Cannabutter can be used in any recipe that calls for butter, so you get the best of both worlds. But start asking questions — how to extract THC, how to control the potency of your weed butter, what the heck is decarboxylation — and things get very complicated very quickly.
If you’re looking for a quick cannabis-infused butter recipe, this is not the how-to for you. If you want a comprehensive guide for making and consuming cannabutter safely, you’ve come to the right place.
Tips for getting the potency right
It is wise to plan before you start your trip. It’s best to make your intentions clear when you start the process of making cannabutter.Are you hoping for an intoxicating, head-body high that’ll rival the potency of the strongest store-bought products? Are you more interested in a low-key, relaxing atmosphere or finding something that will replace your nightly glass of wine? The possibilities for homemade edibles are practically infinite, but it does take some effort to tailor the potency to your tolerance and needs.
Shop legal. Make sure you are shopping at a licensed dispensary. This way you can get laboratory-conducted analysis certificates of the flower you choose, knowing the percentages are accurate for THC, CBD and other cannabinoids. If you aren’t sure where to find this information, don’t hesitate to ask your budtender.
If you tolerate high levels of THC, look for 20% or more. The instructions are different for cannabutter than they would be if you were cooking with a low tolerance to cannabis. When the delicate flowers are transformed into marijuana butter, many of its quality features will be lost. But the effects and flavors of a strain will show through, so if you don’t want to be energized then buy an energy-producing strain or if you hate citrus get a lemon-scented one.
If you have a low tolerance to THC, consider using high-CBD or hemp strains. If you don’t smoke marijuana often, avoid cannabis with THC. Reduce anxiety with a strain that has both CBD and THC. New consumers may also opt for hemp flower, which has negligible levels of THC and high amounts of CBD to provide a calming, non-intoxicating experience. There is an added benefit that you can buy hemp flower online.
Learn stoner math. There’s a simple yet highly effective formula for approximating the maximum amount of THC in a batch of cannabutter:
(grams of flower) x 1000 x (percentage of THC) = total milligrams.
Example: If you have 3.5 g of flower containing 20% THC, that would leave you with a maximum of 700 mg of THC (3.5 x 1000 x 0.2 = 700).
In the infusion process, half of the cannabis could be lost. This formula gives you an idea of the maximum possible amount so that you can experiment with different serving sizes to see what is best for your body’s reaction.
The decarboxylation debate
Read any cannabutter or edible how-to on the internet and it’ll tell you to decarboxylate your weed or don’t even bother. But it’s not that simple. Decarboxylation is the process of heating cannabis flower to convert non-intoxicating cannabinoid acids into cannabinoids. So, with a little heat and time, raw cannabis turns into THC after THCA is decarboxylated; Similarly, CBDA becomes CBD. Whenever you smoke or vape cannabis, your lighter flame or heating element will combust the bud.
To get a big dose of THC when simmering, you should toast your flower in the oven first. If you’re a high-tolerance smoker who is determined to extract every last bit of THC from your flowers, then you should decarboxylate. New marijuana users should skip this step. And low-tolerance consumers might be happy going either route but should pay close attention to the math if they choose to decarb.
Potent cannabutter recipe
If you make cannabutter with weed that has more than an eighth of 20% THC, then every cup will have around 700 mg THC. Even with the added decarboxylation step, this cannabutter recipe isn’t overly complicated. You’ll need about three hours for the event, most of which will be passive.
What you’ll need
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter or coconut oil
- 3.5 grams (or more) ground cannabis
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Small saucepan or double boiler
- Metal mesh strainer
- Spatula/other utensils
- Clean Mason jar and lid
Mild cannabutter recipe
If you want to make cannabutter milder, there are a few different options.
Use less potent weed.For example, if you use an eighth of 10% THC flower in the cannabutter recipe above, you can expect to get a maximum of 350 mg THC per cup of edible (around 7 mg per teaspoon).
Use hemp flower. If obtained from a licensed retailer, organic hemp flower typically has 0.3% THC or less. Follow the instructions above to make cannabutter with negligible levels of THC and high CBD content.
Butter is a tasty, versatile fat that can be the base for healthy eating. You can easily extend the potency of your pot butter. Just add some regular butter to the recipe for a stronger smelling but less potent weed spread. To understand the degree of potency for your edible, calculate the ratio in cannabutter to butter.
Skip the decarbing step. Using a decarboxylation step will reduce the amount of THCA. The final effects will vary from minimal intoxication to a significantly more mild experience than that of cannabis butter made with decarbing. If you’re looking for a quick and easy cannabutter recipe, then you can skip the decarboxylation process.