We’ve talked about what CBD is and what it’s used to treat (more to come). Now it’s time to delve a little deeper into how to use it via a tutorial on making your own CBD butter or oil. Cannabutter and canna-oil are useful to have on-hand, especially if you use CBD to treat chronic issues such as anxiety or pain and need regular access to it.
That said, anyone who’s ever made edibles before knows they’re notoriously difficult to dose and the taste is impossible to cover no matter what you pair it with. There’s nothing wrong with cannabis’s natural flavor, but it dominates the palate, so if you use it often you may wish to tone it down (or not, your call).
This article will teach you how to create CBD butter/oil with little to no grassy taste so you can actually enjoy the brownie in your brownie (or cookie, or garlic bread, the options are endless). It will also walk you through the ins and outs of dosing, and equip you to develop your own recipes that safeguard the efficacy of the medicine.
Recipe for CBD Butter or Oil
Source your CBD Hemp Flower
Wait, flower? Yes. While cannabis and hemp leaves make great additions to salads or decorative statements on a plate or in a floral arrangement, the flower is the part of the plant that you associate with bud (get it?).
Ask the Google Goddesses about industrial hemp in your area that meet these criteria:
- Organic. Cannabis and hemp are weeds (hence the nickname). This may surprise you, but weeds serve all kinds of helpful functions in a garden or landscape, including amending the soil to make it more inhabitable by other vegetation. In doing so, they extract unwanted proprieties (such as heavy metals) from the soil, which become part of their matter. That means weeds will integrate pesticides more than other types of plants. If you’re immunocompromised, it’s important for you to source the cleanest product available.
- Grown by independent farmers, especially growers at intersections of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and womxn identities. Support small agriculture. If you’re a white consumer, hopefully this year’s reactivation of Freedom Summer galvanized you to put together a sustainable, comprehensive reparations plan. If not, this is a great place to start because of the myriad ways in which the cannabis and hemp industries are prohibitive to BIPOC farmers and entrepreneurs.
Basic CBD Cannabutter/Canna Oil Recipe
Here’s the fun part. This process has been my go-to for years. It combines your standard decarboxylation (or decarb) and infusion processes but adds a step gained from raw food and vegan wisdom: soaking. JeffThe420Chef adds his own riff as well, by blanching the flower to further reduce the chlorophyll taste. The result is CBD butter or oil that is virtually undetectable (mark your jars, friends) and works equally well in sweet and savory dishes.
- Butter or oil. (Unsalted butter is preferred by many chefs because all salted butters contain different levels of salt, whereas unsalted means you can control the amount in your recipe. Any kind of cooking oil will work here, so use what you like. Coconut, olive, grapeseed, safflower, avocado and vegetable are all fine choices.)
- Flower (See Below for Dosage Instructions)
- Distilled water
- Small kitchen scale (available where most kitchen supplies are sold)
- French press
- Medium sized pot
- Small bowl with cover
- Sheet pan (any size)
- Fine mesh sieve
- Large tea strainer (big enough to hold your hemp)
- Paper towel or breathable cloth
- Tin foil
About 3 days. I know that’s a lot, but soaking eliminates some of the environmental toxins and additives, and blanching improves the taste of your CBD-infusion. If you want to save time, nix the blanching and use your infusion in dishes with oregano or other strong herbs with similar flavor profiles.
- Grind flower enough to break it up but not so finely that it’ll fall through the strainers you’re using.
- Soak 2-3 days (or until water is clear) in a bowl, covered, in the refrigerator or in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Change water every 8 hours or twice per day, the way you would when soaking a grain or legume.
- Strain flower through sieve and place in tea strainer. Prepare an ice bath by filling your small bowl with ice water. Boil for 5 min in medium pot of water, then remove and place in ice bath. This process is called blanching, and it stops the hemp from cooking when removed from the boiling water. You’ve probably done this with green beans or broccoli before to preserve some crispness and the bright green color. Once cooled, remove strainer and press out water from the hemp.
- On a baking sheet large enough to hold the hemp without crowding it, spread out your flower and cover with a paper towel or breathable cloth, allowing the water to evaporate. Let sit 8 hours or overnight until dried completely.
- Replace cloth with tin foil and seal the edges all around the baking sheet. You have a couple options when it comes to decarbing, the process that activates the cannabinoids the same way a flame would if you were smoking it. You can choose a lower temp of 220° and cook for about 40 minutes, or choose a slightly shorter cook time of about 20 minutes and increase the oven temp to 300°. I can only vouch for the latter.
- Remove from oven but do not remove the tin foil. Let sit so the vapors are reabsorbed by the hemp. After 5 minutes of rest time, remove foil and place a dry, breathable cloth or paper towel over the flower and let sit for 3-5 hours until any lingering moisture is gone.
- Pour butter or oil into your French press placed standing up in a medium sized pot of simmering water.
- Add flower to French press, and cover, pushing plunger down until it’s hovering just over the butter or oil. This acts as your water line. Simmer for 3 hours, ensuring the water never falls below that line (or risk burning the product and damaging your equipment).
- Remove French press and strain CBD-infusion into a jar.
Find the right CBD Dosage
Equipment: Small kitchen scale and Calculator or internet access.
JeffThe420Chef’s calculator is a game changer for anyone cooking with CBD or THC. The steps can be found in his book, The 420 Gourmet: The Elevated Art of Cannabis Cuisine, and online. If you’re timid about math, use the website to plug your numbers into an app that’ll do the heavy lifting for you.
The data you need are: your starting CBD percentage (your purveyor should specify this), the weight of your flower after it’s been ground and decarbed, and the amount of butter or oil you’re infusing. Plug in the numbers, hit calculate, and the result is the total number of milligrams in your butter or oil. Divvy it up from there according to your desired dose per serving.
Commonly Asked CBD Cooking questions
Can you overcook it?
Yes. Like all organic matter, flower and its components degrade over time as the result of factors like temperature, humidity, and exposure to air. If you’re developing your own recipes, The 420 Gourmet suggests preserving potency by aiming to keep additional heat exposure (ie heat applied after the bud is decarbed) at or below 340° for recipes requiring one hour or less, or at or below 325° for recipes requiring over an hour of cook time. Try to use your product within a month or it will start losing its strength.
Can you mix CBD and Peanut Butter?
Yes, you can mix a CBD-infused butter or oil with peanut butter. While I’ve never tried to substitute pb for butter or oil using this recipe, I don’t recommend it.
That said, there is a method for infusing peanut butter in which you decarb the flower directly into it. This is the method used in the edible “firecrackers,” made famous by the Broad City episode “Wisdom Teeth” and dubbed by Ilana as “the strongest form of weed possible (except for dabbing).” Reddit threads abound on that one if you want to follow up, suffice it to say anything can be infused as long as it’s high in fat, as cannabinoids like CBD and THC are fat-soluble.
Can you cook with CBD Isolate?
Listen, we’re an apothecary run by herbalists. You’re not going to be encouraged to use anything less than whole plant (or full-spectrum) products here. Why? In a nutshell, CBD isolate is not as effective; you will never get all of the same benefits. You need more isolate to achieve similar effects as whole plant medicine. If you overdo it on the isolate it loses its therapeutic properties. Nab yourself some flower and follow these steps, you won’t be sorry!