Cannabutter is simply butter infused with weed. We make it vegan so that it’s ethical and healthier. Any true vegan stoner will love this.
Cannabutter has gone through countless evolutions ever since the founding heads of peace and love in the 60s and 70s decided to make pot brownies. The need to make infused ingredients has existed for thousands of years. Nowadays, with so many states having legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes we need to get the good word of a healthier option out there for home edible chefs. Using plant based butter for your edible infusions makes them contain no cholesterol naturally and also you don’t have to hurt mother cows and their children. Win, win, win!
Originally, people would literally grind up their weed and just mix it into their brownie or cookie mix and think that was all they wrote. Thankfully, science has now shown us the ways of decarbing weed in order to activate it. What happens is covered in depth in our decarbing resource, but essentially all it does is activate the THC or CBD in the flower by heating it to remove a CO2 molecule. Too sciency? Okay, the recipe is right below.
¼ ounce marijuana
½ cup (4 ounces) coconut oil
Pie plate or oven-safe shallow pan; fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- Toast your marijuana; the fancy term for this process is decarboxylation. Scatter the marijuana on your pie plate; toast at 240 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, turning a few times throughout the baking. Remove from the oven, and let cool completely. Keep the oven on.
- Finely grind the cannabis; you can do this with a spice grinder, mortar and pestle, or just carefully crumbling it with your fingers. Technically you can do this before or after toasting it, but I find the drier texture post-toasting makes it easier to do it then.
- Place the marijuana back in the pie plate and either pour or spoon the coconut oil on top. Personally, my coconut oil was solid because it was a cold day, so I just spooned it on top of the marijuana. Once it goes in the oven it melts pretty rapidly.
- Place the pie plate in the still-warm oven, and let it cook for about 3 hours, opening the oven and shifting things around every half hour or so.
- At the end of 3 hours, you’ll notice that the oil itself has taken on a distinctly green-yellow tinge. That’s a good sign! Remove from the oven.
- Set up either cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer (I actually used a tea strainer!) perched above a heatproof container. Strain the vegan cannabutter over the container, making sure to get every last drop from the pan. If using a cheesecloth, squeeze to strain out any last bits of liquid; if using a strainer, press down with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Transfer the liquid to a jar or airtight container. This vegan cannabutter can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature; it will become solid at cool room temperature or if chilled. It will keep for several weeks.
For those who prefer to avoid their homes taking on the odor of cannabis, using a sous vide circulator to decarboxylate the flower is a great, discreet option: Set up a water bath for your circulator and program to 185ºF(85ºC). Place the ground CBD flower into a heavy-duty zip-top bag and use a vacuum sealer or the water displacement method to expel the air from the bag, and seal tightly. Once the water reaches this temperature, lower the bag into the water bath and cook for about 45 minutes, until the cannabis is golden brown in color (no longer green). You may need to clip the bag to the side to keep it submerged.
The water level will drop during cooking time, add water as needed throughout the process to keep the water level above the butter line.
You don’t have to use coconut oil for this recipe. You can substitute any vegan cooking oil, such as olive oil or avocado oil. You could also use a vegan butter substitute, such as Earth Balance. Of course, if you’re not vegan, you can use regular butter or even lard here, too.
If this is your first or hundredth time making cannabutter, here are my golden rules to making safe cannabutter:
Low and Slow:
Optimal infusion takes TIME! This is not something you want to rush, or else your edible will not reach its full potential and have a reduced shelf life. This rule also applies to consumption: if you are not yet aware of your cannabis comfort zone, start with a low dose. Understand the effects of each level of dosing: if you feel comfortable taking more, you can at your own risk.
Make Cannabutter with Your Final Product in Mind:
Many online cannabutter recipes recommend infusing large amounts of cannabis into butter (7-8g), to which you can use a small amount in any recipe. I do not like or recommend this approach as you do not actually know how much cannabis has been infused into that portion you decide to consume. I like to make cannabutter knowing exactly what I plan to make and how many portions I want out of it. That way I can control the dosage and ensure that every edible I make ends up with the same amount of cannabis-infused.
The first step in making edibles is buying a precision scale (measures to the 0.01g) and a digital candy thermometer. You should be measuring everything to the milligram to ensure safe and accurate dosing. Thus a scale is essential. A thermometer is critical during the infusion phase to ensure your hot butter doesn’t scald the cannabis bud. Continuing my previous point, it is essential to calculate AHEAD OF TIME how much cannabis you would like to have per serving.
In Canada and almost all legal US States, the proposed legal dose of an edible is 0.01g, or 10mg. If I was planning to make 36 infused cookies, and my recipe calls for 80g of butter, I would multiply 36 servings by 0.01g. This is the total cannabis that I need to infuse into my butter, which in this example equals 0.36g.
In reality, this is not a lot of cannabis, thus being a great place to start for first time users. At your own personal discretion and risk, you can increase the dose per serving. Other factors in the production process, from cannabis strain to how long you infused the butter, will increase or decrease the potency of the edible. Above all else, it is important to follow the first golden rule, and be sure to set boundaries for your own comfort zone.