Make Cannabis Butter at Home
Of all the cannabis infusions, marijuana butter is perhaps the most iconic. This dank take on regular butter combines the versatility of butter with the high-flying goodness of cannabis flower.
The process of making weed butter is not complicated, but it is precise. This isn’t something you can leave unattended simmering on the stove – close attention is required to be rewarded with delicious and potent cannabutter.
What is Cannabis Butter?
Weed butter is exactly what it sounds like – butter infused with marijuana. Stoners have been infusing butter for decades as a way to create some of your favorite edible treats – weed brownies anyone?
And don't forget, for a true homemade cannabutter experience, you can grow your own cannabis for infusing!
Understanding How Marijuana Butter Works
One of the biggest pitfalls with infused butter is over-consuming. Unlike smoking a joint, which gets you high quickly (~5-10 minutes to feel the effects, 30 minutes to peak) cannabis-infused edibles, like cannabutter, take longer before you feel the effects.
You can expect cannabis edibles to take anywhere from 60 – 90 minutes to kick in, and around 3 hours for the experience to peak. This is because edibles are processed into your bloodstream through your digestive tract, which works slower than your lungs.
Overdoing it on butter is easy because edibles hit you differently – and harder than smoking dose. In your liver, THC is processed into another chemical compound called 11-hydroxyTHC, which is twice as strong as THC. The delayed onset and the increased strength of the dose make it easy to have a bad time.
But cannabutter is a staple of every stoner kitchen, and as long as you start low and go slow, you’ll be fine.
Difference Between Cannabutter and Canna-oil
Cannabutter and weed oil are remarkably similar in the production process; the only difference is your base. Butter and oil both work well as a base for cannabis infusions because they’re fatty. Cannabis is lipophilic – it loves fat. In fact, if you don’t have enough fat in your system, you won’t get as high!
Why Make Cannabutter?
There are a few reasons you may spend the time and effort to infuse butter rather than just packing a bowl. Unlike smoking, butter is a subtle consumption method. While it does produce a smell while cooking, there is no odor or smoke when you consume it, making it perfect for people who live in homes that don’t allow smoking, or with others who don’t like cannabis smoke.
Cannabis butter is also a great alternative for people who can’t smoke. You still get all of the benefits of cannabis but without the harshness of combustion. If you don’t like smoking, butter or other edibles may work well for you.
Cannabutter is also fun – pure and simple. With infused butter on hand, it’s fast and easy to turn anything into an edible, from your morning toast to caramelized onions. Infusions like butter help you expand your stoner imagination.
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What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is a chemical change process where cannabinoids like THCa are converted to THC and other active forms. Decarbing is a necessary part of making edibles because, without it, you won’t have THC in your butter.
Raw weed doesn’t have the necessary compounds to get you high – you have to decarb it. When you smoke, your light does the decarb work for you, but it’s an extra and necessary step in making any edibles.
How to Decarboxylate Your Weed for Butter
- Preheat your oven to 230 degrees Fahrenheit (110°C)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Grind your cannabis (you can do this before or after your decarb it)
- Place cannabis on the baking tray and put it in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes
- Stir occasionally
What You Need to Make Cannabutter
You don’t need to buy anything extra to make cannabutter – you can make it with the equipment you already have at home.
- Unsalted butter
- Lined baking sheet
- Fine mesh strainer
- Food-safe container
Making Weed Butter on the Stove
Making weed butter on the stove is the most traditional route of infusion. As long as you have a single burner and an oven, you’ve got everything you need to make buttery-infused goodness.
In addition to the above ingredients, you’ll need a saucepan and 1 c of water. The water is optional but will help the butter cook down and reduce butter loss.
- Start by decarbing your weed.
Place your saucepan over low heat. Add 1 c butter and 1 c water.
Once butter is melted, add cannabis and mix well.
- Let the butter simmer on low heat for 2 – 3 hours, mixing regularly. Don’t let it boil or you’ll start to lose cannabinoids!
- After 2 – 3 hours, remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Don’t let it cool all the way or the butter will solidify with the plant matter still in it!
