How To Use Weed in Your Thanksgiving Meal This Year

Call this Thursday Danksgiving, Thanksgrooving, or come up with your own weed-inspired nickname for Thanksgiving; just know that with the ever-increasing legality of cannabis in the U.S., there are endless options of how to incorporate reefer into your holidaze meal.

Thanksgiving dinner
Looking to make Thanksgiving more festive this year? Lower the lights and add cannabutter! Getty

The day before Thanksgiving is gaining acceptance among those in the cannabis culture as Green Wednesday--its version of Black Friday, when consumers stock up (and consume) marijuana for the following day. In 2019, Eaze, the California-based "Uber of weed" delivery service saw a 147 percent increase in business on Green Wednesday from the year before. Expect that number to go up even higher in the beyond-stressful year 2020--especially with disapproving elders around--so call your "guy" early. And if this is your first time experimenting with putting a pot spin in your cooking, just know it's relatively easy, as long as you follow the steps carefully.

While there are other methods of cooking with weed, the most common involves cannabis-infused butter, aka cannabutter. Since pretty much all the most popular Thanksgiving dishes involves butter--and lots of it--cannabutter can thus be substituted for butter or used in conjunction with it in some--or all, if you really want a Thanksgiving to not remember--the day's recipes. (Once you know how to make cannabutter, you can also make popular staples like pot brownies and cookies throughout the year.) Mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and even turkey are all cooked using butter! But fear not if you want to go light on the cholesterol, we will include some butter substitutes at the end of this article.

Though cannabutter is rather easy to make, do know that it requires a little more than just mixing some buds in a bowl with a stick of Land O'Lakes. The most important step of making cannabutter is activating the psychoactive potential of THC. Skipping this step will leave your butter with a non-intoxicating acidic cannabinoid called THCA. When you're smoking or vaping, the cannabis heating up converts THCA to THC in a process called decarboxylation. You'll also need to do the same to make cannabutter, otherwise you may as well save yourself the time and smoke before eating. But don't let the complicated name fool you: Decarboxylation is basically just heating cannabis at a low temperature.

Here is a simple recipe for cannabutter, though remember you will need to adjust the amount of cannabis used depending on its potency. If you are not familiar with the strain being used, test it beforehand. Also, unless you're waking up really early or eating Thanksgiving dinner late in the day, make this cannabutter the night before--it does take a few hours.

Cannabutter Ingredients

--1 cup of butter

--1 cup (approximately 8 grams) of ground cannabis

1. Decarboxylating the cannabis. Preheat oven to 245ºF. Place cannabis buds on a non-stick tray and cover with parchment paper. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Every 10 minutes, lightly shake the tray to allow the buds to heat equally.

2. Remove the cannabis from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

3. Grind the decarboxylated cannabis coarsely with a hand grinder. (If you don't own a marijuana grinder, you can use a clean coffee bean grinder.)

4. Melt the butter. Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of butter into a pot or saucepan. Simmer on low until the butter melts. Slowly add drops of water throughout this process to help regulate the temperature and prevent the butter from scorching.

5. Add the ground cannabis when the butter begins to melt.

6. Simmer. Maintain low heat between 160ºF and 200ºF and let the mixture simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the mixture to come to a full boil--lower heat if it does.

7. Strain the cannabutter. Line a funnel with cheesecloth and put it on top of a jar. Once the butter has cooled, pour it through the funnel into the jar, allowing it to strain.

8. Refrigerate the cannabutter. Place the jar of your merry-making concoction in the fridge for about an hour. If there is any excess water remaining at the bottom of the jar after it cools, hold the butter in place with a knife and drain the water out.

**Slow Cooker Directions. Yes, you can use a slow cooker for making cannabutter. Just add the ground cannabis, butter, and a little bit of water into the slow cooker and cook on low for about three hours--stirring occasionally--then strain.

***Watch your dosage. The difference between a laidback day of eating and watching television can easily spiral into a paranoid fever dream spent with the horse Caligula made a senator if the wrong amount of cannabutter is consumed. (That's a exaggeration, but you get the point.) Even if you tested the strain beforehand and it was mild, the end product's potency could be higher depending on how long and hot it was cooked. This is why it's a good idea to try a half a teaspoon or less on a cookie or cracker and see how it hits you after an hour. You can then do the guesswork of the ratio of cannabutter you should use. Remember it's best to err on the side of caution--you can always add more later.

While butter is the preferred ingredient to combine with THC, you can also use a simple recipe for a variety of fatty oils--olive, coconut, avocado, etc. This also opens up the possibilities of enlivening your pre-dinner salad.

No matter what weed-infused dish or dishes you decide to make, just please exercise caution. Try to handle most of the cooking prior to partaking.