MJ BUTTER Butter is the ancient, traditional solvent for THC. It works, and it's safe. Almost all traditional MJ food recipes from India, Persia, Turkey, Morocco, and elsewhere utilize butter as the extract solvent. The most basic THC extraction process is water bath extraction using butter as the base. This process takes advantage of the fact that THC is soluble in fats, such as butter, but not in water. Eating MJ butter or using it carefully in food recipes will leave no tell-tale smell of burning MJ to identify the mental state of the user, and thus has many applications where smoke would preclude use, such as a trip to the park or a Sunday morning church service. Further, cookies made with MJ butter lying on the seat of your car do not raise anywhere near the police suspicion and action precipitated by an ounce baggie of green leafy. This water bath technique may be used to extract relatively large amounts of MJ with relatively small amounts of butter, in order to concentrate the THC. Thus if you have a crop of home grown which has to be harvested early due to sudden security problems, or other weak MJ, the potency of a large amount of MJ can be concentrated in a small amount of butter. CALCULATING PROPORTIONS OF EXTRACT BASE TO MJ If you're working with a very high-potency MJ, a little MJ will make a lot of extract. If the MJ is so weak that you can't smoke enough to get high without a headache, you'll need a lot for a small amount of extract base. Whether MJ is strong or weak to you will depend on how susceptible you are to MJ, and on other factors. Anyone who's reasonably experienced with MJ can divide it into three or four categories of potency. For example: GRADE A(1)- Extremely potent. When smoked it is definitely two-toke. It may be very fine, aromatic, resin-flavored sinsemilla, or Thai-stick quality, or very heavy Colombian. GRADE A(2)- Excellent quality. The best you'll find at reasonable market prices. Not sinsemilla/Maui/Thai quality. A half joint will get you very high. Some aroma and tops. GRADE B - Moderate quality. Competent but not excellent home grown or bulk imported stuff. It takes one or two joints to get you high for several hours. May give you a headache. Little aroma, few tops. GRADE C - Found along roads in the Midwest; also growing in homes with poor light, poor soil, excess watering, etc. You can't smoke enough to get high. Definite headache. Okay - with these subjective grades established, let's talk about MJ/butter extract base proportions: Grade A(1)- Use a ratio of 1 oz of MJ to 16 to 20 oz. butter. This will yield 100 to 125 teaspoons of very potent extract, each of which will produce a six to nine hour high. Grade A(2)- Use a ratio of 1 oz MJ to 12 to 16 oz. butter for a yield of 75 to 100 teaspoons of potent extract, each one good for a five to eight hour high. Grade B- Use a ratio of 1 oz to 8 oz of butter. This yields 50 teaspoons of extract, each one potent enough for a four to seven hour high. Grade C- (Turn dregs into gold!) Try 1 oz of MJ stems or trash to 4 oz. (or less) of butter. One 4 oz. (or less) stick of butter per pound of rope-quality hemp. Remember, you can always add regular butter to a too strong MJ butter, but you can't go the other way. No-one wants to eat a whole bowl of butter to get a little buzz. WATER BATH EXTRACTION Step 1. In a large pot bring several quarts of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Heating water this way produces a more even temperature throughout. If available, use an electric crock pot on the low setting. Step 2. Add your dry MJ to the water--seeds, stems, shake, and all. Break up the leaf. Just dump it in, and disperse it by stirring, using a wooden spoon if you have one. Don't worry about the floaters. Step 3. Cover the pot and simmer the MJ on low heat for about two hours. Water temperature should be hot to the touch but nowhere near a boil. Stir the MJ every so often. Step 4. After two hours of gently simmering the MJ in water alone, add the butter by dropping it into the pot. Check ratios above for amount. [It is much better to use "clarified" butter, if all of the extract will not be used immediately because clarified butter will keep much longer without going rancid and does not burn as easily in recipes calling for high temperatures. Buttered is clarified by melting butter in a heavy saucepan over very low heat. Be very sure you don't burn it. When the butter is melted, a foam will be floating on the top. Skim this off and discard it. Then raise the temperature a little. More foam will form. Skim that off and discard it. Repeat the process several times until you get no more foam. Now, carefully pour off the clear, straw-colored liquid butter, leaving the sediment of milk solids in the bottom of the pan. Start the clarification process with about twice as much butter as you will use for extraction, and then weigh or measure the remaining clarified butter.] Step 5. The butter will melt within minutes after being added, and you should stir the contents of the pot frequently over the next two hours. Keep the pot covered except when stirring. If the water level drops, replenish it with hot water. Step 6. When you're ready to take the pot off, after a total cooking time of four hours (two hours simmering with only water, two hours simmering with butter added), heat a kettle pot of water to boiling on the side. Step 7. Make ready a bowl, a strainer through which you'll pour the extract liquid and catch all the MJ, and several pot holders. Step 8. Pour the MJ/butter liquid through the strainer (strainer covered with tee shirt material as a filter) into the bowl. Then slowly trickle