Cannabis Cooking Basics with Laurie Wolf: Easy canna-butter

Easy canna-butter

Photo: Bruce Wolf

Celebrity cannabis chef Laurie Wolf takes you from zero to hero in the kitchen with the beginning of our series, “Ask Laurie!” This week, a super-easy way to make canna-butter. You can’t burn it!

First-timer, here. How do you like to make canna-butter, Laurie?

Great question. As cannabis moves into the mainstream, no longer a “stoners only” pastime, cooking with weed is becoming a thing. And a lovely thing it is. Say goodbye, crisped rice treats and way-too-potent brownies. Folks are creating cannabis-infused recipes that include everything from deviled eggs to angel food cake.

Canna-butter is the most common method of infusion, although infused coconut oil is gaining in popularity, serving as both an edible and topical product. (I suppose you could rub canna-butter all over the parts that hurt, though I don’t recommend it.) Speaking of which, make sure to clearly label your finished canna-butter to avoid any unpleasant episodes.

Making infused butter is a simple process, and this recipe uses water, basically eliminating the chance of the butter burning, which is a tragedy of unutterable proportions.

Too much cannabis won’t kill you, but it’s not fun. Believe me.

When cannabis is added to melted butter the cannabinoids attach to the fat, infusing the butter. You can then use the butter to make all sorts of stuff.

The butter will be as strong as the cannabis you use.

There are over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, all having different effects when ingested. The cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol-acid (THCA) is converted to the psychoactive molecule THC, the main compound that gives people the feeling of being high. As we learn more about the benefits of cannabis, there is serious focus on the cannabinoid cannabidiol or “CBD”. This non-psychotropic compound helps control seizures, reduces inflammation and is becoming a natural alternative to prescription pain medication which can have serious, unpleasant side effects.

Remember that when it comes to edibles, less is more. While you are figuring out what your comfortable potency is, go slow and start with a little. Too much cannabis won’t kill you, but it’s not fun. Believe me.

Easy Canna-Butter

  • 4 sticks butter
  • 1 ounce “shake”* or trim, finely ground. *(The small leaves and small “popcorn” buds are called “shake”. Freshly dried, cured shake is best. Stored in a cool, dry area, shake keeps for months and months.)
  1. In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil. You can vary the amounts, just be sure that there is enough water. The marijuana should always be floating 2 inches from the bottom of the pan.

  2. Add the butter.

  3. After the butter has melted add the marijuana. Once the cannabis is added the heat should be turned down, very low, to barely a simmer. Cook for three hours.

  4. Set up a bowl to hold the finished product. There are a couple of ways to strain the mixture. Use a deep heatproof glass bowl with a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. You can also tie a double layer of cheesecloth around a large heatproof bowl with twine, making it taut across the top.

    Photo: Bruce Wolf

  5. Strain the marijuana butter over the bowl, carefully trying not to spill. When the saucepan is empty carefully undo the twine, pick up the cheesecloth rom all four sides and squeeze out all of the remaining butter.

  6. Allow the canna-butter to cool at room temperature for about an hour. Place in the fridge until the butter has solidified and separated from the water. The THC and other properties have attached to the butter, and you are just about there.

  7. Run a knife around the edge and lift the butter off the water. Place upside down on your work surface and scrape off any of the plant matter and milk solids. Your canna-butter is ready to use. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container. Canna-butter will keep for weeks in the fridge, and at least six months in the freezer.


    Photo: Bruce Wolf