Why write a book?

I’ve been asked why I chose to write a book about global warming and its effect on our society. Take a look around you, especially these past few days – the West and Northwest parts of our country are seeing record heat. The Northeast is sweltering, too. Harsh storms, rising temperatures, rising ocean levels, ground baked by the sun, crops wilting and dying … it did not take much imagination to write about these things. All I had to do was ask myself: what’s going to happen? What will life be like on our warming planet in two, three, ten generations? To my way of thinking, there are only two ways to go, if the planet becomes uninhabitable by humans – leave for another planet (not likely!), or move underground, where it is cooler and safer. Hmmm.

Never See the Sun Again (yes, I did change the name – I like this title much better!) will be released on August 2, 2021 – but it is available now for pre-order. (E-book only; the paperback will be available on August 2, 2021).

Covidia: The Pandemic Chronicles

Well. Yes, I know, it’s been awhile. Where have I been, you ask? Writing! I have a new book coming out mid-summer 2021, Covidia: The Pandemic Chronicles. It is a work of speculative fiction, taking place in New York City, 300 years in the future. See how a future society, brought to its knees by climate change and social upheaval, copes with emergencies like a sweeping pandemic. While many things are different in this future society, it seems that some things never change.

Would you like a free copy of Covidia: The Pandemic Chronicles? I am offering the book for free for a limited time. Claim your free book here: susanfeltman.com

Medical marijuana infused in coconut oil – make your own “canna-caps” with cannabis infused coconut oil

If you are looking for a way to manage your chronic pain with a marijuana extract, try making marijuana-infused coconut oil.  Although other types of oil can also be used (olive oil is also a favorite choice), coconut oil has the ability to absorb more of the cannabis than other types of oil. Coconut oil infused with high-grade medical marijuana is so easy to make, and it keeps in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark cabinet for a long, long time.

Medical marijuana infused into coconut oil (the best of all types of oil to use) can be made into capsules, or placed drop by drop directly beneath the tongue.
Medical marijuana infused into coconut oil (the best of all types of oil to use) can be made into capsules, or placed drop by drop directly beneath the tongue.

There are a few different ways you can use marijuana-infused cocnout oil. You can buy empty gelatin capsules on Amazon or at many other places, and fill them with your infused coconut oil, making your own homemade pills.  This is an easy way to avoid the butter/sugar/flour of baked goods containing medical cannabis (although they are delicious), and is much more discreet than pulling out a pipe or vape the next time you are out in public and in need of pain relief.

Coconut oil infused with marijuana can also be placed directly beneath the tongue, drop by drop.  Hold it in your mouth without swallowing for at least 20 seconds, and the marijuana will pass directly into your bloodstream.  This sublingual method bypasses the stomach, making it ideal if you have digestive issues, and takes effect very quickly, literally in a minute or two.  This makes dosing much easier, as you can see in a few minutes whether or not you’ve taken enough.  If pain wakes you up during the night, this is an easy way to get back to sleep quickly.

That’s not all you can do with it, though.

Coconut oil infused with medical marijuana can be used in a few different ways. Try mixing it with moisturizer and using it as a topical cream.
Coconut oil infused with medical marijuana can be used in a few different ways. Try mixing it with moisturizer and using it as a topical cream.

I’ve struggled with chronic pain for years, lower back pain that can stop me in my tracks.  How I wished that there was some magic cream that I could just put on the parts of me that hurt. Try this: Take a few – or several – drops of coconut oil infused with medical marijuana, add a nice dollop of your favorite moisturizer, rub your palms together for a moment to mix the two together, and then spread the mixture on the part of you that hurts.  Ahhhhhhh.  The first time I tried this, I laughed out loud.  What a relief!

Here’s what you need to make your own coconut oil infused with medical marijuana:

a crockpot

a meat thermometer

coconut oil, about 1/2 cup or so

3.5 – 7.0 grams of marijuana, chopped

measuring cup with spout

spatula

one-cup drip coffee filter

paper liner for the coffee filter

small glass bottle with dropper

tiny funnel that fits the glass bottle

.

Before you can combine the coconut oil and medical cannabis, you will need to decarboxylate your marijuana. It will increase the amount of pain relief in your infused coconut oil.
Before you can combine the coconut oil and medical cannabis, you will need to decarboxylate your marijuana. It will increase the amount of pain relief in your infused coconut oil.

First, if you have not already done so, decarboxylate your marijuana.  This extra step takes time (40 minutes, to be exact), and maybe you are thinking that you don’t have time to do this, or that it won’t matter anyway.  You would be mistaken.  Please don’t skip this step – you can thank me afterwards.

My first batch of infused coconut oil used 3.5 grams of medical marijuana.  The next time I made it, I used a full 7.0 grams (1/4 oz.) of medical marijuana, to make it stronger and more concentrated.  To me, it seems very strong; I need only 2 drops beneath my tongue for a daytime dose of pain relief. You might also want to start off slow and see what you think, before forging ahead with all of your precious weed. Note that 2 drops sublingually, beneath the tongue, will affect you differently than 2 drops taken by pill, which goes through the stomach and liver, etc. Just sayin’ – so be cautious and try things out carefully.

