If you can't use cannabutter, consider an alternative such as infused coconut oil! With this simple recipe, you'll be on your way to bliss in no time! Coconut oil can be infused with cannabis and used in various edible recipes, often as an alternative to cannabutter. Learn its benefits and how to make it yourself. Come learn how to easily make your own cannabis-infused oil, ready to use in medicated edible recipes, topical salves, or even enjoy straight on its own.
Infuse Anything With This Simple Cannabis Coconut Oil Recipe
Cannabis coconut oil is an excellent alternative to the more traditional edible baker favorite: cannabutter . Not only is cannabis infused coconut oil non-dairy and vegan, but it is also an incredibly effective carrier oil for one of this author’s favorite compounds: THC .
Edibles are a fantastic way to medicate for many reasons. Firstly, the effects of edibles last longer than smoking or vaping. Typically the effects of smoking or vaping can wear off in as little as 20 minutes. Edibles are effective for hours. Another benefit is that oftentimes smaller doses are more effective, so your flower will last longer. And, if you like to be in your kitchen, it is incredibly fun customizing your edibles to your liking.
Why is coconut oil a favorite option for home edible makers everywhere? Coconut oil is high in saturated fat. This means that those yummy little THC and CBD molecules have plenty of fatty acids to grab on to during the infusion process. THC loves fat. So much so that the effects of edible cannabis are most prominent when ingested in a fatty recipe or food (this is probably why cannabutter or cannaoil brownies are so popular). It’s important to keep this in mind when choosing recipes for your own medication making at home, so that you’ll enjoy the full health benefits.
What Can You Do With Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil?
Cannabis infused coconut oil should be an essential in any edible maker’s pantry. It is incredibly shelf stable and, more importantly, versatile. You can use it in place of butter or other vegetable oils in nearly any recipe. You can add a spoonful of cannabis coconut oil to coffee or tea (author’s tip: skip the caffeine if you’re prone to anxiety). You can spread a little on your toast at breakfast, or cook some protein or vegetables in it. You can even just take coconut oil directly, by the spoonful without any other cooking, mixing, or recipe researching.
Furthermore, cannabis coconut oil can be used as a topical ointment, massage oil, or lubricant. Another check in the pro column is that coconut oil is incredibly shelf stable if stored correctly.
Calculating the Right Doses
For those who are new to making edibles, you might be wondering how to calculate dosage. Without a testing device or a lab, you’ll end up with more of an estimate than an exact dosage. Remember, you’ll want to take it slow with your first few taste tests to make sure you’re not underestimating your dose too much.
To calculate the dose of your edibles or infusions, you’ll first need to know the approximate THC percentage of the flower. Typically you can get this information from the dispensary. If the flower came from a homegrown plant, you may be able to find an estimated percentage on the web for the strain, or just go with an average of 15%.
For the purposes of this equation, let’s assume the flower we’re using is 15% THC. We also need to know that one gram weighs 1000 milligrams.
If the cannabis flower is 15% THC, that means each gram has a maximum of 150 mg of THC. You most likely won’t be able to extract each and every one of those milligrams. On the high end, you can possibly expect 100 mg of THC. If you prefer stronger edibles, assume you’ll have only 30% absorption (or in this example about 50 mg per gram of flower), so you can be sure to get the dosing right. You can always cut your infusion with more coconut oil. Remember: it’s a lot easier to weaken the dose than strengthen it.
The next thing you’ll need to know is what you want the final dose per edible to be. Is it 10mg? 50? If you’re a newbie, start at 10 and work your way up from there. You’ll also need to decide: how many edibles are you going to make? A dozen cookies? A square pan of brownies cut into 9 equal pieces?
Multiply the dose by the number of finished medicated treats, and you’ll know the total amount of THC you’ll need in your recipe. Let’s say we’re making 9 brownies, and we’d like them to be 10 mg each. We know our flower is 15% THC. We would only need 1 gram of cannabis flower for this recipe. Maybe two if we’re under assuming the rate of absorption. You can calculate the potency of your infused oil using Veriheal’s Edible Dosage Calculator .
Is Lecithin Necessary to Use?
Lecithin is an excellent additive for infusions. Anecdotal evidence indicates that lecithin can aid in the absorption of THC and other cannabinoids in the body . Is it necessary? No.
However, when making certain kinds of edibles, like gummies, or other recipes that might be water heavy, it can help in integrating the oil or fats into water-based treats. If you’re making a recipe that calls for eggs in it, you’re covered in the lecithin department.
An additional benefit to using lecithin in baked goods is that it can help prevent your cookies or cakes from being too dry. Sometimes infused butter and cannaoil can make your final product a little on the dry side. However, you can also combat this by making infused cannaoil that is twice as strong and then cutting it in the final recipe with an equal amount of regular butter or coconut oil.
