“The truth is that the cannabutter is only as good as the ingredients you make it with,” Laurie says—a wise mantra to follow any time you are in the kitchen. While shopping, seek out high-quality unsalted butter. You will be able to coax more out of a better stick of butter, since there is less moisture and water. Cooking cannabutter via the simmer method over low and slow heat is crucial, because it will fully activate the THC and slowly infuse the fat with flavor while also imparting the desired “feel good” qualities of the herb into the butter. Never let the butter boil or burn during your five hours of cooking, or you will have to start over—there’s no good way to undo the harsh and rank flavors of burning.
The stronger the weed, the stronger the pot butter, so plan accordingly. If your tolerance is low, then you can use and eat less. Finished cannabutter ends up being lightly green, which also serves as a visual cue that the herb has been melted, cooked, and whisked appropriately.
Cannabutter keeps in the fridge for up to a month. You can also freeze it beautifully for at least six months.
Decarboxylate Your Weed
First, you need to decarboxylate your weed. Decarboxylation is the process of heating marijuana to turn the THC-A to the psychoactive THC and the CBD in the plant. This step is akin to the toasting many cooks do with herbs and spices to activate flavor compounds. The “decarbing” process ensures that marijuana’s psychoactive compounds are released and available. This also happens naturally when you smoke or vape the plant, but when ingesting marijuana, decarbing should be a first step for the best effects.
How to decarboxylate weed
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 240°F.
Step 2: Break apart any large buds with your hands.
Step 3: Spread the cannabis on a baking sheet with sides.
Step 4: Place in the oven.
Step 5: After 45 minutes the cannabis should be lightly browned and decarboxylated.
When you decarboxylate at a low temperature you are preserving the most terpenes, a.k.a. the oils in the marijuana that inform the flavor profiles of the cannabis as well as some of the health benefits.
Make the Cannabutter
4 sticks butter
1 ounce shake, finely ground and decarboxylated
In a medium saucepan bring a quart of water to a boil. You can vary the amounts, just be sure that the marijuana is always floating about 1 ½ to 2 inches from the bottom of the pan.
When the water is boiling, place the butter in the saucepan and allow it to melt completely.
Once the butter has melted you can add the marijuana. Once the weed is added the heat should be turned down, very low, to barely a simmer. I usually let the weed cook for around 3 hours. You can tell it’s done when the top of the mix turns from really watery to glossy and thick.
While the cannabutter is cooking, set up the bowl to hold the finished product. There are a couple of ways to do the straining. I like to use a deep heatproof glass bowl with a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. You can also tie a double layer of cheesecloth around a large heatproof bowl with twine, making it taut across the top.
Strain the marijuana butter over the bowl, being careful not to spill. When the saucepan is empty, carefully undo the twine, pick up the cheesecloth from all four sides, and squeeze out all of the remaining butter.
Allow the cannabutter to cool at room temperature for about an hour. Place in the fridge until the butter has solidified and separated from the water. The THC and other properties have attached to the butter, and you are just about there.
Run a knife around the edge and lift the butter off the water. Place upside down on your work surface and scrape off any of the cooking water. Your cannabuttter is ready to roll. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container.
This recipe uses 4 sticks of butter to every ounce of marijuana, so if you’re using a half ounce of weed that’s about 2 sticks of butter.