Easy does it! Gently pour all of the decarboxylated cannabis into the slow cooker, before you add the coconut oil.
Easy does it! Gently pour all of the decarboxylated cannabis into the slow cooker, before you add the coconut oil.

Take the decarboxylated marijuana out of the oven, and let it cool for a couple of minutes.  Then very carefully lift the sheet of parchment paper or non-stick foil and carry it over to the crock pot.  Add the marijuana to the crockpot.

Pour in enough coconut oil to completely cover the marijuana, but not more than that.  The less oil, the more concentrated the marijuana will be.  Just make sure that the medical cannabis is saturated with the coconut oil, and that there are no little pieces of medical cannabis poking up from the surface of the coconut oil.

Cover the marijuana with coconut oil, but don't add more than that - the cannabis should be totally covered, but extra coconut oil does not provide any advantage.
Cover the marijuana with coconut oil, but don’t add more than that – the cannabis should be totally covered, but extra coconut oil does not provide any advantage.

Cover and set the crockpot on low heat setting for six hours.  That’s it.  Really, that’s all there is to it.

In no event should the temperature in your crockpot exceed 245 degrees.  You should walk past the crockpot and check the temperature with a meat thermometer every once in a while.  If it is getting too hot, turn it off for ten minutes and then back on.  You can do this every hour or two, during the six-hour cooking period.

When the six hours is up, the infused coconut oil is done.  Turn off the crockpot and let it cool until you can comfortably touch the handles.

Assemble the coffee drip filter and filter paper, and place them inside a bowl, in case anything spills. You don't want to lose any precious drops of infused coconut oil.
Assemble the coffee drip filter and filter paper, and place them inside a bowl, in case anything spills. You don’t want to lose any precious drops of infused coconut oil.

Place a measuring cup inside a large bowl or on top of a plate to catch any potential spills, and place the coffee filter on top of the measuring cup, paper liner inside the filter.

Pour the infused coconut oil through the filter paper. Use a ladle to spoon the cannabis and coconut oil through the filter, if your crockpot is too heavy to hold.
Pour the infused coconut oil through the filter paper. Use a ladle to spoon the cannabis and coconut oil through the filter, if your crockpot is too heavy to hold.

Pour the contents of the crockpot right into the coffee filter, using the spatula to get every last drop out of the crockpot.  If your crockpot is heavy like mine, try this:  use a small ladle to get most of the cannabis-infused coconut oil into the coffee filter, before lifting the crockpot to pour out the last little bit of infused oil. 

Gently stir the coconut oil-saturated medical marijuana inside the filter with a spoon, encouraging it to completely drip through.  When it is just about done, pick up the filter and give it a good squeeze with your fingers, pressing hard to get all of the infused coconut oil out of the filter.  The filter can then be discarded.   

A tiny funnel is very useful when pouring the infused coconut oil into a glass bottle with dropper. Notice the plate beneath the bottles, in case anything spills.
A tiny funnel is very useful when pouring the infused coconut oil into a glass bottle with dropper. Notice the plate beneath the bottles, in case anything spills.

Using the funnel, carefully pour the infused oil into the waiting dropper bottle, and screw on the cap.  Done!  You can store the coconut oil in your cabinet (not next to the stove, please – a cool, dry storage place is best), or you can use the dropper to fill empty gelatin capsules each with a small amount, and store them in your refrigerator. 

Before you go filling all of your capsules, though, remember to try a test capsule or two to see how much coconut oil you want in each capsule.  There’s no way to tell you exactly how much you will need; everyone has a different tolerance level, as well as different ideas of how much is enough.  Also, every strain of medical marijuana is a little different, some stronger and some weaker.  Just as with any other medical cannabis product, you will need to test this every time you make a batch, but once tested, you can be sure that your results will be consistent each time for that one batch.  That is one of the great advantages to making your own.  There are no weird additives, and no surprises or inconsistencies.

Cannabis-infused coconut oil is a favorite daytime method of ingesting medical marijuana.  You can make several cannabis-infused coconut oil capsules at one time and store them in the refrigerator. “Canna-caps” are simple to make, neat and inconspicuous, and have no smell when you take one out of your purse or pocket, pop it into your mouth and swallow it with a drink of water, right there in public.  Hah!  Ahhhhhh.

Medical marijuana infused alcohol tincture (“Golden Dragon”) – your best go-to cannabis tincture recipe for discreet daytime dosing

A few drops of cannabis tincture in your morning coffee or lunch-time glass of iced tea will provide mild but effective pain relief for hours.  For myself, it’s a good daytime method of controlling my chronic back pain.  I love my chocolate chocolate chip marijuana-infused cookies, but I do try to keep an eye on the amount of butter, sugar and flour I eat each day.  I prefer to use the alcohol-based tincture in the afternoon, and save the cookies for after dinner.

