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how to make weed butter with stems and seeds

How to make cannabutter and properly dose it for homemade edibles

Cannabis butter, or cannabutter, is the essential ingredient to cannabis-infused edibles. Most weed edibles, including the infamous brownies, utilize cannabutter to produce a high, and it’s one of the best ways to enjoy cannabis if you don’t want to smoke it.

And modern edibles don’t stop at baked goods. With cannabutter, the possibilities for cooking infused cuisine are endless — anywhere you use butter or fat in a recipe, you can sub in some cannabutter.

Humans have been eating cannabis since the 10th century BC with the invention of bhang — a milk, spice, and ghee mixture that incorporates cannabis. Though the preparation process has changed over the centuries, the end goal is the same — to infuse the medicinal properties of cannabis into food.

Cannabis aficionados have been whipping up their own cannabutter at home for decades, and it’s easy enough to do with a little patience. While full-fat butter is the typical main ingredient, the process can also be replicated using other types of fat — coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, and more.

What you need

  • A quarter ounce (7 grams) of cannabis flower
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) of butter
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) of water
  • A cannabis grinder
  • One nonstick baking sheet
  • One stovetop pot
  • A thermometer (optional)
  • Cheesecloth
  • An airtight glass jar

Cannabutter basics

The intrepid cannabis cook would be wise to get these three things right. Here are the keys to making the best cannabutter:

Use good quality cannabis: The quality and amount of cannabis you use will determine the strength of the cannabutter. Knowing the THCA percentage of your cannabis will also help you understand how strong the batch of butter will be.

THCA stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, and it is THC’s starting form. It’s found in the fresh, live, and cured flower form, before the weed is heated or smoked, at which point it transforms into the psychoactive THC. The THCA percentage is what you will commonly see listed on the lab report of any given cannabis you buy in the store.

Most strains sold today in the legal market hover around 25% THCA, all the way up to 35%. Unlicensed market cannabis or CBD-heavy cannabis can be as low as 10%.

Use good quality butter: Put good in, get good out. You can choose any butter you like, salted or unsalted, but a higher quality product will yield a better end result. Virtually all butter or oil that contains fat is a good replacement.

Vegan butters, like Earth Balance, contain less saturated fats but do still contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats so they will work for cannabis infusion.

Grind your cannabis first: Do this before placing it on a non-stick pan to be decarbed — more on that later. The cannabis gets a bit toasty, so grinding it after it’s been decarbed can ruin your grinder. Any simple cannabis grinder will do.

Quick tip: Avoid margarine or fat-free butter. The beneficial compounds in cannabis, known as cannabinoids, must bind with fat in order to be digestible. THC thrives when binding with fat. Without this binding, the THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids will not have an effect.

Step 1: Decarb the cannabis

To activate the beneficial cannabinoids that live inside the cannabis flower, one must decarboxylate or “decarb” the flower first. “The decarbing process is a chemical change that makes the THCA convert to THC,” says Katie Stem, extraction expert and CEO of Peak Extracts.

If you skip this step, the butter will be much less potent. There’s a chance some of the THCA will turn into THC during the butter’s slow melt process, but you will actually lose a lot of the beneficial cannabinoids if you skip the decarb “activation” step.

Here’s a quick and easy way to decarb your flower:

1. Grind your cannabis flower. Use a grinder that is made specifically for cannabis. What you’ll end up with is a coarse, ground herb.

2. Heat your oven to 230 to 245 degrees Fahrenheit. 240 degrees is perfect for my oven, but it depends on your oven, its age, and how evenly it cooks.

3. Spread your ground cannabis on a non-stick baking tray. A non-stick baking sheet that has not been used to cook food before is preferred. If you only have a pan that has been used for food, lay down a piece of parchment paper to protect the cannabis from any residue on the pan. This also helps prevent sticking.

4. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir it up every five minutes to make sure it is being evenly decarbed.

5. Don’t overdo it. Set an alarm and don’t exceed 40 minutes. Too much heat may break down the cannabinoids and terpenes — essential oil compounds that work in harmony with cannabinoids to enhance the effects of cannabis. The goal is to activate the beneficial compounds without overcooking it and potentially damaging them.

Step 2: Steep on the stovetop

Now that you have decarbed your weed, you’re ready to get the butter on the stovetop and begin infusing.

1. Melt 1 cup of butter and 1 cup water together. The water will help the butter heat more evenly. Water that doesn’t evaporate will be removed at the end. For a half-batch, use 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of butter, and 1/8 ounce of cannabis.

