by Nebula Haze
Table of Contents
- Why cook cannabis ahead of time (decarboxylation)?
- Why use water while cooking the butter?
- How much cannabis do I use to get the right dosage?
When making cannabis edibles, I aim to make something that is…
- easy to make with what you have at home – you just need cannabis, butter, and a stove
- efficiently captures THC and other cannabinoids from your cannabis
- a lot of unnecessary green plant matter is filtered out of the butter, which results in far less cannabis taste and smell than many other cannabutter recipes (even though the potency is the same or greater!)
The best cannabis edibles start with potent cannabutter (or canna oil) that produce great effects with as little “weed taste” as possible. So when setting out to find the best marijuana butter recipe to support the best cannabis edible, I kept these factors in mind.
This is what a pound of weed butter looks like. Use it like regular butter in any recipe to experience the magic.
Butter or Coconut Oil?
There are two really popular oils/fats to use for making edibles, and they’re both competing for the top spot. They are butter and coconut oil. Coconut oil may be healthier and has a mild taste that goes well with baked goods. Coconut seems to help cover up the cannabis flavor and I have used it for making superb canna caps. But some people don’t like coconut or are allergic to it.
Butter also has a great taste (in my opinion) and is easier to work with when it comes to baking since you can do a straight substitution for regular butter. I decided to go with butter (i.e. cannabutter) in this tutorial because that is what I started with for making baked goods and other edibles, and it works great!
This Recipe for 1 Pound of Butter Makes…
- 15 “strong” portions
- 30 “regular” portions
- 50 “light” portions
- 1 oz dried cannabis bud, or 3 oz dried trim (How much cannabis should I use for this recipe?)
- 1 pound butter (usually 4 sticks of butter)
- Cheesecloth (used to strain plant matter out of butter)
- Baking sheet
Helpful but not necessary
- Turkey bags – much less weed smell during the “decarb” step in the oven
Note: The magic butter needs to sit in the fridge overnight before it’s ready, so make your butter a day ahead of time!
Best Cannabutter Recipe: Directions
Step 1 – Decarboxylation
This is an important step if you want to make your butter more potent, especially if you’re using cannabis that was harvested recently (weed starts decarboxylating naturally over time).
Can I use fresh weed? I recommend drying your weed first. Even though you’ll be heating the plant matter in this step (which would dry it out if it was wet), dry weed is much easier to measure out properly (1 oz of dried bud, or 3 oz of dried trim per 1 lb of butter).
If you skip the decarboxylation step the recipe will still work, but the resulting butter will be less potent. Read why cannabis decarboxylation improves the potency of your butter and edibles.
1.) Preheat oven to 250° F (120° C) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
Turn oven to 250° F (120° C)
2.) Lightly grind your cannabis buds/trim and spread it over the aluminum foil on the baking sheet.
Lightly grind up cannabis, in this case using a food processor (though a grinder or even breaking weed with your fingers works, too)
Sprinkle the ground up bud over your cookie sheet so it’s all spread out
Alternative: Put weed in a turkey bag, tie the end, and place the turkey on baking sheet. Since this encloses the weed completely, you will end up with far less weed smell in your house. As another alternative, you could also decarb your weed in a glass mason jar. A glass jar may be convenient since many growers already have these jars for curing, but it is possible for the glass to crack in the oven from the heat so be gentle!
Cooking weed in a “turkey bag” helps prevent the smell from overtaking your house
3.) Bake for 30 minutes at 250° F (120° C).
It will get smelly in your house unless you enclosed the weed in a bag or jar, so be prepared! It’s normal to see some steam and vapor while the cannabis is cooking. This isn’t all the potency evaporating away!
4.) Remove the dried cannabis from the oven and crumble up any bigger leftover pieces between your fingers.
It’s normal for it to look very brown. You don’t need to make it into a powder, but there shouldn’t be big nugs either. Now it’s time to cook the decarboxylated cannabis with butter and water. This will infuse the butter with cannabinoids, and the water will protect everything from burning while leaching away some of the green plant taste.
Now you’re ready for the next step!
Step 2 – Cook cannabis together with butter & water
1.) Bring 4 cups (950 mL) of water to a boil.
