One of the easiest ways to cook with hemp or marijuana is to start by making cannabutter. THC, CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes are soluble in oils like butterfat. Ghee (clarified butter) is an excellent solvent because it has a longer shelf life compared to butter.
Butter infused with hemp or cannabis is an old recipe that many have enjoyed over the years. Cannabutter can be used to make cookies, brownies, pasta sauce, and many other recipes as well as eaten by itself. Eating cannabutter eliminates the need to smoke one’s medicine.
There are several advantages to using cannabutter: it’s an excellent way to use trim, leaves, kief, etc. and it’s an easy way to measure doses and serving sizes by starting with a large uniform batch. Dried flowers are ideal but much more expensive. Kief or hash would be best of all. Use the strain(s) you’re most familiar with and enjoy the most.
Use organic butter and make your medicine even healthier. Clarifying butter to make ghee is easy. Simply heat melted butter slowly to a boil, watching for the milk solids to separate from the clarified butter. When the two layers separate, spoon off the foamy solids and save the clear yellow liquid. Ghee is ideal for anyone lactose intolerant.
There are 2 steps to making cannabutter: preparing the cannabis and heating it with the butter or ghee. Because most of the cannabinoids like THC and CBD are inactive in the plant material, you have to convert the inactive form to the active form, a process called decarboxylization. THC-A is converted to THC and CBD-A to CBD when the dried plant material is heated. For the maximum THC heat it to 245° F for 45-60 minutes and for CBD 245° F for 60-90 minutes. Heat the cannabis in a covered Pyrex casserole pan. When properly decarboxylated, the cannabis will be darker, dry, and crumble easily. Your kitchen will smell so plan accordingly.
How much to use, that is the question. It depends on the quality of the cannabis you use and how strong you want the result to be. I say err on the side of prudence and use a lot of cannabis.
Try using 1 ounce of good, clean shake or trim for every 1/2 pound of butter (2 sticks) or ghee. Adjust this to your own needs and taste.
Heat the butter or ghee and cannabis in a stainless steel pan. Fill the pan half way with water and heat it to a slow simmer for 30 minutes. The water prevents the butter from burning and agitates the mixture. Some recommend heating it for as long as 24 hours which is unnecesarry if you decarb first.
Recovering the butter is easy. Strain the liquid to remove bulk of the plant material. Press it to remove all of the liquid. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a jelly bag to remove more of the plant material. Pour hot water over the cannabis to remove even more of the butter if you so motivated.
Pour the strained liquid into a bowl and refrigerate it. The butter will float to the top and solidify as it cools. Simply pick the layer of cooled butter off the top of the liquid.
How much should you eat? Start with a small amount first. It may take as long as an hour or more to feel the full effect so be patient. By starting with a smaller dose you can multiply to determine how much to eat in the future.
Now that you’ve made your own cannabutter you’re ready to cook with it. Try to keep the cooking time short and the temperature less than the boiling point of THC, 315° F.
Tip: If you make a relatively large batch of cannabutter you can experiment with the dosage and serving size to match your needs. Use a measuring spoon and start very, very slowly. Take too little and increase the serving size gradually. It’s the ideal way to calibrate what you made. The other option is to pay to have it tested at a lab. Even if you do, you still have to eat some to see how you react.