Legalization has finally arrived and we’re ready to embrace it. Since edibles still won’t be sold legally in Canada for the foreseeable future and smoking up isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, you might want to try heading into the kitchen to make your own (your baking is probably better than something store-bought anyway, right?).
The building block of any “baked” good is a cannabis-infused butter (“cannabutter”) or cannabis-infused oil. While it may seem daunting at first, fear not. We spoke to award-winning Calgary-based Chef John Michael MacNeil on how to make the best cannabutter at home.
Chef MacNeil owns reTreat Edibles and he is dedicated to perfecting the taste and experience of edibles by ensuring cannabutter and oil blend perfectly into whatever quality ingredients you’ve got. If you follow Chef MacNeil’s tips, step-by-step guide, and simple recipe, you’ll be whipping up the perfect pot brownies in no time.
Start low and slow
The effects of consuming cannabis can have a delayed onset time and can be felt within 30 minutes or take up to 2 -3 hours to kick in. A starting dose of infused oil is about 2.5mg-5mg for inexperienced users, 10mg and upwards for more experienced users.
Choose your strain wisely
Before you start making your cannabis infused oil, you may want to consider the strain you choose to cook with. Cannabis has two main types for cooking: Sativa and Indica. Sativa strains are more uplifting and creative whereas indica strains generally promote deep body relaxation.
If you plan to be active after ingesting your cannabutter or oil, Chef John recommends that you choose a sativa strain but if you want to have more a relaxing night, select an indica strain.
- Once your strain is picked out, place cannabis buds in the teeth of the grinder (these can be found online). Close and twist until the top spins freely, then open the bottom to retrieve your freshly ground cannabis.
Pro Tip: If you grind your cannabis too fine, your butter or oil may turn out lesser in quality.
- Spread out ground cannabis on a baking tray and place in 220°F (do not exceed 250°F) oven for 25-30 minutes to decarboxylate the cannabis. This process converts the plant’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid THCA into psychoactive THC. Stir every 5 minutes to evenly de-carb the cannabis. The cannabis has completed the decarboxylating process when it turns golden brown.
- In a slow cooker, place de-carbed cannabis, oil or butter, along with the sunflower lecithin (this helps bind the THC to the fat molecule). Set temperature on your slow cooker to low/warm setting and simmer for 6-8 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.Pro Tip: Chef MacNeil suggests adding your favourite dried spices or chilies to enhance the flavour of your butter/oil.
- After 6-8 hours, carefully pour infused oil into a mesh strainer and let the oil pass through to remove the plant material. The butter/oil is now infused with THC and should be safely stored out of reach of children and pets when not in use.
- Let the butter/oil set in the fridge. Once it is firm, it can be used wherever butter/oil is called for.Pro Tip: Chef MacNeil thinks that a Sativa-infused olive oil makes a great vinaigrette to kick off an evening dinner party.