Choose the Right Oil
You may be wondering, “can I use vegetable oil to make canna oil?” The answer is technically yes with a caveat. There is a reason that most experienced home edible makers and bakers recommend coconut oil and/or butter and that has everything to do with saturated fat content.
As mentioned above, THC and CBD are fat lovers. They are compounds that fall into the lipophile category. These compounds are fat soluble. So you want to go with the fattiest fats and oil for maximum absorption and effect in your edibles.
For comparison, coconut oil is about 60% saturated fat, whereas olive oil is only about 20%. That means olive oil is about 60% less effective at absorbing THC.
Why Decarboxylation Is Important
One of the most essential steps for making cannaoil is decarboxylation, aka decarbing. Decarboxylation is the process of activating the THC or CBD in your flower, so it can be infused into the coconut oil. In its raw form, the cannabinoids in the flower are not able to be processed in the same way, or with the same effect, in your body.
When you smoke, you use a flame to activate the cannabinoids in cannabis. Unlike with smoking, to decarb flower for edibles, you’ll use a baking sheet, and your oven in an incredibly simple process. You do not want to skip this part and miss out on the full potential of your cannabis infusions.
Cannabis Infusion Ratio
For the completely new edible maker, it may be tricky to figure out how much cannabis to use per cup of oil. A good rule of thumb is to use about a quarter to a half ounce of plant material per 1 cup of oil. You can always use less, and you can definitely use more. But this is a safe ratio to use. You don’t want to use so much flower that you’re unable to maximize the extraction, and you don’t want to use so little that you have to eat an entire pie to get your dosing correct.
Best Straining Method
The best way to strain your crock pot cannabis coconut oil is using a mesh strainer, and cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter. You will want to use a very fine, tight woven cheesecloth, but not so fine that the oil is getting caught in the strainer.
List of Supplies Needed to Make Cannabis Coconut Oil
To make cannabis coconut oil, you will need the following tools and supplies:
- 1 cup of coconut oil
- 7-14 grams of cannabis flower
- Baking sheet
- Tinfoil/Aluminum foil
- Mesh strainer
- Mason jar
- Medium saucepan or crock pot/slow cooker
How to Make Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil
Step 1: Decarboxylate your cannabis
Weigh your cannabis flower and then roughly break it apart and spread it in an even layer on a baking sheet. Flower should be broken up into even-sized pieces, so that it decarbs evenly. You can use a grinder to grind the flower into smaller pieces. Bake the flower in an oven that has been preheated to 240 degrees fahrenheit for approximately 45 minutes. To preserve the terpenes , cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil, and allow the flower to come to room temperature while remaining covered.
Step 2: Combine flower and coconut oil
Place your flower and coconut oil in a mason jar (choose a size that will fit in your crock pot with the lid on). Stir gently. Add the lid to the mason jar, and screw it on tight enough to prevent outside water from getting into the jar, but not so tight that it will fully seal during the infusion process.
Step 3: Give the jar a hot bath
Place the mason jar in a crock pot filled with room temperature water. You’ll want to make sure there’s enough water to cover the jar (or jars if you’re making several batches or splitting one batch among several smaller jars). Optional: line the crockpot with a towel to protect the jars from bumping into each other.
Step 4: Let it simmer
Set the crock pot on low and let it simmer for a minimum of 2 hours, up to 6 hours. Stir or shake the jars occasionally.
Step 5: Strain the flower out
Once the coconut oil is infused, and the jar(s) has had a chance to cool down enough to handle, you’ll need to remove the plant matter from the cannabis. Line a mesh strainer with some cheesecloth, and pour the oil through into a new, clean storage container or jar. Allow the oil to fully drain. You can gently squeeze the cheese cloth, or press the raffinate down to expel more oil, but this may introduce more chlorophyll into your cannabis coconut oil. Seal the new jar and store.
- Stovetop and Mason Jar:
- Instead of using a crockpot, you can accomplish the same kind of infusion method using a saucepan filled with water. Start with cold or room temperature water, and let the water boil for two hours. Keep an eye on the pot though. You’ll want to replenish with more hot water as it boils off, especially if your mason jar is too large to cover with the pot lid.
- Rather than doing a water bath, you can place both your coconut oil and decarboxylated plant material in a saucepan and simmer together on low heat for up to two hours. You’ll need to keep a close eye on this method though, because you run the risk of the oil getting too hot and ruining the final product. You do not want to fry your flower. Not unlike consuming edibles, when infusing you want to go low and slow.
- The double boiler method is more or less the same as using a saucepan and a mason jar or the crockpot. Water goes in the bottom, flower and oil go in the top, and let it simmer for 2-6 hours.
