Use the spent material from a vaporizer to create one cup of potent and versatile cannabis butter.
One needn't throw away vaporizer leftovers. The heated plant material does not lose all of its potency in the vaporization process, and it's easy to make use of those leftovers by dissolving the cannabinoids into a fatty mixture like oil or butter.
This recipe uses only butter, water, and ground marijuana. Potency will vary based on the strains that comprise the leftover vaporizer material, how spent the plant materials is (ie darkness of the roast), and individual tolerance level.
Check your local laws to determine if this project is legal where you live. I reside in Colorado, a state in which recreational marijuana has been legalized for adults over the age of eighteen. However, laws governing the sale, distribution, and use of marijuana vary by state as well as internationally. Use sound judgment, make good choices, and always use care when consuming edibles of unknown potency.
Step 1: Ingredients and Tools
- (2) half-cup sticks of unsalted butter
- (4) grams of vaporizer leftovers*
- (1) gram of ground fresh cannabis
- (3/4) cup of water
- stovetop range with a low heat setting
- 1 quart saucepan
- wire mesh strainer
- 2-cup round dish
*Vaporizer leftovers vary in potency. A potent strain will yield more potent leftovers. The amount of heat applied from the vaporizer will determine how dark your roast looks: lighter color generally indicates that you'll get more potency whereas a darker color indicates that you extracted the potency with the vaporizer and may need to supplement with additional leftovers or the addition of fresh herb.
Step 2: Mix, Heat, and Wait
- Add the butter, ground herb, and water to the saucepan.
- Set the burner to the lowest heat setting.
- Set a timer for five or six hours, then wait.
- Stir occasionally, making sure to scrape any errant bits of material from the sides of the pan.
The low heat setting ensures that you don't inadvertently overheat the THC, thereby compromising its potency. Because THC is not water-soluble and the dried herbs float, the addition of water to the mixture is solely to float the ground herb away from the heat source.
Low and slow is the way to go to ensure that the THC bind with the lipids in the butter.
Step 3: Strain and Chill
After your mixture has simmered for several hours, it's time to strain it to remove the solids from the mixture.
To do so, simply lay a square of cheesecloth over your mesh strainer. Secure the sides with one hand while pouring the mixture over the cheesecloth. The warm butter and water will pass through the cloth and mesh, leaving behind a buttery pile of damp solids. Use a spoon to squeeze out the remaining liquids, and you should end up with a dish of greenish-brown butterwater.
There may be some fine material in your cooling dish, and that's okay. It'll rinse off after the mixture separates and cools.
Let the mixture cool at room temperature, then cover it and pop the dish into the fridge for several hours to help the fats solidify. I recommend leaving it overnight to solidify. If you must hurry, do not use the freezer. Instead, fill a larger dish with cold water and place your smaller buttery dish into it to speed up the chilling process.
Step 4: Drain and Rinse
Behold the power of specific gravity!
You'll notice that the fats all rose to the top of the dish, where they solidified into a puck of butter. The water settled to the bottom, and any tiny bits of floating herb floated above the water but below the butter.
To drain the water, I use a chopstick to poke a hole along one edge of the butter puck and another on the opposite side. Then simply pour the water out and discard it.
My butter puck has little brown bits of floating herb stuck to it. A quick rinse under cool water washes that right off, and you're left with a clean batch of cannabutter.
Step 5: Finished Product
You should be left with just under 2 cups of clean, green cannabis butter.
Use it when baking, as a topping on toast, mixed into tea, or eat it plain. For the first few attempts at this recipe, pay close attention to the potency and use more or less vaporizer leftovers as needed.
Ingested marijuana takes longer to reach your bloodstream than vaporized marijuana. It can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to feel the effects. If you have just eaten a heavy meal, it will take longer for the THC to reach your bloodstream. Conversely, if you haven't eaten for several hours, the THC will hit your bloodstream faster. The psychoactive effect lasts longer when THC is ingested (up to eight hours) so don't drive, operate heavy machinery, or hang out with your in-laws in the hours immediately following ingestion.