Cannabutter is one of the oldest infusion techniques known to stoners worldwide. From the infamous “weed brownie” to today’s fine confectionary treats, cannabutter acts as the primary ingredient in most edible recipes.
Unfortunately, most cannabutters taste like ass. Whether your buddy didn’t know the difference from schwag and quality flower, or someone realized too late they didn’t strain the butter, leaving you to pick nugs from your teeth, most of us have had as many bad experiences with homemade edibles as we have good. Here are a few pointers to put you on the right path to a POSITIVELY memorable evening:
You get out what you put in:
Choose the flavor and potency you’d like. If you enjoy the traditional “weedy” flavor, you can always use flower or nugs, but with the availability of concentrates, your final product can taste almost weedless, but with more exact (or potent) dosing. Plus, there’s no straining out the ground nug!
Enjoy what you eat:
Think about the final flavor of your creation, and how it will pair with other ingredients. If you’re using a nug-based butter, recipes with chocolate, mint or orange help to hide the flavor. Even though concentrates taste less intense, they too will overwhelm a soft dish like a crème brulee or ice cream. Personally, I like to use my concentrate-based butter for savory dishes like tamales, curries and chilies.
Less is more:
If you’ve ever fallen from a cliff and survived, you might know the level of anxiety and panic that can arise from an intense edible. It’s never fun to get too high, and edibles can keep you up there for waaaaay too long. If you don’t know exactly how strong the edible is, eat a little and wait a while. And if you’re just beginning to feel it, but want to be higher…just wait, it’s coming.
CBD may be the answer:
Many people experience anxiety from getting too high, and it can be truly terrifying. CBD, believe it or not, is another chemical in cannabis that helps calm anxiety and promote a feeling of wellbeing. If you use a strain or concentrate that is high in CBD and THC for your edibles, you’ll get the fun parts of the high, without the embarrassing onset of panic.
My first edible experience unfortunately discouraged me from enjoying them for years. The day after left me feeling groggy, with a head full of muddled thoughts. Take your time and make the whole process enjoyable—you won’t even notice the high coming on. And definitely make sure you’ve got the whole day free. After regular experimentation, I’ve found edibles to be my favorite way to ease pain, or enjoy a fun time with friends. Easily the best way to end a Friday night.
Basic Cannabutter Recipe
-1lb European-style butter (such as Plugra or Kerrygold, can also substitute with solid coconut oil)
-2 cups water
-Cannabis flower or concentrate – see dosing guide for quantity
- In a large pot, combine the water and butter. Heat until the butter is fully melted, and the water is just beginning to simmer. It is important that the water not aggressively boil, but be barely agitated, with small bubbles.
- Add the desired amount of cannabis to your water and butter mixture, being sure to stir thoroughly. Continue to monitor and stir occasionally, ensuring the mixture never reaches a full boil, for 1.5 – 2 hours.
- If using flower, pour the mixture through a cheese cloth into a food-safe glass container. Be sure to squeeze off any remaining liquid from the plant matter. Place in the refrigerator, NOT the freezer.
- Once the product has fully cooled, the butter or coconut oil will have coagulated at the top, leaving the water separated below. Pour off and discard the water, or use for smoothies. Store the remaining infused butter in the refrigerator in an airtight container, to retain flavor.
Thanks to cannabis products now being labelled with test results, making accurate edibles at home is easier than ever! Before we get into the math, there’s a few basics you need to understand about cooking with cannabis.
THCA is what naturally grows on the plant. Though different by only one molecule, THCA has to be converted to THC by heat or chemicals such as alcohol before it can get you high. This is why it’s necessary to cook or heat your cannabutter.
Test results are easy to convert, if you follow this simple process:
- Convert the THCA percentage to milligrams per gram by adding a zero and taking away the % sign. If the package says THCA: 26.5%, then there are 265mg of THCA in each gram.
- Make the conversion for THCA to THC (because it loses a molecule, it gets lighter). Multiply your milligrams of THCA by .87 to know how many mg of THC per gram. If you start with 265mg, 265*.87=230.55mg/g.
- Determine how strong you want your edibles to be, and how much butter will go into that recipe. Most boxed brownies and cakes are cut into 12 to 15 servings, and use ½ a cup of butter or oil. ½ cup is equivalent to one stick of butter, or a ¼ lb where most cannabutter recipes call for 1 lb of butter.
If you start with 7gs of flower testing at 26.5% THCA, cooked into 1lb of butter, you end with approximately 1,600mg of THC. That’s about 400mg per stick, (1600 mg/4 sticks=400 mg/stick).
Using 1 stick per batch of 15 brownies, or one box, leaves each brownie with about 25mg. (Technically 26.6mg per if you everything worked out exactly. 400 mg /15 servings = 26.6 mg/serving)
Learning your perfect dose is something that takes time, and can vary depending on the batch, or how much you’ve eaten that day. Just remember: the flower test results on the label may not be for your specific jar, so you might need to eat more or less, depending on how you feel.
If you really want a bang for your buck and guaranteed, accurate dosing, grab some cannabis concentrates for your next batch of goodies!