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In 2018, the estimated value of the global cannabis edibles market was over $2.37 billion. By 2025, however, experts say this could grow to a massive $11.56 billion sector.
Cannabis edibles, after all, offer a combustible-free option to reap the plant’s benefits. Plus, you can make many of these cannabinoid-infused goodies right at home.
One way to do that is to make your cannabis butter, also known as “cannabutter.”
What is cannabutter, though, and how do you make it at home?
We’ve rounded up all the basics you need to know about it in this post, so be sure to read on!
What Is Cannabutter?
Cannabutter, sometimes called marijuana butter, is a mixture of cannabis and typical butter. Most people use it to make “edibles,” especially baked goods, such as brownies and cookies.
Cannabutter usually contains both cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in considerable amounts. These two are the main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. They are substances said to have therapeutic effects, like pain relief and anti-anxiety.
Note, however, that there are more than 60 different cannabinoids in cannabis. As such, cannabutter may contain more than CBD and THC, so long as made properly.
Why Use Cannabutter?
Cannabis has shown time and time again that it does deliver various health benefits. Many of these therapeutic effects have to do with its cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC. For starters, they may help ease pain and relieve anxiety and depression symptoms.
However, for cannabis to provide these benefits, the plant needs exposure to heat. The heat, in turn, activates the beneficial compounds it contains.
That’s why those who use marijuana often smoke it. Smoking offers one of the fastest ways to experience the plant’s potential benefits.
Not all people may want to smoke cannabis, though. The great news is that “cooking” the plant allows it to retain most of its beneficial compounds. As such, cannabutter offers a smoke-free option to reap the plant’s benefits.
Do You Only Have to Mix Raw Cannabis and Butter?
To extract the beneficial compounds of cannabis, you need to “pre-cook” it before you mix it with butter. This pre-cooking method is what you call “decarboxylation.” It allows you to activate the otherwise inactive substances in the plant.
Keep in mind that cannabis, in its raw form, contains inactive elements like CBDa and THCa. The “a” there stands for “acid,” and you need to “activate” them before they become CBD and THC. Heating the plant, or “decarbing,” does the trick.
When you “light” up cannabis, the decarboxylation process occurs right away. This is why inhalation allows for direct exposure to the plant’s now-active compounds.
However, if you mix raw cannabis to butter, the compounds remain inactive. So, if you “cook” that fat, you also “cook-off” it’s the plant’s activated elements, like CBD and THC. Moreover, temperatures over 315 °F also appear to cause THC evaporation.
How Then Do You Decarb Cannabis?
Decarboxylation may seem too scientific, but you can do it at home, with the use of an oven to pre-cook the plant. You also need a baking sheet, parchment paper, and high-quality cannabis flower.
Here are the steps to ensure you properly decarb cannabis before you mix it with butter.
- Preheat your oven to 245 °Fahrenheit.
- Break up the raw cannabis flower into smaller pieces and spread it evenly on the lined baking sheet.
- Place the sheet in the oven and bake for no more than 25 to 30 minutes.
- As the flower “bakes” (or decarbs), stir the pieces occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- After 25 to 30 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack.
Once the now-decarbed cannabis cools, grind up the pieces using your grinder. Be careful not to turn them into a fine powder, though.
Once you have decarbed cannabis, you can now make cannabutter. You can use a basic saucepan for this, or you can also use a butter maker. Either way, you want to use high-quality ingredients, preferably clarified butter.
Clarified butter is butter without the milk solids and extra water. It has a higher smoke point, so it withstands higher heat, which most cooking methods require. In addition, the removal of milk solids and moisture helps to extend the butter’s lifespan.
To make cannabutter using the old-fashioned stove-top way, follow these simple steps.
Prepare Your Tools and Ingredients
The amount of cannabis to use depends on how potent you want your cannabutter to be. If this is your first time eating or cooking with cannabis butter, it might be best to start on a lower scale. A gram or two of the decarbed flower may be enough for every stick of butter.
Also, for every stick of butter, you’d need at least 1/4 cup of water for the steeping process. So if you’re using two sticks, increase this to 1/2 cup of water.
If you’re using clarified butter, though, keep in mind that it’s only about 75% of the weight of whole butter. So, a stick of butter is equivalent to 3/4 stick of the clarified form.
As for the tools you need, here’s the list:
- A saucepan
- A kitchen or candy thermometer
- An extra-fine sieve or strainer
- A heat-proof bowl
- A heat-proof jar or container with a lid (for the final product)
You can also use a cheesecloth to separate the water from the butter. However, this fabric tends to absorb melted fats too, so if you can, use a sieve or strainer.
Making the Cannabutter
A lot of people let the cannabis and butter steep and simmer for at least two hours. However, you can shorten this to 45 to 60 minutes, so long as you use high-quality cannabis and butter. With this method, you can still get between 80% to 90% of the activated cannabinoids transferred to the fat.
Be sure to keep a close watch on the temperature as you let it steep, though.
To start making the butter, follow these steps:
- Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan.
- Set the stove to low heat, and allow the mixture to simmer.
- Stir the mixture occasionally.
- Use the thermometer to ensure the temperature doesn’t go higher than 190°F.
- Take the pan off the heat and pour the mixture through the strainer or sieve placed over the bowl.
- Let the butter cool a bit before transferring into a container.
- Place the covered jar in the fridge and allow the butter to solidify completely.
- Once solid, you can get rid of the excess water that separates from the butter.
After removing the water, what you have left is cannabutter. You can now eat it as-is or cook and bake with it.
Get Cooking With Homemade Cannabutter Now
There you have it, the ultimate guide that answers your question, “What is cannabutter?” Now that you know, you can get started in making your own right in the comfort of your home. Just remember to start small, so you can test the potency and use it as a guide for future batches.
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