Best Way to Store Your Cannabis Coconut Oil
One of the strengths of cannabis infused coconut oil is that it is incredibly shelf stable and can last for quite some time. If stored properly, cannabis infused coconut oil has a shelf life from 2-3 months stored at room temperature, and up to three years if stored in your fridge, before degradation starts to change the potency and flavor.
To store the cannabis coconut oil, you’ll need a clean, dry, airtight container or jar. And you’ll most likely want to keep it in a cool dark place (like a pantry or kitchen cabinet), or in your refrigerator. An amber or dark colored jar can protect your infusion from degradation by protecting it from the light.
Learning to infuse DIY coconut cannaoil may seem like a daunting task, but the truth is with a little time and patience you’ll be able to find the perfect dose, method, and recipes for your lifestyle. Cannabis-infused coconut oil is a staple ingredient in many home chefs’ kitchens for a reason, so put this article into practice and find out for yourself. And don’t forget to leave a comment down below and let everyone know how you have used your own cannabis coconut oil.
Cannabis and coconut oil: Benefits, uses & how to make it
Cannabis compounds like cannabinoids are lipid soluble, and bind to fats. Coconut oil has a high concentration of fatty acids, or saturated fats, which are great for cannabinoids to bind to.
Compared to olive oil, which usually contains a saturated fat content of less than 20%, or butter, with about 60% saturated fats, coconut oil usually contains over 80% saturated fats. This means coconut oil can retain more cannabinoids during infusion, making it more potent.
Coconut oil also has a higher smoke point, so it can be heated at a higher temperature with less of a chance of burning it.
Weed butter vs. coconut oil: Is coconut oil or butter better for edibles?
Many commercial baked good edibles use either infused butter or coconut oil. Which is best is a matter of preference and dietary needs. Coconut oil’s high fat content means it can absorb a higher concentration of cannabinoids. It’s also vegan for consumers who choose to abstain from animal products or have lactose intolerance.
Butter, on the other hand, has a better flavor and feel when incorporated in a baked good. It also suits those with tree nut allergies.
Coconut oil uses and health benefits
Coconut oil has an abundance of heathy fatty acids, making it ideal for people looking for a healthier cannabis oil base than butter, canola, or olive oil.
Coconut oil also remains solid at room temperature, making it easy to store and also a great medium for a topical.
Its solid state makes it easy to work with and dose into gelatin capsules to make cannabis pills and dose accurately for oral consumption.
Choosing the right coconut oil for your weed infusion
Coconut oils for sale in health food stores and online fall into one of two broad categories: refined and unrefined (virgin). By virtue of its minimal processing, unrefined coconut oil maintains the fresh, tropical aroma and flavor of the coconut, as well as the fruit’s antioxidants. This makes it ideal for use in topical recipes and if the flavor isn’t an issue.
Refined coconut oil, on the other hand, has often been through deodorizing and bleaching processes that result in a milder flavor and higher smoking point, making it better suited to baking and infusions.
MCT oil made from coconut oil contains the same healthy fats as regular coconut oil, but the molecules are smaller, and thus easier to digest.
All of these options will suit all the recipes listed throughout this guide, depending on your preferences.
How to make cannabis-infused coconut oil
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Saucepan, stock pot, d ouble-boiler, or slow cooker
- Mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- Container for cannabis oil
- Cannabis grinder (optional)
- 1 cup ground cannabis flower (7-10 grams)
- 1 cup coconut oil
When making cannabis coconut oil, we recommend a 1:1 ratio of cannabis to oil. If you want milder effects, use less cannabis.
How to Make Homemade Cannabis Oil (or CBD Oil)
Are you interested in making your own cannabis-infused oil? I don’t blame you! Making homemade cannabis oil is a great way to create a highly healing, concentrated, and versatile cannabis product. It is ready to use in edible recipes, topical salves, or even enjoy straight on its own. Especially if you use organic homegrown cannabis like we do, this is an excellent way to use up any extra or “fluffy” stuff too. It also happens to be very easy to make cannabis oil at home!
Follow along with these step-by-step instructions to learn how to make homemade cannabis oil. We’ll also briefly discuss the science behind cannabis oil, and what types of cannabis to use to make oil. Finally, we’ll go over various ways to use homemade cannabis oil, including some notes about caution and dosing with edibles.
What is Cannabis-Infused Oil
Cannabis oil is made by lightly heating (and thus infusing) cannabis in a “carrier oil”. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC, the most active components in cannabis, are both hydrophobic. That means they don’t like water, and are actually repelled by water molecules. On the flip side, CBD and THC are both fat-soluble. They like to bind with fatty acid molecules – such as those found in oil. When cannabis is steeped in oil, the THC and CBD molecules leave the buds or plant material and become one with the oil instead.
