Article written by
Tina MagrabiSenior Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Cannabutter, short for cannabis butter, is a staple for marijuana edibles. Learning how to make cannabis butter at home is easy if you know a few simple tricks.
Learn the step-by-step process to make cannabutter, how to use and dose it, and where to store this popular edible.
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DIY Cannabutter: The Basics
So, how do you use cannabutter? Are there cannabis strains that work best for cannabutter? Here’s the scoop on creating the best cannabutter at home.
Where to Use Cannabutter
You can use marijuana butter as a regular butter alternative, spreading it on toast or as a condiment in a sandwich. Cannabutter is also the main ingredient in many cannabis baked goods. From marijuana muffins to cannabis cornbread, cannabutter makes a tasty and practical addition.
Best Cannabis Options for Cannabutter
The best weed strains to use for cannabutter depend on your goals. If you seek to treat pain, Bubba Kush is a potent indica known for inducing deep relaxation. Skywalker is another strain from the cannabis plant with similar relaxing effects to Bubba Kush.
Other strains are ideal if you want to add a flavor infusion to your cannabutter. For example, Tangerine Haze will lend a tart citrus taste. Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies will give your cannabutter a refreshing winter burst. Choco Bud is an obvious choice for chocolate lovers using cannabutter in a pot brownie recipe.
All cannabis edibles can be pretty potent, especially those containing high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid. Another issue with dosing homemade edibles is that it’s tough to precisely how much cannabinoid is present in each portion or spoonful.
For this reason, it is ideal to use different amounts of cannabis in each additional batch of butter and use no more than one teaspoon at a time, or even less if you have made a potent batch of oil. Remember: you can always take more, but never take less.
In addition, using cannabis flowers with a CBD:THC of 1:1 or higher (e.g., 2:1, 3:1, etc.) will dampen or even negate any psychoactive effects. The strain you use will affect which cannabinoids and terpenoids end up in the cannabutter. Use a strain with low amounts of THC if you want to avoid having too much THC in your oil.
Best Type of Butter to Use for Cannabutter
When it comes to the best butter for cannabutter, many people prefer unsalted butter over salted butter because it doesn’t add any salt to the recipe. Unsalted butter blends well into sweet and savory recipes, while salted butter might be better just for tasty dishes.
Using unsalted butter, salted butter, or coconut oil for your cannabutter is a personal choice that boils down to preference.
Decarboxylate Cannabis Before Cooking
When learning how to make weed butter, a crucial step in the process is decarbing your weed. Decarboxylating or “decarbing” cannabis involves heating cannabis to activate the therapeutic cannabinoids in the plant matter. The chemical reaction decarbing cannabis creates is the best way to maximize the potency of the plant’s potential health benefits.
Keep an eye on the temperature to help retain cannabinoids. Cannabinoids decarboxylate at different rates, so even if you decarboxylate at 240°F (115°C), you will likely still have some left.
Alternatively, decarboxylate your cannabis at a lower temperature of around 194°F (90°C) to 212°F (100°C) for around an hour to retain the terpenoids and prevent decarboxylation of all the cannabinoids, then slowly double boil it.
However, it may be ideal to have a mixture of decarboxylated and non-decarboxylated cannabinoids for a full spectrum of health benefits, depending upon the condition. For pain specifically, though, a variety of cannabinoids is best. Focusing on just CBD and/or THC alone will likely decrease the pain-relieving potential of cannabinoids which work better through the entourage effect.
Yes, you can forgo the decarboxylation process and use raw cannabis instead of decarbed cannabis. But raw cannabis is likely to contain moisture, so it is more prone to mold. Care must also ensure that any raw cannabis flower is as clean and pesticide- and pathogen-free as possible.
This three-ingredient cannabutter recipe is easy to cook in your kitchen.
