Should You Wash Cannabutter for Better Tasting Edibles?
Generally speaking, the edibles you purchase from a reputable dispensary or online store taste great. Whether you want hash brownies or THC gummies, you can expect a pleasant flavor. However, when you create edibles at home using cannabutter, the process doesn’t always go smoothly. Inexperienced cannabis bakers, in particular, find that homemade edibles fall far short of store-bought standards.
The main issue relates to the cannabutter itself. Sometimes, you’ll find that your creation is green, has a gritty texture, and tastes awful. Fortunately, the process of washing your cannabutter can solve many of these texture and flavor problems. Let’s find out more.
Why Do My Homemade Edibles Taste Horrible?
The most likely reason is due to the marijuana you use to create the cannabutter. Cannabis contains salts, chlorophyll, and other inert compounds that are absorbed into the butter. The result is an unpleasant tasting product.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to wash out the bad-tasting material from your cannabutter. THC isn’t water-soluble, so your edibles won’t lose their potency as long as you’re careful with the temperature range.
However, it’s inadvisable to add water to your butter until you’ve already strained out the cannabis. Otherwise, you’ll restrict the THC absorption process, leading to more salts, chlorophyll, and other unpleasant things absorbing in the butter.
How to Wash Your Cannabutter
Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to washing your cannabutter.
- Melt your cannabutter in a pot and ensure the mixture doesn’t go above a maximum temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal range is between 212 and 230 degrees.
- Add the same amount of water to the pot as its cannabutter content. For instance, if you have 400ml of cannabutter when it is melted, add 400ml of water. Stir for a minimum of 30 seconds to remove the unwanted material.
- Place the melted mixture into the fridge until the water has separated from the butter and the butter is solid. Don’t make the mistake of placing the mixture in the freezer to try and speed up the process. All you’ll succeed in doing is ruining the consistency of the cannabutter.
- Once the butter is fully cooled, you’ll notice it floating on top of the water. Drain the water, and benefit from delicious and clean cannabutter.
While washing your cannabutter can help the taste and potency, going through several cycles can damage its quality.
You can repeat the above steps as many times as you like until you get the desired taste. After the first attempt, you’ll probably find that the butter has a lighter texture and flavor. Put it through another cycle, and it may become harder and perhaps have a slightly nutty flavor.
The cannabutter also has a higher THC potency when you wash it a couple of times. That said, don’t overdo it by washing your cannabutter multiple times. With too many wash cycles, the quality of the butter deteriorates.
Why Not Clean Your Cannabis Before Cooking?
There is another way to enjoy clean-tasting edibles. You can ‘wash’ your marijuana before you even make the cannabutter. When you try to make it with unwashed plant matter, the process involves adding butter, oil, and water. Then you allow the mixture to simmer. However, this process adds burned terpenes, flavonoids, and chlorophyll to the mix.
It is often said that getting your marijuana wet is a bad idea. However, you MUST expose it to water if you want to clean it.
Bear in mind that flavonoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll tend to burn off between 100 and 212 degrees. They leave behind a nasty burnt taste. This is why you get the same ‘weed’ taste regardless of the strain you use in your cannabutter. The process of cleaning your marijuana flower eliminates this problem and gives you fresher-tasting cannabutter. Here’s how you do it in a step-by-step fashion.
What are the benefits? …
Clean & Blanch Your Cannabis
- Weigh your buds, break them apart and place the stems and pieces in a French press.
- Soak the material for up to three days, making sure you change the water twice a day.
- Press the plunger up and down to ‘agitate’ the material. Change the water if you see any bubbles during this process.
- Once the water runs clear, move the buds to a tea strainer.
- Place the strainer in boiling water for approximately five minutes.
- Immediately transfer it to a bowl of ice water for 60 seconds. This ‘shocks’ the marijuana and marks the end of the cleaning process.
Drying & Decarboxylating Your Marijuana
- Begin the drying and decarboxylation process of removing excess moisture from the bud by using a salad spinner to spin out the water.
- Break the buds apart, and place them in an oven that’s preheated to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Tightly cover the buds with foil to reduce the marijuana scent, and leave it in the oven for an hour.
- Let it remain in the oven for an additional five minutes when the time is up. This ensures that any steam inside settles.
- Once you remove the foil, make sure the bud is totally dry. Allowing any residual moisture to remain will leave an herbal taste in your cannabutter. If the plant matter isn’t fully dry, cover it with a paper towel and leave it at room temperature overnight.
Infusing Your Cannabis
Weigh your buds again once they are cleaned and decarbed. You’ll notice that they are significantly lighter. What was once 14 grams will likely weigh 6-10 grams now. Calculate the potency of your cannabutter by noting the weight of the bud and its THC percentage. Now, it is time to make your edibles!
- Pick the fat you want to infuse with cannabis. For best results, choose a high-fat oil (like coconut oil) or butter.
- Put the clean bud into a French press and add the fat. If you’re using a solid oil or butter, melt it first.
- Push the plunger down to the top of the oil line and immerse the press into a pot of water. Slowly bring the water to a boil.
