How to make cannabutter (cannabis butter) at home
One great thing about cannabis is that it can be consumed in different ways. Instead of smoking or vaporizing the dried flowers, edibles can be a tasty alternative and offer a longer-lasting effect. Many self-proclaimed chefs have been getting their hands dirty and cooking up their own cannabis inspired creations at home. Be it a special brownie, choc-chip cookies, cannabis infused pasta, or popcorn, there is one special ingredient that ties it all together - cannabutter.
What is cannabutter?
Akin to its name, cannabutter or cannabis butter, is simply butter infused with cannabis. Like regular butter, cannabutter can be used as a part of numerous recipes for cannabis edibles. Whether you fancy some toast and butter spread with a bit of punch, hand crafted CBD cocktail, or an extra special butter chicken and rice to kick off the night, cannabutter can be that extra-ordinary ingredient for the job.
The best part is - you don’t need to be a MasterChef contestant to whip up a batch of this cannabutter goodness.
Is cannabis or cannabutter legal in Australia?
Cannabis has been decriminalised in the Australian Capital Territory, allowing personal cultivation and use within certain limits. Recreational cannabis use is illegal in most other Australian states and territories, except for medicinal purposes with a valid prescription.
Making cannabutter requires a good amount of dried cannabis flower, so ideally you’d need access to some cheap cannabis or be able to grow your own.
We do not encourage anyone living outside of the ACT without a valid medicinal cannabis prescription to undergo illegal activities. So use this guide as you will, but please be informed regarding the laws within your state or territory.
How do I make cannabutter?
The most import step to make cannabis butter is the “decarboxylation” process. If you’ve ever wondered why cannabis needs to be combusted or vaporized, it's because raw cannabis is actually non-psychoactive. Only when cannabis is heated or otherwise known as “decarboxylation” does it induce the "high" when consumed.
You are probably already aware of the cannabinoid know as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in cannabis plants responsible for the psychoactive properties. Cannabis in its raw form does not contain any THC, only its precursor - Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). Only through heat or decarboxylation, does it become THC.
Once your cannabis has been through the “decarb” process, the rest of the steps are as simple as melt, combine, simmer and strain. Read on to follow our recipe step by step.
1 cup (250 grams) unsalted butter
14 grams of dried cannabis
1½ cups of water
Step 1. Decarboxylation
Preheat Oven: Preheat oven to 115°C.
Lightly Grind Cannabis: Using a hand grinder, lightly grind the dried flower.
*Note: Try not to grind excessively as it may pass through the cheesecloth when straining.
Decarb Cannabis: Line a flat baking tray with baking paper or foil and spread ground-up cannabis evenly over the tray. Insert the tray into the oven and heat for 35 minutes.
Remove From Heat: Remove from oven after 35 minutes.
Step 2. Cannabutter mixture
Melt Butter: Add 1½ cups of water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer on low heat. Add butter and stir until melted.
Add Cannabis: Add the decarboxylated cannabis to the butter mixture and give it a quick mix.
Simmer: Cover the saucepan and simmer for roughly 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
*Note: The mixture is ready when it appears thick and glossy on top.
Strain Mixture: Using two layers of cheesecloth (or paper filters), strain the mixture into a bowl.
*Tip: Do not force or squeeze the mixture as smaller pieces of cannabis may pass through the strainer.
Separate Water from Mixture: Let remaining cannabutter liquid cool to room temperature. Place the bowl into the fridge for 2-3 hours, until the butter has solidified and separated from the water. Scrape the butter into a separate jar and seal.
Enjoy: Your cannabutter is ready! Spread it over a snack or use it to make some yummy cannabis edibles!
Tips for storing cannabutter
You can keep the cannabutter in an airtight container or plastic wrap in the fridge for a few weeks. Be sure to make a note of the expiry dates on the butter packaging before throwing them away.
"separate the cannabutter into smaller portions to keep in the freezer for up to 6 months"
For longer storage, separate the cannabutter into smaller portions and keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just make sure they are in an airtight container and with a clearly labelled date of expiry.
P.S. Try and avoid using the microwave to thaw frozen cannabutter as it can ruin the cannabinoids in the butter.
Alternatives to cannabutter
There are other options for cooking with cannabis if butter isn't your thing or you are simply looking to avoid the saturated fat.
One possible alternative is to use CBD or THC tinctures as additives to your recipes. Using tinctures can be a lot healthier as the as no fat or oils are used in the product, and usually has a longer shelf life than cannabutter.
Coconut oil or canola oil are also two other options for replacing cannabutter, especially for making edibles like CBD gummies.
In our opinion, cannabutter is the most versatile in terms of edible recipes, but we encourage our readers to experiment and share your own cannabis-infused creations.
Tips for dosing cannabutter
Truth be told, figuring out the popper dose of cannabis edibles is no easy feat. Without going too deep into scientific explanations, there are multitudes of factors that can affect the final THC content of your cannabutter. The cannabis strain, the intensity and length of exposure to heat during decarboxylation, and butter to water ratio can all have an impact on the potency of the final product.
Another good thing to keep in mind is edibles can take longer for the effects to kick in compared to smoking or vaping. So if you don’t feel anything right away after ingesting cannabis edibles, it’s completely normal. It can you take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to start feeling noticeable effects.
We’ve found the best way to figure out the potency of your cannabutter (apart from actually getting it lab tested) is to do a small dose test.
Consume ¼ teaspoon of your cannabutter over some bread or a snack and wait 60-90 minutes. Depending on how you feel, increase or decrease the amount as required for your next dose test. Once you find the prefect amount, you can then use it as dose guide when making delicious cannabis edibles in the future.