How To Make CBD Oil

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Making CBD oil at home is easy, and you need only a few ingredients. It's a two-step process that involves heating and then infusion into a carrier oil. CBD oil can be expensive. Is it possible to make CBD oil at home? What ingredients do you need and what does the process look like? Read this article to find out! CBD oil doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, you can significantly reduce the costs by making it at home. Here we present the most common at-home extractions for CBD oils — and why you should try them out.

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 from Botany Farms.

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.

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.

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.

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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 at 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.

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.

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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.

How to Make CBD Oil At Home?

People use CBD oil to boost wellness, deal better with stress, and ease different types of physical discomfort (1). With so many positive effects on the body, as well as the costs involved in professional production, commercially available products can be expensive. This, of course, applies to high-quality CBD oil.

Many new users are wondering if it’s possible to make CBD oil at home, and whether or not it’s a good option to save money on your supplementation. While DIY CBD oils won’t be crafted with the same precision as professionally manufactured extracts, a homemade batch of CBD drops is still safer than a commercial product without a Certificate of Analysis (2).

If you’re considering the idea of making CBD oil at home, we’ll be glad to help. After spending several years in the superfoods and hemp industries, we have gathered our experience and packed it into a concise guide to at-home extractions.

Don’t worry, this isn’t rocket science. In fact, all you need to make CBD oil at home is a high-CBD hemp flower, a solvent, and/or food-grade carrier oil.

Let’s get down to work.

Why You Should Learn How to Make CBD at Home?

Because it’s easy and doesn’t require anything beyond some basic kitchen equipment. The reason why not many people decide to perform their own extractions is the overwhelming abundance of commercially available products; you know how it is, convenience is the name of the game these days.

CBD oil is available both online and in local specialty stores. In fact, CBD has become so popular that you can find it in vape shops, organic food stores, and wellness centers. Local retailers offer limited options, so we always recommend finding a trustworthy online supplier. Online stores offer a broader selection of products, from capsules to vapes and edibles such as CBD gummies and honey sticks.

So, why would you want to make CBD at home with so many products at hand?

Making CBD oil at home is a great way to save money that you’d otherwise spend on browsing hundreds of different brands, comparing the ingredients in their products, the prices, and user reviews.

Once you’ve got the know-how, life becomes easier.

Not only that but making CBD oil at home gives you full control over the quality of the final product. If you can gather high-quality hemp flower and a decent carrier oil, you’re halfway home.

Last but not least, homemade CBD oil is more cost-efficient. Although soaking the plant matter in the solvent requires some time before your infusion gains enough potency, you don’t have to invest in advanced technology and specialized lab workers to get a high-quality full-spectrum extract.

What You Need to Make CBD Oil?

Everything starts from the plant. First, you’ll need to find some high-quality CBD flower — derived from hemp if you want to stay compliant with federal law. There are plenty of great companies that grow craft CBD strains and ship their products to all 50 states.

If you live in a state that has legalized marijuana, you can use a high-CBD hybrid strain obtained through selective breeding. These are available in cannabis dispensaries and are also known for a higher terpene content than their hemp-derived counterparts.

The majority of hemp CBD strains are grown indoors or in greenhouses rather than outdoors, so the bag appeal and the overall quality of the buds is better.

Another important ingredient is the carrier oil. These range from hemp seed oil to olive oil to canola and MCT oil. MCT is considered the best source of fats for CBD, as the cannabinoid shows higher absorption rates in the presence of saturated fatty acids.

Besides, you’ll need some basic kitchen equipment, such as a pot, spatula, fine mesh strainer, glass containers, jar, oven, and a heatproof bowl or pie plate.

How to Prepare CBD (Activating the CBD)?

There is little CBD in fresh hemp plants. Instead, hemp contains high concentrations of CBDA, the inactive precursor of CBD. CBDA offers many health benefits, but it doesn’t have the properties of CBD. In order to transform CBDA into CBD, you need to remove an extra carboxyl group from the compound. In plain English, decarboxylation means adding extra heat to activate CBD and get the most out of its content (3).

If you’re looking for a professional way to decarboxylate your plant material, there are special machines known as decarboxylators available in specialty stores. This equipment ensures that the process is conducted efficiently both on its short and long tail, which have different times and temperatures depending on the desired cannabinoid.

Nevertheless, you may just as well use less expensive methods and still perform efficient decarboxylation. Simply use your oven or a slow cooker. They sacrifice some precision, but then again, not everyone can afford a professional decarboxylator.

Decarboxylating CBD in the Oven

What you’ll need:

  • High-quality CBD hemp flower
  • Oven
  • Baking tray
  • Parchment paper
  • Grinder

Instructions:

  • Grind your CBD buds using the herb grinder. Break them down into smaller pieces instead of grinding them into a fine powder.
  • Lay a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper. Spread the ground hemp evenly, and preheat the oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115 Celsius).
  • Bake the CBD flowers in the oven for about 45 minutes, up to one hour depending on how dry the buds are. Buds with more moisture may require more time in the oven.
  • Remove the CBD from the oven and transfer it to a glass container. It should have a bit of a brownish color.

How to Make CBD Oil?

If you’ve gathered the necessary supplies and are ready to make CBD oil at home for the first time, you can use two solvents for the job: food-safe alcohol or cooking oil.

Alcohol extraction involves soaking the hemp plant in alcohol until it pulls all the beneficial compounds from it. The infusion gains potency over time; the longer you soak the hemp in alcohol, the stronger your product will get; this is how you make cannabis tinctures. However, since alcohol is highly flammable, you shouldn’t perform it in enclosed places with access to open fire. Gas stovetops are a big no-no for alcohol extractions; electric ones are much safer.