2. Set your burner to the lowest heat. The butter should cook at 150 degrees Fahrenheit, up to a max of 200 degrees. A cooking thermometer can help you gauge the exact temperature.

3. Add your decarbed cannabis and mix. Cover the pot with a lid. This helps distribute the heat, which is ideal for a low, slow extraction.

4. Let simmer at 150 degrees for at least three hours. If you want to go longer for a more potent butter, you can steep for four hours, but make sure the temperature is at its lowest. You also may want to add more water if you choose a longer cooking time as it evaporates and leaves the butter vulnerable to overheating.

Alternative methods: Double boiler or crockpot

Both of these methods seek to balance and stabilize the temperature of the butter so it doesn’t become too hot or burn in the process.

  • For the double boiler method: Simmer 1 cup of water in a large pot. Add 1 cup of butter and cannabis to a glass or metal bowl positioned on top of the pot. Simmer for three hours. Keep an eye on the water level in the bottom pot and refill as necessary.
  • For the crockpot method: Add the cannabis, water, and butter all together into the pot. Set the crockpot temperature to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours.

Step 3: Strain your butter

Once three hours have passed and your home is filled with a faint aroma of cannabis-mixed-with-butter, it’s time to strain your mixture.

1. Place a few layers of cheesecloth over a jar. Use a rubber band to secure it in place so it won’t slip while you strain. Coffee filters work too if you don’t have cheesecloth lying around. The average metal food strainer will be too coarse for this step.

2. Pour the butter slowly through the cheesecloth. Give it time to adequately drain so you don’t have an overflow. Once it’s fully strained, you may dispose of or compost the spent weed.

3. Let it cool. 30 minutes at room temperature will start the process, then transfer it to the fridge.

4. Remove excess water. Once it’s cool and solidified, you will be able to clearly see the butter on the top and a small layer of water on the bottom. Carefully pour the water out of the jar. Hold the butter in place with a clean finger or utensil to make sure it doesn’t slip out.

Quick tip: Don’t press or squeeze the weed and butter mixture down as it strains. Just let it strain naturally. Pressing the weed releases its tannins and some of the more bitter flavors that you do not want in the cannabutter.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Your cannabutter is now ready to eat. You can cut it into small, uniform pieces for easy dosing. Cannabutter can be used in place of butter or oil in virtually any recipe.

Because it is so potent, substitute only a small part cannabutter until you learn your tolerance level. You can always add more cannabutter or eat more of an edible, but you can never undo it. Go slow.

Important: When you’re cooking with cannabutter, you’re dosing for the entire dish. If a boxed brownie mix yields 24 brownies, for example, add 24 doses of cannabutter to the batter.

How to dose cannabutter

Dosing homemade edibles is a complex but necessary part of the process. Each batch varies, depending on your type of cannabis and cooking techniques.

All you need to know is how much cannabis you used in your butter and its THCA percentage. In most legal markets, the THCA percentage is listed on the lab report printed on every jar of cannabis, so it should be easy to find. Here is an approximate equation that will help you estimate the dosage.

This leaves you with a very rough estimate of the potency of your butter and can serve as a guide for dosing. But remember that there will always be variables that affect how much THC ends up in your final product. Take these numbers with a grain of salt and always be careful when taking edibles.

“I think that home extractions yield better than people expect,” says Stem, “especially if they follow all the rules.” So it’s important to be mindful of your dosage, as your cannabutter may be stronger than you expect, even with the most careful math.

10 milligrams is the standard dose in legal markets for edible companies. 10 milligrams will feel relaxing, a bit euphoric, sedative, and calming for most people. If you have never consumed cannabis before, start even lower at 5 milligrams and build from there.

Quick tip: Before you begin cooking with your cannabutter, eat a dose on a piece of toast to check its potency — and your tolerance.

Edible dosage calculation example

If you’re interested in how the math breaks down and where we got the above numbers, we’ll show our work using the recipe above. This handy THC calculator will do this same math for you.

    7 grams of cannabis that contains 25% THCA:

Since most home cooks have less efficient extraction processes than in labs, experts estimate that for most first-time cannabutter chefs, this number will be lower, around 70% extraction efficiency. So we do the math again:

How to store cannabutter

Store your cannabutter in the fridge in an air-tight glass jar.

