How to Make Cannabutter

by Haley Mills · December 2, 2022

Looking to cook with cannabis? Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to make cannabutter, including step-by-step instructions and tips.

butter in a bowl with a knife. on a rustic background preparing to make cannabutter

One of the most standard ways to make homemade medical cannabis edibles is by infusing unsalted butter. Making cannabutter is a relatively straightforward process, and the end product is versatile and can be used in many edible recipes. Below, we guide you through the steps, from decarboxylation to a cannabis-infused product.

What is Cannabis Butter?

Cannabutter is unsalted butter infused with cannabis and is an essential ingredient in many delicious weed edibles. It’s just one of the numerous ways to consume marijuana, but definitely among the most popular. There are dozens of dishes that use cannabis as an ingredient, including desserts, pasta, soups, and more.

Weed brownies and many other homemade edibles typically use a cannabutter replacement for unsalted butter. This is a tasty way to receive the high that comes with adding THC to your food. 

Especially for those that don’t enjoy smoking marijuana, cannabis butter is just as effective for reaping the benefits of cannabis without the harmful smoke.

There’s no need to be highly knowledgeable about cannabis or cooking to whip up a cannabutter recipe. When utilizing cannabutter, there are endless possibilities for substitution. Really, with any recipe that calls for butter, olive oil, coconut oil, cannabis oil, etc., cannabis-infused butter can be used as a replacement.

Human civilizations have made homemade cannabis edibles for centuries, beginning with the invention of bhang. Bhang is prepared from the buds of a cannabis plant and then typically consumed as a beverage in parts of South Asia. It’s a combination of milk, spices, and ghee crafted to infuse food and drinks with cannabis for medicinal benefits.

Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis

Below, we have listed the top fifteen medicinal benefits of CBD and THC:

  1. blood pressure regulation
  2. stress relief/muscle relaxant
  3. depression and anxiety
  4. reducing inflammation
  5. fighting cancer and its symptoms
  6. alcohol and drug addiction
  7. anti-seizure
  8. gastrointestinal disorders
  9. appetite and weight management
  10. PTSD management
  11. autism treatment
  12. chronic pain relief
  13. arthritis/ joint pain
  14. multiple sclerosis
  15. endometriosis relief

Is it Cheaper to Buy or Make cannabutter?

There are high-quality cannabis infusions available for purchase online or in stores, but they will be pretty pricey. We found the average price for cannabutter online is forty dollars for four ounces of product.

To make the cannabutter, you’re looking at a few hours of relatively easy labor and about fifty dollars in cost for double the amount of product. So, depending on how much time and space you have to cook, making your own is a much more affordable option.

Can You Make Cannabis Butter Quickly?

Extracting THC from finely crushed cannabis flowers takes around two to three hours. Then, you’ll want to simmer it for another two to three hours and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It is reasonable to assume you can begin the process one day and have a fully infused, potent butter or oil.

How Long Does it Take to Kick in?

It usually takes 30–90 minutes to feel the full effects of edible foods. Reaction times can typically last two to four hours; however, this depends on dosage, tolerance level, body weight, and metabolism.

Mistakes to Avoid When Making Weed Butter

  • Decarb before adding ground cannabis. If you don’t, the butter will not taste great and will be less potent due to cannabinoids not being fully activated. Just be sure to use the right amount of heat to decarb cannabis, not too much heat, not too little.
  • Get the grind right. If you grind the weed too fine, you’ll end up with a green, odd-tasting butter or oil. Using a hand grinder or coarse coffee grinder for optimum results is best.
  • Be patient when straining. Cheesecloth, gravity, and time are the ingredients to strain your infused butter properly. Do not squeeze the cloth at the risk of adding in excess plant matter.
  • Mix well. Remember to occasionally stir when making cannabutter and mix well towards the end for an even level of potency and flavor.

Homemade Cannabutter Recipe

Here is one of our favorite cannabutter for those interested in attempting to make it at home:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter (2 sticks-unsalted)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup decarbed, ground cannabis (7-10 grams)

Directions

  1. Decarb the cannabis. 
  2. Grind or break up the buds. 
  3. Melt the butter. 
  4. Add the weed. 
  5. Simmer. 
  6. Strain the mixture. 
  7. Refrigerate/ Store. 

The Step-By-Step Process

Here, we provide a detailed guide with all the steps to make cannabutter. This article will provide essential details and a simple, step-by-step recipe that’s easy to print or save for later.

Use High-Quality Bud

The quality of your cannabis flower is essential. It can affect the potency and flavor of your finished weed oil. It’s crucial to find a high-quality strain with the desired effects you’re looking to feel.

Preheat Your Flower

In raw form, marijuana has no psychoactive potential. Natural cannabis and its derivatives contain cannabinoids THCA and CBDA. When you eliminate A, you’ll find THC and CBD. Without activation, this drug does not cause any psychoactive effects.

To convert to THC and CBD, heat and time are necessary ingredients. The greater the temperature, the quicker the reaction is. If used as cannabutter, excessive heating produces a taste similar to burnt popcorn. There are many options for decarboxylating weed.

Decide on a Decarb Process

As previously discussed, the cannabis leaf is organically non-psychedelic. This plant material contains high amounts of cannabinoids such as THCAs and CBDA, which form a broad range of cannabinoid acids. To achieve the ‘high’ effect of marijuana, you will have to convert the cannabis through decarboxylation.