- Allow the bud to steep in the oil for four hours or in butter for three hours.
- Finally, push the plunger down the full way and put the cannabutter into a storage container. Refrigerate and enjoy! You can keep it in the fridge for up to two months.
Final Thoughts on Washing Cannabutter
Whether you want to wash your cannabutter is a matter of personal preference. However, those who go through the process enjoy the fresh taste and say it massively improves their enjoyment of edibles.
It is a relatively simple process that requires little more than your cannabutter, water, heat, and a little patience. If you have a French press, it is worth trying to clean your marijuana buds before creating cannabutter. Doing so removes the bitter-tasting compounds that can otherwise make your edibles taste unpleasant.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis to Use in Oils, Edibles & Salves
Are you interested in using cannabis to create homemade edibles, cannabis-infused oils, or healing topical salves? If so, it is very convenient and effective to start with cannabis that has been properly decarboxylated first. Wait, what? Don’t worry… It’s cool if you aren’t familiar with the term. This article will give you a quick run-down of what cannabis decarboxylation is and why it is important. Then, we’ll go over how to decarboxylate your cannabis, including easy step-by-step instructions on how to “decarb” cannabis in the oven. The result is a ready-to-use, versatile, activated cannabis product.
What is Decarboxylation?
Think of decarboxylation (also known as “decarbing”) as activating raw cannabis into an enhanced potent form. In more scientific terms, decarboxylation is the process of physically altering the chemical structure of various cannabinoid compounds found in raw cannabis plants – including both marijuana and hemp.
When a cannabis plant is growing or freshly harvested, the cannabinoids found within the flower trichomes contain an extra carboxyl ring or group (COOH) attached to their molecular chain. The process of decarboxylating cannabis removes that carboxyl group from the cannabinoid molecule. This process is what effectively transforms THCA into active THC (or, raw CBDA into CBD) described more below.
Some slow and natural decarboxylation occurs as fresh cannabis dries and cures after harvest. However, heat is the most quick and effective catalyst to trigger the cannabis decarb reaction. For example, decarboxylation is virtually instantaneous when cannabis is smoked or vaporized.
Temperature and Decarboxylation
As we explored in this article about vaporizing cannabis, various cannabinoid compounds and terpenes respond to distinct temperature ranges. Some are activated, altered, or even destroyed at different temperatures. This is one of the many reasons we love using a dynamic heat range vaporizer rather than combusting (smoking) cannabis. You get to reap the benefits of far more intricate elements of the bud.
In the same manner, it is best to decarboxylate cannabis low and slow. Experts say that approximately 230-250°F is the “sweet spot” temperature to decarb cannabis. In that range, THCA converts to THC while also preserving many other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. The chemical reactions (and THC activation or degradation) will vary with time, as noted in the chart below.
The content (activation or decomposition) of THC with time and temperature. CBD takes about twice as long to convert at the same temperatures. Graph courtesy of 420 Magazine
Why Decarb Cannabis
In the cannabis community, the raw or non-decarboxylated cannabinoid compounds are referred to as the “acid” forms – such THCA or CBDA. Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and the acidic precursor to potent CBD. Likewise, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is not psychoactive until it is converted into the more well-known compound THC. For instance, when you ingest raw cannabis there is very little psychoactive effect or “high” experienced. Then, when cannabis is decarboxylated it becomes psychoactive.
Obviously, this is important for folks who are hoping to feel the psychoactive effects of their cannabis edibles, oils, tinctures, or otherwise. Yet the benefit is so much more than just feeling the “high”. Both THC and CBD exude scientifically-proven powerful healing properties in their decarboxylated forms. This includes providing relief from anxiety, pain, inflammation, and more. THC and CBD readily absorb in our bodies and interact freely with our bodies endocannabinoid system to work their magic.
On the other hand, the raw acid forms of THC and CBD (THCA and CBDA) also have some promising but lesser-studied medicinal applications of their own. Therefore, folks who are interested in a full-spectrum, ultra-healing experience may choose to use a combination of raw and decarbed cannabis in their homemade oils and cannabis salves.
Ways to Decarboxylate Cannabis
The good news is that it is very easy to decarb cannabis. Especially the way we do it – in the oven! Because the basic idea behind decarboxylating cannabis is to heat it, there are clearly many ways you could decarb cannabis at home. This includes heating it on the stove, in a double-boiler, or in a crock pot. Some people add it directly in food or oil as part of the final cooking process.
However, those methods require more hands-on monitoring or stirring. Also, they easily lend themselves to accidentally overheating or unevenly heating the cannabis. Overheating will destroy many of the beneficial cannabinoids, and the resulting product can also become very lethargic. In contrast, decarbing cannabis in the oven is extremely precise, effective, and virtually hands-off. The only easier (and odorless) option is to use one of these badass Nova or Magical Butter automatic decarboxylator devices.
HOW TO DECARBOXYLATE CANNABIS IN THE OVEN
Preheat oven to 250°F. Also, keep in mind that this is will make your house smell strongly of weed for a few hours. You’ve been warned.