A sealed mason jar works well. The cannabutter stored in the fridge should last 3 to 4 weeks. You can also store it in an opaque or dark glass jar. Light exposure degrades cannabis over time, so any opaque jar or covering will extend its life.

You can also freeze cannabutter if you really want it to last. Freezing cannabis does not degrade its effects, and can extend the life of the cannabutter up to six months.

Always smell older cannabutter. If it smells rancid, don’t eat it.

Insider’s takeaway

You are now equipped to enter the world of cannabutter. Good luck perfecting your delicious, buttery weed alchemy. Make sure to take your time, do your math, use good ingredients, and have fun in the process.

The Best Weed Butter Recipe! Learn How to Make Amazing Cannabutter

The best cannabis edibles start with potent cannabutter (or canna oil) that produce great effects with as little “weed taste” as possible. So when setting out to find the best marijuana butter recipe to support the best cannabis edible, I kept these factors in mind.

This is what a pound of weed butter looks like. Use it like regular butter in any recipe to experience the magic.

Butter or Coconut Oil?

There are two really popular oils/fats to use for making edibles, and they’re both competing for the top spot. They are butter and coconut oil. Coconut oil may be healthier and has a mild taste that goes well with baked goods. Coconut seems to help cover up the cannabis flavor and I have used it for making superb canna caps. But some people don’t like coconut or are allergic to it.

Butter also has a great taste (in my opinion) and is easier to work with when it comes to baking since you can do a straight substitution for regular butter. I decided to go with butter (i.e. cannabutter) in this tutorial because that is what I started with for making baked goods and other edibles, and it works great!

Best Cannabis Butter Recipe: Ingredients

This Recipe for 1 Pound of Butter Makes…

  • 15 “strong” portions
  • 30 “regular” portions
  • 50 “light” portions

Ingredients

  • 1 oz dried cannabis bud, or 3 oz dried trim (How much cannabis should I use for this recipe?)
  • 1 pound butter (usually 4 sticks of butter) (used to strain plant matter out of butter)
  • Baking sheet

Helpful but not necessary

    – much less weed smell during the “decarb” step in the oven

Note: The magic butter needs to sit in the fridge overnight before it’s ready, so make your butter a day ahead of time!

Best Cannabutter Recipe: Directions

Step 1 – Decarboxylation

This is an important step if you want to make your butter more potent, especially if you’re using cannabis that was harvested recently (weed starts decarboxylating naturally over time).

Can I use fresh weed? I recommend drying your weed first. Even though you’ll be heating the plant matter in this step (which would dry it out if it was wet), dry weed is much easier to measure out properly (1 oz of dried bud, or 3 oz of dried trim per 1 lb of butter).

If you skip the decarboxylation step the recipe will still work, but the resulting butter will be less potent. Read why cannabis decarboxylation improves the potency of your butter and edibles.

1.) Preheat oven to 250° F (120° C) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

Turn oven to 250° F (120° C)

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil so the buds won’t stick to your pan

2.) Lightly grind your cannabis buds/trim and spread it over the aluminum foil on the baking sheet.

Lightly grind up cannabis, in this case using a food processor (though a grinder or even breaking weed with your fingers works, too)

Sprinkle the ground up bud over your cookie sheet so it’s all spread out

Alternative: Put weed in a turkey bag, tie the end, and place the turkey on baking sheet. Since this encloses the weed completely, you will end up with far less weed smell in your house. As another alternative, you could also decarb your weed in a glass mason jar. A glass jar may be convenient since many growers already have these jars for curing, but it is possible for the glass to crack in the oven from the heat so be gentle!

Cooking weed in a “turkey bag” helps prevent the smell from overtaking your house

3.) Bake for 30 minutes at 250° F (120° C).

It will get smelly in your house unless you enclosed the weed in a bag or jar, so be prepared! It’s normal to see some steam and vapor while the cannabis is cooking. This isn’t all the potency evaporating away!

4.) Remove the dried cannabis from the oven and crumble up any bigger leftover pieces between your fingers.

It’s normal for it to look very brown. You don’t need to make it into a powder, but there shouldn’t be big nugs either. Now it’s time to cook the decarboxylated cannabis with butter and water. This will infuse the butter with cannabinoids, and the water will protect everything from burning while leaching away some of the green plant taste.

Now you’re ready for the next step!

Step 2 – Cook cannabis together with butter & water

1.) Bring 4 cups (950 mL) of water to a boil.

4 cups of water boiling

2.) Turn heat down to Medium-Low, then add the butter and wait until it melts into the water.

