Making weed butter in the Instant Pot is easy and straightforward. This Instant Pot cannabutter recipe combines decarboxylation and infusion into one single process. I will share tips on using both the cannabis buds and sugar leaves.
I made this cannabutter to be medium-low strength, so that one can gradually increase the amount they consume for the desired effects. You can easily customize the potency by changing the amount of cannabis used in the recipe too.
How Much Cannabis Should I Use?
In this recipe, I used 1/4 cup dried plant (buds or sugar leaves) to 1 cup of butter. Before arriving at this ratio, I tested other ratio too and collected feedback from my taste testers. I find this ratio works the best, whether one were to consume the cannabutter straight or use it in other edible recipes.
At this ratio, the cannabutter is of medium-low strength, which means the amount of cannabutter consumed can be easily adjusted to suit people of different tolerance level. It is also suitable for making other low-dose edibles. Lower dosage is ideal for helping with sleep, anxiety and pain without being too overwhelming to the consumers.
If you want to change the plant to butter ratio, I suggest using between 2 tablespoons and 1 cup of cannabis to 1 cup of butter. You can still follow the same instructions in the recipe below, and the steps are the same otherwise.
Cannabis Buds vs. Sugar Leaves
Sugar leaves are the tiny leaves around the buds. Although people don’t smoke the sugar leaves, they are perfect in edibles. The sugar leaves contain less THC and CBD than the buds, so you would need to use slightly more to achieve the same level of potency.
How much more exactly? I haven’t been able to find the answer through research and calculation. But I have experimented so that I can share my findings from experience.
When you use the marijuana flower buds, you want to grind them down into coarse flakes first. Because of the extra space taken up by the buds, once they are broken down, they are less in volume as shown in the photo below. 1/4 cup of buds yield between 2 and 3 tablespoons of flakes.
When converting volume to weight, 1/4 cup sugar leaves weigh roughly 5 grams, and 1/4 cup buds (broken down to about 2 1/2 tablespoons of flakes) weigh roughly 3 grams. When I made 2 batches of cannabutter using 1/4 cup of the buds vs. the sugar leaves, they have roughly the same potency according to taste tests.
Note that if you are using the cannabis shake (the leftover broken pieces of buds in the bottom of your jar), you should use about 2 1/2 tablespoons.
Potency of Homemade Cannabutter
During my experimentation and reading, I learned that it’s impossible to accurately measure potency when making edibles in a home kitchen. Besides not having the equipments to test THC and CBD content, it’s also extremely difficult to derive the amount of THC and CBD from calculation. The conversion rate during cooking process can vary, depending on method, temperature and duration. The particular strain of the plant and the soil the plant is grown in also make the strength of your homemade edibles unpredictable.
Keeping all these in mind, the 1/4 cup plant in this recipe is the amount I personally like to use. It’s a simple and straightforward quantity for both the whole buds and sugar leaves.
Ultimately, the best way to test out potency of your cannabutter is through tasting. Over time, you may adjust the plant to butter ratio to your own preference.
Decarboxylation and Infusion in Instant Pot
The main reason I used Instant Pot to make my cannabutter is that I can combine decarboxylation and infusion in one process. Most commonly people decarboxylate cannabis in the oven, and infuse butter with cannabis by boiling butter on the stovetop.
In addition to the convenience of a one-pot recipe, Instant Pot also provides ideal and consistent temperatures for decarboxylation and infusion.
Separating Cannabis Pulp from Cannabutter
After the butter is infused with cannabis, it takes on a yellowish-green colour. In the photo below, the left jar is infused with sugar leaves, and the right jar is infused with the flower buds. In both, the white milk solids have sunk to the bottom of the jars. The clear butter fat flows on the top.
What we want to keep in the end is the butter fat. I collect them by straining the content of the jars while it’s still hot. Note that when the butter cools down it will solidify, therefore we want to strain it in the liquid form.
When straining, I try to keep the content undisturbed – slowly pouring the butter fat through a coffee filter catching the cannabis pulp, and leaving as much milk solids behind as possible. Some milk solids will get through after the first straining, and I usually filter my cannabutter for the second and third time in order to eliminate as much milk solids as possible. This is to help the cannabutter last longer in the fridge. But if you are using the cannabutter within days, you don’t need to worry about the white milk solids mixing in the cannabutter.
After straining and filtering, I will keep the white milk solids and cannabis pulp. They still contain a lot of beneficial compounds, and it would be a waste to throw them away after infusing the butter. I repurpose the pulp along with the leftover milk solids in my gluten-free cannabis peanut butter cookies.
How to Use Cannabutter
You can consume the cannabutter straight, by adding it into coffee or hot chocolate, spreading on toast, or melting into your pasta. I recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon of this cannabutter. Wait for 2 hours for the effect of cannabis to kick in, then assess how you feel and eat more only when you feel comfortable. This will give you a reference to how much of this cannabutter you can consume at a time. If you tolerate small amount very well, you can gradually increase the amount of cannabutter you consume in the future.
When using this cannabutter in other edible recipes, I recommend aiming for each serving to contain 1/2 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of cannabutter. 1/2 teaspoon of cannabutter in a single serving should have a very mild effect on most people. But some people can eat up to 4 teaspoons of the cannabutter from their edibles. For example, there is 1/2 teaspoon of cannabutter in each square of my cannabis chocolate, and I recommend eating between 1 and 8 squares depending on your tolerance level.
When making baked goods, replace butter with cannabutter in your favourite baking recipes. Although many baking recipes have 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of butter in a single serving (ie. 1 cookie or 1 brownie), some do not fall into this range. Check the recipe to make sure the substitution amount of cannabutter per serving is suitable for your tolerance level.
Instant Pot Cannabutter
- 1/4 cup dried cannabis buds or sugar leaves
- 1 cup butter
- If using the cannabis buds, grind the buds in a coffee grinder. If using sugar leaves, crumble the leaves by hands. Place the plant in a sealed glass jar.
- Add 4 cups of water into the inner pot of the instant pot. Place a trivet in the inner pot, and then place the glass jar on the trivet.
- Place the lid on the instant pot, and close the pressure valve. Turn on the instant pot to cook on high pressure for 40 minutes, to decarboxylate the cannabis.
- Manually release the pressure and open the Instant Pot. Remove the glass jar from the pot.
- Roughly cut the butter into smaller cubes. Add the butter into the glass jar. Seal the jar with the lid again, and return the jar back into the inner pot.
- Add more water into the instant pot to create a water bath for the glass jar.
- Place the lid on the instant pot, and leave the pressure valve open. Press "slow cook" and select the cooking time for 4 hours. When cooking is done, remove the glass jar from the instant pot.
- While the butter is still hot, strain the butter through a coffee filter, keeping behind the cannabis pulp and the white milk solids. If some milk solid got through, filter again as needed.
- Pour the cannabis-infused butter fat into a clean glass jar. Store the cannabutter in the fridge for up to 2 months, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Repurpose the pulp and milk solids in other edible recipes, such as this cannabis peanut butter cookies.