Tomorrow is not just any other Monday, it’s Monday 20 April. Whether you are a marijuana user or not, there are strong chances that you know what 4/20, also spelled 420 or 4 20, means: it’s the unofficial holiday celebrated by potheads who come together to, well, smoke pot. But even weed enthusiasts out there are not all aware of why they wait for 4:20 to light a blunt in the afternoon (or in the morning, I’m not judging). Why was this particular number chosen? Where did 420 come from and what does it stand for?
There are different theories about the origin of 420 but no one seems to be entirely sure of which one is true. Ever heard that 420 is police code for possession? Or maybe that it is the penal code for marijuana use? Well, both of these are false. The California Senate Bill 420 that refers to the use of medical marijuana was actually named specifically for the code, not the other way around, which means that even our governments are linking the number 420 to marijuana use.
Another theory states that there are 420 active chemicals in marijuana, hence the connection between the drug and the number. But according to the Dutch Association for Legal Cannabis and Its Constituents as Medicine (NCSM), there are more than 500 active ingredients in marijuana, and only about 70 or so are cannabinoids unique to the plant. This rules this one out as well.
A subreddit on ‘trees’ speculates that the earliest written link between marijuana and 420 comes from H.P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Sterling’s short story In the Walls of Eryx published in 1939: “Although everything was spinning perilously, I tried to start in the right direction and hack my way ahead. My route must have been far from straight, for it seemed hours before I was free of the mirage-plant’s pervasive influence. Gradually the dancing lights began to disappear, and the shimmering spectral scenery began to assume the aspect of solidity. When I did get wholly clear I looked at my watch and was astonished to find the time was only 4:20. Though eternities had seemed to pass, the whole experience could have consumed little more than a half-hour.”
Many believe that the holiday came out of a ritual started by a group of high school students in California during the 1970s. According to Steven Hager, a former editor of the marijuana-focused news outlet High Times, a group of kids at San Rafael High School in San Rafael used to meet daily at 4:20 to smoke weed after school. When they’d see each other in the hallways during the day, they used to tell each other ‘420 Louie’, meaning, ‘Let’s meet at the Louis Pasteur statue at 4:20 to smoke’.
As many still stipulated on whether this story was true or not, the group of Californians mentioned before who call themselves the Waldos published documents in order to give this theory some legitimacy. Screen Shot spoke to one of the Waldos, Steve Capper, about why people seem to still doubt the origin of the term: “Many people have their own ideas and fantasies about friends and relatives who supposedly started ‘420’. The Waldos have created a whole culture of fake 420 claimers. The one thing that all these doubters have in common is not one shred of proof to their claims which might create doubt on their side.”
Capper certified that the Waldos are the only group of people with documented proof of their claims, which has been looked at by experts and international media and kept “in a vault in San Francisco at 420 Montgomery Street.”
Whatever its origins, 4/20 has become a very important holiday for weed smokers. As soon as the saying caught on and the Grateful Dead eventually picked it up, what was a simple code shared between a few stoners became the worldwide event for smokers that it is today. Originally a counterculture holiday to protest the social and legal stigmas against marijuana, 420 has also become the perfect opportunity for businesses and corporations to cash in on marijuana culture.
This year, those of you who looked forward to celebrating 420 with other marijuana enthusiasts will have to settle for a solo sesh at home. So get your laptop out, log in on your Zoom account, close your door and get ready to smoke it up, self-isolation style.
4/20 is in three days, and although this year we won’t be able to go outside, sit in a park with friends and celebrate the cannabis-oriented holiday together, we still need to find ways to enjoy it from the comfort of our homes. We are going through stressful times that make us all feel anxious and on edge. And what better way to relieve stress than to bake and get baked?
That’s why I’ve decided to share with you the best recipe for weed-infused cannabis, so you can enjoy your free time this weekend and bake in preparation for Monday. Don’t thank me but please enjoy your solo sesh responsibly.
First things first—you wouldn’t bake a cake without butter, right? Well, the same applies here—you need to start with the most important ingredient: cannabis-infused butter, also called cannabutter. Not everyone would use it as it takes quite a while to make, but remember we’re doing this for 4/20 so no, we won’t accept a cake with grinded weed thrown in there. Let’s bake properly so we can get stoned properly.
Butter is a great carrier for THC and other cannabinoids, but you can also pick other options such as coconut oil, olive oil or any other fatty oil for your infusions. And don’t forget that butter burns easily, so keep an eye on your cannabutter at all times, which means don’t leave it in the oven while you roll a fat one.
Here’s what ingredients you will need:
Some of you might wonder what decarboxylated cannabis is. It is the essential first step in order to make banging magic brownies. Skipping the decarboxylating might result in a weak or inactive cake. Some stoners like to decarb their weed directly in the hot butter, but the less time you soak the buds, the better your cannabutter is going to taste. That’s why I would advise you to decarb your weed in the oven first.
Preheat your oven to 120ºC (245ºF). Place your buds on a tray covered with non-stick baking paper. Insert the tray into the oven and set a timer for 30 to 40 minutes. Drier cannabis may require less time. Every 10 minutes, lightly shake the tray in order to expose the buds equally.
Grind your decarboxylated cannabis with a hand grinder.
Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of butter into a saucepan and simmer on low heat to let the butter melt. Adding a bit of water prevents the butter from scorching.
As the butter begins to melt, add in your ground cannabis and simmer. Maintain low heat and let the mixture simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Your yummy mixture should never come to a full boil.
Set a funnel on top of a bowl and line it with cheesecloth—if, like me, you’ve never had a cheesecloth in your house, just use a paper coffee filter. Once the butter has cooled off, pour it over the funnel and let it strain. Once this is done, refrigerate your bowl of butter.
If water forms at the bottom of the bowl, you can remove the solid butter with a knife and drain the water out.
Once your cannabutter is ready to be used in the recipe of your choice, refer to dosing information before adding your butter—trust me, you don’t want to go over the top. Otherwise, you’re all good to go.
Enjoy your space cakes, your cannabis peanut butter cookies and gummy edibles, and happy 4/20!