Cannabis oil lets you to transform any stir fry, salad dressing, or baked good into an edible. You can make it at home with just a few kitchen tools. 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.
A beginner’s guide to making and dosing cannabis oil at home
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- Cannabis oil can be made at home with oil, cannabis, a pot, and a strainer.
- The process isn’t that different than infusing any herb oil for cooking.
- You can use your finished weed oil in baking, stir fries, salad dressings, and more.
Weed oil is one of the most versatile substances to have in the home. It can be used for any cannabis edibles, from pot brownies to weed stir fries. A well-dosed cannabis oil will give you a great high, and may also help with sleep, pain relief, and relaxation.
Homemade cannabis-infused oil like the one we outline here is much more potent than hemp oil or a CBD-only oil because it is using the entire plant — often called full-spectrum. A full-spectrum oil not only contains CBD, but also the plant’s other cannabinoids, including THC, CBN, and more. These cannabinoids all work in unison to make their effects stronger, a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect.”
When it comes to the high, a little bit of cannabis oil goes a long way. Edibles have been found to offer effects five times as strong as smoking the same amount. This is because when it’s digested, THC passes through the liver and becomes 11-hydroxy-THC. This chemical change brings with it a strong body high. That’s why dosing correctly is important.
Once you get the steps down, making cannabis-infused oil at home is easy. You can use household items like a pot, a mason jar, and strainer. Just keep in mind the type of oil you’ll choose, along with the best strain of cannabis for your need.
Choosing the right carrier oil
Cannabis is fat-soluble, which means it must bind to fat molecules in order to be digested; it’s not possible to make fat-free edibles. The best oil for making cannabis cooking oil is olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.
“Choosing the oil does depend on what the recipe calls for, and how it pairs with what I’m making,” says Christina Wong, who formerly worked at the California-based edibles and topical company Papa & Barkley, and even flexed her cannabis baking skills on Hulu’s Baker’s Dozen. “Coconut oil is best for the most efficient THC infusion, but the overpowering coconut scent doesn’t go well with everything.”
Experts often recommend starting with olive oil because there are added health benefits. This is attributed to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in olive oil, says Felicity Chen, CEO, and Founder of Potli, cannabis-infused olive oil and edible producer in California with a national line featuring CBD oil. “The good fats in the olive make it a perfect carrier for cannabis,” says Chen, who uses locally-produced California olive oil in her infusions.
Choosing the right cannabis strain
The strain of cannabis you choose will impact the quality and effects of your high. Lindsey Bartlett/Insider
For cooking, choose a strain of cannabis that smells good and is fragrant. Chances are, it contains terpenes that would taste equally great in cannabis oil. I used 7 grams of a strain called Grape Pie. It contains my favorite terpenes, Limonene, and Myrcene, which give the cannabis an herbal, fruity, and even sweet flavor.
Experiment with strains you love, either high CBD strains or ones you like, to find out which works best.
How to make cannabis oil
You’ll want to choose the ratio of cannabis to oil depending on what works best for you. A 1-to-1 volume ratio of olive oil and cannabis is a standard starting point: 1 cup of oil, and a quarter aka 7 grams of cannabis (when ground up, this equals about 1 cup). If you want a less potent batch of cannabis oil, use an eighth which is 3.5 grams of cannabis and 1 cup of oil.
You can increase the amount of both to make a larger batch, just be sure they’re still the same ratio.
What you need
- 3.5 to 7 grams of cannabis flower
- 8 ounces (1 cup) of high-quality cooking oil
- A cannabis grinder
- One nonstick baking sheet
- One stovetop pot and heat-safe bowl, or a double-boiler
- A thermometer (optional) or a strainer
- An airtight glass jar
Step 1: Decarb your cannabis
Decarboxylating or “decarbing” cannabis is an important step in the edible or topical making process. This step heats up or “activates” the cannabis. When you decarb the cannabis beforehand, the cannabinoids like THC and CBD will work more effectively in the body.
1. Heat up your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Use a grinder to grind your cannabis into small pieces.
3. Place the ground cannabis evenly on a baking tray.
4. Bake for 30 minutes. Don’t exceed 40 minutes — you want to activate the cannabinoids without damaging the terpenes.
Quick tip: You can also use an at-home infusion machine for this step. I reviewed the Levo and the decarb step is the absolute best thing about the device; it really reduces the smell. If you don’t have $300 for an infusion machine, no worries. The oven method works well.
Step 2: Steep on the stovetop
1. Set up a double boiler. A double boiler enables the infusion without the risk of burning the oil. If you don’t have a dedicated double boiler, you can make your own pretty easily: fill a pot halfway with water and place a heat-safe bowl on top. The bowl should fit in the pot without touching the water.
2. Heat the double boiler on your stove’s low setting.
3. Add oil to the bowl or top portion of the double boiler. Once the water in the pot (or bottom portion of the double boiler) is simmering, add 1 cup of oil to the bowl (or top component of the boiler). The water and oil should stay completely separate throughout the entire infusion.
4. Bring the oil to 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Add the decarbed cannabis and stir.
6. Continue to steep at between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat setting on your stove to maintain a consistent temperature for the entire cook time. You may have to add water to the bottom pot or double boiler as the infusion goes on, just in case all the water evaporates over the several hour cook time.
