CBD oil is widely-available, but if you have easy access to hemp or cannabis, there are a couple of simple methods to make your own at home. Find out how you can improve your wellbeing and save some money by making your own CBD oil at home.
How to Make CBD Oil at Home and Save Money
With such a wide array of CBD products on the market, you might not have considered how easy it is to make your own. But if you’re looking to save money while still enjoying CBD, and you have access to high-CBD cannabis or hemp, you can actually make your own CBD oil pretty simply with equipment you likely have in your home already.
There are two main methods you can use at home – either an oil infusion or an alcohol infusion – and while it takes a little time, the result will be a pure and affordable CBD oil you can use however you like.
Make sure you use CBD-Hemp buds to make CBD oil – and not Hemp Seeds (read more on CBD vs. Hemp oil here).
DIY CBD oil (at a glance):
- Professional CBD oil is generally made with CO2 extraction, which isn’t feasible at home.
- Making DIY CBD oil is federally legal, safe and can save you money (not state-legal in ID or NE).
- First, heat your hemp or cannabis in the oven at 110 °C/ 225 °F for around an hour.
- Infuse the CBD in strong, drinking alcohol by covering your material in it and stirring for 10 minutes. Repeat the process until the liquid becomes clearer, then evaporate the alcohol away.
- Infuse directly in oil by mixing the two and gently heating (to around 100 °C/ 212 °F) for a few hours.
- You can make CBD tinctures by mixing your oil with shea butter, coconut oil and glycerine.
Companies Make CBD Oil by Extracting Cannabinoids from Hemp Plants with CO2 or Solvents
Companies make CBD using one of a few different extraction methods, but all basically involve stripping the CBD (and other cannabinoids) from the plant and then purifying the resulting extract.
The most common approach is supercritical CO2 extraction, which uses extremely cold (−69 °F/−56 °C) CO2, at the point where it becomes “supercritical” (i.e. somewhere between a liquid and a gas).
The CO2 is pushed through the hemp (or traditional cannabis, but hemp is more common) to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes, and then it gets sent to a separator where it returns to gaseous state but leaves the extracted material.
Other approaches are similar in principle, but using solvents such as butane, oils or fats to extract the cannabinoids. The mixture is then processed through winterization and distillation to purify it and minimize any unwanted components.
Making CBD Oil at Home Can Save You Money in the Long-Term
Making your own CBD oil is obviously more labor-intensive than just buying one that’s pre-made, so you might wonder what the benefit of making it yourself is.
Firstly, if you’ll be using CBD oil regularly, making your own will undoubtedly save you money over the long-term. If you buy some of the more complicated equipment (e.g. decarboxylators) it will take a little longer for you to break even, but if you want to maximize your savings you can make CBD oil with more everyday equipment.
If you don’t live near a store where you can buy CBD, it could also be much more convenient to make it yourself, and similarly if the legal situation in your state or country makes it difficult to buy professionally-made products, it may be the only way to get your oil.
Although it’s likely that professional companies using CO2 extraction will produce a purer product, if you make it yourself you can at least attest to the quality and be 100% sure which ingredients were used.
Making Your Own CBD Oil is Legal (Provided Hemp is Legal Where You Are)
The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp with less than 0.3% THC legal at the federal level, and in the EU there is a similar law with a 0.2% THC limit, and (pitifully) 0.02% in the UK.
If you’re making CBD oil with hemp that falls within these guidelines, it’s very likely that the process will be entirely legal.
If you’re using a high-CBD but also THC-containing strain of cannabis, it’s only legal if you live in a state with legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes.
Really, the crucial thing isn’t actually making the CBD oil; it’s the legality of the starting materials in your country or state.
Making CBD Oil is as Safe as Any Cooking
Making CBD is generally safe, although this depends on the method you use. If you use a basic approach, where you heat the material to decarboxylate it, the process is basically as safe as cooking food in the oven – provided you’re careful when handling a hot pan, everything is fine.
