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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:

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

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.

Using 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

Ingredients

  • 3.5 grams of flower
  • 1/2 cup of cooking oil (coconut oil or olive oil)

Steps

Step 1

Break up any cannabis flower or “buds” you have into smaller pieces.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

Once cooled, coarsely grind the cannabis and store it in an airtight container.

Step 5

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).

Step 6

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).

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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.

DIY Guide: How to Make Your Own CBD Oil From Hemp

People use CBD oil to reduce pain, ease anxiety, combat inflammation, and improve their response to daily stressors. With so many benefits, as well as advanced technology involved in making CBD oil, commercially available products can be expensive.

And you know what?

You can easily make CBD oil at home if you want to save money.

While it won’t be crafted with the same precision as professionally extracted CBD oils, a homemade batch of sublingual drops is still safer than some of the untested and mislabeled products sold in vape stores and head shops.

If you’re looking to make CBD oil at home, you’ll need just two ingredients: high-CBD hemp flower and a carrier oil such as MCT oil, hemp seed oil, or olive oil. Alternatively, you can use alcohol as the solvent, which we’ll also cover in the article.

The Benefits of Making CBD Oil at Home

People take CBD in various forms, but oil is one of the staple products. People usually buy their CBD oil online or in dispensaries, but ultimately it depends on where you live. Some states will spoil you with choice, whereas others will offer limited options. That’s why we always recommend getting your CBD from a trustworthy online retailer.

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More to the point, those with far fewer options may want to consider making their CBD oil at home to save time on browsing hundreds of products and comparing different brands. If you have the know-how, what can go wrong?

Not only that, but you’ll also save money on your monthly supplementation. High-quality CBD oils can be expensive, especially when coming from reputable brands.

If these two aspects are your priorities, then making CBD oil at home is a viable option.

Let’s take a look at these few simple ingredients that can yield great CBD oil straightaway.

What You’ll Need to Make CBD Oil at Home

First, you need to consider your extraction method and check if you can get some quality hemp flowers somewhere near you. If not, look for high-CBD strains online; there’s a lot of great companies shipping their flowers to all 50 states.

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at how to pick the right strain for making CBD oil at home.

Strain Selection: Selecting a High-CBD Strain

CBD can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana.

While all hemp strains grown for CBD oils contain higher than average CBD levels, this isn’t the case for marijuana plants.

Marijuana is typically higher in THC, but you can find some high-CBD hybrid strains obtained through selective breeding. If you can find these somewhere near you — provided that you live in a place where marijuana is legal — making CBD oil at home from this type of cannabis is fine.

If you want a product that’s legal in all 50 states, we recommend that you look for high-CBD hemp flower online.

Decarboxylation: Activating the CBD

If you want to make CBD oil, you need to make sure that the CBD has been converted from its inactive precursor CBDA. CBDA is an acid that has many health benefits of its own, but it doesn’t have the properties of CBD.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly. There’s no CBD in raw, unprocessed hemp plants. If you want to extract CBD from hemp, you need to activate it through heat before combining the plant material with the solvent of your choice.

You can activate CBD through other means of heating. The most common decarboxylation method for making CBD oil at home is the oven method. Some people use a slow cooker, which is another inexpensive way to activate CBD. However, these methods are also imprecise and may not activate your cannabinoids efficiently.

If you want to perform decarboxylation properly, you’ll need a decarboxylator, also known as a precision cooker. This device can maintain optimal temperatures needed for the full activation of CBD and trace cannabinoids without destroying terpenes. Using a professional decarboxylator is a worthwhile investment for anyone who makes CBD oil at home regularly and is looking for a consistently good product.

What Alcohol / Carrier Oil Are You Going to Use?

If you’re ready to make CBD oil at home for the first time, you’ll first have to decide which method you want to use. Amateurs have two options to choose from: food-safe alcohol or carrier oil.

Alcohol extraction requires you to soak the hemp plant in alcohol until it strips all the beneficial compounds from it. The process also requires patience because the extract gains potency over time. The longer you let the product sit, the stronger it will get. This is how cannabis tinctures are made.

The second method involves using natural plant oils as carriers due to CBD’s fat-solubility. It’s a gentle process for which you can use hemp seed, olive, and coconut oils.

There’s also a third extraction method. However, this one is reserved for professionals, as it involves the use of pressurized CO2. This method requires a lot of space, extremely expensive equipment, and scientific knowledge to perform properly. It’s by far the best method to produce CBD oils, but since it can’t be performed under home conditions, let’s stick to the first two.

