Excited About Medical Marijuana? Prepare to Get Baked

Editor's note: "Baked" is a new series that will appear on New Times' food blog, Chow Bella (phxfood.com), to get you ready for the implementation of Prop 203, the medical marijuana law.

The first time I made brownies, I was living with my mom and nana. My mother had moved in to take care of nana, who had breast cancer, then bone cancer.

My nana was a beautiful, large Hungarian woman who was my best friend, or as I would call her, "my beautiful nana." I would often sneak in late at night so as not to disturb her, then creep, ninja-style, halfway up the staircase to make sure she was silent or snoring and not moaning in pain. Thankfully, one night I heard nothing. So a friend and I proceeded with brownie experimentation — not properly, but good enough. The smell of marijuana and chocolate wafted through the walls and crept up through the ceiling, only to awaken Nana. After all, she had a "love affair with food and no need for a man."

Canna from Heaven?: The better butter may ease some suffering.
Canna from Heaven?: The better butter may ease some suffering.

She wanted the warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven brownie, but I did not dare give her one. She was on numerous medications and who, for fuck's sake, gives their nana a "special brownie"? So I made up a lie, saying we couldn't share.

Later that night, as I crept up to my bedroom, my body feeling light and painless, I heard Nana moaning in pain. I crawled into bed with her and massaged her aching arm, wishing I had given her a brownie so that she could feel what I felt and sleep peacefully for the first time in a very long time. Knowing what I know now, I regret not sharing even more.

Years later, a dear friend of mine lost her mother to cancer. She was her caregiver and none of the drugs prescribed worked. She didn't know about the process of making "canna butter," or oil, or about any other medicinal use for marijuana, so she did what she thought would work best, smashing some cheap marijuana to a powder with a mortar and pestle and putting it in capsules. Unbeknownst to her, eating the pot was not the most effective way to relieve her mother's pain, but it did give her some measure of relief.

Even years after that, this friend of mine went to see another loved one — this time, her great aunt — suffering from excruciating and crippling arthritis, but she was prepared. She had made butter infused with marijuana. She spread some on a piece of bread and then covered it with peanut butter. My friend sat at her bedside while she ate the "special toast." For about 30 minutes, they sat and talked, then her aunt said, "I think I'm going to sleep now."

The next morning, when she was asked how she slept, she replied, with tears in her eyes, "That was the best, most restful night of sleep I've had in years."

My friend left the butter for her and returned to Phoenix with a new sense of purpose, feeling as though she had done something great, watching this work for someone she loves.

There is a stigma associated with marijuana use. The lazy video gamer and those damn, dirty hippies, burning one and trying to wax philosophical. There are examples everywhere, and I'm sure everyone knows at least someone who fits a stereotype. The most destructive part of this stigma is that it can prevent those who may benefit from its therapeutic aspects from even asking about it.

Finally, Arizona voters decided to make marijuana legal for people suffering with chronic (no pun intended) pain.

If you don't agree with the law or don't believe in the medicinal properties of marijuana, this blog series probably isn't for you. But, I would like you to continue reading, because maybe I can change your mind.

And for those of you on board, I'm going to tell you how to make concoctions and tinctures, as well as give you some wonderful tips, recipes, and ideas that can help either you or a loved one in pain. You never know when the time will come when you are sitting beside your mother, father, aunt, sister, best friend, or lover, watching the meds not work and feeling helpless because there is nothing you can do. This blog's for you.

And just so you know, my name is not Polly Cooper. I am actually a baker and work for a local business. So, until Prop 203 goes into effect, I will have to remain your humble, anonymous informant. I promise to teach you that there's more to eating pot than a late-night batch of brownies. Although if you'd like to make brownies, you can grab my favorite recipe at Chow Bella (phxfood.com), whip up a batch of canna butter (see sidebar for recipe) and get baked, er, baking.

The Better Butter

I'm going to help you make canna butter.

Now, there are several ways you can make it, but the super-concentrated one I am about to show you is my personal favorite. This way you get the most butter for your buck. After all, how much weed do you want to waste? None. The answer is none, just in case any of you out there were wondering.