Solvent-based extraction is not safe to do at home, because it requires too much specialized equipment and there could be a risk of explosions, as well as the possibility of dangerous amounts of the solvent making it into the finished oil.
You can do it with strong ethanol (i.e. drinking alcohol), which carries some risks from the fumes and the flammability of the liquid, but these risks are easily mitigated with some common sense and good ventilation.
You Can Make CBD Oil with Everyday Kitchen Equipment
The good news is that you only need very basic equipment to make CBD oil. The requirements can differ a little bit depending on the method, but broadly speaking you can get by with this basic list:
- A slow-burning oven or purpose-made carboxylation machine
- Baking tray
- Cheesecloth/coffee filter/something else to finely-strain the material
- Double boiler (two fitted saucepans or two stacked together with a space between
- Glass bowl/mixing bowl
- Container to store finished oil
- Carrier oil (e.g. coconut oil or olive oil) / high proof (drinking) alcohol
Aside from this, everyday equipment like spatulas and wooden spoons may be needed depending on the method you use, and it can help to have a funnel or even a plastic syringe to ensure you get all of the finished material.
It Will Take 3 to 6 Hours to Make CBD Oil (Depending on Your Method)
The length of time it will take to do your extraction depends on the method you use, and whether you spend a little extra time purifying and extracting.
For alcohol-based extraction, the process can be completed in a few hours or even less, but if you’re adding oil to your material, it can take six hours or longer depending on how many times you heat the material.
Broadly, you should leave yourself around four hours if you’re using alcohol extraction and at least six for oil extracting, allowing for unexpected delays or issues cropping up during the process.
Decarboxylation and Infusion Are the Key Stages in Making CBD Oil
There are basically two steps to any home CBD oil process: decarboxylation and infusion.
Decarboxylation means activating the THCA and CBDA to remove the carboxyl group from the chemicals and turn them into THC and CBD, respectively. This is a necessary process because THCA and CBDA aren’t “activated” in this form and so won’t have any of the desired effects.
Once you’ve decarboxylated your material, you infuse it into either alcohol or oil to pull the key components out of the plant matter. For alcohol infusions, chemistry does the work for you (which is why it’s quicker), while for oil infusions you need to add heat and leave it some time for the process to complete.
You Can Activate CBD and THC in the Oven
Regardless of the method you use to make your CBD oil, the first part of the process is always the same: you need to decarboxylate your bud.
How your cannabis will look before and after decarboxylation. Photo by Emily Kyle
There are differing views on the best way to do this, but generally speaking, it’s recommended you set your oven to 110 °C/ 225 °F and bake ground-up bud for around an hour. THC carboxylates a little easier than CBD, so for CBD oil you can actually leave it for an hour and a half if you’re using a high-CBD strain. If you’re using more of a balanced strain, stick to an hour.
You can achieve the same basic effect with higher temperatures for lower periods of time, but it’s important to stay below the boiling points of CBD and THC (180 °C/ 356 °F and 157 °C/ 315 °F, respectively).
It’s also better to keep a low temperature for longer to keep as many of the terpenes (the chemicals that give the characteristic smell of cannabis) as possible.
In short, set your oven to this temperature, grind up your bud (not too finely), spread it out on a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray and let it cook for the appropriate amount of time. When it’s done, your flower will be slightly brown and dried out.
Method #1: Infuse the Material in Alcohol, Strain and Evaporate
If you’re using alcohol for the infusion stage, the process is fairly simple and should take around 20 minutes. Ensure you’re either outdoors or have good ventilation, because the fumes from the alcohol pose the main risk in this whole process.
- Place the decarboxylated material into a mixing bowl and add enough strong alcohol (something like Everclear is perfect) to completely cover the bud.
- You can stir the mixture with a wooden spoon to speed the process along, but in any case you should leave it for five to ten minutes.