Cannabutter is primarily made by decarboxylating cannabis plants and can be made using various techniques for the infusion process. The cannabinoids that live within cannabis buds are activated when decarboxylated or removed.

Baking

If you’re planning to make infused butter with cannabis flower, baking your weed first is an optimal way to decarb. You’ll want to break up your buds into small pieces and evenly distribute them on a sheet pan with parchment paper. Then, you’ll cover and bake on low heat for thirty minutes. After it cools, you’ll have fully decarbed cannabis for your edibles.

Boiling

You can also boil cannabis in a tea bag or place it in a heat-proof bowl of simmering water to draw out the cannabinoids. Once the cannabis has reached the ideal temperature, you can then add melted butter to provide something the cannabinoids can stick to.

Add the Butter

Regular butter is a type of fat used in a cooking experiment for cannabis and has an ideal consistency and flavor, and should be included in many baking recipes. Olive oil, vegetable oil, and coconut oil — all fatty acids that can remain stable in the liquid between 160-200 degrees can be used to infuse the butter. The milk solids will dissolve during the process.

Steep

It is possible to soak decarbed grass with fat by following several techniques. The best option depends upon your taste and what equipment you have to work with. Probably the most basic version occurs over the stove using one or two large pots.

The first way you could make a batch of cannabutter is to mix the butter in equal parts of water. The process aims to keep the temperature within 160 to 220 degrees, so be proactive in piloting your newly brewed beer from the start to the end.

Once you have decarbed the weed, you can also place the butter mixture in the microwave to infuse it. Mix two cups of water with the butter, and it will heat fast and evenly while eliminating excess water and milk solids. The butter should cook at around 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking thermometers are useful for measuring temperature accurately.

Strain

After simmering and slowly increasing the butter’s temperature, you need to strain it. Put a few layers of cheesecloth into jars and utilize an elastic band to keep it safe during tension. You can do the same process with a coffee filter if you don’t have access to a cheesecloth.

Pour a small amount of butter into a cheesecloth and allow ample time for drainage and evaporation of milk solids to prevent overflow. When strained, it can easily be removed or recycled into compost, and the butter can go into a mason jar. Then, placing it in a mason jar for a few hours in the refrigerator will complete the process.

It can be used immediately to make baked goods and many recipes involving cannabis. Infused butter and fats last up to six months in the refrigerator and up to a year in the freezer when appropriately stored in mason jars or other sealed glass containers.

Alternative Cooking Method to Make Cannabutter

All three methods below aim at maintaining equilibrium in butter temperature to prevent heat or burn.

How to Make Cannabutter in a Crock-Pot

If you’re looking for a different method to make cannabutter, you can decarb weed using a slow cooker and olive or coconut oil instead of butter. You’ll place dried cannabis and your chosen oil into the slow cooker for this recipe.

How much cannabis will depend on the amount of butter you want at once. Then, cover and cook on high for an hour. Turn the slow cooker down and cook on low for another three hours, and strain the cooled butter as usual.

Sous Vide Canna Butter

The method for sous vide cannabutter is an excellent choice for those wanting to release as discreet an odor as possible.

With the sous vide method, you’ll still begin by coarsely grinding the plant matter with a hand or coffee grinder and placing them in a heat-proof, vacuum-sealed bag. After that, place a large pot on the stovetop and fill it with water.

Once the water has reached 230 degrees Fahrenheit, place your sealed bag of buds in hot water and cook for an hour and a half before infusing the butter.

Using the Double Boiler for Cannabis Butter

First, for the double boiler method, you’ll fill the lower half with water and melt the butter in the top half above your hot water pan. Then, add a cup of water to regulate the temperature at low heat. Once thoroughly mixed, add your cannabis, simmer and stir occasionally to ensure your butter doesn’t overheat.

How to Dose Your Weed Butter

A proper dosage of cannabis butter can be tricky as many variables are involved. The best idea for beginner use is always to consume less than you believe you’ll need. Start with a low dose for your first batch and move up in increments, depending on the desired effects. Don’t consume more butter immediately without knowing its relative power and tolerance. No matter what, wait about 1 to 2 days to increase the dosage after your first experience.

The quantity of cannabis differs depending upon the strain, recipe, and technique you use. What you want to know is THCA percent. The THCA is measurable on most legal marijuana jars, so it should be easily found. 

How to Store Weed Butter

Once the cannabutter has been activated, the shelf-life will be up to six months, depending on the quality of regular butter used. You will lose other cannabinoids, and the relative potency will decrease with time. So, it’s best to use it as quickly as possible. Frozen cannabutter can last much longer.

Store the cannabutter in a sealed container inside the refrigerator. Filling mason jars is useful. It can also be stored in opaque glasses and opaque containers. In addition to decarbing cannabis, light exposure can decrease the lasting effects. Always taste older cannabis butter before using it. Don’t use it if it seems rancid or has an off-putting smell.

Cooking With Cannabis butter

Cooking cannabis has become a huge trend among restaurant entrepreneurs, chefs, and recipe and food styling businesses. The Food Innovation Group, including top brands such as Bon Appetit and Epicurious, has featured many cannabis dishes, chefs, and restaurants in the past few years. The cannabis food industry will become more relevant as legal access grows.

The Cannabutter Takeaway

Whichever method you decide on, knowing how to make cannabis butter is a valuable tool for those that want to benefit from the medicinal qualities of weed without always having to light up.

Make sure to be present and prepared throughout the entire process, follow the instructions for your chosen method, and you’ll be making delicious canna butter edibles in no time! 

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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