During this time of social isolation, many cannabis enthusiasts are turning to crafting their own edibles at home. Edibles are food products infused with cannabis extract.1 One popular way this infusion is accomplished is by the use of magic cannabutter in tasty edible confections. This guide will explore how to whip up the most potent batch of cannabutter possible, according to science. Edibles have revolutionized the cannabis industry and countless patients are beginning to enjoy making their own. Having some potent, well-made cannabutter on hand can make creating countless delicious edibles a simple task.

Gather Your Materials & Ingredients

The exact ratio of butter to cannabis depends on a variety of factors, most importantly, how strong you want it. For this recipe, we’ll stick to:

  • One cup of unsalted or clarified butter for every cup (7-10g) of fresh cannabis flower.
  • Pyrex or Mason Jar to be used for storing final product
  • Towel and oven mitts for safety
  • Pot or saucepan
  • Freezer
  • Pyrex dish to cover herb in oven
  • One cup water
  • Cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil
  • Funnel
  • Hemp Nut Milk Bags (to strain out plant matter)

The Basics: First Decarb Your Weed & The Science Behind Why

The first step in working with dry flower is to decarboxylate your cannabinoid acids.

“In their natural form, CBs (cannabinoids) such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) and cannabidiolic (CBD-A) acid are inactive at these receptors, while their decarboxylated forms (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, respectively) are potent ligands at CB receptors.”2 Therefore, to actually obtain activate constituents (such as the cannabinoids THC and CBD), proper decarboxylation is necessary. While decarboxylating the cannabinoids in your flower might sound like a complex process, it’s actually really quite simple.

To convert the THC-A, CBD-A and other cannabinoid acids (e.g. THCVA and CBDVA) into their active forms, such as THC and CBD, all you need to do is add heat to your lightly “hand-ground” flower. We advise not using a grinder as that will cause the removal of many of your trichromes as they fall into the keif catcher. Ideally, we’d like for as much of the trichromes to stay on the buds as possible, as they contain all the cannabinoids, terpenoids, flavonoids, esters and many other components of the Cannabis plant.

Depending on the strength of your butter that you desire, take your hand-ground bud and spread it across a baking pan lined with aluminum foil or baking sheet. The more ground and spread out the herb is, the greater the surface area of the cannabis that’s exposed to the heat and will adequately decarboxylate. It is through this process that the goodies in your cannabis can now be active when orally consumed and passing through your gut, encountering first-pass metabolism by your liver.

How To Approach The Physical Decarboxylation Process

It is advised to go “low and slow” in terms of the amount of heat and time exposure. For this recipe, we recommend 45 minutes of your ground herb in the oven after being preheated to 240ºF. Be mindful of gently mixing the buds by shaking the tray as to maximize the exposed surface area of your cannabis and covering it with a pyrex dish to contain the vapors released by flower, allowing them to resettle on the decarbed herb. Once the toasty flower is removed from the oven, this glass covering is kept on until it cools to room temperature to allow the vapors (which likely contain volatile cannabinoids, terpenoids and other compounds) to fall back into your flower as it cools. Ideally, you should let it sit for about 4 hours. Drier cannabis buds can spend less time in the oven, as they will need less time to decarb. Once your weed is nice and toasty after spending the appropriate time in the oven, it’s decarbed and ready to be infused into butter and enjoyed. A quick tip: placing your decarbed weed in the freezer for an hour will allow the trichromes to fall off easier and optimize the upcoming infusion process!

The Cooking Process Simplified

Around the time your herb is decarboxylated and ready to be consumed or infused, melt a cup of butter in your pot or saucepan with a cup of water. The water helps prevent scorching or burning of the butter by regulating temperature. Once the butter starts melting, add in your crispy cannabis flowers. Stir in your coarsely grounded herb and let the mixture simmer (not a full boil) for 2-3 hours (around 160 degrees but ideally not above 200 degrees F). Stir the mixture occasionally and ensure it does not get too hot. Overheating the mixture will destroy certain cannabinoids and terpenoids, hence why going “low and slow” is ideal for capturing as full an essence of the original product as possible in the extract it’s been infused into. When this is complete, all that’s left is to strain the final product and refrigerate!

Notes on Straining & Washing Cannabis Plant Matter Out of Your Butter

This is when you can use your funnel and hemp nut milk bag (cheesecloth lets too much plant matter through!) over the mouth of the jar you intend to store the cannabutter in and carefully pour the herby buttery mixture into the hemp nut milk bag lined funnel to strain and allow the butter to drain completely. Squeezing the cheesecloth to get “more” magic out of the plant matter actually ends up adding more undesirable plant matter to the final product. From here, the final product is placed in the refrigerator. About an hour after this, you may notice excess water that may even contain some chlorophyll/undesirable plant matter that is water-soluble and thus, sticking around. As water and oil separate, the solid butter can be removed with a knife and the water, perhaps containing less than necessary components of the plant, can be washed away easily. To further remove plant matter (if you feel it is necessary) after the excess water is drained following the first hour of the cannabutter cooling in the fridge, more water can be added and then drained again later in a similar fashion to further “clean” the final product.

