabutter to give your baked goods that extra touch.
Not everyone is a fan of smoking, but who doesn’t like a good cake? This is a simple and convenient way of taking marijuana, whether for fun or medicinal purposes.
Although most other fats and oils can be infused with cannabis, butter certainly creates tastier recipes. If you’ve ever consumed a space-cake, then you've most likely ingested cannabutter.
Benefits of Cannabutter
Now that cannabis is legalized in a number of states, cannabutter and edible cannabis are becoming increasingly popular.
Healthy, Tasty, and Potent
The cannabis plant itself has many well-known health benefits. Depending on the strain of marijuana you’re using to make your cannabutter, the benefits and psychoactive effects might differ. Some strains are more of a stimulant, while others are a strong relaxant.
Cannabutter doesn’t only make delicious recipes, it also helps preserve the natural potency of the plant. THC molecules combine to the saturated fat contained in butter to survive the cooking process.
The most potent cannabutter is made using bud leaves, or the bud itself.
Ingested or smoked, our bodies don’t process cannabis the same way.
When smoked, the chemical components of cannabis travel to the brain and to the lungs, into the bloodstream. Effects can be felt within seconds or minutes and normally last for one to three hours.
Ingested, it can take 30 to 90 minutes before the first effects are felt. THC is first metabolized by the liver and intestines, before spreading throughout the body. Although you might need more patience, the effects can, however, last between three to seven hours.
Cannabutter is particularly appreciated by those who are looking for an alternative to managing long-lasting pain, muscle spasms, or symptoms of a disease.
Healthier for Your Lungs
Contrary to smoking cannabis, cannabutter is free of carcinogens or smoke, so your lungs should feel healthier.
Because the effects don’t materialize instantaneously, it’s important to start with a small amount.
Dosing your Cannabis
A regular cannabutter ratio is a pound of butter for half an ounce of cannabis. Those seeking stronger effects might use a ratio of one pound of butter for one ounce of cannabis. Some medical patients even use two ounces of cannabis for each pound of butter, doubling the effects and strength.
When making your cannabutter, it’s important to consider the strain of cannabis you're using and its potency. Some may contain over 30 percent THC, while other strains will contain less than 15 percent.
Although we’ll give you some tips to dose your cannabutter and baking goods, be aware that THC concentration will always vary from one batch to another.
How to Make Cannabutter?
To make cannabutter, you’ll need just three ingredients, a couple of tools, and loads of patience. Making cannabis-infused butter might take as long as five hours, from start to finish. The outcome should, however, be worthwhile.
- 1/2 ounce of decarboxylated cannabis.
- 1 pound of butter.
- 1 quart of water.
Most users choose to use unsalted butter — especially when baking. Yet, this is a matter of personal preference, as there has been no evidence proving that one butter absorbs THC better than another. Using salted, or even full cream butter will, therefore, have no effect on the THC potency of your cannabutter.
Margarine is sometimes used as an alternative to butter. However, when it comes to cannabutter, margarine is not recommended. Compared to butter, margarine has different chemicals and fat content, which can prevent THC from binding to the fat cells properly.
If you need to use margarine, it’s best to pick one with a high fat percentage.
- Foil or baking sheet.
- Hand grinder.
- Medium size saucepan or pot.
- Spoon or wooden paddle.
- Strainer (metal or cloth).
- Glass container with a lid.
Now we know what cannabutter is and its benefits, it’s time to tell you how to make cannabutter!
Activate THC — Decarboxylation
Making cannabutter isn’t quite as simple as mixing your buds and butter. This step is probably the most important one, in order to successfully make cannabutter.
Cannabis produces a powerless cannabinoid chemical, called THCA. When smoked, the heat transforms THCA into THC, which offers the euphoric results we know.
When making cannabutter, this conversion from THCA to THC also needs to take place, in order to produce the same effects. With cannabutter, this conversion happens during the decarboxylation, or “decarb” phase.
Missing this first phase will result in an impotent or weak cannabutter. Some recipes instruct you to decarb cannabis directly in the butter. However, the more time buds soak, the less tasty they become. That’s the reason why we encourage you to decarb the plant beforehand, in the oven.
- Set your oven to the preheat mode of 225 degree Fahrenheit. When decarbing at low temperature, you’re preserving the THC content and flavor of the plant material.
- Cover a baking tray with parchment, to avoid buds sticking to the surface.
- Separate the buds into small pieces and place them on the covered tray. They can be placed close to each other but shouldn’t overlap.
- Put the tray in the oven for 20 minutes. The buds will slowly dry and turn brown. If your plant is already quite old and dry, 10 or 15 minutes might be enough.
- Remove the tray from the oven and increase the temperature to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wait a few minutes for the buds to cool down, and break them into smaller pieces. Spread them around the tray once more.