What You’ll Need:
- Rimmed baking tray
- Baking paper
- Saucepan, slow cooker, or crockpot
- Cheesecloth or strainer
- 5-10 grams of flower (decarbed first)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of butter or coconut oil
Break up any cannabis flower or “buds” into smaller pieces using your hands or a hand grinder. Not too small, though – you do not want to break up the trichomes (the tiny plant hairs) too much. Why? The trichomes contain ultra-high levels of cannabinoids.
Layer the pieces onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place the baking tray into the center of a preheated oven set to 240°F-248°F (115°C-120°C) for 30-40 minutes.
Stir every 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of butter (or coconut oil) to a medium saucepan, slow cooker, or crockpot, and simmer on low heat until the butter melts. For 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of water, we recommend starting with 5-10g of cannabis, depending on how strong you want the butter to be. Some people go with the 1 cup of fat (in this case, butter) to 1 cup of cannabis. However, this would be 250 grams of butter to 250 grams of cannabis, which would be extremely strong, expensive, and possibly wasteful.
Moreover, butter is a solid fat comprised of saturated fat, water, and milk and is thus different from oils like olive oil or coconut oil. You will likely need to use less cannabis in butter compared to oil, as there is a lower amount of total fat (lipid) molecules cannabinoids can bind to. An ounce (approx 28.35 grams) of decarboxylated cannabis infused into 250 grams of butter is likely to be quite potent.
Add your ground cannabis to the melted butter-water mixture in the saucepan. The more cannabis you use and the longer you infuse it, the stronger the cannabutter will be.
Simmer for 2-3 hours, ensuring the butter doesn’t boil. The ideal temperature is between 158°F-199°F (70°C-93°C).
Allow the cannabutter to cool, but not to a solid. Line a funnel with cheesecloth and pour the cannabis-infused butter mixture through to strain it into a jar.
This will stop plant matter from getting into your butter, which can help the cannabutter last longer. Use any airtight container, like a mason jar, as they can help extend the life of your cannabutter.
Put the jar of cannabutter in the fridge for about an hour to cool and solidify into butter.
If there is excess water in the jar, remove the solid butter with a knife or a spatula, and drain the water.
Cannabutter Cooking Tips
Cooking cannabutter is a straightforward process if you follow our beginner’s weed butter recipe above. Here are a few more tips to help you cook up the best batch of cannabutter possible.
Get Your Delicious Cannabutter Recipe
Cook “Low and Slow”
Low and slow is the motto to remember whenever you cook with cannabis. Weed edibles are one of the most potent forms of the plant available. Even a little too much THC can cause unpleasant side effects, so be prudent as you measure and dose your cannabis.
Where to Store Homemade Cannabutter
Store the cannabutter in an airtight, opaque container, preferably glass. Cannabutter will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about three weeks. Freezing cannabutter extends the shelf life to approximately six months. Avoid keeping the cannabutter out at room temperature for more than an hour.
Other Uses for Cannabutter
While cannabutter is excellent for baking, you can also use it for cooking. Substitute regular butter with cannabis butter or cannabis oil in any recipe (learn how to make cannabis oil here). Also, use a dollop of cannabutter in a frying pan the next time you make an omelet or veggie stir fry. Cannabutter has endless uses for the creative cook.
Apply for a medical marijuana card today to enjoy cannabutter and other weed edibles wherever you live. The Leafwell physicians are here to meet with you online and guide you through the medical card process.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How can I legally buy cannabis to make cannabutter?
Depending on your state, you may be able to purchase marijuana legally under recreational cannabis laws. However, if recreational cannabis use is not legal in your state, a great way to obtain marijuana is with a medical marijuana card. Even if your state does permit recreational cannabis use, a medical marijuana card could give you access to higher-quality products to make your oil or butter safer and even more effective.
Which marijuana edibles need cannabutter?
Many cannabis recipes call for cannabutter, most notably baked goods. Cannabutter is a key ingredient in pot brownies, cannabis cookies, and other sweet high-carb weed snacks.
How long does it take to make cannabutter?
From decarbing the cannabis to refrigerating your finished product, making cannabutter takes approximately four to five hours.