How to Make Marijuana Butter

Learning how to make marijuana butter will set you on a solid foundation for cannabis cooking. That's because butter infused with marijuana, AKA cannabutter,  is a staple of  many cannabis recipes.  

THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana is fat soluble, making butter and oil ideal ways to bond it to food.  

With cannabutter stored in your refrigerator or freezer you’re always ready to cook with cannabis.

What kind of Cannabis to Use for Cannabutter

You can cook with any kind of marijuana from trimmings to flowers.  Of course the amounts you will use will differ.  Learn more about this below.

The bottom line is, you do not need to cook with top shelf flowers.  Any reasonable priced strain will do.

This is also a good chance to use trimmings, if you grow or know someone who does.  Also shake, if your dispensary carries it, can make great economical cooking material.  

If you are not familiar with the term "shake," it refers to the small crumbs that fall to the bottom of large bags of marijuana.  Shake it kind of the cannabis equivalent of the crumbs at the bottom of a bag of potato chips.  Same exact stuff, just in a smaller, finer form and lower cost. 

How to Prepare Cannabis for Making Cannabutter

Most instructions you find on the internet tell you to finely grind your plant material.  One cannabis cooking gadget even has this as a built in feature.

We say don't do this!

When you are making marijuana butter, you are extracting the trichomes on the leaves and buds, not anything that is in them.  When you finely grind the plant material all you end up doing is adding acrid green flavor to your finished edibles.  YUCK!

We are with author Cheri Sicard, creator of Cannademy's online cannabis cooking course.  Crumble your cannabis like you would if you were rolling a joint before making cannabutter.  But do not finely grind it!

Learn how to Cook with Cannabis.

Cannabis Cheri teaches you how to make great tasting, perfectly dosed edibles, every time!

What kind of butter is best for cannabutter?

We like regular unsalted butter.  That's because it is most vesatile.  You can always add salt to recipes, if needed.

However, if you happen to have salted butter on hand, don't let that stop you from making marijuana butter and edibles.  Salted butter will also work just fine.

Decarboxylation when Making Cannabis Butter

Decarboxylation activates your cannabis by adding heat.  The process coverts THC-A into THC or CBD-A into CBD.

Some people say you don't need to decarb the cannabis when making butter, because slowly infusing it adds heat anyway and it will decarb in the process.

Yes, some of the THC-A will automatically decarb while making cannabutter.  

But lab tests show you can extract even more potency by taking the time to decarboxylate your cannabis before turning it into infused butter.   This page will teach you how to do it.

How Much Cannabis for Cannabutter?

You will need to adjust the amount of cannabis used depending on the potency of the plant and what parts of it you are using.  Check out the Understanding Cannabis Dosages page for additional information and dose ranges.

We’ve listed the amounts we use to test the recipes for this blog.  You can and should alter the suggested amounts to meet your needs, but these will give you a starting guideline.

To calculate the dosage in your cannabis butter, take Cannademy's FREE online edibles dosing class, or invest $5 in their invaluable dosage calculators that do all the math for you.

CANNADEMY'S DOSAGE CALCULATORS

Get the edibles dose you need each and every time. Works for edibles or topicals in Imperial and Metric measurements. Even works when cooking with non-lab tested cannabis!

Never guess again!

To Make About 1 Cup Marijuana Butter

  • 1 1/4 cups butter 
  • 1 ounce average to high quality trim or low quality dried bud; OR 1/2 ounce average quality dried bud

How to Make Marijuana Butter:

When it comes to how to make marijuana butter, you have some choices when it comes to methods.

Making Cannabutter in a Slow Cooker 

slow cooker cannabuter - how to make marijuana butter

Add butter and plant material to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 8 hours.  

I know some cooks who cook their butter for as much as 2 or 3 days in the slow cooker.  Feel free to do so if you choose.  It seems like overkill to me and after having tested longer cooking times, I found no improvement in quality or potency.  In fact, I noticed a stronger herbal flavor and not much else.  

You can actually cook for less time, just make sure your mixture has time to come to a full simmer.

Mason Jar Method Cannabutter

how to make marijuana butter in a Mason Jar

This is a simple way to make cannabutter using an ordinary Mason Jar as a double boiler.

