How to Make Cannabis Oil at Home
Making your own cannabis oil at home is easy if you know a few tricks. Learn how to make canna oil in your kitchen with our complete recipe and step-by-step guide.
DIY Cannabis Oil: The Basics
Homemade cannabis oil offers a variety of health and wellness benefits. You may choose to mix the canna oil into another edible or beverage recipe, apply the canna oil topically, or place a few drops under your tongue like a cannabis tincture .
Canna oil has recreational uses as well as medicinal purposes. Here are a few therapeutic uses for cannabis oil:
- Temporary mood boosting
- Cardiovascular efficiency
These possible health benefits also depend on whether you use hemp or marijuana in your oil.
Hemp vs. Marijuana: Which Should You Use?
Hemp or CBD oil is a good choice if you live in a state where cannabis is illegal. CBD hemp oil may also be the right option if you want to avoid "getting high" from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Using marijuana with a full spectrum of cannabinoids may offer more potent therapeutic benefits through the entourage effect .
Dosing is one of the most challenging issues with cannabis edibles , including canna oil. Too much THC can give you an unpleasant and lingering high. For this reason, it’s a good idea to consult with a physician who can provide you with proper dosing instructions for your body chemistry and level of cannabis experience.
Best Carrier Oil for Cannabis Oil
Many cannabis users report that coconut oil makes the best carrier oil for cannabis oil. Coconut oil contains beneficial fatty acids that go well in both edibles and topicals. However, alternatives to coconut oil also work well, such as vegetable oil or lecithin.
Lecithin is a type of fat that allows for ingredients to stick and bind together. Adding lecithin to your recipes and/or into your oil can help the canna oil bind together with other ingredients more readily and improve shelf life. Lecithin has the added benefit of increasing the bioavailability of cannabinoids. Sunflower lecithin is best for a range of diets. Eggs are also a source of lecithin and act as a binding ingredient in baking.
Why It’s Important to Decarboxylate Cannabis
Decarboxylating or "decarbing" cannabis refers to a chemical reaction where a carbon atom is removed from a carbon chain, resulting in the release of carbon dioxide (CO2). Key cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, convert from different original forms during the decarbing process.
For example, THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is non-psychoactive in its raw form but becomes psychoactive as THC after decarboxylation. Likewise, CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) is the acid precursor to CBD and may provide its own health benefits .
To change THCA to THC and CBDA to CBD, the raw cannabis flower must be decarboxylated first. Decarboxylating also makes certain cannabinoids, such as CBD, more bioavailable (i.e., your body can process them more easily).
Cannabis Oil Recipe
The following recipe includes everything you need to make cannabis oil at home.
What You’ll Need
- Rimmed baking tray
- Baking paper
- Crockpot, double boiler, or saucepan
- Cheesecloth or strainer
- Cooking twine to tie the cheesecloth
- 3.5 grams of flower
- 1/2 cup of cooking oil (coconut oil or olive oil)
Break up any cannabis flower or "buds" you have into smaller pieces.
Layer the pieces onto a rimmed baking tray lined with baking paper/parchment. Place the baking tray into the center of a preheated oven set to 240°F-248°F (115°C-120°C) for 30-40 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
Allow the cannabis to cool to room temperature. It should appear darker in color – usually, light brown or yellow, and not as green as fresh cannabis.
Once cooled, coarsely grind the cannabis and store it in an airtight container.
Combine the cannabis and coconut oil using one of the following methods:
- In a slow cooker or crockpot on low for about 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.
- In a double boiler on low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally – a simple heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water will suffice.
- On the stove in a saucepan on low heat for 3 hours, stirring regularly. This method is the fastest but most susceptible to scorching. You can add a small amount of water to the oil to prevent scorching.
Note that the temperature of the oil should never exceed 245°F (118°C).
Strain your canna-oil through a cheesecloth or strainer to get rid of the plant material.
Get Your Delicious Canna Oil Recipe
Alternative Method for Making Canna-Oil
You can also infuse raw cannabis directly in olive or coconut oil by first getting the cannabis-oil mixture to a temperature of between 212°F (100°C) and 230°F (110°C) to decarboxylate it. Then, simmer and double boil it for around 1- 2 hours at a temperature of between 158°F (70°C) and 199°F (93°C).