Golden Dragon alcohol-infused cannabis tincture - discreet dosing drop by drop for your coffee, tea, ice cream, mashed potatoes, etc. - and best of all, you can make it at home.
Golden Dragon alcohol-infused cannabis tincture – discreet dosing drop by drop for your coffee, tea, ice cream, mashed potatoes, etc. – and best of all, you can make it at home.

Why is it referred to as “Golden Dragon” tincture?  The Golden Dragon is the stuff of legends.  Once sold in U.S. drug stores before marijuana was made illegal, it is a good solution for mild dosing when you are busy during the day with tasks that require clarity and motivation, because it is easy to titrate, one drop at a time.  It is made with decarboxylated marijuana, which gives the finished product its goldish-greenish color.  Now you can make your own, at home.   

Most afternoons, I put several drops of medical marijuana tincture into an empty gelatin capsule, in effect making my own cannabis pills (zero calories).  You can buy bags of empty high-quality gelatin capsules on Amazon, or in many other places.  But use your imagination – you can put the Golden Dragon cannabis tincture in just about anything.  Mix a few drops into your cream cheese, the next time you have a bagel!  You can also put a drop or two underneath your tongue, for sublingual application, which gives fast calorie-free pain relief without going through the stomach, etc.

Empty gelatin capsules make a perfect homemade "pill" when filled with a few drops of medical marijuana alcohol-infused tincture. Finally, yes, there is a pill.
Empty gelatin capsules make a perfect homemade “pill” when filled with a few drops of medical marijuana alcohol-infused tincture. Finally, yes, there is a pill.

You can buy the glass dropper bottles, along with the tiny funnels that fit the glass dropper bottles, on Amazon, or in many other places.  You will need at least one glass bottle, possibly two, for this recipe, and at least one funnel.  Like the capsules, they are not expensive.

This recipe uses 3.5 – 4.0 grams of medical marijuana.  I don’t recommend using more cannabis more than this, especially in the beginning.  First, it is much safer to work in small batches; just like when you are cooking with wine, grain alcohol is flammable. Second, the finished product lasts a very long time.  Consider that there are up to 10 drops in a single dose, and about 70 drops of alcohol tincture in one teaspoonful. 

Here’s what you will need:

a 6-quart or 8-quart pot

a 12 oz. Mason jar

Everclear 151 proof grain alcohol, available in any liquor store

1/2 tsp. honey

marijuana, 3.5 grams to 4 grams, chopped and decarboxylated

parchment paper

glass measuring cup with pouring spout

tiny funnel

glass bottle with dropper

single cup coffee drip filter, lined with filter paper

meat thermometer

.

First, decarboxylate your medical marijuana.  Please don’t skip this step.

While your marijuana is in the oven, you can turn your attention to heating the water on the stove to the correct temperature.  It should be 170 degrees, not hotter; use a meat thermometer to be sure.

The level of water in the pot should rise up to the same level as the marijuana in the Mason jar (i.e., if the jar is three inches full of marijuana, then the pot should be three inches full of water).  Four grams of chopped and decarboxylated weed will fill a 12-oz. Mason jar about one-third full.  The easiest way to do this is to place the empty Mason jar in the pot, fill the pot with enough water to come up to one-third of the Mason jar, and then remove the empty Mason jar.

Place the pot on the stove.  Turn the heat to the lowest setting – if your stove has a simmer burner, now would be the time to use it.  Leave it for about 30 minutes to come to the correct temperature; check from time to time to be sure it does not go over 170 degrees.

When the water has reached 170 degrees and the marijuana has finished decarboxylating in the oven, you are ready to proceed. 

Carefully pour the decarboxylated cannabis into the Mason jar, making sure not to spill any of the medical marijuana.
Carefully pour the decarboxylated cannabis into the Mason jar, making sure not to spill any of the medical marijuana.

Remove the marijuana from the oven. Working over a plate or piece of foil or waxed paper (in case of spills), carefully fold up the parchment paper or foil into a “tube” and place one end in the Mason jar. Tap on the “tube” until all of the marijuana has fallen into the jar.

Pour in enough Everclear alcohol to cover the marijuana completely, but not more.  There is no advantage to adding more alcohol than you need; actually, the less you use, the more concentrated the effects will be.

Safety notes:  Everclear is highly flammable.  Just as when you cook with wine or brandy, it can catch fire if you are not careful.  Make sure you have the lid to the pot nearby, in case you quickly need to cover a flareup.

Cover the medical marijuana with enough grain alcohol to just cover it, but not more than that. The alcohol tincture will work best if the cannabis is completely saturated with alcohol.
Cover the medical marijuana with enough grain alcohol to just cover it, but not more than that. The alcohol tincture will work best if the cannabis is completely saturated with alcohol.

Carefully place the Mason jar into the water-filled pot; do not cover the jar or the pot.  Allow the water to heat the Mason jar for 20 minutes; set your cell phone timer, not the stove/oven timer.  Do not stir or swirl the contents of the jar, do not adjust the burner’s heat up or down. The idea is that you don’t want to do anything that could cause an accidental spark.  You can (and should) check the temperature of the water at least once during the 20 minutes, but be careful not to actually touch the jar with the meat thermometer.

