How to Extract Oil From Marijuana

by Emjay
photo by kimzy nanney on unsplash_how to extract oil from marijuana

Marijuana oil – and especially medical marijuana oil – can be super expensive! That’s a big bummer when many of us use high-grade marijuana oil to alleviate certain uncomfortable symptoms and treat various conditions.

Ever wondered how to extract oil from marijuana yourself? This guide will break down exactly what you can do to make your own medical marijuana oil, plus go through some safety procedures to ensure you don’t make a mess by accident.

Why make your own marijuana oil? 

Cannabis concentrate can be expensive. More than that, marijuana oil is often used for medicinal purposes, and it can often be expensive or priced with such an exorbitant cost that it feels unfair. This is especially considering that only some retailers offer medical marijuana.

Other retailers are only allowed to sell recreational cannabis, which may not be at the right concentration or of the appropriate strain for alleviating certain medical symptoms.

Basically, making your own marijuana oil is taking your health into your own hands. Beyond that, you can even unlock the scientist within yourself and make your own marijuana oil to see exactly what’s in your favorite cannabis leaves. 

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why you might want to make your own marijuana oil. The point is that anyone can do it with a little preparation and some common household items.

Steps to make marijuana oil

Make no mistake, making your own marijuana oil is time-consuming and requires multiple steps. If you mess up during any part of the process, you may have to start over, which can cost you time and money. So be sure to read this guide thoroughly before starting so you don’t make any missteps.

Start by finding a workspace

Begin by locating a suitable workplace for your oil production. You should prioritize:

  • A well-ventilated and open environment. Make sure that there are multiple windows or fans available so you can maximize airflow
  • Also double-check that there’s a fire extinguisher present in the space, or at least nearby. You’ll need to use alcohol, which is super flammable, and a boiler or heating tool of some kind
  • If you decide to use a stove, make sure the space has a gas or electric range. If you decide to use a rice cooker (more on that below), make sure the space has electrical outlets

Once you have a suitable space (most people’s kitchens work just fine, provided they have multiple windows), you can move on to the next step.

Get your materials

You’ll need several materials and supplies to extract oil from marijuana. Obviously, you’ll need at least 1 ounce of high-quality cannabis or medical marijuana. You can, in a pinch, substitute this for 2 to 3 ounces of medical marijuana trim, although the quality of the oil won’t be as good.

You should also get a gallon of high-proof alcohol. Good brands include Everclear. This serves as the solvent for your chemical reaction, and the high-proof alcohol will evaporate or burn off throughout the boiling part of the process described below.

DON’T use alcohol intended for human consumption or any alcohol that isn’t high proof, such as rubbing alcohol.

You’ll also need a selection of tools including:

  • At least one wooden spoon
  • A glass or ceramic mixing bowl of medium size. Don’t use plastic under any circumstances
  • Have a streaming device or filter. Examples include coffee filters paired with mesh strainers, cheesecloths, muslin bags, grain steeping bags, and more
  • A container in which to catch the liquid that you strain. A good example is a mixing cup of at least 2 quarts volume
  • A silicone spatula
  • A few plastic oral syringes or tinctures
  • A double boiler OR a rice cooker and candle warmer

Lastly, consider wearing plenty of protective gear. Since making marijuana oil can be a little risky, do yourself a favor and get some non-latex gloves, a respirator mask, safety glasses, and oven mitts at a bare minimum.

Got it all? Let’s begin! 

photo by crystalweed cannabis on unsplash_how to extract oil from marijuana

Soak the marijuana in alcohol and stir

Your next step is to soak your medical cannabis buds in your high-proof alcohol solvent. Put the medical marijuana in your glass or ceramic mixing bowl, then pour the high-proof alcohol over the surface. You should keep pouring alcohol until it totally submerges the cannabis and rests about 1 inch over the surface of the leaves.

Use your wooden spoon to stir the mixture thoroughly. Feel free to mash the solvent and medical cannabis aggressively, as this frees up the THC content and will help the alcohol to strip away more THC from the medical marijuana leaves.

Strain and soak again

Next, you need to strain your cannabis mixture into another container. Do this by getting your straining device and your second bowl, then pour the mixture through the strainer into the second bowl.

Be particularly careful during this part since it’s easy to make a big mess. If you decide to use a bag or cloth, make sure to squeeze the cloth so you get all the liquid from the leaves.

Be sure to soak the leaves in another batch of high-proof alcohol. Do the mixing process again, spending a few minutes both times. The second wash of alcohol is actually most important since it ensures you get 100% of the available THC instead of just about 80%.

Strain again

Strain the mixture into the second bowl once more. It’s more than likely not necessary to do a third soak and stir process.

Boil away the alcohol

Now comes the tricky part. You’ll need to boil away your alcohol solvent. You can use a double boiler and an oven range if you have them, and it’s the safer of the two methods.

To do this:

  • Start by filling the bottom part of the double boiler with water, then pour the alcohol and oil concentrate liquid into the top pan
  • Turn your printer on high, and wait for the liquid on the top pan to start to boil
  • As soon as the liquid is bubbling, turn the burner off. The residual heat should finish the job over about 25 minutes
  • You should then scrape the sides of the pan with a silicone spatula to prevent them from sticking to the surface
  • As soon as the contents turn into a dark green syrup, you’ve got your oil!

On the other hand, you can use a rice cooker to boil off your solvent.

  • Start this by filling your rice cooker about three-fourths of the way with your alcohol and oil mix
  • Turn your rice cooker onto the high setting or “white rice” depending on what you have
  • This will progressively boil the mixture down
  • Check it after about 20 minutes or so. Once the mixture is a thick and dark green liquid, you swirl the mixture with your spatula
  • Pour the contents into a metal dish and set it on a candle warmer. This will get rid of any remaining CO2 and leave you with a thick, oily syrup

Fill your syringes or tinctures

After you have your oil, you can fill your tinctures or syringes with your newly extracted marijuana oil. You should store these carefully in a cool, dark location until you use them.

Summary

As you can see, just about anyone can extract oil from their marijuana flower with the right preparation and practice, but it’s also a lot easier to just buy cannabis extract if you’re not committed to making your own from scratch.  

Feel free to use this guide safely and responsibly, and remember to pick high-quality cannabis from a licensed and respected retailer like Emjay for the best results. 

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