Patisserie pros spend their mornings transforming flour, butter, sugar and lots of other things into pastries, cakes, cookies — so you don’t have to! You bow down before your neighborhood bakery every week. But every once in awhile, you dig donning the apron and whipping up a batch of brownies, or a plate of pie.
Embrace the same approach with those sweet treats infused with cannabis. Baking excellence lines the shelves of most dispensaries, and experimenting with different products and brands is highly recommended. But every once in awhile it’s also a blast to make your own cannabis edibles. If you love our favorite weed (and of course you do) then this may be the most fun you’ve ever had in the kitchen.
The foundation of all cannabis baked products is the cannabis-infused fat, normally butter or oil (one of the more popular oils for flavor as well as ability to absorb THC is coconut oil). The first step — making the cannabutter or oil — is the only unusual one. After that step, the rest of them are similar to what can be found in mainstream recipes.
We offer here a recipe for cannabutter. If you would rather make a vegan cannabis-infused fat, we suggest using coconut oil. This Wake and Bake recipe is a good one for cannabis coconut oil.
Recipes all deal with numbers, in terms of ingredient measurements and baking times. The math is a bit more complex for cannabis baking, however. Don’t worry — we aren’t headed towards equation land. It’s pretty simple.
The trickier math results from figuring out how much THC you want per serving — for example, 10 mg for each chocolate chip cookie — and then making a batch of cookies with an amount of THC that will accomplish the goal.
- Different strains contain wildly different concentrations of THC. Ideally, the dispensary from which the pot was purchased will disclose the THC concentration of their product. If not, make sure you at least know the strain, and then research online how much THC content the strain normally presents.
- The best products are first “decarboxylated,” meaning the dry cannabis is first baked, at low heat, until the THC is activated and made available. Cooking the weed without first decarboxylating it works too — when you cook the cookies, the heat activates the THC. But decarbing is more efficient. The THC is made more uniformly available, and at greater concentrations, than in products containing flower that was not first decarbed.
- At first, at least, use yourself as a guinea pig (it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it). Despite all of the rigors you take to dial-in dosing, your products will never match the dosing precision of the products from the dispensary.
Proportion Control for Homemade Cannabutter
The ratio of decarboxylated cannabis to butter is a principal determinant of THC concentration. People seeking especially strong concentrations might use a 1:1 ratio — one ounce of cannabis to one pound of butter. The more typical ratio, however, is 1/2 ounce cannabis to one pound butter. Either way, do remember: the strain’s THC concentration will influence the potency. Some strains pack a wallop higher than 30 percent. Others are lower than 15 percent.
Decarbing Cannabis for Cannabutter
Once you know how much cannabis you plan to use, decarb it.
- Preheat an oven to 225 degrees.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper.
- Break the buds into smaller pieces, and then crowd them together on the baking surface. Don’t mound them on top of one another, but keep them close.
- Place in oven for about 20 minutes — the point to this step is to remove moisture from the bud. The bud will turn slightly brown, and break apart with more ease, once it is dry.
- Remove from oven and boost temperature to 240 degrees.
- Once the cannabis is cool enough to handle, break it apart even more and spread it across the baking surface.
- Cover rimmed baking sheet or dish with tin foil, and seal. Place in the oven for another 45-60 minutes.
- Remove from oven and keep the foil on top of the baking vessel until the cannabis has cooled.
- Handle the cannabis. It might have already broken down into something fine enough to use in recipes. If not, place it in a coffee grinder, blender or food processor and grind until it’s fairly ground, but be careful — you aren’t seeking a powder here. The texture is more like typical ground oregano or thyme.
If decarbing sounds a bit too complicated or time consuming, you can purchase a decarboxylator to do the work for you.
Enough Chewing the Fat — Let’s Make the Cannabutter
- 1/2 ounce decarboxylated cannabis
- 1 pound butter
- 1 quart water
- Cut the butter into pieces and place into a medium saucepan with the water and cannabis.