- Cover the tray with a baking sheet or tin foil and place it back in the oven for another 40 minutes.
- Every 10 minutes, give the tray a gentle shake, to expose all buds equally. Don’t fully open the oven door every time, to avoid losing heat in the process.
- After about 40 minutes, remove the tray from the oven, and leave it covered until it cools down.
By then, your cannabis might be fine enough to use in your cannabutter. If not, use a hand grinder to mince it into pieces, similar to thyme or oregano cooking spices. A coffee grinder isn’t recommended as it would crunch the flower and prevent the removal of bad-tasting components of the bud.
Feeling that this is more than you can handle? A decarboxylator might make your life easier. Simply turn on the decarb machine, and it’ll do all the work for you. Keep cool and decarboxylate!
If you’re more visual, here is how to decarb your cannabis:
- Add one cup of butter and one cup of water in a pot or saucepan.
- Melt the butter using low heat.
- Add your decarboxylated cannabis to the mixture.
- Still using low heat — never exceeding 200 degrees Fahrenheit — let the butter gently cook for two to three hours. At no time should your cannabutter boil.
- When the liquid starts turning glossy and thick, it’s ready! Place a cheesecloth or another thin cloth over the pot, to strain your cannabutter. You can also use a regular metal strainer.
- Place your cannabutter in a glass container or jar, close the lid and let it cool in the fridge. After an hour, you may notice water forming at the bottom of your container. Using a knife around the edges to pull the butter aside, remove the excess water before placing it back in the container and fridge.
- Your cannabutter is now ready to be used in any space recipe.
Once the butter has hardened and cooled down, it can be used immediately, or kept in the fridge for later use. It can even be kept in your freezer for up to three months.
Test Your Finished Product
Before starting to bake your favorite cookies or brownies, test the potency of your butter. Spread a half or quarter teaspoon of it onto a piece of bread and eat it. Wait an hour to see how the dose affects you.
Other Things to Consider
Cannabis can have a very pungent and strong smell. When making cannabutter on the stove, ensure that you aren’t having any visitors — unless they enjoy the cannabis aroma — within the next two days.
Cannabis odor is very difficult to cover, however, cooking garlic at the time might help mask it.
Cannabutter Made Easy
Do you need a little help? A few machines are available to make your cannabutter cooking life easier.
Cannabutter With a Slow Cooker
If you have a slow cooker at home, you might want to use it to make your cannabutter. Although you’ll still need to decarb the buds beforehand, and strain the liquid after slow cooking, it should make the process much smoother.
- If needed, use a hand grinder to break the buds into fine pieces.
- Set your slow cooker to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or low mode. Past 200 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant might burn, and some THC will be lost.
- Pour in your ground cannabis and butter, and stir.
- After three hours, turn off your machine and wait for the butter to cool down.
- Strain your butter and off you go!
You guessed it! Cannabutter machines exist to make the process easier from A to Z. Press a button and the machine will mix and stir the mixture for you.
However, as with the slow cooker, you still have to first decarb your buds and finally strain the liquid, before placing it in the fridge.
However, both slow cookers and cannabutter machines can reduce the strong cannabis smell and avoid it spreading to the neighbors.
Ready for some math? Dosing cannabutter in recipes can be challenging; the most common mistake being to use too much of it.
- A gram of 10 percent THC cannabis bud represents roughly 100 mg of THC content. Typically, an edible dose should contain 10 mg. With one gram of plant material, you should, therefore, be able to produce 10 servings. Of course, if your plant’s THC was 20 percent, you would then have 20 servings.
- One ounce of cannabis should contain roughly 28 grams of weed, totaling 2,800 mg of THC, or 280 servings of 10 mg each.
- Half an ounce — our recipe — of 10 percent THC bud should then produce about 140 servings.
Divide your butter into 14 squares and each piece should contain 1 gram of weed.
Are you trying to make 70 cookies containing 10mg of THC each? You’ll then need a total of 700 mg of THC in this batch.
Our cannabutter — we used half an ounce — should contain 1,400 mg of THC. You’ll then use half of your freshly made cannabutter in your recipe — or half a pound.
In case your recipe requires more than half a pound of butter, mix your cannabutter with regular butter to reach the proper dosage.
For a uniform THC content, ensure that the infused butter is evenly mixed into the recipe.
Making cannabutter might seem cumbersome at first but it really isn’t. This step-by-step recipe, explaining how to make cannabutter, should help make a tasty and potent product. If this seems like too much time in the kitchen, devices such as the cannabutter machine or a slow cooker can save you some precious time.
Once made, cannabutter should last you for some time. Used as a daily butter or added in your favorite cookie recipe, your versatile cannabutter will have many uses.
Whether you’re making cannabutter for medicinal reasons, for its nutrition composition, taste, or simply for fun, this cannabutter can serve many purposes.