Extraction Methods: Different Ways of Making CBD Oil at Home

In this section, we’ll focus on making CBD oil with home using the two methods discussed above.

1. Make CBD Oil Using Alcohol

Ingredients:

  • 30 grams of ground hemp flower
  • High-proof, food-grade alcohol

Equipment:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking tray
  • Grinder
  • Catchment container
  • Double boiler
  • Wooden spoon
  • Funnel
  • Spatula
  • Plastic syringe
  • Fine strainer

Instructions:

  1. Decarboxylate your plant matter by grinding it up to an even consistency and placing it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place your hemp flower in a preheated oven at 225 F (110 C) and let it bake for one hour.
  2. Place your decarboxylated flower in the mixing bowl and submerge it completely in the alcohol. Use the wooden spoon to stir the decarbed buds for up to 10 minutes. During this time, the alcohol will extract the desired compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes. Stirring the mixture speeds up the process by shaking off the trichomes that produce these compounds.
  3. Separate the CBD-infused extract from the plant matter. Strain your liquid through a piece of cheesecloth into a collecting container below. You’ll notice that the solution has a dark green color. Repeat this process until your extract becomes more clear.
  4. Set up a double boiler. Pour the alcohol tincture into the top of the boiler and apply steady heat. High-proof alcohol is highly volatile and will evaporate at low temperatures. If necessary, turn the heat on and off. Make sure that you have a decent ventilation system, and if not, perform this extraction outdoors. The vapor from alcohol is highly flammable and poses a risk of explosion.
  5. Once all the alcohol has evaporated, the extract will have a viscous, tar-like consistency. You can draw it up into a large syringe while it’s still warm or keep it in a bottle with a glass dropper.
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2. Make CBD Oil Using a Carrier Oil

Ingredients:

  • 30 grams of high-CBD hemp flower
  • 450-500 ml carrier oil (hemp seed and coconut are the best)

Equipment:

  • Baking tray
  • Parchment paper
  • Herb grinder
  • Double boiler
  • Glass jar with lid
  • Cheesecloth

Instructions:

  1. Decarboxylate the hemp flower using the same method as in the recipe above.
  2. Now it’s time to combine the flowers and oil to start the extraction process. Place the two ingredients in the double boiler, feeling the bottom container with some water, and bring it to a light simmer. It’s important to ensure that it’s not a rolling boil because if you get the mixture past 150 C, the majority of terpenes will evaporate. The simmering process takes up to 3 hours, with the end product looking slightly darker than the unprocessed oil.
  3. Carefully remove the top of the boiler. Take your jar, place the cheesecloth over the top, and pour your mixture into the container. Make sure you have strained as much oil as possible from the hemp plant, then dispose of the flower.
  4. Seal the container and store it in a cool, dry place. You can use it as is or add it as an ingredient in your food recipes.

Tips for Making CBD Oil at Home

  • Choose high-CBD flower
  • Use high-quality, healthy carrier fat
  • Be precise
  • Store your CBD oil as you would any other herb-infused oil
  • Try adding natural flavorings to the oil to improve its flavor.

Advantages of Professional CBD Oil Extraction

Now that you know how to make DIY CBD oil at home, you’re probably wondering how it turns out when compared with professionally manufactured oils — those obtained through CO2 extraction.

As written earlier, CO2 extraction is the golden standard in the industry. This method yields safe, top-shelf products, but it requires an expensive triple-chamber machine, large amounts of flower, and an experienced professional to oversee the process. Using CO2 extraction guarantees pure and more potent products than any homemade method. If you’re looking for a superior product, CO2-extracted CBD oil is your best bet.

Final Thoughts on Making CBD Oil at Home

Making your own bottle of CBD oil at home is a good option to kickstart your CBD routine if you want to save time and money. In the meantime, you can do your research on the CBD market and compare different brands online to get a decent deal on quality products. Many premium companies offer reward programs, discounts, and bulk pricing on their CBD oils. But as you do your research, you will already have a bottle of safely made CBD oil to test your body’s response to this compound.

Still, we recommend you purchase a professionally extracted CBD oil if you attempt to ease a specific condition. Commercial products are not only precisely crafted but they will also have the exact ingredients and potencies listed on the bottle.

Have you tried to make CBD oil at home? Let us know in the comments!

Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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