4 cups of water boiling
2.) Turn heat down to Medium-Low, then add the butter and wait until it melts into the water.
Take your butter
Add butter to hot water (which is now on a burner turned to medium-low) so it melts
3.) Add your decarboxylated marijuana to the water.
The cannabis plant matter will float, and there should be at least an inch or two of clearance under the cannabis.
If not, add more water. Don’t worry that adding more water will change the potency, as you’ll be separating the water out later. The “good stuff” in cannabis doesn’t “stick” to water. In fact, water actually filters out a lot of the stuff we don’t want that makes butter taste bad!
Stir in the cannabis so it can start cooking. Now we wait!
4.) Allow the mixture to cook on Medium-Low for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The bubbles should be gently rising to the top of the water but not actively boiling.
Step 3 – Separate Butter from Water
In this step, you separate the potent butter from inert cannabis plant material and water.
1.) Line a large bowl with two layers of cheesecloth.
We’ll be using this to strain out the inert plant matter from the butter!
2.) Strain the water/oil/cannabis mixture through the cheesecloth.
It’s hot! Don’t wring it out with your hands or you’ll burn yourself! Take a spatula to press it against the sides to squeeze out the last bit of butter. Be careful not to let the cheesecloth fall into the mixture and spill all the plant matter back in.
Pour your cannabis/water/butter mixture through the cheese cloth
This filters out the plant matter which would otherwise add a terrible taste.
At this point, the cannabinoids are already infused in your butter, so the plant matter can be discarded.
3.) Put the bowl in the fridge overnight.
All the “good stuff” is contained in the butter/oil, which floats to the top. The water and any remaining plant matter will sink to the bottom.
When you open the fridge the next day, the butter will have hardened and appear much lighter in color.
4.) Use a knife to cut around the outside edges and it usually will “pop” off in a big piece.
Run a knife around the edges of the cannabutter to loosen it up
The weed butter usually “pops” off in one piece
The water filtered out all this! None of the “stuff” in the brown water would have added to the potency of your butter, but it would have made your butter taste worse!
By filtering it out with water, you’ll end up with better tasting cannabis butter with less of a strong smell (without affecting the potency).
5.) Put your finished cannabutter in its own container for storage/use!
This is what one pound of amazing pot butter looks like!
Turn it upside down on a plate to help the bottom dry out and store in the freezer
You can use cannabutter just like regular butter in any recipe, just do a 1:1 substitution.
The resulting potency (more on that below) of your cannabutter is heavily influenced by the amount/strength of your starting cannabis. Additionally, each people is affected by edibles differently. It’s highly recommended you start with less and build up to more. Edibles can take up to 2-3 hours to take effect, especially if eating them on a full stomach, so don’t eat any more during that time period because you think “it’s not working!” To get the cannabis effects to come on more quickly, try to eat edibles on an empty stomach. However, that can give some people indigestion so listen to your body.
You can store cannabutter in the fridge for a week, but cannabutter can mold especially if it never really got a chance to totally dry out from the water. Only leave it in the fridge if you plan to use it immediately.
However, your cannabutter can go in the freezer and will be good for months without losing any potency!
- Why cook cannabis ahead of time (decarboxylation)?
- Why use water while cooking the butter?
- How much cannabis should I use when making butter to get the right dosage?
- My favorite cannabutter recipes
I know that it may seem counter-intuitive to cook your cannabis first, but trust me on this. Decarbing your weed first will increase the potency of your butter. I have skipped the decarb step because I felt it was a waste of time since I was already cooking the herb in oil, and I didn’t want to “burn away” the potency, and I can tell you it’s extremely noticeable how much less potent your butter ends up being if you don’t decarb your buds first.
Cannabis is expensive, so why not get the most potency out of yours? Let me quickly explain the “how and why” of decarbing cannabis:
Decarboxylation “activates” the cannabinoids (potent stuff) in your cannabis. Non-decarbed bud contains a lot of THCa, which produces relatively weak psychoactive effects on its own. The decarb process converts the THCa to usable THC, resulting in much stronger effects. During the smoking process, decarbing happens as plant matter burns, but when using cannabis for cooking, you should do it manually to get the most potency in your cannabutter. If you don’t decarb, the cooking process with the butter will do it partially, but you get stronger edibles by decarbing the weed first.
