How do you make cannabis oil?
Cannabis oils, also known as canna oils, have continued to grow in mass popularity due to their widespread use. From being used in cooking and baking, to their inclusion in lotions and creams, oils have remained a very strong form of THC and CBD for home use.
Canna oils and cannabis butters use the fatty contents of the oils to help release and maintain THC and CBD when things get hot.
There are a variety of ways to make canna oils at home, and the availability of bud or concentrates will determine which route you should take. You should also determine if you will only be using your oil for hot cooking, such as baking, or if you will want the option for cold temperature uses such as mixing into your favorite drink or cool dessert.
When making your own oils, you have the ability to control how strong you want your mix to be. In many cases this means adding a specific weight of bud per cup of oil, while in advanced methods this means adding exactly how much THC and CBD you want.
THC or THCA
Before choosing, you should first understand the differences between THCA and THC. Cannabis plants create THCA. which by themselves have no effect on the human body. When your bud is heated from lighting up or cooking, temperatures above 220 degrees Fahrenheit remove carboxylic acids (A) leaving you with THC.
It’s important when buying a product to know if you are purchasing THC or THCA, and when growing your own bud you should understand the decarboxylation process.
Decarboxylation is heating your bud up to release those acids, and can be done in a standard oven. First crumple up some parchment paper and lay it out flat across an oven sheet, these crumples will help hold your buds up away from the hot metal sheet. Break your flowers into smaller pieces and lay them across the paper.
Preheat your oven to 240 and place your buds inside for 45 minutes, and then remove and allow to cool. At this point you should have turned your THCA into THC, which can now be used for hot or cold applications, such as mixed in your favorite drink or even thrown into a jello shot.
If there is a possibility of using your oils in a cold environment (as in not heated to 220 during use) be sure to purchase products with THC and not THCA, or be sure to bake your bud first.
Oil Soaking Method
A common choice for making canna oils due to its simplicity is the oil soaking method. The idea is to take an oil you already use, often referred to as a carrier oil, and completely soak your bud in it to allow the release into the oils.
You must use some sort of fat-based oil, since most active cannabis ingredients are hydrophobic, or refuse to mix or bond with water. If you were to attempt to make oils with water, they would just separate over time.
In most cases, this is done with coconut oil or olive oil due to the health benefits and versatility in the oil, added with a high smoking point. Smoking points refer to the temperature at which a liquid begins to evaporate.
What You’ll Need
- Quality flower
- Carrier oil
- Double-boiler or Crock Pot
- Probe thermometer
- Unbleached cheesecloth
- Fine mesh strainer
- Glass bowl
- Storage container and funnel, if needed
Break your flower down into smaller pieces, and decarb if needed to bring out your THC. The best method is to weigh out your weed (most people end up usually using between 7 to 10 grams). Be sure to write down your measurements somewhere in case you fall in love with your outcome so you can cook it again.
Next, using a double-boiler or crock pot, turn your heat on low and add your carrier oil. If you don’t have either, you can make a double-boiler by using a saucepan with water, with a glass or metal bowl elevated above the water level. You want your temperatures between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s good to consistently check your oil temp with your probe thermometer to ensure you don’t overheat your mix.
Once your oil temperature is stable, add your weed to the mix and allow it to cook between 20 minutes to one hour. You can let it cook longer if you’d like — this will release more tannins and flavors into your oil as the buds break down.
Now line the strainer with your unbleached cheesecloth and place it inside your glass bowl. Gently pour your oils through, allowing your buds and other contaminants to be collected as they filter through the cheesecloth. Leave to cool until you can safely handle the cheesecloth, and if you’d like, give it a bit of a squeeze over your glass bowl to get some of that leftover oil.
It’s time for storage, and you have many choices. Large mouth jars such as mason jars have remained a great option, as they are easy to use and look great on your countertop. If you’re feeling fancy, consider saving an old oil bottle to make your homebrew feel high class. Be sure to wash and scrub the old bottle in hot soapy water, removing the old label as well. Rinse it thoroughly and let dry.
Using the funnel, gently pour your canna oil into the bottle. To take things one step forward, consider the option of printing your own label to impress any guest. You can either print them on computer paper and add a layer of tape to hold it to the bottle, or check out shipping labels, as they have been a go-to for home beer and wine makers to create cost-effective custom labels.
With this method, you don’t have super precise control over your THC and CBD levels, but you do have control over how much bud you add per cup of oil. Most recipes call for between 7 to 10 grams of weed per cup of oil, but you know how dank your weed is. Make your oil to your liking, but if used for cooking, keep in mind how much oil you usually use per dish. When used for balms, tinctures, and other oil-based products, adjust for strength.
This method of extraction will also transfer some flavor, so you will have your chosen oil flavor and your bud flavor in the mix. You will also end up with a mix of THC and CBD that is found in your plant.
While oil soaking has been the go-to for the at-home creations, when considering making products for sale, the FDA is less fond of not knowing exactly how much THC or CBD is in your product. When considering creating products for sale, it’s time to look at a refined source of weed known as distillates.
Distillates are a flavorless, odorless oil which has been carefully refined to give you a 100% THC or 100% CBD outcome, or a mix of the two at very high percentages. These are often used in production as you can measure precisely what your levels are.
If you were to take the same cup of oil, and add one tablespoon of pure THC, you would know you have an oil with roughly 6% THC and no CBD.
With distillates having no smell or flavor, they have continued to be a great choice for vape oils, tinctures, spiked sodas, and other various edibles. With the high-concentration levels of distillates, try slowly increasing how much you use until you are happy with the strength.
Uses For Canna Oil
Since canna oils are weed or weed extracts mixed into existing oils, the options become nearly endless for use.
Cooking oils have remained a go-to for cooking, adding to salads, and baking. These oils find their way into homemade edibles and drinks as well. These oils have often been referred to as edible oils, since they can be added to anything you eat or drink, even alcohol. Canna butters are the solid form of cooking oils, and another great option for cooking and baking.
Vape oils have continued to grow in popularity, since many people want to avoid lighting up and blowing smoke. Vapes can often fit in your pocket, making them a great smoke for on the go. Be sure to keep in mind how often you hit your vape, as some smokers prefer to smoke all day, while others want a good buzz from just one or two hits.
Lotions, body oils, and balms are a great use of oils, as they can be applied to the skin. They can be used for skin irritations, or even for tissue and muscle relief as they absorb into the body right where it’s needed. In many cases, you can use olive oils and other cooking oils to make these lotions and balms, since they benefit the skin as well.
Tinctures, an oil droplet added under the tongue, have become a popular option for both CBD and THC since they don’t need to be taken with sweets, foods, or anything else that you may not necessarily want at the time. They are also less likely to cause mouth or throat irritations if you’re not one for smoking.
With the wide range of use and ease of making oils at home, they are a great addition to the pot life. From meals to quick hits on the go, oils have been a good way to add flavors and smells to your weed to add a new approach to your high.
With so many health and wellness benefits, oils open up weed to a new set of users that may not enjoy lighting up. With the added option of not leaving your house, and having everything you need delivered to your door, there’s no better time than now to try different forms of cannabis.