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Cannabis oil is an easy way to get the health benefits of cannabis, and it’s easy to make at home. Learn how to make cannabis oil with our at-home recipe. Come learn how to easily make your own cannabis-infused oil, ready to use in medicated edible recipes, topical salves, or even enjoy straight on its own. Cannabis-infused oil is the most versatile way to start making edibles. Learn how to make it and its benefits with Leafly.

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.

How to Make Homemade Cannabis Oil (or CBD 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!

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.

What is Cannabis-Infused Oil

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.

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.

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Hemp Oil, CBD Oil, THC, or…

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.

Generally speaking, THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. But THC does a lot more than change your state of mind! Studies show that THC has even stronger pain and stress-relieving properties than CBD, which is known to help with insomnia, seizures and inflammation. While they each have notable and distinct stand-alone benefits, an oil or salve containing both CBD and THC has the highest potential for a wide array of health benefits (albeit illegal in some places). Known as the “entourage effect”, the synergistic combination of both THC and CBD through whole-plant cannabis consumption and extracts is more powerful than either one on its own.

I personally like to use strains that are high in both THC and CBD to make oil and salves. To learn more about the differences between strains, CBD and THC, see this article: “Sativa, Indica & Autoflowers, the Differences Explained”.

Why Make Cannabis Oil

Cannabis oil is the foundation ingredient for ultra-healing homemade topical lotions, ointments, and salves – my favorite way to use it! Both THC and CBD have excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that cannabinoids have the ability to reduce acne, fine lines and wrinkles, soothe redness and irritation, and balance natural skin oils. Also, cannabinoids (THC especially) are analgesic – meaning they reduce pain. I regularly use our homemade cannabis salve on my knees, ankles, and other aching or inflamed joints and muscles.

Furthermore, making cannabis oil is one of the most reliable ways to create medicated edible cannabis products. Even so, it is extremely difficult to determine the exact potency of homemade edibles or cannabis oil. Because of this, it is suggested to consume with caution in very small doses at first. Cannabis oil can be consumed on its own, or added to other edible cannabis recipes. (I personally prefer to make homemade cannabis tinctures over edibles.)

On the other hand, simply chopping up weed to add to your brownie mix is not a good idea, for many reasons. As we already explored, cannabinoids are fat-soluble. That means that they not only bind with oils during the infusion process, but also that cannabinoids are more readily absorbed and digested in our bodies when they’re consumed with fat – such as oil. If you add raw cannabis to baked goods, it is less likely that the cannabinoids will bind to fats for a consistent and effective edible experience. Using decarboxylated cannabis to make cannabis oil further increases precision and consistency.

Using Decarboxylated Cannabis for Oil

The cannabinoid compounds found in raw cannabis (THCA and CBDA) are not the same as those found in cannabis that has been heated – such as those inhaled (THC and CBD) when you ignite or vaporize cannabis, or when cooking with cannabis. The process of heating and “activating” cannabis is called decarboxylation. It is what makes cannabis psychoactive, and also more potent for medicinal applications.

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!

The content (activation or decomposition) of THC with time and temperature. Note that CBD takes about 2x as long at the same temperatures. Graph courtesy of 420 Magazine

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).

Therefore, our cannabis oil recipe calls for decarboxylated cannabis as well. I provide very brief instructions on how to decarb raw cannabis below, but you can read further information about exactly how and why to decarb cannabis in the oven in this article.

    1 cup of loosely ground decarboxylated cannabis. To be more precise, I suggest to use a kitchen scale to weigh out approximately 7 to 10 grams (a quarter ounce or just over), depending on your tolerance.

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How to make cannabis cooking oil

Cannabis cooking oil is versatile and easy to make. You can infuse any type of oil, such as canola, vegetable, olive, peanut, sesame oil, and others—all you need is some weed, cheesecloth, and a sauce pan or slow cooker.