A wide variety of oils can be used to make cannabis oil. However, coconut oil and olive oil are the most popular and common. Coconut oil and olive oil are both pleasant-tasting and very nourishing for skin, making them versatile options for either medicated edibles or topical applications. Plus, they both have strong natural antifungal and antimicrobial properties. This helps prevent mold and extends the shelf life of your cannabis oil. Coconut oil is higher in saturated fat, which may bind fat-loving cannabinoids even more readily than olive oil.
Hemp Oil, CBD Oil, THC, or…
Your choice! You can make cannabis-infused oil with hemp or marijuana, depending on what is legal and available in your area. Or, what you’re desired end-results are. Hemp oil will only contain CBD (or a very minuscule amount of THC), while marijuana-infused oil will likely contain both THC and CBD. The ratio and concentration of THC and/or CBD depends on the strain of marijuana and particular plant it came from.
Generally speaking, THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. But THC does a lot more than change your state of mind! Studies show that THC has even stronger pain and stress-relieving properties than CBD, which is known to help with insomnia, seizures and inflammation. While they each have notable and distinct stand-alone benefits, an oil or salve containing both CBD and THC has the highest potential for a wide array of health benefits (albeit illegal in some places). Known as the “entourage effect”, the synergistic combination of both THC and CBD through whole-plant cannabis consumption and extracts is more powerful than either one on its own.
I personally like to use strains that are high in both THC and CBD to make oil and salves. To learn more about the differences between strains, CBD and THC, see this article: “Sativa, Indica & Autoflowers, the Differences Explained”.
Why Make Cannabis Oil
Cannabis oil is the foundation ingredient for ultra-healing homemade topical lotions, ointments, and salves – my favorite way to use it! Both THC and CBD have excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that cannabinoids have the ability to reduce acne, fine lines and wrinkles, soothe redness and irritation, and balance natural skin oils. Also, cannabinoids (THC especially) are analgesic – meaning they reduce pain. I regularly use our homemade cannabis salve on my knees, ankles, and other aching or inflamed joints and muscles.
Furthermore, making cannabis oil is one of the most reliable ways to create medicated edible cannabis products. Even so, it is extremely difficult to determine the exact potency of homemade edibles or cannabis oil. Because of this, it is suggested to consume with caution in very small doses at first. Cannabis oil can be consumed on its own, or added to other edible cannabis recipes. (I personally prefer to make homemade cannabis tinctures over edibles.)
On the other hand, simply chopping up weed to add to your brownie mix is not a good idea, for many reasons. As we already explored, cannabinoids are fat-soluble. That means that they not only bind with oils during the infusion process, but also that cannabinoids are more readily absorbed and digested in our bodies when they’re consumed with fat – such as oil. If you add raw cannabis to baked goods, it is less likely that the cannabinoids will bind to fats for a consistent and effective edible experience. Using decarboxylated cannabis to make cannabis oil further increases precision and consistency.
Using Decarboxylated Cannabis for Oil
The cannabinoid compounds found in raw cannabis (THCA and CBDA) are not the same as those found in cannabis that has been heated – such as those inhaled (THC and CBD) when you ignite or vaporize cannabis, or when cooking with cannabis. The process of heating and “activating” cannabis is called decarboxylation. It is what makes cannabis psychoactive, and also more potent for medicinal applications.
Yet when it comes to heating cannabis, it is best to do so low, slow, and methodically. There are time and temperature “sweet spots” where raw THCA and CBDA are converted into active THC and CBD. But without a precise process, over-heating or under-heating cannabis can lead to uneven activation of THC and CBD. Even worse, it may even destroy the THC or CBD altogether!
The content (activation or decomposition) of THC with time and temperature. Note that CBD takes about 2x as long at the same temperatures. Graph courtesy of 420 Magazine
Most cannabis oil recipes call for cannabis that has already been properly decarboxylated first. The most common and fuss-free way is to decarb cannabis in the oven, and then add it to oil over a very low heat afterwards – avoiding further decarboxylation. Some folks choose to decarb their raw cannabis on the stovetop simultaneously with the oil infusion process. However, that requires significantly more careful monitoring to hit that time-temperature sweet spot (and not ruin it).
Therefore, our cannabis oil recipe calls for decarboxylated cannabis as well. I provide very brief instructions on how to decarb raw cannabis below, but you can read further information about exactly how and why to decarb cannabis in the oven in this article.
1 cup of loosely ground decarboxylated cannabis. To be more precise, I suggest to use a kitchen scale to weigh out approximately 7 to 10 grams (a quarter ounce or just over), depending on your tolerance.