Different strains contain wildly different concentrations of THC. Ideally, the dispensary from which the pot was purchased will disclose the THC concentration of their product. If not, make sure you at least know the strain, and then research online how much THC content the strain normally presents.
The best products are first “decarboxylated,” meaning the dry cannabis is first baked, at low heat, until the THC is activated and made available. Cooking the weed without first decarboxylating it works too — when you cook the cookies, the heat activates the THC. But decarbing is more efficient. The THC is made more uniformly available, and at greater concentrations, than in products containing flower that was not first decarbed.
The ratio of decarboxylated cannabis to butter is a principal determinant of THC concentration. People seeking especially strong concentrations might use a 1:1 ratio — one ounce of cannabis to one pound of butter. The more typical ratio, however, is 1/2 ounce cannabis to one pound butter. Either way, do remember: the strain’s THC concentration will influence the potency. Some strains pack a wallop higher than 30 percent. Others are lower than 15 percent.
Once you know how much cannabis you plan to use, decarb it.
- Preheat an oven to 225 degrees.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper.
- Break the buds into smaller pieces, and then crowd them together on the baking surface. Don’t mound them on top of one another, but keep them close.
- Place in oven for about 20 minutes — the point to this step is to remove moisture from the bud. The bud will turn slightly brown, and break apart with more ease, once it is dry.
- Remove from oven and boost temperature to 240 degrees.
- Once the cannabis is cool enough to handle, break it apart even more and spread it across the baking surface.
- Cover rimmed baking sheet or dish with tin foil, and seal. Place in the oven for another 45-60 minutes.
- Remove from oven and keep the foil on top of the baking vessel until the cannabis has cooled.
- Handle the cannabis. It might have already broken down into something fine enough to use in recipes. If not, place it in a coffee grinder, blender or food processor and grind until it’s fairly ground, but be careful — you aren’t seeking a powder here. The texture is more like typical ground oregano or thyme.
If decarbing sounds a bit too complicated or time consuming, you can purchase a decarboxylator to do the work for you.
4 sticks butter
1 ounce shake, finely ground and decarboxylated weed
In a medium saucepan bring a quart of water to a boil. You can vary the amounts, just be sure that the marijuana is always floating about 1 ½ to 2 inches from the bottom of the pan.
When the water is boiling, place the butter in the saucepan and allow it to melt completely.
Once the butter has melted you can add the marijuana. Once the weed is added the heat should be turned down, very low, to barely a simmer. I usually let the weed cook for around 3 hours. You can tell it’s done when the top of the mix turns from really watery to glossy and thick.
While the cannabutter is cooking, set up the bowl to hold the finished product. There are a couple of ways to do the straining. I like to use a deep heatproof glass bowl with a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. You can also tie a double layer of cheesecloth around a large heatproof bowl with twine, making it taut across the top.
Strain the marijuana butter over the bowl, being careful not to spill. When the saucepan is empty, carefully undo the twine, pick up the cheesecloth from all four sides, and squeeze out all of the remaining butter.
Allow the cannabutter to cool at room temperature for about an hour. Place in the fridge until the butter has solidified and separated from the water. The THC and other properties have attached to the butter, and you are just about there.
Run a knife around the edge and lift the butter off the water. Place upside down on your work surface and scrape off any of the cooking water. Your cannabuttter is ready to roll. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container.
This recipe uses 4 sticks of butter to every ounce of marijuana, so if you’re using a half ounce of weed that’s about 2 sticks of butter. The stronger the weed, the stronger the pot butter, so plan accordingly. If your tolerance is low, then you can use and eat less.
Finished cannabutter ends up being lightly green, which also serves as a visual cue that the herb has been melted, cooked, and whisked appropriately. Cannabutter keeps in the fridge for up to a month. You can also freeze it beautifully for at least six months.