So marijuana is legal in Oregon. I bet you never thought you’d see the day. And I certainly never thought I would be writing an edibles column for The Oregonian/OregonLive.
But here we are, and isn’t it wonderful? Green crosses are popping up everywhere and billboards are displaying $100 ounces and some odd-looking cannabis paraphernalia that I am pretty sure remains a mystery to most viewers. But, fan or foe, or somewhere on the spectrum, this is big news.
I will be coming to you every other week with seasonal cannabis-infused recipes, discussing the best foods for when your appetite is duly stimulated, and answering any edibles-related questions you may have.
For the first post, I’d like to walk you through a simple canna-butter recipe, the mother of all cannabis infusions. Although these days coconut oil as both an edible and topical, is pretty spectacular. I hurt my elbow last week and when I remembered to use the canna-coconut oil the pain was gone. Totally gone. And I also made really great popcorn with it. Smoked sea salt. Just saying.
The potency of your cannabis will determine the strength of the canna-butter, and the type of butter will determine the yield. I find that I lose as much as 30% of the butter’s volume during the infusion process. But it seems that the better the butter, the less you lose. And if you start with clarified butter, you lose only what you can’t squeeze out of the cheesecloth.
If you can, buy trim or shake. A fine infusion can be made with trim for much less money than buying flower. Oh yeah, trim is what is removed from the buds of the plant when harvested. Shake is the little crumbles off of the larger buds. Okay, so let’s get started and put the pot back in potluck!
Simple steps for making canna-butter
1 pound butter
7 grams trim/shake/flower, decarboxylated*
In a small saucepan bring 2 quart of water to a boil on the stove. You can vary the amounts, just be sure that the marijuana is always floating 2 inches from the bottom of the pan.
When the water is boiling place the butter in the pan and allow it to melt completely.
Once the butter has melted you can add the marijuana. When the marijuana is added turn the heat down. Cook the butter at a gentle simmer. I usually let the marijuana cook for around three hours. You can tell it’s done when the top of the mix turns from really watery to dark and glossy.
While the canna-butter is cooking set up the bowl to hold the finished product. I like to use a heatproof bowl, Place a double layer of cheesecloth over the top, and secure it with elastic, string or tape.
Strain the marijuana butter over the bowl, carefully trying not to spill. When the saucepan is empty, undo the twine, pick up the cheesecloth from all four sides and squeeze out all of the remaining butter.
Allow the canna-butter to cool for about an hour. Place in the fridge until the butter has risen to the top layer and is solid. The THC and other properties have attached to the butter, and you are just about there.
Run a knife around the edge and lift the butter off. Place upside down on your work surface and scrape off any of the particles that have attached to the underside of the butter. Your canna-butter is ready to roll. Enjoy! Store in the fridge for a month or freeze.
* To decarboxylate your cannabis (the process of activating the THC), place on a rimmed baking sheet in an oven heated to 240deg F for 40 minutes. Your kitchen will smell like Woodstock.
Most bud you buy these days seems to have a potency around 20% THC. Trim clocks in closer to 12% THC. If you are making the infusion with a 12% THC trim, the resulting butter (if you follow the recipe above) will have a potency of 10mg THC per teaspoon. If you use a 20% THC bud, you will have a potency of around 25mg THC per teaspoon.
For those of you who are going to be trying marijuana for the first time, go slow. Don’t over do it. Always start with a low dose, even if you are dealing with serious pain. It won’t take long to find what is comfortable, maybe 3 days, but it is so worth it. Ingesting too much is a real turn off and very unpleasant when you are going through it. Just ask Maureen Dowd.
Start with 5 mg THC — THC is the active ingredient in cannabis that makes you “high.” If you are a patient who needs a higher dose, try slowly increasing doses day over day until you reach the level that is right for you. It is best to work up rather than work backwards. Trust me, I have been there. Dispensaries will be able to direct you towards starter strains and products. Don’t be embarrassed, everyone has to start somewhere.
5 simple edibles with canna-butter
Top a baked sweet potato with 1 tsp. canna-butter, 1 tbs. regular butter, 2 tsp. maple syrup, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.
Combine 2 tbs. melted regular butter and 1 tsp. melted canna-butter and pour over 2 cups popped popcorn. Mix 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. lime zest and sprinkle over popcorn.
To one cup of apple cider add 2 tsp. caramel sauce and 1 tsp. canna-butter.
Spread two slices of toast with 2 tsp. regular butter, 1 tsp. canna-butter, 1 tbs. honey, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.
Saute 1 sliced and cored pear and 2 tbs. dried cranberries in 1 tbs. regular butter, 1 tsp. canna-butter, and 2 tsp. brown sugar over medium heat until caramelized.
For newbies, foodies, oldies, and goodies, this will be a lot of fun. Cooking with cannabis is like trying a new herb that very few people like! But some people do like the taste, and there are some foods that even pair nicely with cannabis. Cannabis cuisine has come a long way beyond the infamous pot brownie and crisped rice treats of our forefathers. It now includes literally everything from soup to nuts. Welcome to the future of edibles!
Laurie Wolf is a professional chef who develops recipes for cooking with cannabis. She can be reached at
and on Twitter at