Marijuana butter, also called bud butter, cannabis butter, cannabutter, etcetera, is a way of preparing marijuana so it can be added to a recipe that calls for butter. It can be consumed for medical, spiritual, recreational, or other purposes.
Unlike smoking, when preparing marijuana butter to be eaten or drunk, it must first be decarboxylated. Decarboxylation is done to alter the marijuana so that it will be more easily absorbed by the human body.
Follow the instructions here to decarboxylate marijuana. After decarboxylation has been preformed according to instructions, the resulting marijuana is ready to be made into marijuana butter.
When making cannabis butter, you can add lecithin granules to aid the body in absorbing the active components of the butter.
Add about 1/4 teaspoon when the marijuana butter is in the double boiler and another 1/4 teaspoon when the butter is cooling.
Try to get lecithin granules because they are easier to work with when compared to liquid lecithin. This step is optional but recommended. It will not alter the taste and, for me, increases the potency of marijuana butter.
Once the marijuana has been decarboxylated and is ready to be made into butter, fill the double boiler with water and heat until the water starts to boil, not too hot, about 215-230°F/102-110°C, a gentle boil is fine.
Butter can start to burn at temperatures as low as 250°F/121°C. Get a cooking thermometer if you are concerned that the water in the double boiler may get to a temperature that will burn the butter.
A candy, or candy/jelly/deep fry, thermometer works well but any thermometer you can get an accurate reading with is ok.
To heat the marijuana butter, a double boiler is needed. It is simply a set of 2 pots where one pot fits into another pot. The pot on the bottom is filled with water and heated, the second pot sits in the heated water.
The heated water will cause the second pot to heat up and a lid will help retain more heat. This is done because butter burns at a low temperature and heating the butter directly on a burner for an extended amount of time will almost always ruin the butter.
Mix the butter and marijuana with a spoon until all the marijuana is soaked with butter. Put a lid on the pot with the butter and marijuana.
No need to continuously stir, you can but because you are keeping the temperature of the double boiler at 215-230°F/102-110°C, stirring once every 2-5 minutes or so is fine. Keep heating with the lid on, at this temperature for about an hour.
Heating Directly On Burner
After an hour, take the double boiler off the heat and set the burner to very low heat. The heat has to be very low because at this point you are going to put the pot with the butter and marijuana directly on the burner that was set to very low heat.
As long as the pot with the butter and marijuana is on the burner, you have to keep stirring it. What will happen is bubbles will start forming in the butter/marijuana mixture.
As soon as the already hot marijuana butter comes into contact with the burner, a bubbly froth will start to form quickly on the surface, this is finishing the decarboxylation process.
This step will take under 10 minutes, don't over-heat the butter (very low heat only). As long as the marijuana butter is on the burner, you have to keep stirring it.
Stir all the time, if you have to stop stirring, remove from the burner immediately. Depending on the intent for the butter, take it off the burner when the formation of bubbles is at its peak, when it starts to slow down, or when it stops.
If you are going to put the marijuana butter in a recipe that will be heated for an hour or longer, take the pot off the heat when bubble formation has just started to reach its peak.
If you are going to put the marijuana butter in a recipe that will be heated for less than an hour, take the pot off the heat when peak bubble formation slows down.
If you are going to put the marijuana butter in a recipe that will not be heated, take the pot off the heat when bubble formation slows down considerably or has stopped.
The butter pictured was removed from the burner after 6 minutes, and later added to a cookie recipe that was heated for 10-12 minutes.
After you take the butter off the burner, optional add 1/4 teaspoon lecithin granules, you should let it cool off. When cool, there are several options available.
Freezing overnight, or longer.
Preparing it in a recipe.
At this point there is marijuana and butter in the pot. If done properly, most if not all, of the active ingredients in the marijuana have been extracted and equally distributed into the butter.
After removing the marijuana butter from the heat and letting it cool off, putting it in the freezer overnight is an optional step. It is worthwhile because it seems to improve the quality. But if time is not available, you can skip freezing it.
If frozen it can be stored for a few weeks but will lose potency over time. Try to prepare it into a recipe within a week or two for maximum potency.