Double boiling ensures that the oil does not go above 212°F (100°C) after the initial decarboxylation, and means you can decarb the cannabis at a lower temperature over a few hours. However, we recommend decarboxylating the cannabis first rather than decarbing in the oil, which is more efficient.
If you’re double boiling decarbed cannabis, a temperature between 100°F and 120°F (38°C – 49°C) in a double boiler for between 1 and 5 hours is ideal. Use a cheesecloth to hold the raw or decarbed cannabis as you double boil it to avoid straining the oil afterward. Although raw cannabis can be added directly to oil, it is still best to decarb the cannabis first to maximize the shelf life of your oil. You can also use the leftover plant matter to make edibles.
Tips and Tricks for Making Homemade Canna-Oil
Follow these tips and tricks to make the best homemade canna-oil.
Always Cook at Low Temperatures
To retain any acidic cannabinoids, cook at lower temperatures or use the infused oil without cooking it. Once the oil has been infused, you can heat it to a maximum of 350°F (approx 176°C) to keep all the cannabinoids from burning off. We recommend cooking at below 284°F (140°C) or even 248 (120°C).
Extend Shelf-Life with Proper Storage
Cannabinoids do not last forever, and over time and exposure to light, air, and heat, your cannabis-infused oil will decrease potency. Acidic cannabinoids, in particular, are very unstable and do not last very long when exposed to the air.
Any impurities in the cannabis-infused oil will also affect how long a cannabis-infused oil will last. Therefore, properly straining any plant material from the oil is essential to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
Kept in a cool, dark place, cannabis-infused oil should retain its potency for about 1-1.5 years. Room temperature is appropriate if your indoor environment stays below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Infuse Oil to Retain Terpenes
Much of the flavor and effect of cannabis come from its terpenes and flavonoids . Infusing decarboxylated cannabis into oil will impart the flavor of the cannabis into the oil. While the terpenes and flavonoids may be pleasant when smelled (and even smoked or vaporized), the taste of cannabis when eaten is not usually as pleasant. Many people try to overcome the taste with sugar, hence the huge variety of medicated sweet treats like pot brownies .
Strain to Help Get Rid of Unpleasant Tastes
Straining away the plant material from the oil will reduce the unpleasant taste but not eliminate it. Matching the flavor profile of the cannabis-infused oil to the dish is possible but not easy considering the number of terpenes and terpenoids at play. Other ingredients can mask the flavor, as can infusing the oil with other herbs and spices.
Reach out to one of the qualified physicians at Leafwell to learn more about the health benefits of canna oil and other cannabis products. Our doctors are here to help you quickly apply for a medical marijuana card.
How Can I Legally Buy Cannabis to Make Canna Oil?
Stay informed about the current cannabis laws in your state to know if you can legally buy cannabis to make canna oil.
Is Canna Oil the Same as CBD Oil?
No. The difference between canna oil and CBD oil comes down to THC. Canna oil contains a significant amount of THC, while CBD oil contains only trace amounts of THC, i.e., not enough to have psychoactive effects.
How Long Does It Take to Make Cannabis Oil?
If using a double-boiler, the infusion process to make canna oil takes approximately 6 to 8 hours until you have a final product.
Article written by
Tina Magrabi Senior Content Writer
Tina Magrabi is a writer and editor specializing in holistic health. She has written hundreds of articles for Weedmaps where she spearheaded the Ailments series on cannabis medicine. In addition, she has written extensively for the women's health blog, SafeBirthProject, as well as print publications including Destinations Magazine and Vero's Voice. Tina is a Yale University alumna and certified yoga instructor with a passion for the outdoors.
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How to Make CBD Oil
Posted: May 12, 2020 · Updated: May 12, 2020 by Jenny McGruther · This site earns income from ads, affiliate links, and sponsorships.
Many people use CBD oil to reduce inflammation, soothe pain, or improve their body’s response to stress. And it’s super easy to make at home, too. Plus you can use healthy fats and you’ll know exactly what you’re putting into your bottle, avoiding the refined oils and additives that commercial producers sometimes add.
If you’re looking to make CBD oil, you’ll need just two ingredients: hemp and a carrier oil like olive oil. The result is a vibrantly herbaceous infused oil with soothing anti-inflammatory properties.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is a non-intoxicating herbal remedy made from hemp flower, another is cannabis honey. It is rich in cannabidiol, a type of compound found in cannabis that has strong anti-inflammatory properties. One of CBD’s benefits is that it conveys the beneficial properties of cannabis without the high since it contains little to no THC.
