There’s nothing like burning an entire ounce of weed while attempting to make green butter and ruining it. We’ve all been there at least once.
Making edibles is a time-honored tradition. Whether it’s for a fun party with friends or for your grandma’s glaucoma, edibles are an excellent and efficient way to consume weed.
And the world of weed edibles is much bigger than just your basic brownies: gummies, suckers, even ice cream and chips, all are possible if you understand the basics of cannabis cooking.
We’ve compiled a one-stop guide for making edibles, jam-packed full of handy tips and tricks for different ways to cook weed. If you’re tired of burning your “budder” on the stove, read on!
How Extraction Works
All weed edibles are made with an extraction of weed. This is the process of “pulling out” all the good cannabinoids like THC and CBD from the plant material while leaving the leafy stuff behind.
Cannabinoids, the chemicals in weed, are not water-soluble. This means that simply boiling the weed in water will not extract them. Water does not bind to cannabinoids, so you’d just end up with a bunch of wet weed.
But cannabinoids do bind to oils and alcohol. It’s a lot like cooking food with garlic: sautéing it in butter, oil, or wine really draws out the flavor and infuses it into the liquid.
Butter is definitely the most common and easiest extraction method to use. But there are a plethora of other options in the oil category, and all depend on what you plan on making with your weed.
Coconut oil, olive oil, and even milk are other options for infusing your weed for cooking, and will keep you busy experimenting with tons of recipes. These are primarily used for baked goods.
Alcohol is used to make weed tinctures. The tincture-making process is similar to oil infusions but also has some major differences, which will be covered later in the article. Tinctures are mainly used in candy and drink recipes.
It’s All About The Surface Area
The biggest thing to remember about cooking with weed is that the smaller the grind, the more potent your results.
This is because of the principle of surface area. The smaller the grind, the more of the plant material is exposed to the oil or alcohol, binding more of the cannabinoids in the process.
Make sure that when you begin making edibles, you invest in a high-quality multi-piece grinder with a pollen catcher. This will help you catch every possible particle of your weed and get a much finer grind than a cheap plastic grinder.
A grinder that allows you to select the grind size is the ultimate ideal. Remember, you want as fine a grind as you can possibly get.
When making edibles, use every bit of the weed. While it may be tempting to save that full ounce worth of kief, putting it into your edibles will result in a much higher potency.
Another important step when making edibles is to decarboxylate your weed. The primary cannabinoid in weed, THC, is actually in a form called THCA when the plant is “raw.”
Decarboxylation activates the THCA through heat and time to convert it into THC, which reacts with the receptors in our brains. This is why eating weed that hasn’t been burned or vaporized actually won’t have any effect.
Before making any infusions or tinctures, put your finely-ground weed on parchment paper on a baking sheet, and pop it into the oven at about 220-250 degrees for approximately 35 minutes.
This temperature will decarb the weed without burning it, making the THC much easier to extract and making your tincture or infusion much more potent.
Making Weed Butter
While sautéing your weed in a pan on the stove is a classic method of making edibles, there is actually a much more effective and more foolproof way. It takes a little more time but less effort.
Using a slow cooker or crockpot will give your butter (or oil) infusion a lot of time to fully extract all the cannabinoid goodness from your leafy matter.
By cooking your weed at a low temperature for 24 hours or more, your butter will send you to the moon and back.
Use 1/4 of an ounce (7 grams) per stick of butter or cup of oil. A full ounce of bud will make a full pound of butter or oil. These instructions specify butter but work the same for oils. For milk, skip the added water and freezing.
- Grind and decarb your weed.
- Set the slow cooker to about 160 degrees or the “low” setting.
- Melt butter in the slow cooker. For every stick of butter, add a cup of water. This will help keep it from over-heating and also make separating the leafy matter out easier later.
- Put your decarbed weed into the slow cooker and stir. Put the lid on and leave.
- Every hour or so, give it a good stir. Every few hours or so, make sure to add a little more hot water, as some will be lost to steam.
- For best results, cook for at least 12 hours. The longer, the better, but there are diminishing returns after about 24 hours. If you have to leave for a while, make sure to add more hot water.
- When you are ready, pour the contents through a strainer system into a large bowl: using a regular kitchen strainer followed by a cheesecloth will catch a majority of the plant matter.
- Let the bowl sit until it cools a bit, then put it in the freezer. The water and butter will separate, and the water and plant material will float to the top and freeze into a chunk of ice.
- Flip the bowl over and cut the ice off of the top of the butter. You should be left with a big chunk of brilliant green, pure butter.
After you have your butter, oil, or milk, the sky is the limit on what you can use it with. Baked goods, chocolates, fried foods, even ice cream are all some of the many possibilities.
As an alternative to the slow cooker, check out this nifty gadget for making infusions for edibles.
Learning how to make tinctures will increase your edible-making repertoire immensely. Candies, mixed drinks, and even under-the-tongue drops are some of the things you can make with a good weed tincture.
There are two main ways to make a tincture. The first is called “Green Dragon” and does not involve heating the alcohol. This method takes up to ten days to let it sit and extract.
The second is using heat and is a much faster process. The main thing to remember about making tinctures is that alcohol is highly flammable and, therefore, should not be put on direct heat. Attempt this recipe at your own risk.
What you will need:
- Two cups of clear liquor. The higher the proof, the better. Everclear is a classic choice.
- Two buckets or pots
- Two nesting pots (for boiling off the alcohol)
- Decarbed weed
- Strainer and cheesecloth
- Something to stir and mash with, such as a thick dowel rod or meat tenderizer.
- Note: do not do this on an open-flame stove. If you have an open-flame stove, allow the Everclear to evaporate over time in a large glass baking pan.
- Fire extinguisher, just in case.
- Place your decarbed weed into the bucket or pot. Pour a cup of liquor over the weed, and work it with your stick or tenderizer for about three minutes.
- Optional: you can let the weed and Everclear mixture sit a little longer while covered to increase potency, but be aware even three minutes will be very strong!
- Strain this into your second bucket or pot.
- Repeat the Everclear wash up to seven times, straining each wash into the second bucket. Each wash will be less potent and potentially contain more plant material in the end results.
- Take the contents of the second bucket and put it in the smaller nesting pot.
- Fill the larger pot with a couple inches of water and crank the heat up to high to boil it. Place the smaller pot inside, making sure it is touching the water beneath.
- Allow to boil for 5-10 minutes, until the alcohol evaporates and a thick green liquid is left. Ventilate well while boiling. Note: it will smell like weed.
- Pour your tincture into a suitable jar or another glass container.
And voila! You now have a tincture that can be used in all kinds of recipes, especially hard candies and THC gummies.
Parting Words on Making Edibles
Consume your weed edibles with caution. Start with a small dose, as edibles are infamous for sneaking up on you and hitting harder than you expect. If it doesn’t kick in right away, remember it can take over an hour for the effects to happen.
For more lifestyle tips and tricks like making edibles, make sure to check out our other blog articles, and feel free to contact us at any time!