When 20 minutes have passed, remove the Mason jar from the water bath, placing it on the counter far away from the stove, and THEN turn off the heat (not the other way around).  This avoids an accidental spark.  Once the heat is off, return the jar to the pot and let it cool down, uncovered, still on the same back burner.  This will help evaporate some of the alcohol.  The alcohol has done its job at this point and now, the less alcohol there is, the better.

Alcohol-infused cannabis tincture - the "Green Dragon" - used to be available in drug stores in the US, before it became illegal.
Alcohol-infused cannabis tincture – the “Green Dragon” – used to be available in drug stores in the US, before it became illegal.

Once the Mason jar has cooled and the alcohol has somewhat evaporated, strain the contents:  place the single coffee cup drip filter over a measuring cup; place the measuring cup in a large bowl, just in case of an accidental spill.  Place a paper filter in the coffee cup drip filter, and pour the contents of the Mason jar through the filter, into the measuring cup. 

When it has drained through, use a small spoon to press the filter, making make sure that every drop has been pressed through.  Discard the filter.   Let the contents sit uncovered in the measuring cup for 45 minutes to an hour, so some of the alcohol can evaporate.

Allow the alcohol tincture to drain through the filter. Medical marijuana dosed one drop at a time into your tea or coffee - this is a good daytime solution for chronic pain relief.
Allow the alcohol tincture to drain through the filter. Medical marijuana dosed one drop at a time into your tea or coffee – this is a good daytime solution for chronic pain relief.

Add 1/2 tsp. of honey, stirring until dissolved.  Or, you can experiment:  some recipes use Amaretto or other flavored liqueurs, or peppermint, etc.  If you are going to take the tincture a few drops at a time beneath your tongue, you will need to flavor the tincture with something to improve the bitter flavor.

Easy beginner recipe for cannabis - ready in a couple of hours or so, start to finish. That's a morning well spent. If you have chronic pain, you will appreciate this recipe for medical marijuana.
Easy beginner recipe for cannabis – ready in a couple of hours or so, start to finish. That’s a morning well spent. If you have chronic pain, you will appreciate this recipe for medical marijuana.

Time to get the Golden Dragon into the bottle:  the precious golden-greenish liquid can be poured carefully and slowly into a dropper bottle, using the tiny funnel which fits these little bottles.  Fit the dropper into the bottle and tighten it well, to keep it fresh.  The Golden Dragon can be stored indefinitely in a cool, dark place.

Before you put it away, put a few drops in a cup of tea, and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.  You’ve come a long way from smoking pot in that little pipe you bought, back in the beginning.  Good job.

Medical marijuana chocolate chocolate chip cookies – the only marijuana cookie recipe you will ever need.

These chocolate chocolate chip marijuana-infused cookies are the perfect way to ingest medical marijuana.  I’ve tried many different recipes, and this is my favorite go-to recipe for dependable dosing in the evening and at bedtime.  I like to make a batch of cookie dough, cut it into 30 equal pieces, roll them each into little balls, and freeze them, to be baked one or two at a time as I need them. 

Cannabis cookies! These delicious chocolate chocolate chip cookies made with medical marijuana will bring a smile to your face. Finally, edibles that taste great, and that you can make in your own kitchen.
Cannabis cookies! These delicious chocolate chocolate chip cookies made with medical marijuana will bring a smile to your face. Finally, edibles that taste great, and that you can make in your own kitchen.

First, and please don’t skip this step, decarboxylate your marijuana.  You will get more pain relief if you do this – no kidding.

Second, make infused butter with your newly-decarboxylated marijuana.  I usually do this the day before I make the cookies, so it has time to completely solidify in the refrigerator. 

Now that you have taken care of these first two steps – let’s make some cookies!

About 45 minutes before beginning, take your infused butter out of the refrigerator, place a piece of plastic wrap over your scale, and weigh the butter.  Do this while it is still cold, so it is easier to handle.  Don’t be surprised if it weighs less than you expected; butter contains a lot of water, which evaporates while you are infusing marijuana into the butter. 

Make sure to weigh your marijuana-infused butter. You can add more regular unsalted butter to it to make up the required amount of butter for the recipe.
Make sure to weigh your marijuana-infused butter. You can add more regular unsalted butter to it to make up the required amount of butter for the recipe.

This recipe requires 4 ozs. of butter.  Chances are that your marijuana-infused butter will weigh less than that, due the to the amount of water lost through evaporation during the infusion process. In the above photo, you can see that my own marijuana-infused butter only weighed about half of the total of 4 ozs. needed. Please be sure to add enough unsalted butter to the infused butter to equal a combined weight of 4 ozs.

Here are the ingredients you will need to make chocolate chocolate chip cannabis cookies:

4 ozs. of combined cannabis-infused butter plus unsalted regular butter, softened to room temperature (no, no, no, do NOT microwave the butter to soften – just leave at room temperature for about 45 minutes) 

5/8 cup granulated sugar 

3/8 cup packed dark brown sugar 

1/2 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted 

1 1/2 large eggs, at room temperature (scramble one of the eggs and divide it in half; use the other half of it for something else – make an omelette for lunch, or bread some chicken with it; use your imagination) 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

5/8 teaspoon baking powder 

5/8 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 

1 cup chocolate chips; you can use all bittersweet, or a combination of your favorite types of chocolate chips

.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl using a whisk, and set aside. 