- When it’s completed, strain the mixture through cheesecloth, a coffee filter or any other form of fine sieve and let the liquid fall into a bowl.
- You’ll notice a green color to the alcohol, which basically tells you that you have some cannabinoids and terpenes in your liquid.
- Repeat the process a few more times with the plant material, until the alcohol becomes much clearer at the end of the process.
- Now all you have to do is evaporate the alcohol from your mixture.
- Set up your double boiler (if you don’t have stackable pans, you can use a normal pan with a stainless steel bowl that fits in the top but doesn’t contact the bottom of the pan) and put the alcohol mixture into the top section with water in the bottom.
- Gently heat the mixture so the alcohol evaporates but without letting it get too hot. Just keep the burner on low and switch it off occasionally if needed – high-proof alcohol is volatile so it doesn’t need much to work.
- Once it’s finished, you should be left with a thick, gloopy oil that you can easily draw up into a plastic syringe or place into another container.
You should note that this process isn’t the best in terms of getting absolutely pure cannabinoids, but it’s a great approach for home extractions because it’s relatively straightforward.
Method #2: Infusing Your Material in Oil
Oil infusions are simpler in a sense but it takes longer to get a good result.
- Set up your double-boiler (or a metal bowl in the top of a regular pan) and add a mixture of oil and your decarboxylated flower to the top section.
- If you’re using coconut oil, you’ll need to melt it first so you can mix the flower in properly.
- Add water to the bottom of the pan and bring it to a simmer.
- It’s best to try to keep the temperature of the mixture in the top around 100 °C/ 212 °F, although it’s fine provided it doesn’t reach 150 °C/ 302 °F, which would evaporate the terpenes.
- Check it regularly with a thermometer and adjust the heat as needed.
- Leave it on the double boiler for around two to three hours – when it’s done the oil should be brown-green.
- You can leave it to cool for a few hours then repeat the process if you want to get the most out of the material, but whenever you’re done, strain it through cheesecloth into a container and your oil is ready.
Method #3: Cold-Pressed CBD Oil
Cold-pressed CBD oil is made through a simple process that doesn’t involve adding any chemicals or really anything more complicated than squeezing juice out of fruit. This makes it a possible method for home extraction, although it’s important to note that the result will be a little different than when other methods are used. This is because it keeps all of the phytonutrients, fats and oils from the plant.
The benefit is the simplicity of the process: all you need is a cold press/juicer and some hemp (buds have the most CBD but you can also add stems and seeds).
- Simply put the hemp into the cold press and apply some pressure (with minimal heat).
- This will grind the material into a paste, which you can then mix to help the oils distribute through the mixture.
- This in itself will be rich in CBD, but you can apply pressure to the paste again to draw the oil out.
Measuring CBD Tinctures is a Trial and Error Process
Unfortunately, if you use hemp or an ordinary cannabis plant to make your extract at home, it’s incredibly difficult if not impossible to know how strong your resulting oil will be. Simply, the efficiency of the process can vary substantially and it’s unlikely you’ll know the cannabinoid content of the material you started with anyway.
The only way you could really know is if you made the CBD oil by mixing a specific amount of pre-extracted CBD isolate into your carrier oil.
So the best advice in most cases is to start with a small amount of your oil and increase gradually once you get a feel for the strength.
Creating Self-Care Products at Home
Although many of the self-care products made with CBD are a little difficult to put together at home (for example, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make yourself a bath bomb), you can make a CBD lotion pretty easily with the equipment you used to make your oil. Set up your double boiler, adding an inch or two of water to the bottom and putting it on a low to medium heat, then place half a cup each of shea butter and coconut oil to the top. Stir the two together as they warm up, aiming to remove any lumps and prevent them from burning.
When they’re heated, take the oils off the heat and transfer them to a heat-safe bowl or (if you have one) a glass blender, setting aside for around an hour for them to cool. Afterwards, add a third of a cup of aloe vera gel, 2 tbsp of vegetable glycerine and a couple of teaspoons of CBD oil (more if you like), along with an essential oil for fragrance if you like. Blend or hand-mix them together and your lotion is ready.