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I love the new blog and educating people about the benefits of medical marijuana, which far outweighs the risks, in my opinion. I was just talking to my doctor about it yesterday and she said she doesn't prescribe it because of all its side effects and there is better medication to help with pain. I strongly disagreed with her. I'm sure she has never suffered debilitating pain and no matter what drug was prescribed, nothing worked. Until medical marijuana came along (ok, even before). My grandfather was dying of cancer in 1982 and was a heavy smoker. My sister and I found an orderly at the hospital where he was and asked him to get us some pot. It was a sight to see my old Russian born grandpa smoking a joint - but it so helped him with his pain and nausea and gave him a better appetite.

For those of you out there who are against it, please know there are so many ill people out there who will benefit from this new law in AZ.

I.M. Boggled
I.M. Boggled

I pour the still very, very hot strained boiled canna butter batch into another heat proof container and wait for the soon to be clarified butter solidified cap to form...by letting the batch thoroughly cool down in a cold fridge where it forms as its fat content floats up to be on top of the water where it eventually forms a solidified fat/Butter cap.

After butter cap completely solidifies, dump the remaining water. ( I like to add an equal volume of good water to the butter sticks when initially simmering. :-) )

I then proceed to "wash the butter" by putting the first run cannabutter back in the pot with some more fresh clean water (the more the merrier up to a point ;-) ) and then proceed to bring to a simmer for another 30 minutes or so and then repeat yet again (if desired and it is desirable) until your butter no longer looks or smells like raw green cannabis.Of course, all the extra chilling and "butter washing" steps are only necessary if you want to remove as much of the smell/flavor as possible, which I find results in a highly desirable end product.Thanks for the recipes Polly, they sure sound delicious.

Sharing Is Caring.IMB :)


this blog is a great idea and it nice to see something educational associated with brouhaha surrounding the new law.

However I must say this first post is not really a helpful article for those who haven't done this before.Since temperature is everything in this situation it would be great to include recommended temps and also to explain to the non culinarily - inclined what a double boiler is (or how to make one with some pots or jars that may be laying around)

I wish you great luck with this series. I do hope the entries won't be carelessly conceived so as to help avoid the series devolving into another one of the many hippie-idiocy blogs which copy recipes and methodologies without comment as to their reasoning and which often make awful suggestions. Worse still is the expectation to be disappointed with the typical sub par efforts that PHX is all too often known for. I hope that expectation is not met.

The time is coming when mj cooking will become as serious an artform as wine, craft beer, coffee or tea(it already is an Colorado and California) and this blog represents an opportunity to be part of that rather than more noise on the internet from an uninformed source.

I do also hope you will consider kitchen chemistry carefully when discussing these recipes.

A few things that come to mind:

"grind you marijuana" is totally ambiguous. No coffee blog worth its weight in beans would get away with that. How fine, how long..WHATS IF THE GRINDER GETS HOT? Please consider these and revise.

Also, plastic for example is NOT a good idea for many kind recipes...not to mention for human health in general

Discussions of the use of freezer vs refrigerator for storage and types of containers is of value.

Mentioning the chemical reactions of combinations (especially such as chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, nutmeg, and critic acid all of which often rear their heads in kind recipes) would be helpful.

These's much much more. I look forward to reading a world class blog helpful to our newly available options.

Good luck


Medicine used marijuana in many cases as an alternative but not help due to side effects. All medicine causes severe damage in the metabolism of the people and then become addicted by different circumstances. A few months ago I read an article at Findrxonline indicating that marijuana has a bad use for the same reason that derives from an opioid.


Thank for this article, and your step by step guideline for better butter. It is so important that we educate our patient's about the different delivery methods of medical cannabis. I do have one question for you though. Most butter, tinctures, etc are made with the leaf part of the plant, not the bud as your article indicated. Are you using all bud, and stems? What then are you doing to utilize the high CBD and THC content in the leaves?


a story about better butter. betty botter bought a bit of butter for her batter. but, she said, this butter is bitter. so she went and bought a bit of better butter for her batter/


Thanks for sharing. I love your article and would love to hear more. I look forward to reading more blogs.

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body. Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws. I drew up a very cool poster for the cause which you can check out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot... Drop in and let me know what you think!