Remember, you can stir the dry ingredients together as much as you want; you can stir the wet ingredients together as much as you want; but once you have combined the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, only stir until the batter is just combined.  Don’t overdo it.  This rule applies to all cookies, not just those with marijuana in them.

In a stand mixer, beat the softened butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and melted unsweetened chocolate for 4-5 minutes on the lowest setting, until absolutely smooth.  It is very important that the butter mixture is absolutely smooth and well mixed.  If the butter is not evenly distributed, then the marijuana may be more concentrated in some parts of the batter than in others. If you want dependable dosing, so that each cookie is the same strength as the other cookies, take your time with this step.   

Mix well, and then mix some more! The marijuana-infused butter must be evenly distributed with the other ingredients so the cookies will each have the same effectiveness.
Mix well, and then mix some more! The marijuana-infused butter must be evenly distributed with the other ingredients so the cookies will each have the same effectiveness.

Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Add the eggs and mix until completely incorporated. 

Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter and mix just until well combined with no flour showing.  Manually fold in the chocolate chips.  The batter will be quite stiff; take your time and make sure that the chocolate chips are evenly incorporated.

Take a long length of plastic wrap and lay it out flat on the counter. Spread the batter out onto the plastic wrap.  Fold carefully and shape into a thick log or brick shape of uniform thickness.  Wrap up tightly and place in the refrigerator for several hours, or overnight.

Shape the chocolate chocolate chip marijuana cookie dough into a "log" and wrap securely in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least several hours.
Shape the chocolate chocolate chip marijuana cookie dough into a “log” and wrap securely in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least several hours.

Slice into sections, then cut the sections into cookie-sized portions.  Roll each section into a little ball, using your hands as if you are making meatballs.

Roll each portion of marijuana cookie dough into a small ball, and freeze it. This will make it easy and convenient to bake one or two cookies at a time.
Roll each portion of marijuana cookie dough into a small ball, and freeze it. This will make it easy and convenient to bake one or two cookies at a time.

Freeze the cookies spread out flat in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet which has been lined with non-stick foil, parchment paper or a SilPat sheet.  Once the cookies are frozen solid, you can place them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.  Don’t forget to label them very clearly, “marijuana cookies”, so there are no “accidents” involving other family members.  Just a thought.

To bake, turn on your oven to preheat at 345 degrees. (Remember that marijuana should never be exposed to higher heat than 350 degrees, or its effectiveness will be diminished.) At the same time that you turn on the oven to preheat, remove one or two (or however many you want) cookies from the freezer and place them on a baking sheet lined with non-stick foil, parchment paper or a SilPat sheet. Put them on the counter (not near the warm oven) and let them sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes or until your oven has preheated. 

Baking times will vary according to your own oven and the size of your cookies.  If you have made 30 cookies, then each one will take approximately 9 minutes to bake, but make sure to check after 7 minutes, and thereafter at 1 minute intervals, until the cookies are done.  The edges should be set, but the centers should still be shiny and slightly underdone.  Do not overbake; they should look like the cookies in this photo.

Medical marijuana cookies: finally, edibles you can depend on, because you made them yourself. Soft and chewy, with lots of chocolate chips, warm from the oven - who said medicine has to taste bad?
Medical marijuana cookies: finally, edibles you can depend on, because you made them yourself. Soft and chewy, with lots of chocolate chips, warm from the oven – who said medicine has to taste bad?

A word about dosing: this recipe makes 30 cookies, and contains 10 grams of medical marijuana. For me, personally, one third to one half of a cookie is a single dose. Each person’s tolerance is different, and each batch of marijuana is different, so proceed with caution. Try one quarter of a cookie, and see how you feel. It can take two hours or so to feel the full effects, depending on what else you may have eaten on any particular day. Interestingly, ingesting marijuana before a meal can make it take effect more quickly – or at least, that’s been my experience. So be careful at first; you can always eat more, but you cannot eat less.

When your cookies are done, remove them from the oven, and then remove them from the baking sheet as soon as possible. Allow to cool.  Mmmmmm.  Ahhhhhh.

Baking with Medical Marijuana – how to make the best marijuana-infused butter

Marijuana is expensive, there’s no getting around it (unless you are one of the fortunate few who can grow your own).  You want to be sure that you are getting the maximum amount of pain relief out of your weed.  You might be tempted to just toss a handful of chopped marijuana into a box of Betty Crocker brownie mix and hope for the best – but try this.  It’s not hard, and it will elevate your edibles to a whole new level. 

With marijuana-infused butter, you don’t need a special “weed” recipe – any recipe that requires butter is fair game.  Just substitute your marijuana-infused butter for the plain butter that is usually used.  Brownies, muffins, cupcakes, truffles, etc. – the uses for marijuana-infused butter are limited only by your imagination.  Put some on a baked potato, or on your toast!

