While there are many ways to cook with cannabis, a reliable slow-cooker cannabis butter recipe is an essential part of any weed chef's repertoire. Cannabis-infused butter (cannabutter) can elevate nearly any recipe into the realm of weedy goodness. However, you can't throw a stone without hitting a canna-chef with a story to tell about overdoing it on edibles. Tales of inconsistency, uneven distribution of THC, and overpowering highs are everywhere.
Luckily, you've come to the right place for not only a simple slow-cooker cannabutter recipe, but also for the info you need on potency, decarbing, stoner math, and more.
If you want to avoid the aforementioned bad time on edibles, it's best to pay close attention to potency. The digestive process transforms THC into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more potent, longer-lasting, and has more pronounced sedative properties. Edibles also have a delayed onset thanks to the digestive process. The high can take up to two hours to fully kick in and once it does, it can last six hours or sometimes longer. Finally, edibles can affect individuals differently. History of cannabis consumption, weight, age, genetics, diet, and gastrointestinal health all influence an individual's response to edibles.
Before you plan what you'll make with your cannabutter, first familiarize yourself with the potency of your chosen flower. Confirm the percentage of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in that sampling of flower. THC potency can vary dramatically across different varieties, and flower is generally much stronger today than it was 40 years ago. If you don't know the potency of the flower you're working with, you will not be able to accurately calculate the dose in your cannabutter, and any resulting edibles.
Tips for getting the potency right
Plan ahead. Before you begin to make your first batch of cannabutter, plan ahead and think about your intentions. Are you hoping for an intoxicating, head-body high that'll rival the potency of the strongest store-bought products? Or are you more interested in a mild, relaxing vibe that'll edge out your nightly glass of wine? The possibilities for homemade edibles are practically infinite, but it does take some effort to tailor the potency to your tolerance and needs.
Shop legal. The most important thing you can do is shop from a licensed dispensary. This way you can get the laboratory certificate of analysis for the flower of your choosing and be confident the percentages of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids are accurate. If you're not sure where to find this information, don't be afraid to ask your budtender.
If you have a high tolerance, look for 20% THC or higher. When shopping for weed for cannabutter, high-tolerance cannabis consumers have a simple task: buy the most potent cannabis available. This flower need not be top-shelf since a lot of the qualities that define top-shelf — glistening trichomes, colorful hues, perfect bud structure — will be irrelevant once it's in a vat of butter. But the flavors and effects of the strain will shine through, so don't buy an energizing strain if you're not looking to be energized or a lemon-scented strain if you're not a fan of citrus.
Try high-CBD or hemp strains if you have a low tolerance. Low-tolerance or new cannabis consumers will want to avoid THC-dominant cannabis. Look for strains with a balanced ratio of THC to CBD instead. New consumers could also opt for hemp flower, which has negligible amounts of THC and high levels of CBD for a non-intoxicating, calming experience. There's the added benefit that you can buy hemp flower online.
Learn stoner math. Here's a simple yet highly effective formula for approximating the maximum amount of THC in a batch of cannabutter.
(grams of flower) x 1000 x (percentage of THC) = total milligrams
Example: If you have 3.5 g of flower containing 20% THC, that would be a maximum of 700 mg of THC (3.5 x 1000 x 0.2 = 700).
Be aware this is not an exact science and half of the THC could be lost in the infusion process. The point of this formula is to give you an idea of the maximum possible amount so you know how the best serving size to experiment with for your first dose.
The decarboxylation debate
Virtually all the cannabutter and edible recipes online tell you to decarboxylate your weed or your efforts will be pointless. But it's a little more nuanced than that. Decarboxylating, or decarbing, simply means heating cannabis flower in order to convert non-intoxicating cannabinoid acids into the cannabinoids most of us are familiar with. So, with a little heat and time, the THCA in raw flower turns into THC, CBDA turns into CBD, and so on. This happens automatically whenever you smoke or vape cannabis, thanks to your lighter flame or vape heating element.
Toasting your flower in the oven before simmering it in butter ensures your infusion will be chock full of THC, but that's not necessarily the goal of every cannabis consumer. High-tolerance consumers who want to get every last bit of THC out of their flower should absolutely decarb. Brand new cannabis consumers would be wise to skip this step. And low-tolerance consumers might be happy going either route but should pay close attention to the math if they choose to decarb. If you're using hemp flower and want to access all the CBD in the plant, be sure to decarb.
Slow-cooker cannabis butter recipe
Now that you've chosen your cannabis and decarbed it (or not), read on for a step-by-step guide to making the perfect cannabutter in a slow cooker.
First, assemble the following supplies and ingredients:
- Slow cooker
- Metal strainer or cheesecloth
- Storage container
- 1 cup of water
- 1 pound of butter
- Cannabis flower
Next, turn on the slow cooker to the lowest possible setting. Add all the water, butter, and cannabis and stir thoroughly. Put on the lid and allow everything to cook for up to 18 hours. The longer you cook, the more potent your weed butter will be. Gauge the duration of your cooking session based on how much THC or CBD you want the butter to absorb. The average cooking time per most online sources is about 12 hours.
Once your mixture finishes cooking, pour the cannabutter through the metal strainer or cheesecloth into a separate container. Store the butter in the refrigerator. As it cools, it will harden and separate from the water. Remove the butter from the water and store it in an airtight container, usually a glass jar or plastic container. Your weed butter is now ready to use. It should last up to two months in the fridge or six months in the freezer.
How to use cannabutter
The possibilities are endless when it comes to eating cannabutter. If you're short on time, simply spread a serving of cannabutter on a piece of toast and top with jam. For home cooks, there are a number of cannabis cookbooks and fun recipes exploring how to make edibles.
To test the strength of your cannabutter without risking a paranoid meltdown, use the formula above and start with a dose in your comfort zone. That way, even if every bit of THCA magically converted into THC during the infusion process, you can rest assured you aren't pushing your limits. Once you've established that baseline, you can adjust the serving size appropriately.
Ensure even mixing and portioning
Thorough mixing is absolutely critical to ensure even distribution of cannabutter. To avoid wild differences in effects from one brownie to the next, take every precaution possible to standardize the dose across servings.
Here are some guidelines:
- Don't scoop cannabutter from the top. Cannabinoids will settle in butter according to their weight, so when measuring out cannabutter, slice a vertical section.
- When it comes to mixing cannabutter into a recipe, be sure to blend your batter or mix extremely thoroughly, taking care to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Consider using a dropper to apply an exact amount of cannabutter to individual servings of non-infused food.
- When cutting portions, measure each piece to ensure consistency.
When making and using cannabutter, as with all things cannabis, start low and go slow with your dosage. Establish your tolerance baseline first before you start experimenting with higher doses. If you're making edibles for medicine, the optimal dose is the lowest amount that provides adequate therapeutic relief without adverse effects.