Over several decades, the concept of edible cannabis has become synonomoush with rich, flavorful treats like brownies and cookies. Why is that?
For one, it's important to note that the most prominent compound of cannabis, THC, is only made fully active and effective upon us with the introduction of heat, in a process known as decarboxylation. In short, that's why we smoke or vape cannabis, rather than just eating raw cannabis buds...but not all of us like to inhale our THC.
Fortunately, THC is also fat-soluble, which make edible lipids like butter and cooking oils a great medium through which THC can dissolve easily and evenly. A nice homogenous infusion of butter or oil can help you easily administer your preferred dose of cannabis in your favorite foods, if you do the right math!
THC-infused butter and oil naturally lend themselves to rich doughs and batters, and those deep, flavorful treats like brownies and cookies are hard to turn down! Still, those infused fats can also be used for sauteeing, frying, or even as emulsions. If you want to give cannabis cooking a try for yourself, we've provided you with a few methods of infusing butter or oil with cannabis!
1 pound of butter or coconut oil
1 cup of water
1-1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, trim or a combination
Put the butter or oil and water in a pot on your stove; melt on a low heat. When the butter or oil is mostly melted, add in the cannabis. Stir and simmer on low for 2-4 hours, keeping an eye on it and adding water when necessary.
Take the infused butter or oil off the stove, cool slightly and then strain through cheesecloth into a glass jar or bowl. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the leftover material in order to maximize the medicine. Discard or compost the leftover plant material.
Put the strained product in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to cool and harden. Once the infused butter or oil has hardened and separated from the water, remove from the water, and discard the water.
Let your butter or oil soften at room temperature until you’re ready to use it. Your cannabutter will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks or in the freezer for up to six months.
Alternate Method #1:
Rather than heating the infused butter or oil on the stove, you can use a slow cooker on low for 8+ hours and then follow the instructions above.
Alternate Method #2:
A third option is to wrap and tie the cannabis into cheesecloth, similar to an herbal bouquet or tea bag, and slowly heat either on the stove or slow cooker. Rather than straining the plant matter, you should be able to squeeze the packet (after it’s cool enough to handle) to release the remaining medicine and then follow the instructions above.
Once it’s cool, your cannabutter is ready to use just like butter or oil. You can cook or bake with it, spread it on toast, bread, or crackers, add it to potatoes, rice, and veggies, or drizzle it over popcorn.
It’s important to note that not all cannabutter is created equal. The strength of your product will depend on the strength of the cannabis you used to infuse the original butter or oil. In addition, the dosage of home-cooked cannabutter, or any home-cooked edible, is difficult to measure. While retail cannabis edible products are labeled with cannabinoid profile and strength, it’s impossible to know exactly how much medicine is in each “dose” of your cannabutter. As with any edible, but especially with homemade products, you should start with a small amount of the infused butter or oil, or with a small serving of the food you made using the cannabutter, and wait approximately two hours before taking a second dose. Always start low and go slow.
For more information on medical cannabis dosage, see Dosing Medical Cannabis: How Much and How Often.