The Medical Cannabis Community Simple & Potent Cannabutter Recipe

 Ingredients:

  • One cup of unsalted or clarified butter for every cup (7-10g) of fresh cannabis flower.
  • Pyrex or Mason Jar to be used for storing final product
  • Freezer
  • Pyrex Dish to cover herb in oven
  • Towel and oven mitts for safety
  • Pot or saucepan
  • One cup water
  • Cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil
  • Funnel
  • Hemp Nut Milk Bag (to strain out plant matter)

The Simple Yet Potent Cannabutter Recipe (Step-by-Step):

  • Wash your hands carefully and well with antibacterial soap before starting.
  • Hand grind your cannabis flower in smaller pieces and spread evenly on cookie sheet lined with foil.
  • Cover broken up flower with Pyrex dish to prevent vapors from escaping during decarboxylation process
  • Place in preheated oven at 240 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 min depending on how dry your herb is to begin with
  • Lightly shake cookie sheet every 10 min or so to maximize surface area of cannabis exposed for optimal decarboxylation.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature with Pyrex dish in place for 4 hours.
  • Place covered, decarbed flower into freezer for 1 hour to optimize infusion!
  • Melt 1 cup unsalted or clarified butter (Ghee) with 1 cup water in saucepan or pot.
  • As unsalted or clarified butter melts, add decarbed weed into butter and stir occasionally.
  • Allow mixture to simmer (NOT boil) for 2-3 hours
  • Use funnel and hemp nut mil bag in mouth of mason jar being used to store cannabutter to strain out plant matter and store cannabutter.
  • Excess water can be removed from the final product after about an hour in the refrigerator as the water layer will separate from the oily buttery layer.
  • Dose low to start and wait an hour to see how you feel.
  • Enjoy

The Super Simpler & Also Potent Way To Make Cannabutter: Using a Crockpot

  1. Make sure to break apart bigger nugs of your bud by hand. Avoid grinding it too finely, as with a coffee grinder, as this will make it difficult to remove undesirable plant matter and flavors from your final product and waste precious, delicate trichomes.
  2. Set your slow cooker around 160 degrees Fahrenheit, always being careful not to pass 200 degrees and risk scorching or burning the active constituents of the cannabis plant you’re seeking.
  3. Add both butter and ground cannabis to slow cooker.
  4. After about 3 hours, turn off the crock-pot and allow everything to cool.
  5. Strain butter as described above and store in Mason jar for optimal freshness. 

The Simplest Way to Make Potent Cannabutter: Magical Butter Machine Recipe

  1. Place the ingredients into your MagicalButter machine, and secure the head.*
  2. Press the Temperature button, and select 160°F/71°C. Then press the 2 Hours/Butter button.
  3. After the cycle is complete, unplug the unit at the outlet, and remove the head of the appliance. Put on your LoveGlove™, and pour the pitcher contents slowly through your PurifyFilter™ into MagicalButter Trays, formed molds, or other storage container.

Sources:

1.        Barrus, D. G. et al. Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles. Methods Rep. RTI Press 2016, (2016).

2.        Lewis-Bakker, M. M., Yang, Y., Vyawahare, R. & Kotra, L. P. Extractions of Medical Cannabis Cultivars and the Role of Decarboxylation in Optimal Receptor Responses. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 4, 183–194 (2019).

Author: Gaurav Dubey

Gaurav Dubey is a dynamic clinical biologist and evidence-based branding professional with a passion for science and traveling the world. Gaurav earned a dual bachelor's degree in biology and philosophy from the University of Miami, and his Master’s in Biotechnology from Rush University Medical Center. He has co-authored three peer-reviewed studies with his first lead author study investigating second-time lung re-transplant recipients recently accepted to the world's leading clinical transplant journal, The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. He is an avid scientific cannablogger and a regular contributor for Green Flower Media along with various other cannabis/hemp media outlets and has been featured in Benzinga for his educational and scientific cannabis content. He just finished travelling through central Mexico embracing the life of a digital nomad while running his startup evidence-based branding firm, Karmik, which strives to “take science off the shelf” and utilize his scientific and clinical background to help position the science minded E-commerce brands Karmik works with as thought leaders in their industry.

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