Cannabis Butter: Everything You Need to Know


If you have ever tried a pot brownie, then you’ve consumed cannabis butter. This infused butter is the key ingredient in almost every marijuana culinary delicacy out there, from edibles to cookies to roasted carrots and beyond, cannabis butter — sometimes called cannabutter — is the base ingredient you have to thank for your delicious treat and equally delicious high.

But what is it, really? How do you make it? Can you buy it? And has the process progressed at all since you experimented in college? So many questions and so little time; so let’s get to it.

Cannabis Butter is, Quite Literally, Butter Infused with Marijuana

It’s made from butter, which is boiled on low heat with cannabis flowers, until the cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the cannabis plant and infused into the butter’s fat.

It’s more than just an infusion, because you’re not simply transferring the flavor of the marijuana into the butter; you’re actually extracting the THC from the marijuana and allowing it to bind to the fat molecules in the butter, so that it can be used in a wide variety of culinary dishes.

How Do You Make Cannabutter?

There are quick versions and easy recipes and there are slightly more involved methods of preparation. But generally speaking, cannabis butter is made with a few key ingredients and simple steps.

According to a recipe from Laurie Wolf, the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana Edibles,” all you need are 3 ingredients, one tool, and a lot of patience (aka 5 hours of your time).

The first, and arguably the most important step, is the prep work you do before infusing your butter. You need to bake your weed in the oven in order to “fully activate the THC, a process known as decarboxylation.” Simply place the plant material in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 240 degrees for 40 minutes. Next, place the weed in boiling water while you melt your butter.

Once the butter is melted, add the weed and turn down the heat to a low simmer. After approximately 3 hours, the butter will be done, and you can strain out the marijuana pieces using either a heat proof container and cheesecloth, or a strainer if you have one. Let the cannabutter cool for about an hour, and then store it in the refrigerator to finish.

What Makes One Weed Butter Different From Another?

It all boils down to the strain of marijuana you choose to use, pun intended. Every different type of cannabis provides different types of psychoactive effects; some strains make you philosophical, some make you giggly, some help you relax and some are stimulants. The cannabis you choose will dictate the effects of the butter you make. The fact is, the butter you make is only as good as the weed you use to make it with. It’s like any culinary experiment…the better the ingredients, the better the result, plain and simple.

What if I’m too Lazy to Make my Own Cannabis Butter?

Great news: you can buy it as well. If you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, or you have a patient license to purchase medical marijuana, there are places where you can buy cannabutter that is packaged and ready to use.

What Proportions are Best?

Obviously the more marijuana you use the stronger your cannabutter will be. All recipes are scalable, but a good place to start is with a 1/2-ounce cannabis mixed with a ½-lb of butter. You can always use more of less of either ingredient to suit your needs and the level of strength you are going for. Always consume with caution and wait to see how your body responds to the concentration of butter you are using.

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