- Place your cheesecloth/ strainer over your storage container and pour the butter mix in. Strain the plant matter out and throw it away.
- Let the butter cool completely and place it in the fridge to store. Stored in an air-tight container in the fridge, your butter can last up to six months.
Making Marijuana Butter in a Crockpot
Making cannabutter in a crockpot slow cooker has become increasingly popular with stoners across the world. It removes the need to hover around your infusion to ensure it doesn’t burn, allowing you to get on with your day while your butter steeps.
In addition to the ingredients above, to make cannabutter in a crockpot you’ll also need a crock pot and mason jars. How many mason jars you need will be dependent on how large/small they are, and the size of your crockpot.
- Start with decarboxylated weed
- Fill your crockpot halfway with water and heat to between 160 – 190F.
- Cut your butter into small pieces and add to mason jars. Add the cannabis evenly between the jars and close.
- Place the jars in the water and close the crockpot lid. Cook for 2 – 4 hours. You’ll need to “burp” (open) the jars after every hour to keep pressure from building up inside and stir.
- After 2 – 3 hours, carefully remove the jars from the water. Let cool so you can touch them.
- Place your cheesecloth or strainer over the air-tight container and pour.
- Let your butter cool completely and place the storage container in the fridge.
Making Cannabutter in an Instant Pot
There’s not much an Instant Pot can’t do – including making cannabutter! To make marijuana butter in a pressure cooker, you’ll butter, weed, mason jars, a strainer, and an Instant Pot.
There’s one major advantage to making weed butter in a pressure cooker; it can decarboxylate and infuse your weed, so you don’t need to use an oven.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis in a Pressure Cooker:
- Place your weed in a mason jar and close the lid
- Using the trivet (a small metal stand that comes with Instant Pot or a steamer basket, place the mason jar in the pressure cooker and add 4 c water
- Close the lid and set the cooker to High for ~30 – 40 minutes
- Allow the pressure cooker to naturally release and carefully remove the mason jars. Allow them to cool before attempting to open.
How to Make Cannabutter in a Pressure Cooker
- After decarboxylation, combine your cannabis flower and butter in a mason jar.
- Close the lid and place back in the pressure cooker. If you just decarbed your weed, keep the trivet and the water in the cooker. If you’re starting here, place your mason jars on a trivet or steamer basket, and add 4 c water.
- Cook on low for ~3 - 4 hours
- Allow the pressure cooker to naturally release and carefully remove the mason jars. Allow the jars to cool before touching.
- Once cooled, pour the mixture out through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. Store in a fridge in an airtight container.
Recipes to Make with Cannabutter
The only limit to what you can make with weed butter is your imagination! Any recipe that calls for butter (or another fat, like oil) can be made with weed butter.
Some classic edible recipes are ones you bake, like:
But what you can make with cannabis-infused butter doesn’t stop with baked goods cannabis recipes. If you love cooking, anything can become an edible with cannabutter. What about:
- Morning toast (or bagel, or English muffin, or croissant)
- Buttered noodles
- Banana Bread
- Rice Krispie treats
- Pad Thai
- Canna-butter board
- And so much more!
How Strong is My Cannabutter?
The main drawback of making edibles at home is that you don’t know how strong they are. That’s why it’s important to start low and go slow, especially when trying a new infusion for the first time.
It’s challenging to calculate what the potency of your cannabutter will be, but there are online calculators that can help you get an idea, like this one from Emily Kyle Nutrition, or this one from infusion machine Magical Butter.
Of course, butter made with ½ ounce of cannabis will be stronger than butter made with ¼ ounce, but butter made with 25% THC won’t inherently be 5% strong than butter made with 20% THC – it may be significantly more.
One way to ensure you’re not overdoing it on the cannabutter is to cut it with regular butter. If you’re making cookies and need one c of butter, you could use ½ c of regular butter and ½ c of cannabis-infused butter or even just ¼ c of cannabutter.
How Long Does Cannabutter Last?
Cannabis butter lasts when stored properly: in an airtight container in a fridge. Exactly how long it lasts is up for debate – some say a mere three weeks and others say up to six months. Exactly how long it lasts is up to you, depending on how fast you eat it and how quickly you believe food in the fridge goes bad.
