Botanical Butter Basics
Bet you never thought that butter would be the best way to fit your greens into the day.
Infused cannabis butters are a popular alternative to messy smoking devices and joints. They are versatile, easy to use, and can lend a lovely flavor to your favorite dishes. I like to keep a variety of strain types on hand for whenever the mood strikes. They make for fantastic topical salves, additions to your morning smoothie, substitutes for baking fats, and accompaniment to your favorite savory dishes.
Here is a quick and dirty method that I like to use for infusing Coconut oil, butter, and ghee.
Smoking Vs Eating Cannabis
your body on edibles
Once ingested, cannabis edibles are experienced a little differently by the body than smoke or extract. This is because the fatty oil infusion must first make it's way through the digestive system before it can cross the blood brain barrier. Once inside of the liver, the body sets to work converting cannabinoid compounds into new molecules that can later be eliminated. We call these molecules metabolites.
On their way through the body, cannabinoids and their metabolites make contact with a variety of helpful digestive enzymes. These enzymes are so helpful in fact, that thy convert the inactive form of THC in to delta-11 hydroxy THC, a compound that is considered to be significantly more psychotropic. This is why some people experience edibles as being much 'stronger'. What is especially interesting about THC metabolites is that their levels in the body can be significantly higher if you take cannabis in an edible form rather than smoking or vaping.
so......How Much Time You Got?
Because there is so much more going on in the body when we ingest cannabis butter, it tends to be more of a time commitment. Edibles are thought to kick in stronger and last even longer but it's a slow going process. It can take up to two hours to after eating a medicated treat before you notice the shift. Once it does be prepared to feel a little floaty for the next 6-12 hours (dosage depending). On the other hand, smoking kicks in almost instantaneously but fades away relatively quick with highs lasting in the 1-3 hour range. Remember, cannabinoids are fat soluble compounds. If they can store themselves in your fatty cells rather than enter your blood stream through the lungs they will stick around as long as they can to do so.
Edibles are also bit more labor intensive
Sure, edibles do take a little extra effort upfront but it pays off on the back end. Once you have your butter prepared you can use it on everything from toast to tea. The actual process of making the butter is very simple. If you have a Crockpot you just set it and forget it. But cannabis does require some extra convincing to be suitable for infusion or extraction. If you haven't already, you're going to want to give Pot Prep in Three Easy Steps a once over to learn why. After you've successfully decarboxylated your cannabis and parceled it into easy to manage cotton cheese cloth bundles you're on your way.
But first you'll need a few odds and ends
How To Make Basic botanical-Butter
1) Put it in the pot
Preheat the Crockpot at it's lowest setting and add your butter, ghee, or coconut oil. For this recipe we are using a ratio of 1 pound of butter to 1 once of freshly ground cannabis. Once your butter has melted to a liquid you can add 1-2 cups of filtered water and your cannabis flower or trim making sure that it becomes submerged completely.
2) Set it and stay tuned
Cover the Crockpot and set it to low. It you've got the luxury of a heat sensor you can set the whole thing to 220f and check in occasionally to monitor progress. If you do not have a Crockpot with a temperature gauge a simple candy thermometer will do. You can pick one up at just about any grocery store for under $5. Either way, a method of observing the core temperature of your base infusion is critical to have on hand. You want to ensure that the cannabinoids inside are held at a consistent low temperature in order to maintain integrity.
3) Cool & Squeeze
Carefully pour the warm liquid into a glass storage container using a mesh strainer lined with cotton cheesecloth to catch your discarded plant material. Gently press the marc with your hand or a wooden spoon to squeeze out any excess liquid. Cover lightly and place the whole thing in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
Once your canna-butter has cooled completely you will find that the water has separated itself from the butter and is floating on top. You can pour this liquid off of the surface exposing the beautiful light green infusion beneath. The water is used to clean away some of the impurities and dissolve water soluble compounds that you don't necessarily need.
5) And seal
Once my canna-butter solidifies I wrap it tightly with wax paper. I then wrap it a second time with plastic wrap before placing it in a ziplock bag on which I've clearly written the strain name, date, and any other special bits of information. I then place the ziplock bag inside of a or storage container and pop the whole thing in my freezer. It's a little extra busy work but I've found that it has quite a shelf life if stored properly. In fact, I've had butter last as long as a year months using this method.
Now you get to choose what to use it for
Once you get comfortable with cannabis you will find that you use it in much the same way as you use your favorite kitchen spices. Each flavor has it's own unique character. After you've gotten to know your strains and their qualities you can blend their flavors around a dish to call forth a desired feeling or effect.
BOTANICAL butter may be green but it's true blue soul food to me.
Up Next: Botanical Base Infusions
I'm Mary J Poppins, herbalist, cannabis connoisseur and founder of the Sativa Science Club. Keep an eye on my blog Cannabis for Curious Creatures for nifty new products reviews, DIY tutorials, and scientific insights.