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Classic Cannabutter

Heady Vermont Staff 9 May 2019

Cannabutter is the basis for a world of infused goodies, from pot cookies to weed brownies to savory sauces and more. Don’t forget to make extra butter and save in the freezer for future recipes and easier cooking – Check out Cannakitchen Witchery Columnist Stephanie Boucher’s article on infusing oil with cannabis!

Yield: Makes one cup of cannabutter.

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 ounce of marijuana* (ground and with seeds/stems removed)
  • 1 cup of water

* Note about potency: You may increase or decrease the amount of cannabis in your butter to create a milder or stronger result.

About Decarboxylation

Before making your cannabutter, you’ll need to decarboxylate, or “decarb,” the cannabis flower you’re working with. Skipping this step will result in a weak or inactive finished product. Here’s why: Cannabis buds produce a non-intoxicating acidic cannabinoid called THCA. When we smoke or vaporize cannabis, the heat converts THCA into THC, the molecule that delivers euphoric effects. If preparing CBD edibles, this same process should be applied.

Note: There is much debate about decarboxylation – check out our columnist Stephanie Boucher’s fantastic article, The Great Decarb Debate, for more on this topic. This recipe includes instructions to decarb if you so desire.

Some recipes may instruct you to decarb cannabis in the hot butter directly, but the less time you spend soaking the buds, the better your infused butter is going to taste. For this reason, we recommend decarbing in the oven first.

Learn more about THCa, infusing fats and decarboxylation.

Preparation

  • Decarb the cannabis. Preheat your oven to 245ºF. Cover a non-stick, oven-safe tray with parchment paper. Place cannabis buds on the paper. Insert the tray into the oven and set a timer for 30-40 minutes. Older, drier cannabis may require less time. Every 10 minutes, gently mix the buds with a light shake of the tray to expose the surface area of the buds equally.
  • Grind. Grind the decarboxylated cannabis coarsely with a hand grinder.
  • Place water in the lower half of a double boiler (or bowl set on top of a small saucepan with water). In the top half of the double boiler, melt the butter. Add 1 cup of water. Adding water helps to regulate the temperature and prevents the butter from scorching.
  • After water and butter are melted and mixed, add the cannabis, stirring gently into the butter.
  • Simmer. Maintain low heat (ideally above 160ºF but never exceeding 200ºF) and let the mixture simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. The mixture should never come to a full boil.
  • Strain the cannabutter. Set a funnel on top of a jar and line it with cheesecloth. Once the butter has cooled off, pour it over the cheesecloth funnel and allow it to strain freely. (Tip: Squeezing the cheesecloth may push more bad-tasting plant material through).
  • Optionally, you may ‘wash’ your butter to reduce the ‘plant’ taste resulting from residual chlorophyll that also gives butter its characteristic green appearance. To do this, place melted butter into a tupperware with extra room, then add one cup of room temperature water and stir in. Cover and place in the fridge. When the butter cools, it will solidify, separating from the water. This process draws out green-tasting chlorophyll into the water from the fatty molecules. Remove the butter, dump the water and follow the remaining steps.
  • Refrigerate or freeze your butter. Refer to dosing information below before adding your butter to any snacks, dishes, or desserts.

Dosing Tips

Your butter’s potency depends on many factors, from how long and hot it was cooked to the potency of your starting material. To test the potency of your finished product, try spreading ¼ or ½ teaspoon on a snack and see how that dose affects you after an hour. Decrease or increase dose as desired. You can then use this personalized “standard” dose as a baseline for your recipes. For more information on potency in homemade cannabis edibles, check out our dosing homemade edibles post.

Cooks’ note:

Cooled butter keeps in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days. Butter can also be frozen and saved for nine to 12 months.

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