- Cook over low heat for three to four hours, stirring occasionally. Make sure it never comes to a boil — you are looking for low, slow heat. The point is to eventually evaporate most of the water.
- The mixture will grow increasingly thick. If it seems like it is too thick, add a little bit more water.
- Once it appears that most of the water is gone and the substance in the pan is sort of glossy and dense (and it will be wet), remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Line a strainer or colander with two layers of cheesecloth and place over a bowl while the cannabutter cools in the pan. Once it is cool enough to handle, pour the cannabutter over the cheesecloth, pushing down with a spoon to press all of the cannabutter into the bowl. Lift the cheesecloth from its ends, bring the ends together and twist over the bowl — you want to wring out all of the butter into the bowl.
- Place some plastic wrap over the bowl and put it into the refrigerator until it solidifies — two to three hours.
- Once solid, you want to carefully remove the hardened butter from the surrounding water; use a knife to loosen the edges of the butter from the bowl and then lift the butter from the bowl. Place wet side up on a cutting board, plate or wax paper.
- Store the cannabutter in a preferably airtight glass container in the refrigerator. The butter, which will have a faint green color, should be used within a few weeks.
Here comes the math.
Before you bake a batch of cookies or a tray of brownies, you want to have at least some sense of how much THC each serving will contain.
Things to consider:
- 1 gram of flower is also 1000 milligrams of flower.
- For the sake of ease, let’s assume your cannabis is 10 percent THC, a low ratio that is available at some dispensaries. But the point of using 10 percent here is to make the math easily scalable. If the THC of the flower instead is 20 percent, then you know that following these guidelines will produce cannabutter that is roughly twice the potency of the butter with 10 percent THC.
- With 1000 mg (a gram) of bud at 10 percent THC, the THC content is about 100 mg — 10 percent of 1000.
- A typical edibles dose is 10 mg, so that gram of low-potency cannabis produces 10 servings. If the strain was 20 percent THC, it produces 20 servings.
- Let’s expand this to a full ounce of flower, which is 28 grams. Based on the above calculations, that ounce of low-THC flower contains about 2,800 milligrams of THC, or 280 servings of 10 milligrams each.
Cannabutter Baking Tips
- If your pound of cannabutter used 1/2 ounce of 10 percent THC flower, that’s roughly 140 servings.
- If you want a batch of, for example, 70 chocolate chip cookies, with a dosage of 10 mg per brownie, then you want 700 milligrams of THC in the batch. If your pound of butter holds 2,800 milligrams of THC, then the cannabutter portion of the recipe will a quarter-pound of cannabutter, which contains 700 milligrams of THC. If the recipe calls for more than a quarter-pound of butter, supplement the cannabutter with non-infused butter to reach the proper amount of butter for the recipe.
More Cannabutter Caveats
- Between the decarboxylation process and cooking in the home, batches are rarely entirely uniform. The goal is to at least come close, rather than to nail an exact THC concentration with every batch.
- Always remember: The strain’s THC content is important. Our guidelines use flower with 10 percent THC, but chances are your flower might contain something closer to 20 percent. Understanding the THC content of the flower is essential — only then do you at least get close to crafting baked goods with fairly uniform dosing.
- The guinea pig approach is essential. After you bake that batch of snickerdoodles, in which you thought the cookie had 10 milligrams of THC, eat half of one. Wait for at least two hours. See what happens. Then you will know whether half of a cookie was just right, not enough, or too much. Eat those cookies accordingly.
- When you bake cookies, for example, use an ice cream scoop or tablespoon measure make uniform measures of dough, thus ensuring all of the cookies are the same size. With something like brownies, use a ruler to cut each brownie into the same size.
- Thoroughly mixing the butter into the recipe is key. You want the THC-infused butter evenly distributed through the batter so that uniform serving sizes also have uniform THC content.
So there you have it: our complete guide to making cannabutter. Bon appetit!
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