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If you’re looking for a more beginner-friendly method, cooking oil extraction will come in handy. This method involves using plant-derived oils as carriers due to CBD’s fat solubility. It’s a slow process for which you can use different types of cooking oils.

These are at-home extraction methods. Professional manufacturers use pressurized CO2 in order to maximize the quality and quantity of their yields. The CO2 extraction technology doesn’t require additional heat or solvents, which makes it both effective and safe. Unfortunately, it also requires a lot of financial resources to purchase and maintain the machinery, not to mention the highly qualified lab workers.

Below we cover all types of homemade extractions in detail.

Make CBD Oil with Alcohol

What you’ll need:

  • 14 grams of ground, decarboxylated hemp flower
  • 500 ml of high-proof food-safe alcohol (Everclear, vodka, or spirit)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Funnel
  • Spatula
  • Double boiler
  • Glass jar
  • Tincture bottle
  • A plastic syringe or glass dropper

Instructions:

  1. Place the decarboxylated CBD in the mixing bowl and cover it completely with alcohol. Stir the decarbed buds for up to 10 minutes using the wooden spoon. During this time, the alcohol should already extract some of the compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes. Once done, you can pour the liquid into a glass jar. Store it in a cool and dark place for a minimum of 2 weeks up to several months. As mentioned, the longer it sits, the stronger it gets.
  2. Separate the CBD-infused alcohol from the plant material. Strain the liquid through a piece of cheesecloth into a collecting container. At this point, the tincture should have a dark green color.
  3. Set up a double boiler. Pour the alcohol solution to the top of the dish and apply low heat. High-proof volatile will easily evaporate at low temperatures because it’s highly volatile. You can turn the heat on and off if necessary, just make sure you have a good ventilation system, and if not, run the extraction outdoors. The vapor from alcohol is flammable and thus may cause an explosion.
  4. Once you’ve evaporated all the alcohol, the extract will have a tar-like texture. You can draw it up into a syringe or mix it into a carrier oil to increase the volume of your final product.

Make CBD Oil with MCT Oil

If you want to make CBD oil with MCT oil, follow the steps from the alcohol extraction, and once you have a thick extract, suspend it into MCT oil in the desired ratio. MCT oil is derived from coconut and comes with medium-chain triglycerides, which are known to boost the bioavailability of CBD and other cannabinoids. You can find it in health supplement stores.

Make CBD Oil with Coconut Oil

This method is similar to how you make cannabis-infused coconut oil or the famous cannabutter. But this time, we’re working with hemp-derived CBD, not medical-grade cannabis.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ oz of high-CBD hemp flower
  • 500 ml of melted coconut oil
  • Double boiler
  • Glass jar with a lid
  • Cheesecloth
  • Glass collecting dish

Instructions:

  1. Combine the decarboxylated CBD buds with the coconut oil to start the extraction process. Place them in the double boiler, filling the bottom part of the dish with some water, and bring it to a delicate simmer. Do not bring the mixture to a rolling boil because anything over 150 degrees Celcius will destroy most terpenes. The simmering process takes around 3 hours; the end product will look slightly darker than the raw oil.
  2. Remove the top of the boiler, take out your jar, place the cheesecloth over the top of the collecting dish, and pour the mixture into it. You can use a spatula to push the plant material against the strainer so that it squeezes the most out of it.
  3. Transfer the CBD coconut oil to a jar, seal it tightly, and store it in a cool, dry place. You can use it alone or use it as an infusion in your CBD recipes.

Make CBD Oil with Olive Oil

This method follows the same process as making CBD oil at home with coconut oil. If you don’t have any coconut oil at hand, olive oil will make for a great substitute, especially if you’re up for some CBD-infused pesto, guacamole, or drizzling it over a slice of pizza.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Homemade Extractions?

  • Choose high-quality organically grown CBD flower
  • Use healthy carrier fats (coconut oil is the best due to high amounts of saturated fat)
  • Carefully calculate the dosage in your CBD infusion
  • Add natural flavorings to the homemade CBD oil to mask the hempy flavor
  • Store your CBD oil as you would store any other herb-infused oils

Tips for Using Homemade CBD Oil

  • Use CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue) to avoid the first-pass metabolism in the liver and increase its absorption rate.
  • Add CBD oil to your meals or cook with it. However, make sure not to exceed 160 degrees C so that you don’t waste any CBD.
  • Make CBD vape oil at home by using a thinning agent in your CBD oil solution (e.g. vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol).
  • When working with alcohol, let the mixture sit for a few months to maximize its potency.
  • You don’t have to evaporate all the alcohol from your tincture. You can reduce it by half and add it to drinks and cocktails.
  • Add CBD to a fat base and other natural skincare ingredients of your choice to create homemade CBD cream.

Advantages of Professional CBD Oil Extraction

Wondering how CBD oil made at home compares to a product obtained through CO2 extraction?

As we said, CO2 extraction is the golden standard for manufacturers. This method produces safe, premium-quality products, but it requires a piece of expensive triple-chamber equipment, large quantities of hemp biomass, and experienced professionals to oversee the extraction. Using CO2 as a solvent ensures a pure and more potent product than any homemade method. If you’re looking for a top-shelf product, CO2-extracted CBD is still second to none.

Making CBD Oil at Home: Is It Worth A Try?

Of course, especially if you want to kickstart your CBD routine on a low budget. In the meantime, you can browse through different brands online and choose the one that fits the generally accepted quality standards. Many premium companies have reward programs to make their products more affordable for everyone. As you do your research, a bottle of homemade CBD oil will wait for you in your health cabinet.

Still, we recommend buying a professionally extracted CBD oil if you want to maximize the results of your supplementation. Making CBD oil at home is fun and very rewarding, but it still doesn’t give you such a complete cannabinoid profile as CO2 extraction.

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