Decarboxylation and Extraction in the Instant Pot
Decarboxylation takes the THCA molecules in cannabis and turns them into THC, the stuff we love. If you just dump raw weed in a recipe, you won’t get as high, and also weed isn’t all that great to chew on. For the best experience, you want to decarb and extract the cannabinoids into oil or butter, then use those for cooking.
Lets get down to business! You will need an instant pot, a small (1-2 pints is good) mason jar with a lid, and a strainer, like cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
Step 1: Decarboxylation
- Grind up your herb. You can use a grinder, or a spice mill, or just pull it apart with your fingers, or use my personal favorite, a slap chop. Get it fine enough that it’s a uniform size, but not powdery.
- Put the herb in a mason jar, and put the lid & the band on finger-tight.
- Put the mason jar in the instant pot, and add 2 cups of water.
- Put the lid on the instant pot and make sure it’s sealed.
- Set it to Manual, High Pressure, for 60 minutes. This ensures it will stay at the optimum temperature for the right amount of time. (source: marijuana growers HQ)
- When the instant pot is done, release the pressure with a “quick release” and take the lid off. Let everything cool before you grab the jar. It will be hot!
Step 2: Extraction
- Measure out your oil or butter. I usually use 1 cup of butter for 1/8 oz of weed, but you can make it more or less strong.
- Melt the oil or butter, if it’s solid. Mix it with your decarbed weed in the mason jar.
- Close the jar, put the lid & band on, finger-tight.
- Put the jar back in the instant pot and seal everything up.
- Set the instant pot to Manual, Low Pressure for 120 minutes. (This is more important if you’re using butter, because it will separate and do weird stuff at high pressure. If you’re using oil, you can cook on High for less time.)
- When the instant pot is done, turn off the Keep Warm setting and let it release pressure on its own (“Natural Release”)
- Let it cool before straining.
- If you’re making butter, give it a bath by pouring the warm butter into a bowl or container filled with warm water, and letting it cool. The water underneath the butter will be gross and brown, and you can throw that out.
- Optional: I pour melted butter into a candy mold because it forms handy one ounce squares that I don’t have to measure later. (1 oz = 2 tbsp) You can leave it in a mason jar if you’re just going to spread it on toast, but I like having cubes.
Keep your oil in the pantry and your butter in the fridge to keep it from spoiling.
Decarboxylation takes the THCA molecules in cannabis and turns them into THC, the stuff we love. If you just dump raw weed in a recipe, you won't get as high, and also weed isn't all that great to chew on. For the best experience, you want to decarb and extract the cannabinoids into oil or…
Instant Pot in Your Instant Pot: The No-Mess, No-Smell Method to Making Quick Cannabutter
The Instant Pot is having a moment. In addition to making fork-tender ribs in minutes, you can use the magic countertop pressure cooker to make a batch of cannabutter in five steps, without arousing any olfactory suspicions. It’s the stuff Ron Popeil would dream of—set it and forget it!—if Ron Popeil was cool. All you need for this recipe for making quick cannabutter is bud, canning jars (the type with the lid and ring), a fat of your choice, and pantyhose.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have pantyhose, you can use cheesecloth or even a lightweight clean T-shirt. Anything that will strain out fine particles will work—but pantyhose were our test kitchen star.
Step 1: Decarb in the Jar
Grind your weed. Stretch the pantyhose around the mouth of the canning jar(s), and pour the finely-ground weed into the DIY filter. Pop the lids and rings on, and gently screw closed. Set the jars in a 225-degree oven for about 30 minutes, or on the “Slow Cook” setting on your Instant Pot for 35 minutes. The weed is decarbed and fully activated once it smells piney and turns a deep green.
Step 2: Add Fat
You can use pretty much any fat you like. Butter and coconut oil are great for baking with. Olive and avocado oil make for lightly-flavored finishing oils for savory foods. Note: Don’t fill jars more than 3/4 full.
Step 3: Apply Pressure
Set the jars in your Instant Pot. Add water to the pot until it’s halfway up the side of the jars with lids on finger-tight (firmly, but not super tight). Press the “Pressure Cook” button once, lock the lid, and you’re almost done. The timer will set itself for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Cool it
Once the timer goes off, pull the pressure release valve and remove the jars from the pot using tongs. Let the jars cool before you handle them in the final step.
Step 5: Strain
Unscrew the lid, gather the filter like a tea bag, and squeeze every drop of the buttery goodness into the jar. Remove the filter with the strained weed, tighten the lid, and your cannabutter is ready to eat or refrigerate. Depending on the size of your Instant Pot and your jars, you can make several pounds of butter in one go without skunking up your kitchen.
Bonus: The butter-soaked weed leftovers make a great addition to granola. Combine with toasted nuts, dark chocolate, and dried cherries.
If you love cooking with cannabis but aren't wild about the aroma it leaves in your kitchen, cooking with an Instant Pot might be the perfect solution.