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How to Make Cannabutter

cannabutter-recipe

Cannabutter. Magic butter. Weed butter. Whatever you call it, it’s an essential part of just about every edible: a cannabis-infused, high-fat substance used for turning regular old brownies into “special” brownies. But wait, you ask – why bother going through the extra step of infusing butter (or olive oil, coconut oil, etc.) when you could just sprinkle some weed into your recipe? Unfortunately, simply adding raw cannabis to a recipe is unlikely to have much of an effect when ingested. That’s because, in order for THCA to be converted into the much more psychoactive cannabinoid THC, cannabis must first be heated in a process known as decarboxylation1.

Furthermore, if the recipe you’re making doesn’t have any fat in it, you might also end up being disappointed. That’s because, when ingested, THC must be broken down in the digestive tract – as opposed to instantly entering the bloodstream, as is the case with smoking or vaporizing. Cannabinoids are fat-soluble, so there needs to be some fat in your recipe to increase the THC’s bioavailability (ease of absorption by the body). This explains why cannabis-infused butter and oils are most commonly used when baking or cooking with cannabis. Now let’s discuss how to make cannabutter.

Cannabutter Dosing Chart

If this is your first time cooking with cannabis, we cannot stress this enough: start low and go slow! Even if you smoke or vaporize regularly, it’s important to note that edibles can affect you in a much different way than inhaled cannabis. Further, the onset of effects takes longer (1-2 hours) and effects can last much longer (6-8 hours or more). With that in mind, here’s a handy chart for determining how much cannabis to use when making cannabutter*:

Total THC Percentage Mg of THC in 1 gram of cannabis
5% 50mg
10% 100mg
15% 150mg
20% 200mg

*Namaste does not make any recommendation on dosage.

Cannabutter Recipe

Step 1: Decarboxylation

Cannabutter recipe step 1/3: decarboxylate your cannabis prior to cooking with it

As mentioned above, you should always make sure to decarboxylate your cannabis prior to cooking with it. Our in-house Red Seal Corporate Chef, John MacNeil, recommends coarsely grinding your cannabis and placing it on a tray in the oven at 200-220 F for 30-45 minutes. Full decarboxylation will likely occur closer to 45 minutes, but don’t try to rush it by turning up the temperature too high – doing so could actually burn the cannabis and deplete its THC content. Since different cannabinoids are activated at different temperatures, you’ll want to play around a bit with the temperature and decarb time to determine what works best for the effects your seeking.

TIP: Making cannabutter can produce a strong aroma. Turn on your oven’s hood fan, or place a desktop fan near your cooking area to help reduce odour.

Step 2: Infusion

Cannabutter recipe step 2/3: infusing the decarboxylated cannabis into the butter

Now that you’ve determined your desired potency and decarbed your cannabis, it’s time for the fun part... infusing the cannabis into butter. There are basically two ways to go about this, depending on what appliances you have in your kitchen. We’ll go over both methods.

Option 1: Slow Cooker

Slow cookers are great for making cannabutter because you can set them to a low temperature and leave them on for long periods of time. Begin by placing your decarbed cannabis into the slow cooker with 1 cup of butter and 1 teaspoon of sunflower lecithin (acts as an emulsifier and allows the cannabis and butter to bind together). Keep it on the lowest setting possible, and stir every 20-30 minutes to prevent clumping. You’ll want to keep the cannabutter mixture on low heat for at least 6-8 hours for the cannabis to properly infuse into the butter, but some people prefer to heat it for 12 hours or even up to 24 hours. Keep in mind that although longer heating times will result in higher potency, it will also result in the butter having a stronger cannabis flavour.

Option 2: Stovetop

Place your cannabis, butter and sunflower lecithin into a wok-style frying pan, and put the element on its lowest setting. Leave the mixture on low heat for up to 6-8 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes. Never leave a stove unattended while it’s turned on.

Step 3: Filtration

Cannabutter recipe step 3/3: filtering out the cannabis plant material from the infused butter

Now that you’ve learned how to make cannabutter, it’s time to filter the plant material out of the infusion. If you have a very fine metal strainer, you can pour the cannabis-butter mixture directly through it and into a glass dish. If not, simply take a coffee filter and place it inside the strainer prior to pouring. Let the cannabutter chill overnight, then enjoy as a substitute for regular butter in your favourite recipes.

Non-Dairy Cannabutter Alternatives

Vegan? Lactose intolerant? No problem! Although this cannabutter recipe uses butter, it can easily be used to infuse margarine, coconut oil, olive oil, or just about any other butter substitute. Simply replace the 1 cup of butter with 1 cup of whatever alternative you choose.

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References

  1. Wang M, Wang Y-H, Avula B, Radwan MM, Wanas AS, Antwerp JV, et al. Decarboxylation Study of Acidic Cannabinoids: A Novel Approach Using Ultra-High-Performance Supercritical Fluid Chromatography/Photodiode Array-Mass Spectrometry. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2016;1(1):262–71.

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