Take your butter

Add butter to hot water (which is now on a burner turned to medium-low) so it melts

3.) Add your decarboxylated marijuana to the water.

The cannabis plant matter will float, and there should be at least an inch or two of clearance under the cannabis.

If not, add more water. Don’t worry that adding more water will change the potency, as you’ll be separating the water out later. The “good stuff” in cannabis doesn’t “stick” to water. In fact, water actually filters out a lot of the stuff we don’t want that makes butter taste bad!

Stir in the cannabis so it can start cooking. Now we wait!

4.) Allow the mixture to cook on Medium-Low for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The bubbles should be gently rising to the top of the water but not actively boiling.

Step 3 – Separate Butter from Water

In this step, you separate the potent butter from inert cannabis plant material and water.

1.) Line a large bowl with two layers of cheesecloth.

We’ll be using this to strain out the inert plant matter from the butter!

2.) Strain the water/oil/cannabis mixture through the cheesecloth.

It’s hot! Don’t wring it out with your hands or you’ll burn yourself! Take a spatula to press it against the sides to squeeze out the last bit of butter. Be careful not to let the cheesecloth fall into the mixture and spill all the plant matter back in.

Pour your cannabis/water/butter mixture through the cheese cloth

This filters out the plant matter which would otherwise add a terrible taste.

At this point, the cannabinoids are already infused in your butter, so the plant matter can be discarded.

3.) Put the bowl in the fridge overnight.

All the “good stuff” is contained in the butter/oil, which floats to the top. The water and any remaining plant matter will sink to the bottom.

When you open the fridge the next day, the butter will have hardened and appear much lighter in color.

4.) Use a knife to cut around the outside edges and it usually will “pop” off in a big piece.

Run a knife around the edges of the cannabutter to loosen it up

The weed butter usually “pops” off in one piece

The water filtered out all this! None of the “stuff” in the brown water would have added to the potency of your butter, but it would have made your butter taste worse!

By filtering it out with water, you’ll end up with better tasting cannabis butter with less of a strong smell (without affecting the potency).

5.) Put your finished cannabutter in its own container for storage/use!

This is what one pound of amazing pot butter looks like!

Turn it upside down on a plate to help the bottom dry out and store in the freezer

You can use cannabutter just like regular butter in any recipe, just do a 1:1 substitution.

The resulting potency (more on that below) of your cannabutter is heavily influenced by the amount/strength of your starting cannabis. Additionally, each people is affected by edibles differently. It’s highly recommended you start with less and build up to more. Edibles can take up to 2-3 hours to take effect, especially if eating them on a full stomach, so don’t eat any more during that time period because you think “it’s not working!” To get the cannabis effects to come on more quickly, try to eat edibles on an empty stomach. However, that can give some people indigestion so listen to your body.

Storage

You can store cannabutter in the fridge for a week, but cannabutter can mold especially if it never really got a chance to totally dry out from the water. Only leave it in the fridge if you plan to use it immediately.

However, your cannabutter can go in the freezer and will be good for months without losing any potency!

Common Questions About Making Cannabutter

Why cook/decarboxylate the cannabis before simmering in butter?

I know that it may seem counter-intuitive to cook your cannabis first, but trust me on this. Decarbing your weed first will increase the potency of your butter. I have skipped the decarb step because I felt it was a waste of time since I was already cooking the herb in oil, and I didn’t want to “burn away” the potency, and I can tell you it’s extremely noticeable how much less potent your butter ends up being if you don’t decarb your buds first.

Cannabis is expensive, so why not get the most potency out of yours? Let me quickly explain the “how and why” of decarbing cannabis:

Decarboxylation “activates” the cannabinoids (potent stuff) in your cannabis. Non-decarbed bud contains a lot of THCa, which produces relatively weak psychoactive effects on its own. The decarb process converts the THCa to usable THC, resulting in much stronger effects. During the smoking process, decarbing happens as plant matter burns, but when using cannabis for cooking, you should do it manually to get the most potency in your cannabutter. If you don’t decarb, the cooking process with the butter will do it partially, but you get stronger edibles by decarbing the weed first.

Cannabis is fully decarboxylated when it’s dried to a crisp, golden brown and crumbly. If your cannabis is older, it may already have partially or fully decarboxylated already just from contact with the air over time. If your cannabis is already very dry, brown and crumbly, with no green, you could probably skip the decarboxylation process altogether, though I personally wouldn’t.

Why use water instead of cooking cannabis directly in butter or oil?