Some people will leave the marijuana butter like this and consume it, while other people choose to filter it to remove the plant material.
This is a matter of personal preference with some people opting to include plant material so nothing gets wasted or others, like myself, choosing to remove the plant material for reasons of taste.
If you are going to leave the butter as is and not filter it, you can utilize it in a recipe right away or put it in the fridge or freezer for as short a time as possible, until you are ready to consume it in a recipe.
When ready you just have to put the cool butter on a stove set at low heat and stir it while it liquifies. When ready add it to a recipe of your choice.
If you are going to filter it to separate the plant material from the butter, any method of straining the butter that works for you is ok.
Some will use a metal strainer, others place cheesecloth over the mouth of some kind of container, a pot for example, then secure it over the mouth of the container with elastic, or filter it by some other means.
If you have a potato ricer and some cheesecloth available, check out this method for filtering out plant material, and squeezing the remaining butter from the saturated plant material, in one step.
When filtering through cheesecloth, try to get an open or coarse grade (10 weight or 40 weight). It filters faster and allows more material to pass through. A finer grade of cheesecloth is ok but it takes longer to filter and more of the active material may be trapped in the fine weave.
After the filtration system has been set up, if cold or frozen, heat and stir the marijuana butter until it is liquid enough to flow through the cheesecloth.
Pour the marijuana butter onto the cheesecloth and wait for it to filter through. When all the butter has filtered through the cheesecloth and you are left with butter saturated marijuana, remove the cheesecloth and try to squeeze any remaining butter out.
This can be done by hand but is messy, some kind of clean latex or rubber gloves will help protect your hands. Alternately you can mechanically squeeze any remaining butter with something like an aluminum orange squeezer.
When done, the marijuana in the cheesecloth can be disposed of.
The resulting filtered marijuana butter may look dark but it is not burned. If prepared with good marijuana buds, the taste is fairly pleasant and subtle.
It will not overpower the flavor of most foods and can easily be masked when added to foods with a strong taste. It is barely discernable when made into cookies and most other sweets.
When trim from buds or lower quality marijuana plant material is used to make marijuana butter, the herbal grassy taste is fairly strong and can be hard to mask.
Step By Step
A) Decarboxylate marijuana.
B) Heat double boiler to 215-230°F/102-110°C.
C) When heated, put butter and marijuana in.
D) Optional, add 1/4 teaspoon lecithin granules.
E) Heat the butter and marijuana for an hour (lid on).
F) Take double boiler off burner, set burner to low.
G) Put pot with marijuana butter directly on the burner.
H) When complete, take pot off burner, turn burner off.
I) Optional, add 1/4 teaspoon lecithin granules.
J) Optional, freeze overnight.
K) Prepared in a recipe or filter out plant material.
L) If filtering, set up filtration system.
I) Filter out plant material.
J) Prepared into a recipe or store in fridge or freezer.
List Of Materials
optional lecithin granules
optional candy thermometer
optional aluminum orange squeezer
optional 10 or 40 weight cheesecloth
*** stove: A stove is needed to heat the butter and marijuana.
*** butter: It doesn't matter if the butter is salted or unsalted both will work, choose what you prefer. The amount depends on the recipe the marijuana butter will be added to. If the recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter of butter, you would use 2 sticks.
*** spoon: A metallic spoon is preferred over plastic or wood. Some types of plastic can release nasty chemicals when heated. Wood spoons can absorb the butter and be permanently stained, although they won't release harmful chemicals into the butter.
*** double boiler: A double boiler is simply a set of 2 pots where one pot fits snugly into another pot. The pot on the bottom is filled with water and heated, the pot on top sits in the heated water.
The heated water will cause the second pot on top to heat up, and a lid will help retain more heat. This is done because butter burns at a low temperature and heating the butter directly on a burner for an extended period of time can easily ruin the butter.
A double boiler can easily be made with the kitchen pots you have, as long as there is one that can fit into another. If not, a double boiler can be purchased for a reasonable price.
*** optional lecithin granules: Some people add 1/4 teaspoon of lecithin granules when the butter/marijuana is being heated and another 1/4 teaspoon just after being removed from the heat source. This is done to help the absorption process.