Consuming food made with cannabis cooking oil is similar to consuming edibles or anything made with cannabutter —compared to inhalation methods, effects will take longer to kick in, and they will usually last longer and be stronger.

As will all cannabis edibles, we recommend to “start low and go slow”: Eat a little bit and wait at least 45-60 minutes until effects kick in, and only eat more if you want stronger effects.

Benefits of using cannabis cooking oil

The great thing about using cannabis-infused oil is that you can add it to anything: sauté some veggies, fry up some morning eggs, mix it in a salad dressing, or whatever else you can think of.

Keep in mind that it’s difficult to calculate the potency of homemade edibles. However, compared to other cannabis infusions, such as making cannabutter to add to a batch of brownies, cannabis cooking oil is easier to measure out. You can add a lot to a salad dressing or just drop a little bit in a skillet to cook in with your whole meal.

Types of cooking oils to infuse with cannabis

There are many types of oils you can infuse with cannabis:

  • Canola
  • Vegetable
  • Coconut
  • Olive
  • Avocado
  • Sesame
  • Peanut

When picking a base cooking oil, consider how you’ll use it and what foods you’ll cook with it. You can use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil, or something with a specific flavor, like sesame or peanut oil. It all depends on your flavor preferences and the dishes you plan on cooking.

Additionally, oils have different consistencies at room temperature, so consider how you’ll be storing the oil.

If you’re looking for an oil that can be used in a stir fry as well as a pie crust, coconut oil is a great option—it adds great flavor to veggies and remains solid enough at room temperature to hold up as a pie crust.

Vegetable and canola oil are great options if you want something with a mild flavor. They are also versatile and work with most recipes that call for oil.

For something a little more robust in flavor, infuse olive or avocado oil with cannabis. Both stand up well to the cannabis flavor and can be stored in your pantry.

Recipe for cannabis cooking oil

Materials

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven
  • Saucepan, stock pot, d ouble-boiler, or slow cooker
  • Mesh strainer or cheesecloth
  • Container for cannabis oil
  • Cannabis grinder (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooking oil of your choice
  • 1 cup (7-10 grams) of ground cannabis, decarboxylated

When making cannabis cooking oil, we recommend a 1:1 ratio of cannabis to oil. If you want milder effects, use less cannabis.

Directions

  1. Decarb the cannabis. We recommend decarboxylating your weed first, and then putting it in oil. Decarbing turns THCA in the plant into THC, the psychoactive compound that will get you high. Set your oven to 245ºF and put buds on parchment paper on a baking pan. Heat for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Grind or break up the cannabis. Grinders break weed down to the same consistency and will save you time, but you can just as easily break up the weed with your hands. Keep in mind that anything small enough to fit through the mesh strainer or cheesecloth will end up in your finished product, so don’t grind the weed into a fine powder.
  3. Heat oil and decarbed cannabis.Add oil and decarbed cannabis to double-boiler, slow cooker, or saucepan, and simmer on low for 2-3 hours. Make sure the temperature of the oil stays between 160-200ºF.
  4. Strain and store the oil. Put mesh strainer or cheesecloth over container for oil and pour the oil/cannabis mixture through it. Do not squeeze it out—this will add more chlorophyll to your oil and make it taste more vegetal. Discard the plant material. The oil will have a shelf life of at least two months and can be extended with refrigeration.

Tips for reducing odor when making cannabis oil

As it takes hours to infuse coconut oil, a weed odor may build up in your kitchen.

Turn on a vent or fan while infusing the oil to keep the smell down, or open a window. If you’re concerned about the neighbors smelling it, stick to the fan or vent.

How to cook with cannabis cooking oil

After you have your cannabis-infused oil of choice, be sure to try a little before you make an entire meal to get a sense of how potent it is. This will give you a good sense of how much to use when cooking.

Also, be sure not to heat the infused oil too hot when cooking a dish, which can burn out the THC, leaving you with plain cooking oil.

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