Cannabutter is one of the first, and arguably most popular, types of edible cannabis. Not only is it incredibly versatile, but it’s also simple enough to make at home. However, while many people like the idea of homemade cannabis butter, they’re confused about the process.
What’s the best way to make cannabutter? How do you control the potency? What types of foods are the tastiest? Your complete guide to cannabutter, including food recommendations, a dosage guide, and much more, starts right now.
Get ready to experience cannabis in a whole new, delicious way!
What is Cannabutter?
Cannabutter is simply cannabis-infused butter. You can use it just like regular butter, spreading it on foods or baking with it. The possibilities are practically endless. You can use cannabutter to make everything from a classic treat like brownies to an elaborate dish such as lemon-butter chicken. You can even put it on toast.
However, cannabutter’s culinary versatility is only one reason for its popularity. Butter is also an excellent delivery vehicle for cannabinoids because it makes the effects more pronounced.
Cannabinoids are what’s called lipophilic, which means they bind well to fat. Once bound, they’re easier for the body to absorb, increasing their bioavailability.
While you can buy cannabis butter pre-made, most people prefer to make it at home. Not only will you save money, but you can also control the strength. Plus, making homemade cannabutter is also pretty fun!
Decarboxylation: The Key Process to Making Great Cannabutter
Cannabis doesn’t react the same if you smoke it compared to if you eat it. For example, you won’t feel any effects if you eat a handful of flowers, aside from possibly a bit of nausea. Instead, marijuana requires a special preparation process for ingestion called “decarbing.”
Marijuana contains both non-intoxicating THCA and intoxicating THC. Decarboxylation converts the THCA into THC, so when you eat the product, you feel psychoactive effects. It’s not a way to enhance the effects of the edible; it’s the only way to make edible cannabis effective.
Gold Leaf has a beautiful visual illustration of decarb temperatures in the form of an artistic poster that would be at home on the wall of any serious cannachef!
Even though decarbing involves fairly sophisticated chemical processes, it’s really easy to do, and you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen. There are three ways to decarb your cannabis:
- Mason Jar
- Sous Vide
Each has benefits and drawbacks you’ll want to consider.
How to Make Cannabutter: You Got Options!
Cannabutter is a simple destination and there are many roads you can take to get you there. There are longer, cheaper options and their are shorter, quicker options.
Before defaulting to quick and cheap, we must emphasis the importance of reliability when it comes to preparation. Improperly decarboxylated and dosed edibles can either result in a disappointing time or a unpleasantly crazy time, depending on which extreme end you happen to find yourself.
So when considering your options, consider dependability, consistency and then, volume and ease of use. Novices and experts will probably end up using different methods and that is perfectly fine!
Cannabutter Infusion Machines
Given the popularity of recreational cannabis and edibles in particular as a low-cost, low-profile avenue for consumption there are now companies that specialize in making equipment dedicated solely to the art of decarboxylation, the most critical step in turning plant into magic.
Companies like Ardent Cannabis who make the Nova decarboxylator are catering to just such markets in helping cannabis lovers quickly, efficiently, and reliably produce marijuana infused butters and oils by marrying technology with science.
There’s also the “OG” unit from Magical Butter, makers of the “Magical Butter Machine“, which, while not as feature-laden as some options (below) gets the job done and has earned itself a solid gold reputation within the community of edible connoisseurs.
- Magical Cookbook: New Official MagicalButter Cookbook highlights most popular recipes included
- Easy to use: At the touch of a button with our Microprocessor-controlled program sequences, enjoy great-tasting, healthy foods, or make natural skin-care products
- Endless Recipes: Make your recipes Bolder: Brownies, Cookies, Smoothies, Sauces, Soups, Vegetables, Candies, Seafood, Marinades, Meats, Beverages, Lotions and Salves, and much more
- Easy to Clean: Fully automatic with 1,2,4,8 hour and cleaning cycles
- Warranty: 1 Year warranty for all MagicalButter Machines
There is also the Levo 2 infusion machine by Levo Oils, an even more feature-rich automated cannabis infuser that works with oil or butter and similar to the NOVA, produces reliable, quality oils/butter with little mess or stress.
- INFUSION, ELEVATED. LĒVO II is the premium kitchen appliance for easily preparing infused oil, butter, honey and glycerin using your herb of choice, without the time or mess of traditional methods.