You don't even need special jars. You can save money and reuse food jars that are strong enough to withstand the heat of the simmering water.  For instance, a jar that contained spaghetti sauce works great.  A lot of these are nothing more than canning jars and many are even labeled as such. 

Here's what you will need

  • canning jar and lid
  • A 2 – 3 qt sauce pan -- If you are using a larger jar use a larger saucepan
  • A kitchen towel, folded up and placed in the bottom of the sauce pan to help buffer the heat
  • Butter 
  •  Crumbled decarboxylated cannabis

Here's how to make marijuana butter in a Mason Jar

  • Place your decarbed cannabis along with the butter in a the jar.  
  • Place a folded up kitchen towel in a bottom of a saucepan
  • Place the filled Mason jar on the towel and fill the saucepan with as much hot water as possible, without the jar floating.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat, and let the water come to a simmer.  Be sure to check the water level frequently during cooking, adding water as necessary. Open the jar every half hour or so while infusing in order to relieve any pressure build up. I also like to stir the contents around a bit at the same time.
  • Simmer for about 2-3 hours, checking the water level frequently.
  • Strain, see below!

Draining and Straining Cannabutter

Straining marijuana butter

You have several method choices when it comes to straining your marijuana butter.

Cheesecloth and Colander

Place a cheesecloth line strainer over a large pot or bowl and strain the liquid through this.   Allow to cool then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Discard the plant material.  The infused butter will harden into a solid when chilled.  Rinse the butter chunk with cold, fresh water to wash off any of the canna-water or plant material left on the butter.

Small Strainer

straining cannabutter

For small batches of cannabutter a tiny strainer allows you to strain from one jar into another as in the photo above.

Straining Mason Jar Lids!

Mason jar straining lids

The easiest way ever.  These specialty Mason Jar lids come in multi-packs and meant for sprouts, BUT they make a terrific way to strain cannabutter!.  For best results stack 2 screens and screw onto the jar.  Simply pour out the strained melted cannabutter.  Genius!

Optional Straining to Remove Sediment

Now it’s time to strain one more time to remove as much sediment as possible.  (This is an optional step.)  Melt the marijuana butter over low heat.  Place a double layer of cheesecloth over a strainer and pour the melted marijuana butter through.  Chill again until solid.

You’re now ready to start cooking with marijuana butter!

Leftovers from Cannabis Butter

People often ask of you can do anything with the leftover plant material after infusing.  If you have done your job you will have gotten most of the good stuff out and what is left is the equivalent of a used tea bag.  We generally just trash it.

Yes there are some trichomes left, but not nearly enough to to make another batch of potent cannabutter.

Some people like to steep the leftovers and make tea.  We don't usually bother as we don't like the taste for such low potency.  But if you are a cannabis dosing lightweight, it might work better for you.   Try it and see!

How to Make Marijuana Butter with Concentrates

You can also make cannabutter with concentrates like kief, hash, hash oils, FECO, resin, or rosin.  This process is super simple.

  • Melt butter in the microwave or on the stovetop
  • Add concentrate to warm melted butter and stir until evenly incorporated.

That's it, your concentrate infused marijuana butter is ready to use!

What Should Cannabutter Look Like?

Your finished marijuana butter might look pale yellow or pale green all the way up to dark green.  This will depend on the cannabis strain that was used to make it.  

However, know that the color of the marijuana butter has nothing to do with its potency.  Likewise, color variations from batch to bath are nothing to lose sleep over.  They really do not effect much of anything beyond aesthetics.

Can I freeze Cannabutter?

Absolutely, in fact we recommend doing so.  You can also refrigerate infused butter until ready to use.  But the freezer will give you a much longer shelf life and you can always remove just as much as you need at any one time.

Freezing in ice cube trays will give you easy portion control.

Note that fats can still go rancid, even in the refrigerator or freezer. So even when stored in the freezer, try to use your marijuana butter within 3 months.

About the author 

Cheri Sicard

Cheri Sicard is the editor of SeniorStoner.com, the author of Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women (2015, Seal Press) and The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook (2012, Z-Dog Media). Her blog is www.CannabisCheri.com.

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