How to make cannabutter from marijuana buds and leaves

Knowing how to make cannabutter from marijuana buds and/or leaves is a great way for beginners looking to make their own edibles. Our easy cannabutter recipe is great for growers looking to put sugar leaves and trim to productive use, and it can also be used with weed flowers themselves.

How is making cannabutter from marijuana buds and trim different than making it with concentrates?

Making cannabutter from marijuana buds and/or trim is a bit of a different cooking process than if you made your marijuana butter out of concentrates for several reasons. Cooking with concentrates offers several advantages over cooking with buds or sugar leaves.

Cannabutter made with green plant material usually simmers in the butter for a long period of time. This slow heating activates the THC and incorporates it into the fat of the butter. It also allows for a strong plant flavor to enter the butter, which will overpower the recipe you’re cooking with. The butter will also take on a darker green color.

When cooking cannabutter with kief or shatter, you first decarboxylate the concentrate to activate the THC, and then you can quickly simmer this to dissolve it in the butter. Since concentrates lack the leafy green material, the taste is much less “weedlike”.

Recipe: How to make cannabutter from marijuana leaves and/or buds

Here is an easy recipe for making cannabutter with the sugar leaves that you trim off of harvested plants.

It is highly recommended that you try to extract the psychoactive trichomes in your trimmed leaves and popcorn buds using a method like dry ice hash rather than cook directly with plant material.  Making dry ice hash is much easier than you’d think. Your edibles will be much better tasting and you’ll have an easier time gauging the THC content of your cannabutter.

But if extraction isn’t an option and you’re looking to make your butter directly with leaves and/or finely cut up buds, here’s how you do it:

  1. The first thing you should do is let them dry out for up to a week until they’re all dry to the touch. To dry trim, place the sugar leaves in a paper bag or cardboard box and gently ruffling them daily to break up clumps and expose the damp portion.  Avoid using large fan leaves, they don’t have much THC content compared to the frosty sugar leaves and popcorn buds. Once dried, you’re ready to make your cannabutter.
  2. Prepare a double boiler or make one easily by placing a wide mouthed mason jar (the 1 quart size works great) or large pyrex measuring cup in a saucepan surrounded by 4-5 inches of boiling water. Since boiling water only reaches 212 degrees, using a double boiler ensures the butter/weed mixture won’t exceed this temperature either.
  3. Add two sticks (which is 8oz, or 1 cup) of butter to the mason jar and let it melt. In this recipe we’ll use two sticks, but you can vary that amount based on how much you need and how much trim you are cooking with.
  4. Add marijuana leaves. Make sure the trim is cut into small pieces, especially if you’re using popcorn buds.
  5. Continue to boil the water to simmer the butter and marijuana leaves for 1 hour.  Add more water to the saucepan if the level of water drops below the level of butter/trim in the mason jar.
  6. Remove from heat and cool. Strain the butter through a fine mesh screen, pressing hard to remove all butter. You can use a colander too, but chunks of green will make it into the butter mix.

How much THC is in cannabutter?

Determining how much THC is in cannabutter made from marijuana buds or trim is a very difficult thing to do. It’s much easier to determine THC content in marijuana butter when using concentrates or kief.

A big factor in estimating THC content in cannabutter made with marijuana flowers is to know the THC content of your weed. Unless you get your pot from a dispensary with a clearly marked content label, you’ll probably have to estimate. The best examples of the best strains can go to 25% and upwards. Brown brick schwag can go as low as 3%. Most likely your bud falls in the 10-20% range. You’ll need to make that determination yourself, and this is why estimating the THC percentage of the resulting cannabutter is so hard.

It’s always better to over-estimate than underestimate to prevent accidental overconsumption. In this example, we’ll assume you got your hands on some pretty dank bud that’s covered in crystally trichomes which had 15% THC content. Since every gram of weed you use equals 1000 mg, there would be 150 mg of THC per gram of buds.

If your edible recipe uses 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter and it makes 10 servings, assuming you properly extract all of the THC you can use the following guide to determine how much THC each serving would have:

  • 3 grams of 15% THC marijuana would have 450 mg THC, or 55 mg per serving
  • 5 grams of 15% THC marijuana would have 750 mg THC, or 75 mg per serving
  • 7 grams of 15% THC marijuana would have 1050 mg THC, or 105 mg per serving

Keep in mind that these a 15% THC re only estimates. Unless you test your weed or get it at a place that does, you really have no way of knowing the initial THC content.

Since our cannabutter recipe above uses 2 sticks of butter instead of 1, you’d need to double both the butter and the marijuana content to keep the same percentages of THC. Frr example, you’d need 6 grams of weed to make two sticks and still have each stick have 450 mg THC per stick of butter.

How to make cannabutter using a crockpot

If you don’t have a double boiler you can modify the above cannabutter recipe using a crockpot. You can also make larger batches of marijuana in a crockpot than you can in a mason jar, allowing you to process lots of butter for future usage.

Some crockpots cook hotter than others, ideally you want to keep it around 250 degrees. But if your crockpot only has a high or low setting, you won’t have that level of control. Too much heat will destroy THC, so be mindful of this and don’t let the butter boil for hours in a crockpot. Try to cook for about an hour maximum, starting the timing once the butter has gently started to simmer. Turn the heat to the lowest setting once it heats up.

Can you cook marijuana directly in brownies?

A lot of silly tv shows show people sprinkling a few grams of what appears to be finely ground oregano directly into the batter mixture and making “special brownies”.

Since THC is fat soluable, bypassing the step to prepare cannabutter isn’t going to help bring out the maximum potency of your weed brownies. It’s always best to make cannabutter and then use that in your recipe to fully extract the THC. Plus if you cook directly with marijuana buds you’ll have some odd textures in your edibles.

Best bet: make cannabutter and cook with that. But if you simply must use marijuana flowers in your edibles, make sure to finely chop them and use a recipe with lots of fat. Don’t let the recipe get too hot or you risk destroying THC as well.

It isn’t recommended to use marijuana trim directly in brownies.  Weed leaves don’t have much of a THC percentage, you’d be adding too much plant material to get a decent potency level. If you want to cook with trim and leaves, use the cannabutter recipe above for best results.

Can you make cannabutter by simmering weed and butter in a pan?

Cooking marijuana directly in butter in a pan can work to release and activate the THC to make cannabutter, but there are some drawbacks. It’s hard to control the temperature of the butter simmering in a pan, and you risk overheating your weed and destroying THC.

That being said, many people’s first experiences with making edibles involve simmering pot for up to an hour on a burner. Not recommended. Your brownies will likely put you to sleep.

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