- DRY, ACTIVATE, INFUSE, DISPENSE. Streamlining the infusion process, LĒVO unlocks the full potency of your botanical ingredients before you infuse with its new Dry and Activate cycles. When infusion is complete, the ceramic-coated, slanted reservoir...
- EASY TO USE. EASY TO CLEAN. Set it and forget it. From salves and soap to smoothie bowls and salad dressings, using LĒVO II is as easy as making coffee or tea. When you’re done, all components are easily removed and top-rack dishwasher safe!
- POTENT & LONG-LASTING. LĒVO II’s new Power Pod has double the capacity for more potent herbal infusions, and the durable silicone stirrer doesn’t aerate your final product, allowing for a longer shelf life. No solvents, additives, or emulsifiers...
- WIRELESS CONTROL. Pair your LĒVO II with the companion LĒVO app to program your infusions wirelessly, access a handy Herb & Oil Calculator, discover & share recipes, and save your favorite settings, all from the palm of your hand!
For individual or couple use, we think the NOVA is great, but for larger recipes or serving sizes we think the Levo II is a fantastic option (if you have the counter space).
Oven decarbing is the most popular method. It’s easy, controllable, and delivers consistent results. Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Set your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the rack in the middle position, which ensures the marijuana is exposed to the ideal, set temperature as much as possible.
Step 2: Grind up your marijuana with a hand grinder. You don’t want to grind it as fine as possible. Instead, it should look similar to dried oregano instead of a fine powder. Note that the hairs and stems contain a lot of THC, so try not to grind them down too much.
Step 3: Prepare your baking sheet. You can line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Many people prefer to use crumpled aluminum foil because it minimizes the marijuana’s direct contact with the baking sheet, which gets hotter than the air around it.
Step 4: Spread your marijuana across the aluminum foil or parchment. Try to spread it as evenly as possible to help ensure even heat exposure. Then, place a second piece of foil or parchment on top of the marijuana.
Step 5: Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. It should have a light, golden brown color.
Your marijuana is now decarboxylated! It’ll have psychoactive effects when mixed with food. Next, let’s learn how to make marijuana with a mason jar.
While oven decarboxylation is effective, it will almost certainly make your kitchen smell like cannabis. Using a mason jar for decarbing is often an effective alternative if that’s not what you want. Not only does it significantly reduce the smell, but it also helps prevent accidental burning. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Heat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. As with the other method, you’ll want to use the middle rack.
Step 2: Break up your cannabis. Remember, you don’t want to grind it down to a powder. Instead, give it a medium grind. Place the broken-up cannabis inside the mason jar.
Step 3: Take a clean kitchen towel, lightly wet it, and fold it into a square. Place the towel on a baking sheet. Then put the mason jar on top of the towel. The wet towel helps the jar stay upright and in place during baking.
Step 4: Bake for one hour. During baking, take the mason jar out of the oven every 15 minutes. Shake it thoroughly to help ensure even cooking. But be careful! The jar will be hot, so you’ll need to wear oven gloves.
Step 5: After 60 minutes, take the jar out of the oven. Let it cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Your cannabis is now decarboxylated. Congratulations!
The sous vide method involves a special device called an immersion circulator. While it’s the most expensive option (an immersion circulator costs around $100), it also allows for precise temperature control with almost no smell.
With this method, you fill a small plastic tub with water. Then you vacuum seal finely-ground marijuana in a bag. The sealed bag is submerged in the water, which is heated by the immersion circulator.
After bathing in hot water for about 90 minutes, let the bag cool for about 20 minutes before opening to reveal your decarboxylated marijuana.
How to Make Cannabutter
Many people decarboxylate their cannabis as they also prepare the butter, but it’s not required. You can store your decarbed marijuana in a sealed container and then use it to make edibles later if you wish.
Regardless, once it’s decarboxylated, you’re ready for the next step. Making cannabutter is fairly straightforward and doesn’t require any special culinary skill. Here’s how to do it:
Select Your Butter
Both salted and unsalted butter will work. However, cannabutter connoisseurs typically prefer unsalted for two reasons. It has fewer impurities, and it’s easier for cooking.
As mentioned earlier, cannabinoids bind well with fat, so choose a butter with high-fat content.