Many people take CBD to help combat inflammation, anxiety, or restless sleep. Some research suggests it helps protect and support nervous system health (1) and may reduce pain (2), while other research suggests it supports gut health and proper immune system function (3).
To make CBD oil at home, you’ll need to follow a simple two-step process: decarboxylation and infusion. While it sounds complex, decarboxylation is a simple process of precision heating that activates beneficial compounds in cannabis. The second step, infusion, releases those compounds into a carrier oil. Infused oils are easy to take, and oil makes these compounds easier for your body to absorb, too.
Activating the CBD
In order to make CBD oil, you need to extract cannabidiol from hemp first. Further, you need to activate through a process called decarboxylation. The compounds in cannabis plants aren’t active or bioavailable on their own; rather, they’re activated through heat which is why the plant is traditionally smoked.
Rather than smoking, you can activate these compounds through other means of heating. Some people bake hemp flowers in a slow oven for about an hour or use a slow cooker. These methods are inexpensive, but they’re also imprecise and may not activate all the CBD.
To activate CBD efficiently and to get the most from your plant material, you’ll need a precision cooker (also known as a decarboxylator) that can maintain the exact temperatures needed for the full activation of CBD and other cannabinoids. With precision heating, decarboxylators extract a higher percentage of beneficial plant compounds than cruder methods and are a worthwhile investment for anyone who takes CBD oil regularly or wants to make a consistently good product.
Where to Find a Decarboxylator. Commercial CBD oil producers use huge decarboxylators capable of activating the cannabinoids in several pounds of cannabis; however, if you’re making it at home, you’ll need a smaller version.
We used the Ardent Flex for making this CBD oil. With multiple settings, you can use it to activate CBD as well as similar compounds. And, you can also use it to make herbal infusions. Save $30 with code NOURISHED.
What you’ll need to make CBD oil
To make CBD oil you only need two primary ingredients: hemp and a carrier oil. Hemp flowers that are high in CBD will yield the best results, and if you can’t find them locally, you can order them online. After decarboxylating the hemp flowers, you can then use them to make a CBD-infused oil.
High-CBD hemp flower
Depending on their strain, cannabis may contain large or relatively low amounts of CBD. When you make CBD oil, choose a strain with a high CBD content so that you can extract the most beneficial compounds into your homemade oil.
Where to Find High-CBD hemp flower. Since hemp flower is non-intoxicating with negligible to no-detectable THC content, it is legal on a federal level. You may be able to find it locally; however, your best bet is to purchase it online.
Sacred Smoke Herbals sells high-CBD hemp flower that’s organically grown, lab-tested, and available in all 50 states. Use coupon code NOURISHED15 for 15% off.
Finding the right carrier oil
A carrier oil is an oil that you use for herbal infusions. Coconut oil and MCT oil (which is derived from coconut) are popular carrier oils both in commercial and homemade CBD products. Avoid highly refined, inflammatory oils such as vegetable oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, and corn oil.
Infuse Anything With This Simple Cannabis Coconut Oil Recipe
Cannabis coconut oil is an excellent alternative to the more traditional edible baker favorite: cannabutter . Not only is cannabis infused coconut oil non-dairy and vegan, but it is also an incredibly effective carrier oil for one of this author’s favorite compounds: THC .
Edibles are a fantastic way to medicate for many reasons. Firstly, the effects of edibles last longer than smoking or vaping. Typically the effects of smoking or vaping can wear off in as little as 20 minutes. Edibles are effective for hours. Another benefit is that oftentimes smaller doses are more effective, so your flower will last longer. And, if you like to be in your kitchen, it is incredibly fun customizing your edibles to your liking.
Why is coconut oil a favorite option for home edible makers everywhere? Coconut oil is high in saturated fat. This means that those yummy little THC and CBD molecules have plenty of fatty acids to grab on to during the infusion process. THC loves fat. So much so that the effects of edible cannabis are most prominent when ingested in a fatty recipe or food (this is probably why cannabutter or cannaoil brownies are so popular). It’s important to keep this in mind when choosing recipes for your own medication making at home, so that you’ll enjoy the full health benefits.
What Can You Do With Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil?
