Yet when it comes to heating cannabis, it is best to do so low, slow, and methodically. There are time and temperature “sweet spots” where raw THCA and CBDA are converted into active THC and CBD. But without a precise process, over-heating or under-heating cannabis can lead to uneven activation of THC and CBD. Even worse, it may even destroy the THC or CBD altogether!
A wide variety of oils can be used to make cannabis oil. However, coconut oil and olive oil are the most popular and common. Coconut oil and olive oil are both pleasant-tasting and very nourishing for skin, making them versatile options for either medicated edibles or topical applications. Plus, they both have strong natural antifungal and antimicrobial properties. This helps prevent mold and extends the shelf life of your cannabis oil. Coconut oil is higher in saturated fat, which may bind fat-loving cannabinoids even more readily than olive oil.
Follow along with these step-by-step instructions to learn how to make homemade cannabis oil. We’ll also briefly discuss the science behind cannabis oil, and what types of cannabis to use to make oil. Finally, we’ll go over various ways to use homemade cannabis oil, including some notes about caution and dosing with edibles.
Why Make Cannabis Oil
Are you interested in making your own cannabis-infused oil? I don’t blame you! Making homemade cannabis oil is a great way to create a highly healing, concentrated, and versatile cannabis product. It is ready to use in edible recipes, topical salves, or even enjoy straight on its own. Especially if you use organic homegrown cannabis like we do, this is an excellent way to use up any extra or “fluffy” stuff too. It also happens to be very easy to make cannabis oil at home!
Cannabis oil is made by lightly heating (and thus infusing) cannabis in a “carrier oil”. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC, the most active components in cannabis, are both hydrophobic. That means they don’t like water, and are actually repelled by water molecules. On the flip side, CBD and THC are both fat-soluble. They like to bind with fatty acid molecules – such as those found in oil. When cannabis is steeped in oil, the THC and CBD molecules leave the buds or plant material and become one with the oil instead.
Most cannabis oil recipes call for cannabis that has already been properly decarboxylated first. The most common and fuss-free way is to decarb cannabis in the oven, and then add it to oil over a very low heat afterwards – avoiding further decarboxylation. Some folks choose to decarb their raw cannabis on the stovetop simultaneously with the oil infusion process. However, that requires significantly more careful monitoring to hit that time-temperature sweet spot (and not ruin it).
Your choice! You can make cannabis-infused oil with hemp or marijuana, depending on what is legal and available in your area. Or, what you’re desired end-results are. Hemp oil will only contain CBD (or a very minuscule amount of THC), while marijuana-infused oil will likely contain both THC and CBD. The ratio and concentration of THC and/or CBD depends on the strain of marijuana and particular plant it came from.
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.
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.
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.
Step 1: Decarboxylate your cannabis
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.
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 .
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.
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.