Marijuana-infused butter takes on the color of the marijuana, and can be any shade of green, ranging from dark green to bright, grassy green, depending on your strain of medical marijuana.
Marijuana-infused butter takes on the color of the marijuana, and can be any shade of green, ranging from dark green to bright, grassy green, depending on your strain of medical marijuana.


In order to make butter infused with medical marijuana, first decarboxylate your marijuana.  Seriously, don’t skip this step.

I plan on making cookies with this batch of infused butter.  My cookie recipe requires one stick of unsalted butter.  (Your chosen recipe may need more or less.)  I will be putting 10 grams of marijuana into the batch of cookies.

Remember, when baking with marijuana, never bake over 345 degrees.  An oven that is too hot (350 degrees or hotter) will destroy the effectiveness of your weed.

In order to make infused butter, you will need:

a crock pot,

the marijuana, chopped, weighed and decarboxylated,

one stick of unsalted butter,

about 1/2 cup of filtered water,

a wooden or rubber spatula,

a piece of cheesecloth around 12 inches square

a rubber band

When you put the weed in the oven to decarboxylate, turn on the crockpot on “low” to give it a chance to warm up. Place the stick of unsalted butter in the crockpot along with 1/2 cup of filtered water, cover and let it sit while the weed is decarboxylating.

When the marijuana has finished roasting in the oven and has cooled down a bit, move the baking sheet away from the stove.  Working over the counter and not over the stove (just in case any of it spills), very carefully lift the non-stick foil or parchment paper and tip it into the crockpot.  Try and get every tiny little morsel of medical marijuana into the melted butter.  Give it a careful stir with a wooden or rubber spatula.  The butter and water should completely saturate the weed.

Medical marijuana-infused butter is easy to make and can be used in many different recipes - just about any recipe that uses butter!
Medical marijuana-infused butter is easy to make and can be used in many different recipes – just about any recipe that uses butter!

Set the crockpot on “low” for six hours, cover and walk away. 

Every hour or so, walk by the crockpot and take a look.  Give it a gentle stir, from the center of the pot (try and stay away from the sides, so no little fragments wind up sticking to the sides and overcooking). 

Marijuana must not boil; if you see that the butter is beginning to bubble around the edges, you can add another tablespoon or so of water.  Don’t worry about adding too much water; the butter will separate from the water later on in the refrigerator, so it’s not an issue. 

My favorite thing to do when I see that it’s beginning to bubble is to turn the crockpot to “warm” setting for about five minutes, until it cools off a little bit.  Then I turn it back to “low”.  If you do this, do NOT forget to turn it back on.  Seriously, set your cell phone alarm if you need to.  I do.

Butter-infused marijuana will change the way you make your edibles. Try this - it isn't hard to do, and makes your baked goods much more effective.
Butter-infused marijuana will change the way you make your edibles. Try this – it isn’t hard to do, and makes your baked goods much more effective.

After six hours has passed, turn off the crockpot and let it cool for a few minutes. 

Take your time when you strain the marijuana out of the melted butter. Don't waste a drop of your medical marijuana-infused butter!
Take your time when you strain the marijuana out of the melted butter. Don’t waste a drop of your medical marijuana-infused butter!

Take out a glass container with a lid – a round Pyrex bowl works well – and cover it with the cheesecloth, using a rubber band to hold the cheesecloth in place.  I like to put a small strainer over the bowl and cover the strainer with the cheesecloth, and then add the rubber band to hold everything in place – the strainer makes it easier to keep the cheesecloth off the surface of the butter as it strains through.

There are many ways to use medical marijuana. Homemade edibles are economical and will allow you to control the amount of medical marijuana in them.
There are many ways to use medical marijuana. Homemade edibles are economical and will allow you to control the amount of medical marijuana in them.

Using a small ladle or large spoon, take a spoonful of the infused butter and ladle it onto the center of the cheesecloth-covered bowl.  The butter will drip through, leaving the marijuana on top.  Slowly, slowly spoon the rest of the marijuana-infused butter through the cheesecloth, using the spoon or a spatula to gently move the marijuana around so more butter can drip through. 

When you are finished, and have used a spatula to remove every last possible drop of infused butter from the crockpot, take a small spoon and carefully press the cheesecloth, gathering up the edges as you do this, to get every last drop of infused butter.  Discard the cheesecloth.

Cover the marijuana-infused butter and place it in the refrigerator for several hours, preferably overnight.  The butter will rise, making a solid hard disc just like regular butter, while the water remains sloshing around in the bottom of the bowl.

To remove the chilled butter from the glass bowl, take a very sharp knife (a tomato-slicing knife is perfect, if you have one) and run it around the inner edge of the bowl.  Then poke the knife tip against one edge, and it should easily lift up.  Use your fingers if you have to; the butter will be solid and cold.