Cannabis is fully decarboxylated when it’s dried to a crisp, golden brown and crumbly. If your cannabis is older, it may already have partially or fully decarboxylated already just from contact with the air over time. If your cannabis is already very dry, brown and crumbly, with no green, you could probably skip the decarboxylation process altogether, though I personally wouldn’t.
You don’t have to use water when making cannabutter, but it has a few benefits over using just butter by itself:
Pros of Using Water
- water leaches out chlorophyll during the cooking process so when the water is removed the resulting butter has less of a green taste and color
- during the separation process, any remaining plant matter sinks out of the cannabutter into the water below, further filtering out inert stuff that tastes bad
- cannabinoids don’t “stick” to water, so the potency is unaffected
Overall this results in a reduced taste, color, and smell of cannabis, while the potency stays the same – it’s the secret to making cannabutter that doesn’t taste like a skunk just sprayed some cut grass! There is still going to be a cannabis taste/smell whenever you make butter, but this reduces it quite a bit.
Cons of Using Water
- cannabutter made with water should be used quickly if kept in the fridge since the extra moisture makes it more likely to mold than if water wasn’t used (however, cannabutter freezes well so it can be put it in the freezer for months without losing any potency, and butter tends to dry out in the freezer)
When using water as part of the process, there will be less of a cannabis taste in the butter since the water binds to chlorophyll and other untasty parts of the plant that don’t actually affect the potency
Additionally, less plant material makes it into the butter for two reasons. First, melted butter and water easily flows through cheesecloth so you can strain out the plant matter without using a lot of physical force. When using just butter you have to press everything through a mesh strainer, which introduces a lot more plant material in the final product. Second, during the separation process, any extra inert plant matter that somehow did make it through the cheesecloth will sink to the bottom so it doesn’t end up in your butter (which floats to the top).
The water filtered out all this! None of the “stuff” in this brown water would have added to the potency of your butter, but it would have made your butter taste and smell worse
The “standard” amount for a butter recipe is 1 oz of cannabis buds to 1 pound of butter. If using trim, you should use 3 oz of trim to 1 pound of butter for the same standard dose. But you can use more or less depending on the potency you’re looking for. If you want very strong butter, use more cannabis with less butter.
It’s very important to be careful at first because it’s no fun to eat too much cannabutter. Test your butter by using less than you think instead of more, especially if this is your first time. Edibles can be far stronger than any type of cannabis you smoke, and although you can always eat more edibles, you can’t take them back after the fact. A too-strong edible dose can be overwhelming and last all day, so err on the side of less when dosing! Once you are better aware of your tolerance, you can raise the potency as needed.
The ratio of cannabis to butter in this cannabutter recipe is considered a “standard” dose. It’s going to be strong but not insanely strong. If you’re starting with high-quality marijuana, this strength butter should be enough to be very medical for most people by simply replacing it in recipes where butter will be used.
Using straight bud will produce oil that is stronger than if you use trim or leaves. In general, the more potent the starting plant matter, the more THC and other cannabinoids you will end up in your cannabutter.
If you want the “strongest” butter possible, you can increase the amount of cannabis, but there is a point where adding more won’t help and can actually make things worse since things won’t cook properly. During the recipe, you will be cooking bud and butter together in water. Your cannabis will float in the water and there needs to be at least an inch or two of clear space under the floating plant matter.
Starting with a stronger product will yield stronger cannabutter!
These are my favorite cannabutter recipes! I hope you enjoy them too!
Sometimes it’s easier to let a machine do all the work. Use this machine to automatically made weed butter! This item is similar to the “Magical Butter Machine” but seems to work even better.
Get the STX Infuzium 420! This machine makes magical butter.
Just add herb plus butter until the butter is ready, pour into the included mold, and wait a few hours to get this…
Get an unlimited supply of high-quality cannabis butter
To get ultra high-quality results, I recommend using good quality cheesecloth and a strainer like the RSVP Endurance Conical Strainer, 5″ in order to separate the plant matter from your butter or tincture. I pour the mixture into the strainer and let it drip/flow into the cheesecloth. This strains the herb out and makes very clear oil/butter.