Step 3: Strain the oil
1. Set up your strainer. Place a dish towel on the counter, and sit your glass jar on top. Then place the cheesecloth over the open jar so it’s ready to help you strain the mixture. You can use a fine mesh strainer in place of a cheesecloth for this step, but the final mixture won’t be completely clear.
2. Carefully remove the oil and weed mixture from the double boiler with an oven mitt.
3. Strain the oil over the cheesecloth or strainer into the jar. Make sure to pour away from you to avoid potential for burns.
4. Repeat the straining process twice for best results.
Step 4: Store the oil
Store the oil in an air-tight container, preferably glass. Glass will help the oil last longer, and it is considered a “neutral” substance, so it won’t add anything unwanted to the oil like potential microplastics. You can store it at room temperature in a cool, dark place, like a cupboard.
Light degrades its quality, so the less light, the better. It will last for six months if stored properly.
How to dose your cannabis oil
Dosing edibles is important. It will make the experience more enjoyable if you know what the right dosage is for your desired effect. Edibles affect each individual differently, depending on our genetics, age, gender, weight, and tolerance. Remember that the effect of edibles is much stronger than smoking, because of the chemical process when metabolizing them.
When dosing edible cannabis oil, make sure to start low and build. Our weed oil recipe is made with a 1-to-1 ratio: 1 cup of oil and 7 grams (about 1 cup) of ground cannabis. This ratio estimates that a teaspoon contains three to five milligrams of THC. When you’re ready to eat the edible cannabis oil, dose each dish by using a teaspoon of oil. Then wait 30 minutes to an hour and see how you feel.
While this graphic was originally created for dosing cannabutter, the same equation holds true for weed oil. Alyssa Powell/Insider
An important component of dosing is knowing the THCA percentage of the cannabis you’re using. In legal markets, these are printed right on the container. Most cannabis contains anywhere from 20% THCA to 35% THCA. The higher the potency, the stronger the cannabis oil.
Edible dosage example
Here’s an example of how the THC dosage breaks down for our above recipe using 7 grams of cannabis with an estimated 25% THCA. This handy THC calculator will do this same math for you.
- 7 grams of cannabis that contains 25% THCA: 0.25 x 7 g x 1000 = 1750 mg of THCA for the entire batch.
- This potency degrades a bit over the decarb stage, while processing it from THCA into THC. The conversion rate of THCA to THC is around 88%. This is because, during decarboxylation, 12% of the THCA evaporates as carbon dioxide gas. 1750 mg x 0.88 = 1540 mg of THC
- Experts estimate 70% to 95% of these remaining milligrams of THC will be active in the final cannabis oil product. 1540 mg x 0.70 = 1078 mg of THC.
- You have 1078 milligrams of THC in the final 1-cup batch of oil. There are 48 teaspoons in one cup: 1078 mg ➗ 48 teaspoons = 22 mg THC per teaspoon of cannabis oil.
- That’s a pretty potent teaspoon. Since a standard dose is 10 mg of THC, you’ll want to use no more than half that, roughly ½ teaspoon per dose.
- Assuming you stick to ½ teaspoon per dose: 48 teaspoons x 2 = 84 total doses in the 1-cup batch.
Remember, despite all the math, this dosing equation is just an estimate. Each batch of cannabis oil will have a slightly different dose, and you’ll need to tinker and experiment to find the right dose for you.
Ways to use your cannabis oil
There are many ways to use cannabis oil.
When cooking with it, cannabis oil can be used in healthy recipes or indulgent ones. Replace it with anything you may cook or bake with. This includes savory dishes like stir fries, sauces, and more. “I’ll use infused olive oils as a finishing oil over fish, chicken, or grilled vegetables, as a salad dressing oil, and drizzled over vanilla ice cream with a pinch of flaky salt,” suggests Wong.
If you use high-quality olive oil, you could even mix it with balsamic vinegar and eat it with bread. “A simple focaccia and olive oil dip are honestly, so delicious and tasty. I also love to drizzle on pasta,” says Chen.
A popular and effective option is to bake with it. Replacing any oil in a recipe with weed oil makes for a potent edible in the form of cakes, brownies, or even biscuits. You may have to adjust the heat in your recipe, however, to preserve the terpenes and cannabinoids. Do not exceed 340 degrees Fahrenheit during the baking process. “That will prevent any cannabinoids and terpenes from burning off,” says Chen.
Making cannabis oil is easy. You have options with the type of oil you use, as long as it’s fat-soluble. You can also experiment with different weed strains to find an effect and flavor you like best.
When eating the cannabis oil, start with a low milligram dose, a quarter teaspoon about 5 milligrams, and then build to see how the oil affects you. It takes time to discover what your sweet spot of dosage is. “Cannabis oils are so versatile,” says Wong. “Once you learn the rules of how to infuse and cook with cannabis oil, anything is possible.”
Lindsey Bartlett is an author, photographer, and social media editor who has documented the evolutionary cannabis industry for the past decade. Born in Denver, Colorado, today she resides in Long Beach, California. Her career includes roles at The Denver Post, The Cannabist, Marijuana Business Daily, Hemp Industry Daily, Weedmaps News, Green Entrepreneur, Marijuana Moment, Leafly, and Merry Jane.
We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
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
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
- 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.
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
- Double boiler
- Glass jar
- Tincture bottle
- A plastic syringe or glass dropper
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Glass collecting dish
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.