Making your own CBD oil at home is a much simpler process than you might have expected, and once you’ve gone through the process a couple of times, guides like this won’t even be needed. It’s worth trying different approaches if the first one you attempt doesn’t go well, but be sure to stick to a relatively simple method, because the methods professional companies use are expensive to do right. Once you have your oil, you can enjoy it in the way you would with any CBD, safe in the knowledge that you know exactly what’s in it.
How to Make CBD Oil at Home
If money is an issue for you, then you might want to consider making your own CBD oil at home. Even though your oil won’t be made with the same high-end equipment that most reputable brands use, homemade CBD oil can still be a lot safer than some of the potentially untested and poorly labeled products sold online through sub-par CBD brands or disreputable brick and mortar stores. If you’ve been wanting to make your own CBD oil at home, the good news is that you’ll basically only need two main ingredients: hemp flower that’s high in CBD, and a carrier oil like hemp seed oil, olive oil, or MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil like coconut oil.
What are the Benefits of Making CBD Oil at Home?
CBD products are available today in many different forms, however CBD oil appears to be one of the most frequently bought products. Typically, people purchase oils online or through brick-and-mortar stores. Since CBD’s rapid rise in popularity throughout recent years, there’s been an influx of brands into the market. While it’s exciting to have so many brands and product options to choose from, not all brands and products are created equal. Therefore, it’s always best to buy your CBD from a reputable and trustworthy brand.
Since not all people have the finances to buy CBD oil online or in stores near them, making CBD oil at home might be the next best option. Additionally, it can be overwhelming searching through multiple brands and hundreds of products in an attempt to figure out which ones will be best suited for your health and wellness needs. If regularly purchasing high-quality products for sale online from reputable brands is financially prohibitive for you, then making homemade CBD oil is a viable option.
Courtesy of Bridgette Finn
Things You Will Need for Making CBD Oil
Before you begin making CBD oil at home, you’ll need to figure out which extraction method you’ll use as well as if you can buy high-quality hemp flowers near you. If all else fails, then you can always search online for high-CBD strains, as there are a wealth of companies that ship flowers throughout the United States.
How To Choose the Best CBD Strain
First, you should understand that CBD can be extracted from both the hemp and marijuana plants, which are both strains of the cannabis plant. However, the 2018 Farm Bill only made it legal for hemp-derived CBD products to be sold and bought in the United States. These products must only contain 0.3% or less THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, a cannabinoid in both the hemp and marijuana plants that causes a euphoric “high” when ingested in large quantities. All hemp strains naturally contain less than 0.3% THC, while the marijuana plant contains well over that amount. Because the THC levels are so low in hemp-based CBD oils, there’s no way for anyone to get “high” from using them. If you’re concerned about the legality of making your own CBD oil at home, then it’s probably best to craft your oil from the hemp plant. There are, however, certain states where medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal. Therefore, before making any homemade CBD oil, you should look into your state’s laws regarding CBD.
Activating Your CBD
When making your own CBD oil, you have to make sure that the CBD is transformed from its inactive CBDA form. For those who may not know, CBDA is an acid that contains many benefits but that doesn’t have any of the benefits commonly linked to CBD. In short, there’s no CBD in unprocessed hemp plants. Therefore, if you’re looking to extract CBD from hemp, then you need to activate it by using heat before mixing the plant material with a solvent.
CBD activation takes place through a process called decarboxylation, which is a fancy term for heating. While an oven can be used to activate CBD, others have used slow cookers. Be aware, though, that these two methods are not an efficient way to activate CBD. Proper decarboxylation requires a decarboxylator, or precision cooker. When a precision cooker is used, optimal temperatures are maintained so that full activation of CBD and trace cannabinoids can happen without destroying any beneficial terpenes in the process. If you plan on regularly making your own CBD at home, then it’s worth investing in a precision cooker, as this will enable you to craft CBD oils that are consistently good.
