The Science of How to Make Cannabutter
Cannabis in its raw form contains tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), the non-psychoactive precursors to THC and CBD, respectively. To convert these compounds into their active forms, we apply a process called decarboxylation, which involves heating cannabis to release its full potential.
When creating cannabutter, the goal is to extract cannabinoids, primarily THC and CBD, along with terpenes, the aromatic compounds that give each strain its unique aroma and flavor. As these compounds are fat-soluble, butter is a great medium to absorb them.
1 ounce of your favorite cannabis flower
1 pound (4 sticks) of unsalted butter
Cheesecloth or fine strainer
Baking tray and parchment paper
Step 1: Decarboxylation
Preheat your oven to 240°F (115°C), which is the optimal temperature for decarboxylation. Grind your cannabis until it’s coarsely ground (not too fine). Spread the ground cannabis evenly on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even heating. Your cannabis should turn a light to medium brown color and will be very dry.
Step 2: Slow Simmer
While your cannabis is cooling, melt your butter in a saucepan on low heat. Once the butter has melted, add your decarboxylated cannabis into the pan and stir well. Simmer the mixture on low heat (ideally between 160°F and 200°F) for 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally. This slow simmer allows for full extraction of the cannabinoids.
Step 3: Straining
After simmering, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or a fine strainer into a glass container. Be sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the plant material. Discard the leftover plant material.
Step 4: Cooling
Cover the glass container and refrigerate it for a couple of hours. The butter will rise to the top, separate from the water, and solidify.