Traditionally, cannabutter is the basis for marijuana cookery and as the author of The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook, I’ve been approached by people touting literally dozens of different recipes for “the ultimate cannabutter.”
To find out which was best for myself, I took butters into my own hands by testing four top methods side-by-side using the same basic ingredients in each batch.
Using a 1/2 ounce of the same kind of cannabis and 8 ounces of clarified butter as our ingredients, we tested four different methods from well-known cannabis cooks and had the finished butters analyzed by SC Labs and Steep Hill in California. The lab results revealed how much THCa remained in the butter, showing us the potential THC that was not successfully activated, along with other useful information.
The Ultimate Cannabutter Experiment was repeated twice, with different types of cannabis used for each batch, for eight total butter samples. Two different laboratories analyzed each set of samples along with the cannabis used to create the infusions, allowing us to confirm trends by comparing the data sets.
Method 3: Water-Simmered Cannabutter
Preparation Time: 5 hours
Equipment: Stovetop, Stockpot, Fridge
Secret Weapon: Simplicity
Our third method is brought to you by Chef Laurie Wolf and has been praised by the Cannabist as the best cannabutter in America.
This is a version of the popular, traditional water-simmering method of infusion—where cannabis is simmered in water with butter, then strained and chilled to allow the infused fat to rise to the top. It’s a pretty simple procedure that scales up easily. Measuring the temperature during the three hour simmering time revealed temps at about 169ºF. Separating the solidified butter from the water can be a little messy, so use a bowl with the least surface area possible, since a thicker butter layer will be easier to remove.
Learn the Recipe: Water-Simmered Cannabutter
Presented by Chef Laurie Wolf at the Cannabist, this method of infusing cannabis into butter has been around at least since the 1960s and is the way most old-school hippies recommend making cannabutter. THC is hydrophobic, meaning it will not infuse into water, only fats, so this is why all the available THC from your herb migrates into the dissolved butter. Chilling the resulting mixture allows all the fat to solidify at the top of the bowl, making it relatively easy to separate from the water.
1/2 oz. weed
8 oz. of clarified butter
In a medium saucepan bring a quart of water to a boil on the stove. You can vary the amounts, just be sure that the marijuana is always floating about 1 1/2 – 2 inches from the bottom of the pan.
When the water is boiling, place the butter in the pan and allow it to melt completely. Once the butter has melted, you can add the marijuana. Once the weed is added, the heat should be turned down, very low, to barely a simmer. I usually let the weed cook for around three hours. You can tell it’s done when the top of the mix turns from really watery to glossy and thick.
While the cannabutter is cooking, set up the bowl to hold the finished product. I like to use a heat-proof bowl, and some people use a plastic food container. Place a double layer of cheesecloth over the top, and secure it with elastic, string or tape.
Strain the marijuana butter over the bowl, carefully trying not to spill. When the saucepan is empty, undo the twine, pick up the cheesecloth from all four sides and squeeze out all of the remaining butter.
Allow the cannabutter to cool for about an hour. Place in the fridge until the butter has risen to the top layer and is solid. The THC and other properties have attached to the butter, and you are just about there.
Run a knife around the edge and lift the butter off. Place upside down on your work surface and scrape off any of the cooking water. Your cannabutter is ready to roll. Enjoy!
Check Out The Other Methods And Results From The Ultimate Cannabutter Experiment:
Method 1: Scientific Cannabutter
Method 2: Bioavailable Cannabutter
Method 3: Water-Simmered Cannabutter
Method 4: Scentless Cannabutter
Results from the Ultimate Cannabutter Experiment