The finished product: medical marijuana-infused butter. If the butter breaks up a bit when you remove it from the glass container (like mine did), just make sure you fish out all of the little pieces before you discard the water.
The finished product: medical marijuana-infused butter. If the butter breaks up a bit when you remove it from the glass container (like mine did), just make sure you fish out all of the little pieces before you discard the water.

Pat dry with paper towels, laying the butter down on the paper towels first on one side, then the other.  Place the butter in a new, clean container and return it to the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.  The water can be discarded.

You may be surprised at how little butter you have.  The six-hour infusion process results in the loss of moisture in the butter, which does make it weigh less than the amount with which you started out.  It will need to be weighed before you can use it in a recipe.  It’s been my experience that it can lose half of its weight, but you can easily make this up by adding more unsalted butter to it. 

Can you use a pot on top of the stove to make infused butter, rather than a crockpot?  Yes, I’ve done it both ways.  It’s been my experience that a pot, even placed on a simmer burner’s lowest setting, will eventually get hotter than the 160 degrees recommended, and is harder to control than the crockpot.  Also, on the stovetop, it tends to burn a bit around the edges.  If you do decide to use a pot, make sure that you are there in the kitchen most of the time to keep an eye on it.

Next up:  let’s make some chocolate-chocolate-chip marijuana-infused cookies! 

Medical Marijuana – How to Bake with Marijuana (Do This First)

I have severe, disabling chronic back pain.  Medical marijuana works really well on my aching back, and with minimal side effects.  No more opioids!  (That’s a whole story in itself – see “Stephen’s Girls” for a fictionalized tale of what it’s like when you try to stop using opioids.)

In New Jersey, I can buy actual weed, but no edibles – no cookies, no brownies, infused oils, infused honey, or alcohol tinctures.  Ahhh, but I do love to experiment in my kitchen.  It’s been a journey, but it’s been fun, too.

Chocolate-chocolate-chip cookies (recipe to be coming soon) are my current favorite; they provide an excellent “vehicle” for the medical marijuana.  Whatever you choose to make with your marijuana – brownies, infused honey, whatever you are making – the first step must always be to “decarboxylate”. 

Chocolate-chocolate-chip cookies are just one of the many things you can make with medical marijuana.
Chocolate-chocolate-chip cookies are just one of the many things you can make with medical marijuana.

Decarboxylate.  It is surprisingly easy to do. 

Decarboxylation heats the marijuana and changes the molecular structure so that more of the THC is available.  It makes your marijuana more effective.  That’s what you want, so don’t skip this step.  You can read up on this on www.leafly.com; they have a wealth of information and go into detail about why decarboxylation is important.

You will need:

a baking sheet with sides,

parchment paper or non-stick foil,

a marijuana chopper,

a scale (USPS postal scale works well and changes back and forth from ounces to grams), and

a wooden or plastic spatula.

First, if your marijuana is not chopped, use a marijuana chopper to make fairly uniform little pieces – don’t grind it up like a powder; that’s too fine, but little pieces like oregano will work well.  Some dispensaries sell “trim” at a discount, which is already chopped up. It’s a great time-saver if you are going to be cooking/baking with your marijuana. Why buy premium buds if you are just going to chop them up anyway?

Cooking with medical marijuana - no matter what you are making, always decarboxylate first. It's easy to do.
Cooking with medical marijuana – no matter what you are making, always decarboxylate first. It’s easy to do.

How much marijuana will you be using in your recipe?  Cover your scale with plastic wrap, and weigh the marijuana. I will be making a batch of cookies with mine using 10 grams of marijuana.  Here, I am weighing 3 grams to add to my pre-packaged quarter-ounce (7 grams).  You may want to use more or less marijuana, depending on your recipe, your tolerance and your type of marijuana. 

Baking with marijuana is easy.  Always decarboxylate first.
Baking with marijuana is easy. Always decarboxylate first.

Once you have the correct amount, transfer your marijuana to the middle of a baking sheet (one with sides, to prevent spilling) which has been lined with either parchment paper or non-stick foil.  Take your spatula and gently move the marijuana around until it is an even layer, taking care to keep it away from the edges of the paper or foil.

240 for 40:  remember this phrase.

Place the marijuana in a preheated oven at 240 degrees for 40 minutes.  It’s very important that the oven is not too hot, so don’t try to rush this process with more heat.

Every 10 minutes, give the marijuana a little stir with your spatula to make sure all surfaces are exposed to the heat.  Breathe deeply!  It does give off a little buzz while it is baking. When the 40 minutes is up, remove from the oven and let the marijuana cool while you get ready to move on to the next step in your recipe.

Done.  That was not too hard, right?  Now you have marijuana that is more powerful than when you bought it, and you can move on to use it in whatever form you want – cookies, brownies, etc.

Up next: how to make infused butter, which you then can use in any recipe that uses butter.  That’s right – any recipe.


Luscious, elegant White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, the perfect dessert for date night or Valentine’s Day dinners in an updated smaller size

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, a no-bake dessert in an updated smaller size
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, a no-bake dessert in an updated smaller size

Beautifully light pink in color, chilled through and decorated before serving with a drizzle of dark chocolate, this is a dessert to remember.  And no baking!  (OK, just the crust needs baking.  But you can actually skip the crust if you’re in a hurry.  Read on.)

