Method 1 – Preheat oven to
No comprehensive guide to cannabutter would be complete without mentioning the possibility of cooking without either water or alcohol. This is how many people make their cannabutter. As far as we can tell, there are no significant benefits to not using water or alcohol besides removing the water/butter separation step at the end. This is very a minor step, and well worth it for the payoff of getting all the advantages of cooking with water and/or alcohol. Because you’re not using alcohol or water, you’ll need to watch the temperature much more closely. If you let it get too high and you’re not using clarified butter, the butter could get scorched, or even worse, the THC will begin to evaporate and you’ll lose potency. If you use a double boiler however, you’ll retain the temperature control benefits of using water, you just wont have the advantage of removing the water soluble plant material. Another disadvantage to not using water is that when you’re straining out the butter in the final step, the liquid retained by the cannabis product that you toss at the end will be 100% butter, therefore resulting in more butter/THC wasted. In some minor respects, it makes the process simpler, but overall is definitely not worth it in our opinion. If anyone knows of any significant benefits to not using water or alcohol, we’d love to hear them.
So you’ve decided that you want to clarify your butter, here’s how to do it:
Disclaimer / Warning: Cooking with alcohol generates alcohol vapors which are flammable and can explode, so if you choose to use this method, you do so at your own risk. Make sure your cooking area is well ventilated.
- Butter – at least 8oz / 2 sticks recommended, but there’s no real upper or lower limit. Most people, ourselves included, recommend unsalted butter, but it doesn’t actually make a big difference. The main reason unsalted butter is usually recommended is because you can simply add the salt later if you want.
- Cannabis / Kief / Concentrates – The amount is up to preference, but per 8 oz / 2 sticks of butter, we recommend about 14g trimmings, 14g vaped weed, 7g bud, 3.5g kief, or 2.5g concentrates for moderate strength edibles. We usually double that for more potent edibles.
- Saucepan or crock-pot – we prefer using a crock-pot (like this one ) for making the cannabutter due to how easy and efficient it is, although a saucepan can be used both for cannabutter and making clarified butter.
- Reusable Nylon Milk Bag, Cheesecloth, Fine Mesh Strainer, or Bubble Hash Bags – We highly recommend Milk Bags (like these ), as they’re cheap and reusable. If you have Bubble Hash bags, you can use a
This step was pioneered by scientist Tamar Wise, CSO at Nutrawerx, a cannabinoid nutraceutical company. All you have to do is put some food grade alcohol, ideally something like everclear, into a spray bottle (like this one ). Once your freshly decarboxylated cannabis has cooled, spray it with your alcohol sprayer. If you don’t have a sprayer, you can use a spoon or some other method, just spread it as evenly as possible and don’t use too much. You’ll want it to evaporate as much as possible before you use it, but anything that doesn’t evaporate should boil off during the cooking process. The everclear breaks down the plant matter, which helps the cannabinoids separate from the cannabis and transfer into the butter when we start cooking. Afterwards let your cannabis sit and dry for about 15 minutes, wait a little longer if there are noticeably wet spots remaining.
Now you’re ready to isolate your cannabutter for later cooking. The process is very simple. First, prepare your container to hold the final product, then pour the mixture from your saucepan / crock-pot through a milk bag if you have it into your container. You can also use a strainer + cheesecloth, or can even use bubble hash bags if that’s all you have. Some people even use a T-shirt or some kind of cloth, but we recommend the milk bags because they have the right size filter (
225 F. Spread your cannabis over an oven-safe dish, ideally no deeper than 0.5″ or 1.2 cm in any spot. Cover the dish with foil or put it inside an oven bag (like these , but they’re cheaper at grocery stores) and seal it with a twist tie. Put the sealed dish in the oven for 30 minutes. If your cannabis is fresh and not totally dry, you may want to consider leaving it in the oven for an extra 10-20 minutes. If you’re concerned with the cannabis odor, you can double wrap the dish that goes in the oven. You can leave it uncovered on a cookie sheet if you prefer, but covering the cannabis will allow so me of the vaporized terpenes to reabsorb back into the cannabis as it cools. After leaving it to cool for about 20 minutes, uncover your cannabis and then it’s ready for cooking.
Using food-grade alcohol (e.g. everclear) alone isn’t our favorite method, mostly because of the extra expense and difficulty involved, but there are definitely reasons why you might want to use alcohol instead of, or in addition to water. You might use everclear for the same reason you might spray your freshly decarbed cannabis with everclear. The alcohol breaks down the cellulose and plant matter, thus allowing the THC to more easily transfer to the butter and lecithin. You definitely don’t want everclear to end up in the final product, but there are two main ways to avoid this. First, is that you should be cooking until the alcohol all boils off. Second, is that alcohol doesn’t freeze, so if you stick your cannabutter in the freezer, you can dab up any alcohol that was leftover with a cloth / paper towel. Much like how water regulates the temperature at a max 212 F / 100 C, everclear will regulate the temperature to a max of 173 F / 78 C. Once again, there’s no reason to use a double boiler since the temperature is regulated by the alcohol. You’ll want to use about the same amount of everclear as you would water, and cook for about the same time, but this time your cooking time is tied to when your everclear completely evaporates. It may be difficult to tell with exact certainty, but you should see a lot less activity (e.g. boiling) at the surface once the everclear evaporates.
Ultimate Guide to Making Cannabutter. We include all possible methods around the web and discuss the pros and cons of each method.