Traditionally, cannabutter is the basis for marijuana cookery. Once you infuse butter with THC, it can then be added to any number of recipes to make them magically delicious.
Naturally, every cannabis chef and home cook believes their own method for making cannabutter works the best (or they would use another method). 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,” each promising to produce the most potent, tasteless, scentless, product possible.
I’ve tried out many of these recipes, and they all work. But how well, exactly?
To find out, I took butters into my own hands by testing four top methods side-by-side using the same basic ingredients in each batch.
Aiming to dispel the myths and make with the science, I enlisted two dedicated cannabis testing laboratories to analyze the finished samples using high-pressure liquid chromatography to determine their cannabinoid profiles. That analysis will reveal which method is most efficient at using heat to convert THCa (a non-psychoactive form of the drug found in raw marijuana) into psychoactive THC, giving you the most bang for your buck and ensuring that none of your precious weed gets wasted.
Decarboxylation, through heating or drying your cannabis, is a chemical reaction that converts THCa into THC. The boiling temperature for THC is 314ºF, and heating your cannabis too high for too long will result in lowered potency as THC converts to CBN, or is destroyed completely. Heating your herb at 240ºF for an hour will decarb your cannabis so that it is ready to use in an infusion. Most of the methods we tested included a decarb step, with the exception of the traditional water-simmered method.