If you want the most efficacy possible, you can clarify your butter. Clarification is a process where you boil the butter in a saucepan and skim off the foam and milk solids that rise to the top. It removes water from the butter, resulting in higher fat content, but it also reduces the volume of the butter.
How to Measure Potency of Cannabutter
Cannabutter potency is an important subject. If the edible isn’t potent enough, then you’ve basically wasted your cannabis. However, ingesting cannabutter that’s too strong isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience. You want your cannabutter to be effective but not overbearing.
Use two full sticks of butter for every eighth of marijuana. One-eighth is the equivalent of 3.5 grams. In turn, each gram of flower has 1,000 milligrams of THC.
Let’s assume you want to use an eighth of marijuana to make your cannabutter. Your marijuana has a THC percentage of 15%. If you use the entire eighth, your cannabutter will have 525 milligrams of THC. You can use this same formula for the specific THC percentage of the marijuana you have.
You can use this same math even if your flower has more or less THC. All strains are different with some having THC concentrations in the single digits while others may easily be 30%+ THC.
For maximum safety many cooks will micro-dose their first tasting. This means consuming a very small amount to first test the effects, and then scaling up the portion sizes until the desired effects are achieved.
There are also mobile THC and cannabis potency testing devices like tCheck that for the right price, can give you a near instant readout on what is actually in the cannabis product you are about to enjoy.
Adding the Decarboxylated Marijuana to Your Butter
Once you’ve determined the correct amount of butter and marijuana you want to use, it’s time to combine them. Although the process is time-consuming, it’s also pretty simple. You can use either a range or a slow cooker.
Range Top Stove
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Use the lowest setting on the range, so your butter melts slowly and doesn’t burn. If the butter starts to show signs of burning, stir in a cup of water.
2. As the butter melts, stir in your decarbed, medium-ground cannabis.
3. Once all the cannabis is added, you’re ready to let the mixture simmer. While keeping the heat between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit, slowly stir the mixture for about two to three hours. Don’t let it reach a boil.
4. After you’ve let the mixture simmer, you’re ready to strain it. Place a piece of cheesecloth over a glass jar. Pour the butter-cannabis mixture through the cloth, where it will catch the largest plant material. Don’t squeeze the cheesecloth, as that will add a strong plant-taste to your butter.
5. Place the jar of cannabutter into the refrigerator. You’ll want to leave it in for a least an hour. Once the butter has solidified, you might find a layer of water at the bottom of the jar. If necessary, you can use a knife to loosen the butter and drain out this excess water.
How to Cook in a Slow Cooker or Crockpot
The process for using a slow cooker is simpler but does take a bit longer. Add sticks of butter and cannabis to your slow cooker. Set the cooker to a low setting, around 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let the mixture cook for three hours. Stir about every 20 minutes or so. Stirring isn’t quite as important with this method, as the mixture is less likely to burn.
After three hours, let the mixture cool. As with the other method, you’ll then pour the mixture into a jar through a section of cheesecloth. Let the strained cannabutter harden in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Potential Uses for Cannabutter
Now that you’ve made your cannabutter, what types of things can be cooked with it? Here are some great ideas to try:
Cookies, brownies, and other tasty treats are probably the most well-known foods made from cannabutter. Practically any recipe which calls for butter will work fine with a cannabutter substitute. Plus, chocolate can help hide any “weedy” taste.
2. Baked Goods
You can use cannabutter to make any number of breads and baked goods, including muffins, banana bread, and waffles. Of course, you can also use cannabutter as a spread.
3. Warm Beverages
Cannabutter melts easily, so you can stir a small bit into a cup of coffee or tea. You can even melt the butter in the microwave and pour it over popcorn.
Herb CEO Final Thoughts
Whether for therapeutic or recreational use, cannabutter is an easy, efficient, and pleasant way to ingest cannabis. It’s healthier, too, because you’re not inhaling smoke into your lungs.
Edibles can be tricky if not properly respected. Due to activation times ranging from 20 minutes to 4 hours for some, it can be hard to know when your edible is working.
It’s important, especially when just beginning, to not be impatient and consume too much, which can aggregate in potency and result in a real bad time.
However, once you are able to dial in your potency and proper serving size, edibles are one of the most inconspicuous forms of cannabis consumption and can help with everything from social anxiety to sleep quality.
Use the guide above to make your own cannabutter at home. Add it to your favorite foods and enjoy the benefits!
Last update on 2021-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API