Cannabis infused coconut oil should be an essential in any edible maker’s pantry. It is incredibly shelf stable and, more importantly, versatile. You can use it in place of butter or other vegetable oils in nearly any recipe. You can add a spoonful of cannabis coconut oil to coffee or tea (author’s tip: skip the caffeine if you’re prone to anxiety). You can spread a little on your toast at breakfast, or cook some protein or vegetables in it. You can even just take coconut oil directly, by the spoonful without any other cooking, mixing, or recipe researching.
Furthermore, cannabis coconut oil can be used as a topical ointment, massage oil, or lubricant. Another check in the pro column is that coconut oil is incredibly shelf stable if stored correctly.
Calculating the Right Doses
For those who are new to making edibles, you might be wondering how to calculate dosage. Without a testing device or a lab, you’ll end up with more of an estimate than an exact dosage. Remember, you’ll want to take it slow with your first few taste tests to make sure you’re not underestimating your dose too much.
To calculate the dose of your edibles or infusions, you’ll first need to know the approximate THC percentage of the flower. Typically you can get this information from the dispensary. If the flower came from a homegrown plant, you may be able to find an estimated percentage on the web for the strain, or just go with an average of 15%.
For the purposes of this equation, let’s assume the flower we’re using is 15% THC. We also need to know that one gram weighs 1000 milligrams.
If the cannabis flower is 15% THC, that means each gram has a maximum of 150 mg of THC. You most likely won’t be able to extract each and every one of those milligrams. On the high end, you can possibly expect 100 mg of THC. If you prefer stronger edibles, assume you’ll have only 30% absorption (or in this example about 50 mg per gram of flower), so you can be sure to get the dosing right. You can always cut your infusion with more coconut oil. Remember: it’s a lot easier to weaken the dose than strengthen it.
The next thing you’ll need to know is what you want the final dose per edible to be. Is it 10mg? 50? If you’re a newbie, start at 10 and work your way up from there. You’ll also need to decide: how many edibles are you going to make? A dozen cookies? A square pan of brownies cut into 9 equal pieces?
Multiply the dose by the number of finished medicated treats, and you’ll know the total amount of THC you’ll need in your recipe. Let’s say we’re making 9 brownies, and we’d like them to be 10 mg each. We know our flower is 15% THC. We would only need 1 gram of cannabis flower for this recipe. Maybe two if we’re under assuming the rate of absorption. You can calculate the potency of your infused oil using Veriheal’s Edible Dosage Calculator .
Is Lecithin Necessary to Use?
Lecithin is an excellent additive for infusions. Anecdotal evidence indicates that lecithin can aid in the absorption of THC and other cannabinoids in the body . Is it necessary? No.
However, when making certain kinds of edibles, like gummies, or other recipes that might be water heavy, it can help in integrating the oil or fats into water-based treats. If you’re making a recipe that calls for eggs in it, you’re covered in the lecithin department.
An additional benefit to using lecithin in baked goods is that it can help prevent your cookies or cakes from being too dry. Sometimes infused butter and cannaoil can make your final product a little on the dry side. However, you can also combat this by making infused cannaoil that is twice as strong and then cutting it in the final recipe with an equal amount of regular butter or coconut oil.
Choose the Right Oil
You may be wondering, “can I use vegetable oil to make canna oil?” The answer is technically yes with a caveat. There is a reason that most experienced home edible makers and bakers recommend coconut oil and/or butter and that has everything to do with saturated fat content.
As mentioned above, THC and CBD are fat lovers. They are compounds that fall into the lipophile category. These compounds are fat soluble. So you want to go with the fattiest fats and oil for maximum absorption and effect in your edibles.
For comparison, coconut oil is about 60% saturated fat, whereas olive oil is only about 20%. That means olive oil is about 60% less effective at absorbing THC.
Why Decarboxylation Is Important
One of the most essential steps for making cannaoil is decarboxylation, aka decarbing. Decarboxylation is the process of activating the THC or CBD in your flower, so it can be infused into the coconut oil. In its raw form, the cannabinoids in the flower are not able to be processed in the same way, or with the same effect, in your body.
When you smoke, you use a flame to activate the cannabinoids in cannabis. Unlike with smoking, to decarb flower for edibles, you’ll use a baking sheet, and your oven in an incredibly simple process. You do not want to skip this part and miss out on the full potential of your cannabis infusions.
