There are plenty of ways to enjoy cannabis. New school cannabis and CBD users love the convenience of a cannabis vape pen. Old school casual cannabis enthusiasts like to spark up a joint.
Edibles are where both groups meet. Edibles are a great way to enjoy cannabis without inhaling anything. The unique nature of edibles makes for a sustained wave of weed bliss that can last several hours, making the whole day a little more relaxing.
While you can buy pre-made edibles at the store, it’s not quite the same as incorporating buds into your favorite brownie or cookie recipe for the best cannabis edibles. If you’re a kitchen wizard and you’d like to flex your baking skills, making your own cannabutter is a great way to take your treats to the next level.
Choosing the Right Strain of Weed
Edibles are completely different from the weed you smoke. While you can likely enjoy the intoxicating effects of a 20% THC stain for an hour or two after you smoke it, when you put that same strain into an edible like marijuana butter, the experience changes completely.
Choosing the right strain for the occasion is an important part of the process.
When you ingest THC, your body converts it into a compound called 11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol. The effects of 11-hydroxy THC produce profound effects that can last as long as 8 hours as your body metabolizes and utilizes the THC. You might not want to choose a very strong strain for your edibles unless you already have a lot of experience using higher dose edibles.
If you’ve never tried edibles before, a dose of 2.5 mg THC per edible is a great place to start. Casual cannabis users typically go for 5 mg THC edibles, while experienced users are more comfortable with 10 mg per serving.
Choosing the right strain involves a bit of math. One gram of cannabis is 1,000 milligrams. If you choose a lower THC strain that’s 15% THC, that means there are 150 milligrams of THC per gram of cannabis. If you’re going to use one gram of cannabis to make a batch of 12 cookies, each cookie will contain 12.5 mg of cannabis.
You can adjust your ratio by using more butter and saving some for a different recipe.
If you infuse twice the amount of butter you need or make two batches of cannabutter cookies, each cookie will contain about 6.25 mg of THC. This is great for low-dose users or people who prefer to eat two cookies.
When choosing your strain, you should always consider the total amount of butter you’ll need and the amount of edibles you intend to make. It helps to work backward from the recipe you intend to use. You’ll be able to assure that each edible is appropriately dosed and that no one will be in for an overwhelming surprise when the THC kicks in.
Decarboxylating the Proper Amount of Weed
Once you have your specifics figured out, it’s time to get the appropriate amount of weed ready to use for your butter infusion. The cannabis you buy from the dispensary won’t do anything if you eat it raw.
The cannabinoid contents listed on the packaging are a glimpse into the weed’s future. Cannabinoids don’t convert into active forms until you apply heat and smoke them.
To infuse butter with cannabis, the cannabis needs to be activated first. This process is called decarboxylation. Heat in the decarb process helps burn off the group of plant acids (called carboxylic acids) attached to the cannabinoids while leaving the cannabinoids intact.
With the acidic cannabinoid group burned away, the body can actively utilize the cannabinoids in your weed.
Grinding and Prepping Your Cannabis
Start the process by grinding up the amount of cannabis you intend to decarboxylate using a hand-grinder. If the pieces are too fine, they’ll burn up to ash very quickly. If they’re too big, they won’t decarboxylate in the center.
It’s kind of like microwaving something only to find that it’s still cold in the middle. You need to find the right balance.
Opting for a uniform grind similar in size to a grain of rice will produce the best results. As long as every bit of cannabis is roughly the same size, the batch will decarboxylate evenly.
Remove stems and seeds, if applicable, and dispose of them.
Decarboxylating Your Cannabis in the Oven
Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Your oven temperature must be accurate. If you haven’t checked it in a while, it may be worth using a temperature check thermometer to assure your readings are correct.
Decarboxylating at the wrong temperature can ruin your cannabis, so don’t take the risk if your oven is inconsistent. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and evenly sprinkle your cannabis over the sheet. Cover it lightly with another piece of foil. Place your cannabis on the center rack of your oven and stay nearby for about 45 minutes.
After 20 minutes, check on your cannabis, as it should turn golden green. If you see a lot of brown or black, this means the flower is burning. If it’s too burnt, the cannabinoids will bake right off. Check every 10 minutes until the 45-minute mark to ensure the cannabis is decarboxylating correctly.
When it’s done, take it out of the oven and set it out to cool. It’s officially ready to use.
Your whole kitchen might smell a little bit like The Grateful Dead’s tour bus, and that’s normal. No one will get high simply from smelling the kitchen, but you might want to pop open a few windows to let some fresh air circulate.
Do I Have to Use Dairy Butter?
Dairy butter and ghee are usually the go-to solutions for homemade weed butter.
Cannabinoids are fat-soluble, and the high-fat content of butter and ghee makes them ideal for absorbing cannabinoids. If you’re vegan or dairy-free, you can substitute butter for coconut oil in an exact ratio.
Coconut oil works the same as butter in most recipes due to its similarly high-fat content.
If you’re not a big fan of the natural flavor of coconut oil, opt for refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil is completely neutral in its flavor and aroma. It has the exact same nutritional value as coconut oil, but the purification process removes the compounds responsible for creating the coconut flavor.
Alternatively, you can forgo the process entirely and make cannabis-infused sugar that you can use to dust premade baked goods or mix into tea and coffee. It’s a great time saver for people who aren’t inclined to bake.
Set Up Your Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are the easiest way to cook almost anything. Cannabis butter is no exception. If you’re looking for the easiest possible solution, it’s already sitting on the shelf in the back of your pantry.
Take your slow cooker out and set it on low. Put the timer on for four hours, and add the appropriate amount of butter (or coconut oil) into the slow cooker. Give it about ten minutes to start melting. Stirring it around can help to speed up the process.
Making Your Homemade Cannabutter
You can technically drop the decarboxylated weed directly into the slow cooker with the butter, but you’ll be adding more work for yourself later. If you don’t like the idea of straining your weed butter through a cheesecloth to remove all the little pieces of weed, you don’t have to.
In fact, mesh tea sachets are the perfect solution.
Divide your decarboxylated cannabis between two or three sachets and drop them into the slow cooker. Periodically stir the sachets around in the butter. Try to make it a point to give the contents of the slow cooker a good and thorough stirring every hour.
When the slow cooker timer is done, carefully remove the sachets. You can safely dispose of them. Be mindful of how you toss them, as children and dogs tend to get into the garbage, and you don’t want them inadvertently ingesting your buttery weed.
Storing Your Homemade Cannabutter
If you’re not planning on using your cannabutter immediately, you’ll need a great storage solution. If stored properly, weed butter can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. This gives you plenty of time to bake without sacrificing the freshness or potency of your star ingredient.
We recommend pouring your cannabutter into a Stori pod.
Our storage pods are made of lightproof food-grade aluminum and feature child-resistant lids. The color-coded pod lids can be labeled with dry-erase markers. Write the date you made the batch and the cannabinoid content per serving on the lid so you won’t forget.
When you’re ready to bake, all you need to do is take the pod and set it on the counter. The cannabutter will come up to scoopable room temperature while you’re getting your utensils and ingredients ready. It’s that simple.