When making cannabis edibles, for me the goal is to make something that is...
- easy to make with what you have at home - you just need cannabis, butter and a stove
- efficiently captures THC and other cannabinoids from your cannabis
- a lot of unnecessary green plant matter is filtered out of the butter, which results in far less cannabis taste and smell than many other cannabutter recipes (even though the potency is the same or greater!)
The best cannabis edibles start with potent cannabutter (or canna oil) that produces all these effects!
So when setting out to find the best marijuana butter recipe to support the best cannabis edible, I kept these factors in mind!
Butter or Coconut Oil?
There are two really popular oils/fats to use for making edibles, and they're both competing for the top spot. They are butter and coconut oil. Coconut oil is generally considered healthier and has a very mild taste that goes very well with baked goods. Coconut seems to really help cover up the cannabis flavor and I have used it for making superb canna caps. But some people don't like coconut, or are allergic to it.
Butter also has a great taste (in my opinion) and is easier to work with when it comes to baking since you can do a straight substitution for regular butter. I decided to go with butter (ie cannabutter) in this tutorial because that is what I started with for making baked goods and other edibles, and it works great!
Note: If you want consistent butter without having to actually make it on a stove like in this recipe, you might want to take a look at the Magical Butter Machine! It lets you just add herb plus butter, and does most of the work for you!
Don't Want to Do the Work?
Check out the Magical Butter Machine!
This Recipe Makes...
- 15 "strong" portions
- 30 "regular" portions
- 50 "light" portions
- 1 oz cannabis bud, or 3 oz trim.
- 1 pound butter (usually 4 sticks of butter)
- Cheese cloth
Best Cannabutter Recipe Directions
Note: The butter needs to sit in the fridge overnight before it's ready, so make your butter a day ahead of time!
Step 1 - Decarboxylation
This is an important step if you want to make your butter more potent, especially if you're using fresh, green cannabis. If you skip this step the recipe will still work, but the resulting butter will be less potent.
1.) Preheat oven to 225° F (107° C) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
2.) Lightly grind your cannabis buds/trim and spread it over the aluminum foil on the baking sheet.
3.) Bake for 1 hour. It will get really, really smelly in your house, so be prepared! It's normal to see some steam and vapor while the cannabis is cooking. This isn't all the potency evaporating away!
4.) Remove the dried cannabis from the oven and crumble up any bigger leftover pieces between your fingers. It's normal for it to look very brown. You don't need to make it into a powder, but there shouldn't be whole nugs either. Now it's time to cook the decarboxylated cannabis with the butter and water!
Step 2 - Cook cannabis together with butter & water
1.) Bring 4 cups (950 mL) of water to a boil.
2.) Turn heat down to Medium-Low, then add the butter and wait until it melts into the water.
3.) Add your decarboxylated marijuana to the water. The cannabis plant matter will float, and there should be at least an inch or two of clearance under the cannabis. If not, add more water. Don't worry that adding more water will change the potency, as you'll be separating the water out later. The "good stuff" in cannabis doesn't stick to water, in fact, water actually filters out a lot of the stuff we don't want that make butter taste bad!
4.) Allow to cook on Medium-Low for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. The bubbles should be gently rising to the top of the water but not actively boiling.
Step 3 - Separate potent butter from inert cannabis plant material and water
1.) Line a large bowl with two layers of cheese cloth. We'll be using this to strain out the inert plant matter from the butter!
2.) Strain the water/oil/cannabis mixture. It's hot! Don't wring it out with your hands or you'll burn yourself! Take a spatula to press it against the sides to squeeze out the last bit of butter!
3.) Put the bowl in the fridge overnight. All the "good stuff" is contained in the butter/oil, which floats to the top. The water and any remaining plant matter will sink to the bottom. When you open the fridge, the butter will have hardened and appear much lighter.
4.) Use a knife to cut around the outside edges and it usually will "pop" off in a big piece.
The water filtered out all this! None of the "stuff" in this brown water would have added to the potency of your butter, but it would have made your butter taste worse!
By filtering it out with water, you'll end up with better tasting cannabis butter with less of a strong smell (without affecting the potency)!
5.) Put your finished cannabutter in its own container for storage/use! If you'd like, you can turn it upside down on a plate to help the bottom dry out.
This is what one pound of amazing pot butter looks like!
You can use cannabutter just like regular butter in any recipe, just do a 1:1 substitution!
The resulting potency of your cannabutter is heavily influenced by the amount/strength of your starting cannabis! Additionally, each people will be affected by edibles differently, so it's highly recommended you start with less than you think! Additionally, edibles can take up to 2-3 hours to take effect, especially if eating them on a full stomach, so don't eat any more in that time period because you think "it's not working!" To get the cannabis effects to come on more quickly, try to eat edibles on an empty stomach. However, sometimes that can give people indigestion so listen to your body!
You can store cannabutter in the fridge for a week, but cannabutter can possibly mold especially if it never really got a chance to dry out from the water. So only leave it in the fridge if you plan to use it immediately.