Try to get lecithin granules because they are easier to work with when compared to liquid lecithin. This step is optional but recommended. It will not alter the taste and can improve the potency of the butter.
*** optional candy thermometer: A candy thermometer can be put in the butter to check the temperature. Other types of cooking thermometers can do a good job.
*** optional aluminum orange squeezer: An aluminum orange squeezer can be employed to squeeze any remaining butter form the cheesecloth, if applicable, after the butter has filtered through it.
*** optional 10 or 40 weight cheesecloth: Marijuana butter can be filtered through cheesecloth to remove any plant material.
If you choose to filter through cheesecloth, try to get an open or coarse grade (10 weight or 40 weight). It filters faster and allows more material to pass through.
A finer grade of cheesecloth is ok but it takes longer to filter and more of the active material may be trapped in the fine weave.
To determine the dose size of the marijuana butter, divide the total amount of marijuana (in grams) by the number of portions produced. This will give you an accurate idea of how much you are consuming.
If 7 grams of marijuana was made into marijuana butter which produced 21 equal sized cookies (7 grams divided by 21 portions), each cookie would contain about 1/3 gram or 0.33 grams of marijuana.
If 14 grams of marijuana was made into marijuana butter which produced 28 equal sized cookies (14 grams divided by 28 portions), each cookie would contain about 1/2 gram or 0.5 grams of marijuana.
The amount of butter to start with will depend on the recipe that the marijuana butter will be added to. In the example above, the butter was made into chocolate chip cookies.
The chocolate chip cookie recipe required one stick of butter, so one stick of butter was made into marijuana butter. 7 grams of marijuana produced 28 chocolate chip cookies, each cookie contained about 1/4 gram or 0.25 grams of marijuana.
If you are making a brownie recipe that needs 2 sticks of butter then you would substitute 2 sticks of butter, and follow the directions described above to make the marijuana butter.
Make a small batch, 7 grams marijuana total, of marijuana butter and start with a small dose you first time. 1/4 gram dose for medical purposes or 1/2 gram dose for spiritual or recreational purposes. After consuming marijuana butter, it can take an hour or two to start working.
You might be tempted to take more if you don't feel much. Don't overdue it, large doses can last for six hours or longer. Do not take another dose for at least 3 hours after the first. If you do, you might find yourself in another dimension because of the potency.
When prepared according to the directions above with good marijuana buds, 1/4 gram dose is mild but noticeable for 2-4 hours. 1/2 to 3/4 gram is a medium sized dose that will last at least 4-6 hours. Most people that smoke marijuana on a regular basis will find a 1/4 to 3/4 gram dose about right.
Doses that are a gram or larger will be very strong and may last 6 hours or more. Even people who smoke marijuana daily may find that doses that are a gram or larger get them too high, or make them fall asleep.
People who consume marijuana butter for recreational and spiritual purposes will be most interested in experimenting with larger doses, it's great when partying with friends or for deep thinking but working and dealing with normal daily activity will probably become more difficult.
The information above is based on working with good quality marijuana buds. You can work with an equal quantity of lower quality material, like bud trim, but the resulting butter will not be as potent and the taste will not be as good.
1 --- During the first part of preparation, when heating in the double boiler, you are getting active ingredients to separate from the marijuana and infuse and equally distribute into the butter. During the second part, when heating directly on the burner, you are finishing the decarboxylation process.
2 --- Plant material will absorb some amount of butter. A stick of butter is 4 fluid ounces when melted. Before preparing in a recipe, measure your finished product in a measuring cup. If you are short, melt in some fresh butter to make up for the loss.
3 --- Try to consume the cannabis butter relatively quickly for maximum potency. Marijuana butter or food made with marijuana butter can be stored in the fridge or freezer for weeks or months but will lose potency over time. It is best consumed within a week or two, but it can be stored for longer.
Beyond Buds: Marijuana Extracts
A very thorough guide on making various kinds of cannabis concentrates. Includes information on selecting and collecting material, how to make hashish, vaporizers, how to make hash oil, tinctures, capsules, edibles, topical use, and more.
Beyond Buds: Marijuana Extracts