If you make a large batch of cannabutter and know you won’t go through it all quickly, you can freeze a portion of it for a much longer shelf life. When you’re ready to use, remove it from the freezer and allow it to defrost in the fridge for 24 – 48 hours. Never leave cannabutter unrefrigerated.
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FAQs on Making Weed Butter
Is cannabis oil or butter better?
It’s up to you! Neither is inherently better than the other; it comes down to which consumption method you like better and which you’ll use more in your kitchen. Oil and butter are staples of many recipes, so by keeping an infused version on hand, you’ll be able to whip up edible treats in no time.
Is 2 hours long enough for cannabutter?
Probably not. The process of making cannabutter has several steps, including decarboxylation and infusion. However, depending on what you’re using (a stovetop, oven, crockpot, or pressure cooker) it may not take much longer than two hours.
What does cannabis body butter do?
Cannabis body butter will not get you high, but it will activate the endocannabinoid receptors you have on your skin. Activating the ECS receptors on your skin can help reduce inflammation, eliminate pain, and improve your skin barrier. Weed body butter will not pass through the skin barrier into the bloodstream, so even if it has THC, it won’t get you high.
Can I use ghee instead of butter?
Absolutely! Ghee is traditionally used for cannabis infusion, with records of weed-infused ghee dating back to the 10th century in India. You can also substitute dairy-free plant-based butter, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, or any other kind of fatty oil you have on hand.
Does cannabutter get more potent?
No. Cannabinoids like THC degrade through exposure to light and heat, and over time. This degradation does change the effects but does not inherently make it more potent.
The most common degradation in cannabis is from THC to CBN, which is known for its sedating effects. If you have old cannabutter (that is still safe to eat) it may make you sleepy from an increased presence of CBN.
Can you put weed straight into butter?
No, you have to decarboxylate the cannabis first. In the plant, cannabinoids like THC are in their acidic or raw form. THC is THCa, CBD is CBDa, and so on. The decarboxylation process activates these acidic cannabinoids and turns them into the activated forms you know and love. If you don’t decarboxylate your weed first, you’ll be making weed butter with THCa. THCa has health benefits, but will not get you high like THC will.
How much does an ounce of weed make in butter?
How much butter an ounce of weed makes is dependent on how much butter you start with. The butter will reduce during the infusion process as the water evaporates and the milk solids cook-off. If you use 6 sticks of butter to an ounce of weed, you’ll be left with ~3.5 – 4 sticks of butter.
How many hours does it take to make weed butter?
From start to finish (decarboxylation to stored final product) making weed butter takes 3 – 5 hours. Exactly how long it takes depends on your decarboxylation time, method of infusion, and how long you let it steep.
What kind of weed do you use to make butter?
You can use any kind of weed you have on hand to make butter; different cannabis strains may produce different results. However, many stoners will caution you not to use top-shelf weed in butter. The large, resinous nugs from the top of the plant are just too good to cook down into butter. Instead, use “mids” or the smaller nugs from the middle or bottom of the plant to make butter.
How many grams of weed go into butter?
It depends on how strong you want your butter to be. Some websites like The Cannigma have an online edible dosage calculator, so you can plug in how much weed you’re using and how strong it will make your butter.
How do you make weed butter or oil?
It’s easy to make weed butter or oil! You need to decarb the weed, infuse the base, and strain out the plant material. You can do all of this with a stovetop and an oven – no special equipment needed.
Is weed butter stronger than oil?
That depends on how you make it. Weed butter is not inherently stronger than oil or vice versa. How strong your weed butter is (or oil) depends on how much cannabis flower you decarboxylate, the THC percentage of the flower, and how much butter you use. Weed butter made with 25% THC or one stick of butter will be stronger than butter made with 17% THC or three sticks.
How do you smoke Live butter weed?
You don’t smoke butter! You can smoke live budder, but you should never attempt to smoke butter. You can smoke the flower and vape weed oils, but you should never attempt to smoke weed butter. Once your cannabis has been processed into weed butter, stick with eating it.