Back when my daughter was young, I baked at least once a week, cookies, brownies, apple crisp, etc.  Now that it’s just myself and my husband at home, we still enjoy desserts, but we don’t want more than a serving or two – and nobody wants a 9-inch cheesecake lingering in the refrigerator all week, begging to be eaten.  These last few years, I’ve been carefully editing my dessert recipes to reduce each one to a smaller, more manageable size.  My tiny little desserts are designed to be two-to-four servings each (also known as “personal size” in my household).

Make this no-bake cheesecake in whatever type of pan you want:  a pie plate, or a five-inch or seven-inch spring form pan, or even individual Pyrex glass dishes with lids. 

I have chosen to use a five-inch spring form pan, shown here. 

A five-inch springform pan makes the perfect amount of White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
A five-inch springform pan holds the perfect amount of White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

If you choose to make the crust, you can use whatever crust recipe you love most; or you can my tried-and-true favorite chocolate cookie crust recipe below.

There are three steps to this recipe:  (a) the raspberry puree; (b) the crust; and (c) the filling.

Step 1 – making the raspberry puree:

This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated.  I like to make it the night before so I’m not on my feet for too long at any one time, always a factor in my recipes:

1 cup of frozen raspberries

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. of lemon juice (start with 1 Tbsp. and taste it before adding more)

Raspberry puree adds the perfect amount of tart-sweetness to the smooth, creamy white chocolate
Raspberry puree adds the perfect amount of tart-sweetness to the smooth, creamy white chocolate

Put the raspberries in a saucepan with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/4 cup granulated sugar.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.  

Taste and adjust the lemon juice, adding more if needed.  Strain out the seeds and set aside to cool.

There should be about 1/3 cup of raspberry puree.

Step 2 – making the optional chocolate cookie crust:

Skip this step entirely, if you don’t feel like baking.  I happen to love a crunchy chocolate cookie crust, so I make this whenever I have a chance.  Any other type of cookie crust would work, too. 

2/3 cup Nabisco chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, about 15 cookies

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

2 tsp. sugar

1/3 tsp. instant espresso powder or ground coffee

a pinch of sea salt

Break up the cookies and place in a food processor; pulse until the consistency is uniformly like coarse sand.

Combine the cookie crumbs with the other ingredients. 

Spray (with baking spray) or butter the bottom and sides of your baking dish and press the cookie crumbs mixture into the bottom and sides of whatever dish(es) you are using; bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  

Chocolate cookie crust adds a distinctive crunchy texture to the smooth, creamy cheesecake filling.
Chocolate cookie crust adds a distinctive crunchy texture to the smooth, creamy cheesecake filling.

Depending on the size of your dish(es), you may not need all of the chocolate cookie crust mixture; it should just cover the bottom of the pan without being too thick. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.  

You can leave the crust out for an hour or two before adding the filling. Take a break – sit down and have lunch!

Step 3 –  White Chocolate Raspberry Filling:

OK, now it’s time to get serious.

6 ounces of white chocolate, chopped

12 ounces (one and one-half packages) of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Melt the white chocolate, stirring often, either in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (a “double boiler”); the simmering water should be about an inch deep so it does not actually touch the bottom of the glass bowl.  Microwaves are faster, it’s true, but white chocolate can burn very quickly, so the double boiler method is more dependable.  Have you ever burned your last bit of chocolate in the microwave and had to rush out to buy more?  Or is that just me?

Melt the white chocolate over a pot of simmering water until it is creamy and smooth.
Melt the white chocolate over a pot of simmering water until it is creamy and smooth.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese and vanilla until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar (slowly/carefully, please, so it doesn’t wind up on your ceiling) and beat until smooth. Slowly add in the melted chocolate and beat to incorporate. Add the raspberry puree and beat just until combined.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is lucious, smooth and creamy - and beautiful! You will be proud to serve this elegant dessert.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is luscious, smooth and creamy – and beautiful! You will be proud to serve this elegant dessert.

Pour the white chocolate raspberry mixture onto the crust, or into the individual bowls or containers. 

Refrigerate for an hour uncovered in the refrigerator; then cover with a layer of waxed paper (so it does not stick to the surface), followed by a layer of plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is covered with a layer of waxed paper and then a layer of plastic wrap, ready to be placed in the refrigerator overnight.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is covered with a layer of waxed paper and then a layer of plastic wrap, ready to be placed in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, top with dark chocolate curls made by using a vegetable peeler along the narrow edge of a candy bar, or – and this is my current favorite – drizzle with chocolate ganache. 

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, a smaller, more updated version of a classic dessert - perfect for Valentine's Day dinner or date night!
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, a smaller, more updated version of a classic dessert – perfect for Valentine’s Day dinner or date night!

To make chocolate ganache, melt 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips with 2 Tbsp. heavy cream and stir until smooth, then decorate the plate before you place the slice of cheesecake on it, or drizzle some on top of the slice.  Or both.  Definitely both.