Beginner’s Guide to Cooking with Cannabis Oil (and Cannabutter)
I love cooking. One of the only things I love more than a big meal is a big bowl of weed.
Naturally, I’m interested in cooking with cannabis.
Who wouldn’t want a kitchen full of delicious THC-infused foods?
For many of us, that’s as far as the thought goes. Cooking with cannabis can seem so complicated and intimidating. Even if you’re a kitchen maven, you may have questions about adding marijuana to your spice rack.
The first thing you’ll need to know is how to make cannabis oil and cannabutter. So let’s look at a few quick recipes and how you can plan ingredients and dosage for your next homemade edible.
How to Make Cannabis Oil & Cannabutter
Before you can start cooking with cannabis, you’ll need to learn how to make (or where to buy) cannabis oil or cannabutter.
The easiest option (and the most accurate for dosing) is to use ready made oil or butter that has been tested for potency per serving. Unfortunately, these can be exceptionally hard to find even among the many Boulder and Denver recreational dispensaries.
That means you’ll need to make your own cannabis oil or cannabutter.
Tip: Some kief cooks prefer to use marijuana flower directly in their recipes. While that method can work if the recipe also includes butter or oil to extract the cannabinoids and terpenoids, it introduces additional variables that can reduce the strength of your finished product (or spread out the cannabinoids less evenly).
Cannabis Oil [Recipe]
Before you can make cannabis oil you’ll need a few ingredients… namely cannabis and cooking oil.
You’ll need 1 cup of cooking oil for every 1 cup of marijuana flower. Depending on the density of the bud you’re using, 1 cup of ground-up flower is about 1-2 ounces.
Alternately (and my favorite), you can use CO2 cannabis oil in place of flower. You can replace 1 ounce of flower with 2-6 grams of cannabis oil.
Not only does this remove a few steps (grinding and straining the plant material), but it also removes chlorophyll from your finished product.
Of course, you can scale this recipe down if you only have a few grams of bud or if you want a milder finished product.
Step 1: Grind the cannabis (but not to a fine powder)
Step 2: Combine 1 cup of your chosen cooking oil for every 1 cup of cannabis flower (or 2-6 grams of THC/CBD hash oil).
Step 3: Place the cooking oil and cannabis mixture in a slow cooker on low heat—no higher than 240-245 degrees—for about 6-8 hours (stirring occasionally). This activates the THC in the flower without burning it—a process called decarboxylation.
If you don’t have a slow cooker or double broiler, you can use a saucepan—the oil will be ready in just 3 hours, but you’ll need to stir frequently to avoid scorching.
It’s also worth noting that many DIY cannachefs prefer to let their cannabis oil simmer longer to extract more cannabinoids.
Step 4: Strain the oil through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a heat-resistant container to filter out remaining plant matter. You won’t need to strain if you used THC or CBD oil in place of flower.
Storing the Oil: You can store cannabis cooking oil for more than two months (and longer in the fridge).
Cannabis Butter [Recipe]
Making cannabis butter is just as easy as making your own cannabis oil. Well, it has a few more steps. But they’re all easy ones! And knowing how to make your own cannabutter opens up a LOT of delicious recipes.
To start, you’ll need about 4 sticks of butter for every ounce of weed (adjust to taste), a cheesecloth, and a strainer.
As a somewhat lazy chef, I prefer to use about 4 grams of CO2 cannabis oil in place of one ounce of flower. It eliminates several time-consuming steps, including decarbing and straining. It also removes chlorophyll and finely ground plant material from your finished product (without needing a strainer or cheesecloth) for a more flavorful cannabutter.
Step 1: Decarb your weed. If you’re using CO2 cannabis oil instead of flower, you can skip to Step 2.
– Preheat your oven to 240 degrees.
– Place the cannabis plant material on a baking sheet in a single layer.
– Heat the cannabis for 40 minutes—rotate a few times for even heating.
When you’re done, the weed should be dry enough to crumble.
Step 2: Melt the butter in about 1 1/2 – 2 inches of boiling water. This will keep the marijuana (when it’s added in the next step) off the floor of the pan and help avoid burning.
Step 3: When the butter melts completely, add the marijuana flower or oil. Turn down the heat to a very low simmer to avoid burning the bud. Let the marijuana butter cook for about 3-4 hours until the top of the mix turns thick and glossy.
Step 4: Place a layer or two of cheesecloth over the top of the container and secure it in place with a piece of string, tape, or a rubber band. Now strain the marijuana butter into a large storage container. When you’re done, grab the cheesecloth by the corners and give it a gentle squeeze to get any remaining butter.
You won’t need to do this if you’re using kush oil instead of flower.
Step 5: Place the strained butter in the fridge for about an hour to let it cool. As the butter cools, the cannabis-infused portion will rise to the top and form a solid layer.
Step 6: Scrape off the solid layer of butter with a knife then flip the butter to scrape off any remaining water.
Storing the Butter: Your cannabis butter should last as long as any other butter. Just pop a lid on the container and toss it in the fridge.
How Much Cannabis Oil or Butter Will One Ounce of Marijuana Make?
The density of different strains means there won’t always be an easy way to calculate exactly how much cannabis oil or butter you’ll end up with.
In practical terms (and with the recipes in this post), you can expect an ounce of weed—or 3-6 grams of CO2 oil—to give you about 1-2 cups of infused cooking oil or 4 sticks of cannabutter.
That’s enough to make up to 48 high-potency pot brownies or 96 marijuana-infused cookies!
How Can You Calculate THC Potency In a Homemade Edible?
Even big labs have to work hard to check edible potency. First, not all THCA converts to THC (a rate of about 0.88). And depending on the butter or oil used when cooking, you may end up extracting as little as 30 percent of the cannabinoids and terpenoids.*
This can make it hard to calculate actual potency in a homemade edible—and calculating exact serving strength is almost impossible. It’s easier if you’re using pre-packaged cannabis oil or cannabutter with 5-10mg per serving. But if you’re making your own oil or butter, you could end up with a finished meal that’s significantly stronger (or weaker) than you anticipated.
To keep THC levels more consistent, try the following:
- Check the weed label: is it THC or THCA?
- Portion butter carefully—measure portion sizes with a scale or ruler and scoop vertically
- Stir like you’ve never stirred before (the more homogeneous the mix, the more even your serving sizes)
- Expect different doses and eat slowly
- Keep in mind the strength and type of weed you plan on using. If you’re making THC-infused butter to spread on your toast in the morning, you might try a mild sativa. If you need a strong cooking oil to make pot brownies, grab a strong indica.
No matter how careful you are in the kitchen, the only way you can be sure about potency in a homemade edible is to test the finished product. And most of us don’t have the resources or equipment for that.
Give yourself a bit of extra time to eat and relax the first time you try a marijuana-infused recipe so you can see how it affects you. And, remember that marijuana edibles can take time to take effect. Try to give yourself at least 30-60 minutes between servings to avoid getting too much THC.
And if you depend on extremely accurate dosing of your THC or CBD, you can shop our best-in-Boulder selection of precisely dosed edibles.
Ready. Set. Cook.
Once you know how to make your own cannabis oil and cannabutter, your kitchen opens up. Grab a bit of your favorite bud, scale the recipes in this post to fit the amount of weed you have, and enjoy a world of THC-infused delights.
Need a little shake to get started? Or would you rather skip the cooking and just start eating? Browse our best-in-Boulder selection of clean-grown cannabis flower (including $48 ounces of shake) and delicious infused edibles.
While we carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week and month to month. Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available.
Before cooking with cannabis, you'll need to know how to make cannabis oil and cannabutter. Here are a few tasty recipes and dosage tips.