Courtesy of Bridgette Finn
Choosing the Best Carrier Oil
In making homemade CBD oil, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll use food-safe alcohol or carrier oil for your extraction. In alcohol extraction, the hemp must be soaked in alcohol until all of the beneficial compounds are stripped from it. Alcohol extraction takes an abundance of patience because the longer the hemp soaks in the alcohol, the more potent the extract will be. Alcohol-based CBD oils are called tinctures. When compared to oil extraction, the alcohol extraction method tends to be a bit harsher. In oil extraction, natural plant oils are used as carriers because of CBD’s fat solubility. You can use hemp seed oil, olive oil, and coconut oil for this gentle process.
The third method is one that almost all reputable CBD brands use. In the CO2 extraction method, pressurized CO2 is used to extract all of the beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients from the hemp plant. This process requires a lot of space, expensive equipment, and the proper scientific know-how in order to perform it correctly. When it comes to extraction methods, this is by far the best process because extracts come out clean, pure, and are free from solvents and other impurities. That’s why the industry’s top CBD brands use this method. But since the CO2 method is so involved and specialized, it should not be performed at home.
Different Ways to Extract Your CBD Oil at Home
You can make CBD oil at home using these two step-by-step methods:
Making a CBD Oil Tincture Using Alcohol
- Ground hemp flower — 30 Grams
- Food-grade alcohol — High-proof
- Mixing Bowl
- Parchment Paper
- Cookie Tray
- Catchment Container
- Double Boiler
- Wooden Spoon
- Plastic Syringe
- Fine Strainer
- Heat the plant by grinding it into an even consistency and spreading it on the cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Place the hemp flower in an oven preheated to 224 degrees Fahrenheit and let it bake for 60-minutes.
- Place the activated (decarboxylated) flower into a mixing bowl and cover it completely with alcohol. Using the wooden spoon, stir the buds for about 10 minutes. At this time, the alcohol will extract compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients. You can speed up the process by stirring the mixture.
- Separate the CBD-infused extract from the remaining plant components. Using cheesecloth, strain the liquid into a collection container. The solution may have a dark green color. Repeat this process until the extract looks fairly clear.
- Using a double boiler, pour the alcohol tincture into the top of the boiler and add steady heat. Please keep in mind that high-proof alcohol is volatile and evaporates at low temperatures. So you may have to turn the heat off and on. Additionally, make sure that the room you’re working in is properly ventilated because the fumes from the alcohol are extremely flammable.
- After all of the alcohol has evaporated, the extract will have a thick, tar-like thickness. While the extract is still warm, draw it up into a large syringe or place it into a dark glass bottle with a glass dropper.
Making a CBD Oil Using a Carrier Oil
- High-CBD Hemp Flower — 30 Grams
- Carrier Oil (Hemp Seed or Coconut Oils) — 450-500 ml
- Cookie Tray
- Parchment Paper
- Herb Grinder
- Double Boiler
- Glass Jar with Lid
- Heat the hemp flower using the same method as in the alcohol extraction process above.
- Combine the flower and the oil to begin the extraction process. Place the flower and the oil into the top part of the double boiler. Fill the bottom container with some water and bring it to a light simmer. Do not let it come to a rolling boil because the terpenes will evaporate at a temperature of 302 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, it can take up to 3 hours to simmer the mixture. The final product will appear a touch darker than the unprocessed oil.
- Remove the top of the boiler. Next, place cheesecloth over the top of the glass jar and pour the mixture into the jar. Strain as much oil as possible from the hemp plant before discarding the remaining strained flower in the cheesecloth.
- Cover the jar and store it in a dry, cool area. Use the final product as needed.