However, your cannabutter can go in the freezer and will be good for months without losing any potency!
I know that it may seem counter intuitive to cook your cannabis first, but trust me on this! This recipe is actually very conservative when it comes to decarbing, many recipes call for you to do it at a higher temperature. But decarbing will increase the potency of your butter. I have skipped the decarb process because I felt it was a waste of time since I was already cooking the herb in oil, and I didn't want to "burn away" the potency, but I can tell you it's extremely noticeable how much less potent your butter ends up being if you don't decarb your buds first.
Cannabis is expensive, so why not get the most potency out of yours? Let me explain how and why growers decarb their cannabis:
Decarboxylation is what "activates" the cannabinoids (potent stuff) in your cannabis. Non-decarbed bud contains a lot of THCa, which doesn't have a lot of psychoactive effect. The decarb process converts the THCa to usable THC. Normally this is done during the smoking process but when using cannabis with cooking, you want to do it manually to get the most potency in your canna butter. If you don't decarb, the cooking process with the butter will do it partially, but you get more potency by decarbing first, too.
The cannabis is fully decarboxylated when it's dried to a crisp, golden brown and crumbly. If your cannabis is older, it may already have partially or fully decarboxylated already just from contact with the air over time. If your cannabis is already very dry, brown and crumbly, with no green, you could probably skip the decarboxylation process altogether, though I personally wouldn't.
You don't have to use water when making cannabutter, but it has a few benefits over using just butter by itself:
Pros of Using Water
- water leaches out chlorophyll during the cooking process so when the water is removed the resulting butter has less of a green taste and color
- during the separation process, any remaining plant matter sinks out of the cannabutter into the water below, further filtering out inert stuff that tastes bad and doesn't affect the potency
Overall this results in a reduced taste, color and smell of cannabis, while the potency stays the same - it's the secret to making cannabutter that doesn't taste like a skunk just sprayed some cut grass! There is still going to be a cannabis taste/smell whenever you make butter, but it's far reduced!
Cons of Using Water
- cannabutter made with water should be used quickly if kept in the fridge, since the extra moisture makes it more likely to mold than if water wasn't used (however, cannabutter freezes well so it can be put it in the freezer for months without losing any potency)
When using water as part of the process, there will be less of a cannabis taste in the butter since the water binds to chlorophyll and other untasty parts of the plant that don't actually affect the potency
Additionally, less plant material makes it into the butter for two reasons. First, melted butter and water easily flows through cheesecloth so you can strain out the plant matter without using a lot of physical force. When using just butter you have to press everything through a mess strainer, which introduces a lot more plant material in the final product. Second, during the separation process, any extra inert plant matter that somehow did make it through the cheesecloth will sink to the bottom so it doesn't end up in your butter (which floats to the top).
The water filtered out all this! None of the "stuff" in this brown water would have added to the potency of your butter, but it would have made your butter taste and smell worse!
The "standard" amount for a butter recipe is 1 oz of cannabis buds to 1 pound of butter. If using trim, you should use 3 oz of trim to 1 pound of butter for the same standard dose. But you can use more or less depending on the potency you're looking for. If you want very strong butter, use more cannabis with less butter.
It's very important to be careful and use less instead of more if you're not sure. Edibles can be far stronger than any type of cannabis you smoke, and although you can always take more edibles, you can't take them back. A too-strong edible dose can be overwhelming and last all day, so err on the side of less when dosing! Once you are better aware of your tolerance, you can raise the potency as needed.
The ratio of cannabis to butter in this cannabutter recipe is considered a "standard" dose. It's going to be strong but not insanely strong. If you're starting with high quality marijuana, this strength butter should be enough to be very medical for most people by simply replacing it in recipes where butter will be used.
Using straight bud will produce oil that is stronger than if you used trim or leaves. In general, the more potent the starting plant matter, the more THC and other cannabinoids you will end up in your cannabutter.
If you want the "strongest" butter possible, you can increase the amount of cannabis, but there is a point where adding more won't help and can actually make things worse since things won't cook properly. During the recipe you will be cooking bud and butter together in water. Your cannabis will float in the water and there needs to be at least an inch or two of clear space under the floating plant matter.
Starting with stronger product will yield stronger cannabutter!
The Magical Butter machine automates practically the entire process of making edible cannabis extract for you!
Just add herb plug butter, and wait a few hours to get this...
1. Use 3.5 - 8 grams herb per STICK of butter
2. Minimum amounts needed: 4 Sticks of Butter & 14+ grams of cannabis or trim
To get ultra high-quality results, I recommend using good quality cheesecloth and a strainer like the RSVP Endurance Conical Strainer, 5" in order to separate the plant matter from your butter or tincture. I pour the mixture into the strainer and let it drip/flow into the cheesecloth. This strains the herb out and makes very clear oil/butter. If you have any questions, you can the Magical Butter phone number on www.magicalbutter.com and they provide excellent customer service.