How to Make Strong Cannabis Butter
For medical cannabis patients who deal with a lot of pain, a really strong edible is often the only thing that will provide relief. A really strong edible often requires cannabutter, and a strong cannabutter at that.
Not all edible recipes call for butter, as some call for raw cannabis, cannabis milk, cannabis coconut butter, etc. But for the most part, knowing how to make cannabis butter is important as it's the starting point for most cannabis recipes. (Stay tuned for future recipes using other cannabis products.)
There are many different ways to make cannabis butter, and there is no 'right way.' There are people out there who swear that their way is the only way to make cannabutter, but that's just simply not accurate.
I have seen people make cannabutter at least a hundred different ways, all of which produced some great cannabutter. The only real difference was in the potency of the cannabutter.
Why I prefer my cannabutter to be as strong as possible
A lot of cannabutter recipes I have seen over the years produce low to medium strength cannabutter. That's fine for a lot of people, but I prefer mine to be very strong. I have a high tolerance, and when I'm eating edibles, it's likely because I'm in pain, and I want the pain to go away.
Weaker cannabutter is preferred by many people because they just want to relax, or to eat an edible that takes a bit of the edge off.
What I always point out to people is that you can always reduce the potency of butter by substituting cannabutter for regular butter in recipes. However, you can't add more potency to butter after it's already been made.
So I prefer to make my butter as strong as possible, and then let my friends and family develop a ratio of cannabutter to regular butter that works best for their tolerence level and desires.
Step 1 - Gathering the ingredients and hardware
There are three ingredients to the butter recipe that I use, which is a recipe that I have been using for about a decade, and have improved upon over the years.
You will need some cannabis trim (typically, access to cannabis trim requires being a grower or knowing one. If you don’t have trim, you can always use dried buds instead, but it takes much less buds than trim!), some salted high quality butter, some water, and a big pot to boil it all in. You will also need a cookie sheet to decarboxylze the cannabis trim.
This method of boiling in a large pot produces a lot of odor. Many of my friends and family prefer to use a crockpot to make cannabutter to prevent the smell from filling the house. My method involves boiling cannabis, water, and butter for four hours with no lid on the pot, so you can imagine the aroma it produces. Consider this your warning!
Step 2 - Decarbing the cannabis
For a long time I did not decarboxylze my cannabis before making butter with it. The butter was still very strong, but not as strong as it could have been.
Decarboxylization is necessary to convert some of the cannabinoids in the cannabis, in order to get the most effect out of the cannabis being used. This is done by putting the cannabis in the oven at a low temperature after it's been chopped up as fine as possible.
As with just about anything in the cannabis world, there are differing opinions as to what is the best temperature and duration to decarb cannabis. Most people I know will say low 200's for about an hour - to an hour and fifteen minutes.
My friend Amber Senter, who I consider to be the top cannabis edible authority in America, suggested that I do 260 degrees for 45 minutes. I recommend taking her advice. This is how I now decarboxylze the cannabis trim, and it works very well for me.
Literally, just chop up the cannabis as best you can. I prefer to use a food processor because it mulches the cannabis trim to a very fine consistency, which helps unlock the goodness inside. Then put it on a baking sheet, and put it in the oven.
Step 3 - Combine all the ingredients and start boiling
Now that the cannabis has been prepped, the next thing to do is put it in the pot. I personally make sure that the pot is 1/4 to 1/3 full of cannabis trim. Anything more than this and the butter won't absorb the cannabis, and you want to get every drop out of your herb.
I know of people that put far less in the pot when making cannabutter, and that's fine too, especially if that's all you have. This is the amount I always put in, with the results being close to perfect for my taste.
After the cannabis has been added, put one cup of butter for every four cups of water into the pot, until the pot is about 80% of the way full. You will want to leave space at the top of the pot so it doesn’t boil over.
From here, you just turn on the burner as high as it will go, and stir the mixture as needed. I let the mixture boil for four hours, adding water as needed as it evaporates and the level in the pot lowers.
Step 4 - Straining the mixture after the boiling is done
I let mine boil for four hours, but there have been times when I had more time on my hands and let it boil longer, which I'd image makes the butter stronger as it provides more time for the oils in the butter to bond with the oils from the cannabis.
On the flip side, if you don't have four hours to babysit the boiling mixture, less time would probably work too, although the butter won't be as strong. When you are done boiling, the next step is separating the solids from the liquids.
A lot of the work can be done by pouring the mixture through a strainer into a container. However, the remaining ultra-hot cannabis trim still has a lot of liquid butter on it, and that needs to be separated too.
For a long time I just let it sit on the strainer and let gravity do the work. However, not all of the butter would strain off of the cannabis, and a lot would be lost.
I then started just squeezing the cannabis with my hands (after cleaning them of course!), which was very effective at getting the remaining liquid butter off the cannabis, however, it was a long process as I had to wait for the cannabis to be cold enough to touch, but still warm enough for the butter to be in a liquid state.
One day my wife saw what I was doing and asked why I wasn't using a potato ricer. I had never heard of such a thing, mainly because I'm not too savvy in the kitchen.
But when I saw what she was talking about, it made perfect sense, and I have been using one ever since, which has really cut down on a lot of the time spent straining and squeezing the cannabis!
Step 5 - Letting the butter cool and storing in the refrigerator
By the time you are done straining and squeezing the mixture, the cannabis liquid will have already started separating, with the water on the bottom, and the oil on the top.
Leave the container out for about a half an hour to 45 minutes to cool off a bit, then put it in the fridge over night.
When you wake up the next day, the oil will have hardened into glorious cannabutter. Pulling it out of the container is tricky, as the water underneath will splash around as you're removing the cannabutter, so watch out for that.
You can discard the water, as it is likely brown and very gross looking. I scrape off any funky stuff from the bottom side of the cannabutter chunk, and put the butter in my fridge.
If I'm not going to use the cannabutter for awhile I put it in the freezer. I don't know exactly how long cannabutter lasts in the freezer, but I have used it months after making it and it worked great.
This recipe should make extra strength cannabis butter, which can be mixed with regular butter to reduce the potency if you choose. If you don't reduce the potency, be careful, as this recipe makes really, really strong cannabutter!
If you are trying to be healthier, you can by all means use unsalted butter as an input too. The people I make edibles for prefer them to be fatty and salty for various reasons, so that's how I make it.
If you have any tips or tricks, or another recipe that you prefer more, by all means put it in the comments section so that others can benefit from your experience!
How do you prefer your edibles?
|Not that strong||
|as strong as possible||