Quick Tips for Making CBD Oil at Home
Some quick tips for making the best homemade CBD oil are as follows:
- Use only the best hemp flower that’s high in CBD
- Use a top-quality, healthy carrier oil
- Use precision in following the recipes
- Store the oil in the same way that you would any herb-infused oils
- Mix it up by adding your favorite natural flavorings to the oil in order to make the flavor better
Benefits of Professional CBD Oil Extraction
Even though it may seem easier to make your own CBD oil at home, you might still be wondering if what you’re making is as potent and pure as the top-quality CBD oils that reputable brands craft. First, you should remember that reputable brands use the industry-preferred CO2 extraction process to obtain all of their clean and effective extracts. This process is considered to be the industry’s gold standard because it renders high-quality CBD products. Second, this process is mostly only used by professional brands because it requires a costly triple-chamber machine, huge quantities of flowers, and an experienced professional to watch over the entire process.
Furthermore, using the CO2 extraction process ensures that the resulting products are more potent and pure than homemade oils. Therefore, if you’re looking for superior CBD oils that have the most benefits linked to them, then purchasing CO2 extracted oils from reputable brands will be your best option. If you’re in the hunt for an online CBD oil brand, then one of the first things you should do is to take the time to do some research into the brand, its extraction process, where it sources its hemp from, as well as read any third-party lab reports and verified customer reviews. Along the way, you can also do a deep dive into any other CBD-related topics that you want to learn more about.
Dosing CBD Oil
When it comes to dosing CBD oil, keep in mind that there’s not one set dose that works best for everyone. Since everyone’s body is different, a dose that works great for one person might not work that well for someone else. Finding the right CBD oil dose takes patience, time, and consistency. For example, if you’ve purchased a bottle of 600mg full-spectrum CBD oil, then begin by taking a half dropper-full once a day. This will equal 10mg of CBD oil once a day. Stay with this dose for 7-10 days before increasing. During this time, keep a journal so that you can write down anything you’re experiencing while on the dose, as well as what seems to be improving and what’s not getting any better.
If you feel the need to increase the dose, move up to half a dropper-full twice a day, or 10mg twice a day. This will also equal 20mg of CBD oil a day. Stick with this new dose for another 7-10 days before deciding whether or not you want to increase again. If you feel you need more CBD oil, follow this same pattern until you’ve found the best possible dose for your unique health and wellness needs. Remember, you may also need to increase the strength of the oil or adjust the overall dosage over time.
How to Use CBD Oil
Taking CBD oil is a fairly straightforward process. In order to get the best results from your CBD oil, you should drop it sublingually and hold it there for about 60-seconds. When you do this, the cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients in the oil can enter your bloodstream through the thin membrane under your tongue. If you’re wanting to increase possible absorption, feel free to also swish the oil around in your mouth before swallowing it so that the CBD can also get into your bloodstream through the membranes of your mouth. Additionally, taking the CBD oil around the same time(s) each and every day will help ensure that you’re clear about the effects because you’ll have more of a reliable baseline.
Courtesy of Bridgette Finn
Crafting your own homemade CBD oil is a fantastic option if you’re short on financial resources or are looking to save time and money. But before you set up a CBD workshop in the comfort of your home, you should research the CBD market as well as look at different online brands. You might just be able to get a solid deal on some top-shelf products. In fact, many reputable brands also offer discounts, rewards programs, as well as bundle prices on some of their CBD oils. If you still want to go ahead and make CBD oil at home, at least you’ll have your own bottle of clean, safely crafted oil to use while you’re researching.
Making CBD oil at home can be time- and money-saving, but it’s still recommended that you purchase a high-quality, clean, and potent oil from a reputable brand. Commercial CBD oils are crafted with precision and have all of the product’s ingredients, strength, and variety (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate) clearly printed on the packaging and the bottle. So, if there’s a specific health issue that you’re trying to address or a wellness goal that you’re trying to achieve, it’s best if you buy a potent and effective CBD oil from a highly reputable brand.