the boiling water through the MJ in the strainer, shaking the strainer as you pour. This removes most of the butter clinging to the MJ. Press the MJ in the strainer to squeeze out the last of the liquid. Step 9. Now you can discard the MJ in the strainer; most of its potency has been converted and transferred to the butter. [To conserve what potency may remain in the leaf, you can add fresh water to the pot, bring it to a simmer, and simmer the MJ leaf for another two hours with a half stick of butter. This butter is rarely very potent. Keep it separate from the first extract, or use it as the extract base for a new batch.] Step 10. Set aside the liquid to cool, keeping it covered. When the liquid has cooled several hours, put it into the refrigerator and chill it overnight. Step 11. After complete cooling, the mixture will have separated into two or three layers. The upper layer will be hard. It can be broken into large pieces and removed. It's easiest to slip a table knife under the hardened butter at the side of the bowl, pry it up, and break it into pieces. The second layer will have a creamy, semisolid texture. It should be removed carefully with a large spoon. Care is necessary because you don't want to stir up the liquid below and lose some of the second layer by remixing it with the liquid. [Discard the liquid. It contains primarily water soluble, non-psychoactive, tars and waxes.] Step 12. There is very little difference between the potency of the top two layers, so most people mix them together into a paste, which is then ready for use. Step 13. You should freeze the butter you aren't going to use immediately. Of course, you may not want to wait to cook with the butter. You may try a lightly buttered single saltine cracker. See section below on overdose problems. MICROWAVE - Use of a microwave oven will significantly reduce the time necessary to complete the above extract process: Set your microwave on 50% power, place the MJ on a dish, and cook the MJ for 2.5 minutes. Then, having melted the appropriate amount of butter in a low temp. crock-pot or other large pot holding sufficient water, add the cooked MJ. The microwave time has converted a high proportion of the inactive THC to active form, and so all that is needed is for the butter to absorb the already converted THC Thus, cooking time is radically decreased, and after 30-45 minutes, the MJ butter/liquid will be ready for straining. Even smokers can benefit from microwave MJ processing. Although smoking incinerates most of the THC, what does come over to the smoker is almost doubled in strength by the quick heating it has received in the microwave. CAUTION - MJ food overdose considerations: It's easier to overdose on MJ food than it is to overdose by smoking. With smoking there's an almost immediate feedback from your body because of absorbsion through the lungs, but with MJ food, you can eat far too much and not begin to realize it for an hour or so, by which time the potency has been absorbed by your body and well on its way toward saturating your nerve net. Dosage must be controlled up front! Do not eat a sample and after an hour or so decide that nothing is happening and then eat another dose. When testing to determine potency by volume, always wait at least 24 hours before trying another sample. MJ overdose will cause not only a profound MJ high which is incapacitating, but also a possibly serious hypoglycemic reaction. This means that, for some people, a MJ overdose can create a definite life hazard. If someone has undiagnosed diabetes, chronic hypoglycemia, kidney or liver problems, or other similar problems, too much MJ in any form can be dangerous. Once you are in the middle of an overdose, there is very little you can do other than relax and try to enjoy it or focus on something other than the high. Many who are experienced know that it is possible to separate your consciousness and its controls from the high state by a combination of relaxation and concentration. It also helps if the person who has overdosed consumes readily assimilable protein rather than carbohydrates like sugar. The protein will gradually restore blood sugar balance; chicken soup, along with some simple brown rice or whole-wheat toast, or yogurt, plus a banana for potassium, work well. A really profound overdose can leave a person high off and on for days, the high accompanied by unpleasant body sensations. The mental state of someone going through an overdose is perhaps the most critical factor. If a person panics, the body may go rigid on a deep psychological level and the trip becomes more difficult than it would otherwise be. Fortunately, MJ is a relatively benign drug, even in overdose form. It has been found by the DEA's chief adm. judge to be one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. Any basically healthy person can cope with and live through a MJ food overdose, or and overdose caused by smoking. It's just real unpleasant, and not likely to be done more than once. END NOTE: The use of MJ should not be an issue. It should be a matter of personal choice and individual liberty. Unfortunately, there is a long, dishonorable tradition in this country of oppressing people who indulge in activities that other people fear to practice on themselves. Further, the pharmaceutical companies stand to loose billions of dollars if and when MJ is ever legalized for medicinal uses. MJ may remain illegal for a long time. MJ butter offers an alternative not only to smoking, but also to being smoked out by the Forces of Darkness as you sit puffing your friendly weed, sipping iced-tea, and peaceful thinking altered thoughts. Enjoy!