Choosing Your Ingredients for At-Home CBD Oil
Using a carrier oil as your solvent—we recommend MCT or coconut oils for increased bioavailability, but you could also use olive oil, hempseed oil—heck, you could even use butter! Ultimately, it’s up to you and how you want to use the finished product. You will extract CBD into the oil using heat and then strain off the plant matter, leaving CBD-enriched oil behind. The resulting oil is much easier to work with than what the alcohol method yields, and there are fewer precautions you need to take throughout the process. To do this, you’ll need:
- 1 oz of flower of your choosing, finely ground. (Purchase Flower Here) We recommend using a grinder, but even chopping up the herb with a knife beforehand is better than nothing. The smaller the pieces you can get the herb into, the more efficiently the CBD will be extracted.
- 16 oz MCT oil, coconut oil, or other oil of your choosing.
- A double boiler or crock pot—the key to this method is keeping the heat low, slow, and uniform, allowing the mixture to cook for several hours over indirect, consistent heat without risking it getting too hot and burning all your hard work away.
- Cheesecloth, for straining the finished oil.
- Utensils—use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowls and silicone spatulas for ease, as well as to keep potentially harmful plastics out of your oil.
Step 1: Decarboxylation
Since you’ve ground the herb up finely, the next step is to decarboxylate, or decarb, the flower, which changes the CBD into its active form, thereby making it more available to the body. To clarify, the CBDA (‘A’ for acidic) found in dried flowers is in its non-active form; thus, it needs to be decarboxylated into its active form, or what we traditionally think of as CBD. This can be done on a cookie sheet in an oven at 220-225 degrees Fahrenheit for about 60 minutes for maximum conversion. After the time is up, remove the flower from the oven to cool.
Note: If you want to avoid any smell of cannabis during decarboxylation or infusion, simply “sous vide” vacuum seal your cannabis and place it in boiling water for 55 minutes. This will guarantee no smell during the decarb or infusion process.
Step 2: Extraction
Once you’ve decarbed the starting material, mix your carrier oil and decarbed flower into the top of a double boiler and place over a pot of simmering (not boiling!) water. Low heat on most stovetops should be sufficient to get the water bath hot enough to extract the CBD without risking scorching the oil. You can also use a crock pot as an alternative to a double boiler.
2-3 hours is sufficient time for the CBD to dissolve into the oil; though, there is no harm in going longer. You don’t need to monitor the oil too closely: checking in every half hour or to stir and monitor its color should be sufficient. When it’s a deep, earthy brownish green, you’ll know it’s ready.
After the time is up, pour the oil and flower through some cheesecloth (coffee filters will work in a pinch) to strain off the plant matter, leaving behind the CBD-rich oil. If you’re using cheesecloth, be sure to squeeze out all the oil you can from the bundle of plant matter—a potato ricer is super handy for this, but not necessary if you don’t mind using a little elbow grease. Discard the leftover starting material, it’s work here is done. You can then place the oil in a bottle or jar and store it in a cool, dry place away from sun and other light sources.
Homemade CBD Oil: What Do I Do With It?
Congratulations, you’ve made your first batch of homemade CBD oil! The resulting oil can be used orally in the form of tinctures or made into gelatin capsules, or even added to food if the taste is unpleasant to you on its own. The oil can also be applied directly to the skin for topical pain relief, added to your favorite body care products before application, or incorporated into your diet a few drops at a time. Its uses are just as versatile as the CBD you would have bought from a retailer, only it’s custom-designed by you, for you.
In order to properly dose the CBD oil you just made, you can use our edible potency calculator here. The most important factor will be the amount of CBD contained in your starting material—any reputable supplier will be able to tell you this.
While there are a number of quality CBD oils available for purchase, making a high-quality CBD oil at home is attainable, affordable, and low-risk using the oil infusion method discussed above. Oil extraction uses indirect, low heat to gradually extract CBD without any harsh fumes or flammability precautions. It’s the safest and simplest way to supply yourself with homemade CBD oil.