Cannabis Infusion Ratio
For the completely new edible maker, it may be tricky to figure out how much cannabis to use per cup of oil. A good rule of thumb is to use about a quarter to a half ounce of plant material per 1 cup of oil. You can always use less, and you can definitely use more. But this is a safe ratio to use. You don’t want to use so much flower that you’re unable to maximize the extraction, and you don’t want to use so little that you have to eat an entire pie to get your dosing correct.
Best Straining Method
The best way to strain your crock pot cannabis coconut oil is using a mesh strainer, and cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter. You will want to use a very fine, tight woven cheesecloth, but not so fine that the oil is getting caught in the strainer.
List of Supplies Needed to Make Cannabis Coconut Oil
To make cannabis coconut oil, you will need the following tools and supplies:
- 1 cup of coconut oil
- 7-14 grams of cannabis flower
- Baking sheet
- Tinfoil/Aluminum foil
- Mesh strainer
- Mason jar
- Medium saucepan or crock pot/slow cooker
How to Make Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil
Step 1: Decarboxylate your cannabis
Weigh your cannabis flower and then roughly break it apart and spread it in an even layer on a baking sheet. Flower should be broken up into even-sized pieces, so that it decarbs evenly. You can use a grinder to grind the flower into smaller pieces. Bake the flower in an oven that has been preheated to 240 degrees fahrenheit for approximately 45 minutes. To preserve the terpenes , cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil, and allow the flower to come to room temperature while remaining covered.
Step 2: Combine flower and coconut oil
Place your flower and coconut oil in a mason jar (choose a size that will fit in your crock pot with the lid on). Stir gently. Add the lid to the mason jar, and screw it on tight enough to prevent outside water from getting into the jar, but not so tight that it will fully seal during the infusion process.
Step 3: Give the jar a hot bath
Place the mason jar in a crock pot filled with room temperature water. You’ll want to make sure there’s enough water to cover the jar (or jars if you’re making several batches or splitting one batch among several smaller jars). Optional: line the crockpot with a towel to protect the jars from bumping into each other.
Step 4: Let it simmer
Set the crock pot on low and let it simmer for a minimum of 2 hours, up to 6 hours. Stir or shake the jars occasionally.
Step 5: Strain the flower out
Once the coconut oil is infused, and the jar(s) has had a chance to cool down enough to handle, you’ll need to remove the plant matter from the cannabis. Line a mesh strainer with some cheesecloth, and pour the oil through into a new, clean storage container or jar. Allow the oil to fully drain. You can gently squeeze the cheese cloth, or press the raffinate down to expel more oil, but this may introduce more chlorophyll into your cannabis coconut oil. Seal the new jar and store.
- Stovetop and Mason Jar:
- Instead of using a crockpot, you can accomplish the same kind of infusion method using a saucepan filled with water. Start with cold or room temperature water, and let the water boil for two hours. Keep an eye on the pot though. You’ll want to replenish with more hot water as it boils off, especially if your mason jar is too large to cover with the pot lid.
- Rather than doing a water bath, you can place both your coconut oil and decarboxylated plant material in a saucepan and simmer together on low heat for up to two hours. You’ll need to keep a close eye on this method though, because you run the risk of the oil getting too hot and ruining the final product. You do not want to fry your flower. Not unlike consuming edibles, when infusing you want to go low and slow.
- The double boiler method is more or less the same as using a saucepan and a mason jar or the crockpot. Water goes in the bottom, flower and oil go in the top, and let it simmer for 2-6 hours.
Best Way to Store Your Cannabis Coconut Oil
One of the strengths of cannabis infused coconut oil is that it is incredibly shelf stable and can last for quite some time. If stored properly, cannabis infused coconut oil has a shelf life from 2-3 months stored at room temperature, and up to three years if stored in your fridge, before degradation starts to change the potency and flavor.
To store the cannabis coconut oil, you’ll need a clean, dry, airtight container or jar. And you’ll most likely want to keep it in a cool dark place (like a pantry or kitchen cabinet), or in your refrigerator. An amber or dark colored jar can protect your infusion from degradation by protecting it from the light.
Learning to infuse DIY coconut cannaoil may seem like a daunting task, but the truth is with a little time and patience you’ll be able to find the perfect dose, method, and recipes for your lifestyle. Cannabis-infused coconut oil is a staple ingredient in many home chefs’ kitchens for a reason, so put this article into practice and find out for yourself. And don’t forget to leave a comment down below and let everyone know how you have used your own cannabis coconut oil.