You don’t have to use water when making cannabutter, but it has a few benefits over using just butter by itself:

Pros of Using Water

  • water leaches out chlorophyll during the cooking process so when the water is removed the resulting butter has less of a green taste and color
  • during the separation process, any remaining plant matter sinks out of the cannabutter into the water below, further filtering out inert stuff that tastes bad
  • cannabinoids don’t “stick” to water, so the potency is unaffected

Overall this results in a reduced taste, color, and smell of cannabis, while the potency stays the same – it’s the secret to making cannabutter that doesn’t taste like a skunk just sprayed some cut grass! There is still going to be a cannabis taste/smell whenever you make butter, but this reduces it quite a bit.

Cons of Using Water

  • cannabutter made with water should be used quickly if kept in the fridge since the extra moisture makes it more likely to mold than if water wasn’t used (however, cannabutter freezes well so it can be put it in the freezer for months without losing any potency, and butter tends to dry out in the freezer)

When using water as part of the process, there will be less of a cannabis taste in the butter since the water binds to chlorophyll and other untasty parts of the plant that don’t actually affect the potency

Additionally, less plant material makes it into the butter for two reasons. First, melted butter and water easily flows through cheesecloth so you can strain out the plant matter without using a lot of physical force. When using just butter you have to press everything through a mesh strainer, which introduces a lot more plant material in the final product. Second, during the separation process, any extra inert plant matter that somehow did make it through the cheesecloth will sink to the bottom so it doesn’t end up in your butter (which floats to the top).

The water filtered out all this! None of the “stuff” in this brown water would have added to the potency of your butter, but it would have made your butter taste and smell worse

Dosing – How Much Cannabis to Use When Making Butter?

The “standard” amount for a butter recipe is 1 oz of cannabis buds to 1 pound of butter. If using trim, you should use 3 oz of trim to 1 pound of butter for the same standard dose. But you can use more or less depending on the potency you’re looking for. If you want very strong butter, use more cannabis with less butter.

It’s very important to be careful at first because it’s no fun to eat too much cannabutter. Test your butter by using less than you think instead of more, especially if this is your first time. Edibles can be far stronger than any type of cannabis you smoke, and although you can always eat more edibles, you can’t take them back after the fact. A too-strong edible dose can be overwhelming and last all day, so err on the side of less when dosing! Once you are better aware of your tolerance, you can raise the potency as needed.

The ratio of cannabis to butter in this cannabutter recipe is considered a “standard” dose. It’s going to be strong but not insanely strong. If you’re starting with high-quality marijuana, this strength butter should be enough to be very medical for most people by simply replacing it in recipes where butter will be used.

Using straight bud will produce oil that is stronger than if you use trim or leaves. In general, the more potent the starting plant matter, the more THC and other cannabinoids you will end up in your cannabutter.

If you want the “strongest” butter possible, you can increase the amount of cannabis, but there is a point where adding more won’t help and can actually make things worse since things won’t cook properly. During the recipe, you will be cooking bud and butter together in water. Your cannabis will float in the water and there needs to be at least an inch or two of clear space under the floating plant matter.

Starting with a stronger product will yield stronger cannabutter!

Cannabutter Recipe Ideas

These are my favorite cannabutter recipes! I hope you enjoy them too!

Want an easier way to make pot butter?

Sometimes it’s easier to let a machine do all the work. Use this machine to automatically made weed butter! This item is similar to the “Magical Butter Machine” but seems to work even better.

Get the STX Infuzium 420! This machine makes magical butter.

Just add herb plus butter until the butter is ready, pour into the included mold, and wait a few hours to get this…

Get an unlimited supply of high-quality cannabis butter

Quick Tips

To get ultra high-quality results, I recommend using good quality cheesecloth and a strainer like the RSVP Endurance Conical Strainer, 5″ in order to separate the plant matter from your butter or tincture. I pour the mixture into the strainer and let it drip/flow into the cheesecloth. This strains the herb out and makes very clear oil/butter.

How to Make Marijuana Cookies

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Marijuana cookies are a great THC delivery alternative for people who do not wish to smoke marijuana. Consuming marijuana cookies can also produce a more intense, longer-lasting high than smoking it. [1] X Research source If you want to make a batch of marijuana cookies, then you will first need to create some cannabutter, or cannabis infused butter. Then, you can either replace the butter in your favorite cookie recipe with cannabutter, or you can try making a basic chocolate chip cannabis cookie recipe.