A Beginners’ Guide to Making Cannabutter


By Dylan Dee, Lift & Co.

 

Cannabutter is a cannabis-infused butter used for the creation of edibles.

 

Making weed butter at home unlocks a cornucopia of gourmet marijuana consumption for recreational and medicinal users alike. Cannabutter can be substituted for butter in any recipe from brownies to popcorn to pasta sauce. Here are three basic ways to make cannabutter:

 

Before you start

 

The first question to ask yourself: How do you want to feel? The answer to this question will demand different concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to infuse your cannabutter with. Adjust your amount of plant matter by concentration to achieve your desired effect. For example, every one gram of cannabis with 10% THC content put into butter will add 100 grams of THC.

 

It’s important not to overestimate how much cannabis to put into edibles. Ingesting THC and cannabidiol (CBD) takes much longer to take effect than inhaling it, so uptake of the chemicals may not occur for a full two hours after consumption. Take it slow and experiment with a batch to figure out individual reactions.

 

The other carb: decarboxylation

 

Decarboxylation is the heat activation of THC-A and CBD-A into the psychoactive or therapeutic chemicals we’re looking to utilize: THC and CBD. When cannabis is ground by hand and moderately heated in an oven for an hour or so, the relevant chemicals are activated.

 

For an extra bonus, once the cannabis has cooled, spray it lightly with a high proof alcohol like Everclear to break down the cellulose structures of the plant matter prior to cooking.

 

Set it and forget it: the slow cooker method

 

What can’t a slow cooker do? In this case, your prepared cannabis and pound of butter are the only ingredients. After four hours of cooking on the low setting, you can strain the butter through a cheesecloth for a clean, purified final product. When the leavings have cooled, squeeze out the last of the butter by hand through the cheesecloth and discard the old plant matter.

 

Tried and true: the stovetop method

 

The water, butter, and prepared cannabis are mixed directly in this method and simmered for three hours between 170℉ (76℃) and 190℉ (87℃), so you’ll need a laser or candy thermometer to measure with. Let it cool for ten minutes, until the butter has risen to the top and solidified, then put it in the fridge. Since you probably can’t easily store a big block of butter in your fridge, you could always melt it back down to put in a more storable container.

 

Play it safe: the double boiler method

 

Protect the butter and cannabis by placing them in a separate pot or glass container, which is then placed in the boiling water. This indirect heating is gentle on the butter and the cannabinoids, so will generally result in a cleaner final product, free of telltale plant material. Keep the temperature between 170℉ (76℃) and 190℉ (87℃) again, from two hours to four hours maximum.

 

Any of these methods will get you a handy batch of infused butter you can substitute into any of your cooking or baking projects. You’ll appreciate the ability to consume your cannabis without the relative harm of smoking, and you’ll notice the intoxication or treatment take longer, last longer, and feel milder in comparison to smoking or even vaping.

 

Dylan Dee is the community manager for Lift & Co. He’s passionate about connecting cannabis experts with bud beginners.