How to Make Cannabis Oil

Whether you have started growing your own cannabis or buying it from a medical marijuana dispensary, you might be wondering how to make cannabis oil at home. It’s a great way to use up any leftover crop or save money from buying it from a dispensary. It’s important to not that the medical marijuana oil you buy from a dispensary does not have THC in it. THC is known most commonly as the active ingredient in cannabis that gets you high. However, it may also have positive health benefits for people with cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, PTSD, glaucoma, and many other health conditions.  

This guide on how to make cannabis oil is not for vaping or smoking purposes. It is a guide to make medical topical or edible cannabis oil to extract the health benefits of cannabis. Since you will be eating the oil or applying it directly to your skin, you will want to use cannabis that was grown organically. Here are three ways to way make cannabis oil for medicinal edible or topical use:

How to Make Cannabis Oil With a Double Boiler

Supplies:

  • 1 ounce cannabis buds or 2-3 ounces of cannabis trim
  • 1 gallon of high proof alcohol (such as Everclear or 99% pure isopropyl alcohol. Warning: Do not use any type of alcohol that isn’t made for human consumption such as rubbing alcohol.
  • 2 glass or ceramic mixing bowls (avoid using metal or plastic bowls)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Cheesecloth or bubble hash bags 
  • Double boiler pot (avoid non-stick pots such as Teflon which might leak chemicals into your oil)
  • Silicone spatula
  • Plastic syringes or storage containers

Important Safety Notes for Making Cannabis Oil

It is best to make cannabis oil outside because you will need a lot of ventilation, but if you have to work indoors avoid using gas stoves. You can use a portable burner or electric stove top. Be sure to turn on all the fans in your house and open the windows. The fumes from the alcohol can catch on fire, so ventilation is very important. Don’t not rush the cooking process or get distracted. Please take every safety precaution seriously.

Step 1: Stir Cannabis and Alcohol Together

Add the cannabis to a mixing bowl and completely cover with alcohol. Add a little extra alcohol so it is easy to stir. Mix with your wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. Make sure the alcohol is throughout mixed into the cannabis so it can extract all the resin.

Step 2: Strain the Mixture and Repeat

Strain the mixture in the cheese cloth or bubble hash bag into a clean mixing bowl. Squeeze out all the liquid from the bag into the bowl. You can repeat the mixing and straining process with fresh alcohol to extract any remaining resin from the cannabis.

Step 3: Pour the Liquid into a Double Boiler

Pour the liquid into the top pot of the double boiler and fill the bottom pot with water. It’s important to use the double boiler to create a barrier between the alcohol and the heating unit to make the whole process safer. It also allows you to slowly and evenly cook off the alcohol without burning the cannabis oil. Again be sure to have lots of fans on and open the windows if you are working inside.

Step 4: Evaporate Alcohol

Turn the heat on high until the mixture in the top pan begins to bubble. Then immediately turn off the heat. The water in the bottom burner will continue to heat the top pan and burn off the alcohol. Be sure not to breath in any of the fumes. Stir the mixture with a silicone spatula every couple of minutes to help the alcohol evaporate. If the mixture stops bubbling, turn the heat on low for a few seconds to heat up the water bath. Towards the end, only the edges will bubble. It will take about 15-25 minutes for all the alcohol to evaporate. You will be left with a very concentrated thick liquid with no bubbles left in it.

Step 5: Add Cannabis Oil to Plastic Syringes

You will need to work quickly now because as the oil continues to cool it will become thicker and harder to work with. The easiest way to store your oil is in plastic syringes (without needles) so you don’t have to deal with a sticky mess and you can dispense very small amounts. Use the plunger of the syringe to slowly extract the cannabis oil into your syringe.

Remember your cannabis oil is super concentrated you be careful. Start with an amount about half the size of a grain of rice. If you are going to apply the oil topically or would like to dilute the oil, you can mix it with coconut or canola oil.

How to Make Cannabis Oil in a Slower Cooker 

This method is great for beginners because it doesn’t require a lot of cookware or cooking skills. It’s also great if you are feeling lazy or just don’t want to worry about burning your weed on the stove top.

Step 1: Decarboxylation (Decarbing)

Because you aren’t heating up the cannabis like you would if you were smoking or vaping it, you need to heat it up another way to release the psychoactive compounds. This process is called decarboxylation or decarbing for short. All you have to do is heat it up in the oven. Be sure not cook cannabis above 400 degree Fahrenheit or you will burn the terpenes, and alter the taste and effects of the cannabis.

First preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Then grind the cannabis and place it in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake it for 30-40 minutes or until it is browner in color and dry. Let it dry then blend it in a food processor, blender, or coffee grinder until coarsely ground. Make sure to check it often so it doesn’t become a fine powder.

Step 2: Choose an Oil

High fat oils are best for absorbing the terpenes and cannabinoids. Coconut and canola oils are great choices. Canola oil is a more neutral tasting oil if you are worried about a slight coconut taste.

Step 3: Add Cannabis and Oil to Slow Cooker

Gives a whole new meaning to the word crockpot right? For every 1 to 1.5 ounces of cannabis, you will need to add 2 cups of oil. The amount of cannabis you need will vary on its potency. You might need to adjust the amount if future batches. Stir until the cannabis is soaked. Make sure there nothing sticks to the walls of the slow cooker, because it will not cook properly.

Step 4: Cook on Low

Heat for 3 hours on the lowest setting. Allow it to cool for 8 hours then repeat 1-2 more times. This will increase its potency and allow the oil to absorb all the THC and cannabinoids from the cannabis.

Step 5: Cool and Strain

After the last 8 hours of cooling, you can strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Be sure to squeeze out all the oil with a spoon or spatula. Your cannabis oil is now ready to use. You can discard the cannabis left in the strainer and store your oil in an airtight container, preferably dark colored glass to keep out light and outside odors. Be sure to store your cannabis oil in the refrigerator to increase its shelf life.  

How to Make Cannabis Oil from Vaporized Cannabis

Don’t throw away the cannabis in your vaporizer after you’ve used, turn it into cannabis oil for edibles!

Place ½ to 1 ounce of vaporized cannabis into a coffee filter or cheesecloth and tie it to form a bag. Add the bag and  ½ to 1 cup of oil (coconut or canola) or unsalted butter to a saucepan. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir it every couple of minutes. Allow the mixture to cool, squeeze the oil out of the bag, then pour it into an airtight container. You are now ready to add your cannabis oil to edibles or use it as a cooking ingredient.

Cannabis oil can be made in a double boiler or a slow cooker with a few simple supplies and steps. However, it is very important to be careful of the potential dangerous fumes and risk of catching the alcohol on fire. Be sure not use a gas stove and open lots of windows and turn on the fans to get proper ventilation. Now that you’ve learned how to make cannabis oil, you are ready to start using it. Remember to start with very small doses the size of half a grain of rice because cannabis oil is very concentrated.

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