CBD oil: Sought after by many for it’s myriad of potential health benefits, ranging from anxiety to muscle spasms, procuring CBD for personal use has never been easier. Many major market chains are starting to sell CBD oil products, and even without the support of big box retailers local stores are booming with sales of CBD. But as we’ve opined before CBD oil can be expensive (1), and though popping out to the store to pick up a ready made product is certainly easy, what if you wanted to make CBD oil at home?
Well, as it turns out, making DIY CBD oil at home and from scratch may just be easier than you think. With a little carrier oil, some hemp flowers, and a bit of patience, you too can learn how to make high quality CBD oil from the comfort of your own kitchen. So without any further ado, let’s dive in to how to make your very own homemade CBD oil.
Different Strains, Different Chemicals
CBD and THC are both harvested from the same plant, but usually from different strains; for a “hemp plant” strain to be grown legally in all 50 states of the USA, it must contain only trace amounts of THC content – less than 0.3% – in the plant’s chemical makeup. This means a strain grown for CBD purposes is vastly different from a strain grown for for making a THC-heavy product.
When CBD-prominent cannabis plants are harvested they can make their way to the end consumer in a variety of fashions. Some farms will sell dried flower directly, which can then be used to make assorted concentrates, edibles, or even just smoked out-right. Ordering an ounce of legal, high quality, CBD-rich cannabis through the mail may seem a bit strange (and feel even stranger when you open up your big box of green hemp flower) but this can be a cheaper, easy-to-source alternative for those willing to put in some extra elbow grease.
Also popular are what’s known as “isolates”, which are distillates of the hemp plant that primarily (or entirely) contain CBD. This is a product typically made by subjecting the hemp plant matter to a variety of chemical extractions and vacuum procedures, resulting in a fine powder. There are three main types of CBD isolates available, and it pays to know which is which if looking to make your own CBD oil from scratch. They are:
- CBD Isolate: This isolate contains nothing but CBD. All terpenes and other cannabinoids have been removed – This is nothing but pure, 100% CBD powder.
- Broad Spectrum Isolate: Broad Spectrum isolates have removed all other cannabinoids, but left the associated terpenes of the plant inside the resulting powder.
- Full Spectrum Isolate: Full Spectrum isolates retain the terpenes of Broad Spectrum isolates but also include a small amount of THC. As THC is federally illegal in the United States, Full Spectrum CBD products can only be sold in states that have legalized either medical or recreational marijuana use.
Again, knowing the difference between these products can be important, depending on the end user – Making CBD oil out of Full Spectrum isolate may not work out too well for someone who has, say, a routine drug test.
Make Sure to Decarb
An important note: Much like when using THC-laden cannabis, any hemp plants being used for making CBD oil and extracts must be subjected to decarboxylation first. Decarbing is an important step in ensuring your cannabinoids – be they THC or CBD – are activated and able to be utilized by the metabolic system in the human body.
This should only apply to raw cannabis plants, not isolate; CBD isolate should already be ‘active’ and ready to use. For more information on decarboxylation check out our related article on “How to Properly Decarb Your Weed” (2) (which focuses on THC but all relevant information within applies to CBD as well).
How to Make CBD Oil From Scratch
There are three major components to making your own CBD oil at home: Base, ingredient, and method. For this article’s purposes our “base” will be oil, so let’s start there.
Choosing Your Oil
This is mainly up to personal preference, though there are some points to consider. Almost any edible oil will work for this recipe – Want to infuse some flax oil? Go for it. Got a bottle of expensive walnut oil hanging around? Knock yourself out. But bear in mind that some oils are more volatile than others, and in general the more flavorful a carrier oil is, the more likely it is to go rancid. There are three different types of oil that are traditionally popular for making CBD extractions at home:
Canola or Vegetable Oil:
The lightest and least flavorful of the three on this list, and the least likely to spoil quickly. Vegetable oil has an excellent shelf life and very little in the way of taste – You can expect this to change after letting cannabis buds steep in it half the day long but it does mean there won’t be any competing flavors involved.
Olive oil has a place in the pantry of almost everyone, and olive oil is often used for these sorts of extractions simply because “it’s there” and everyone’s already familiar with it. Olive oil isn’t a bad choice for an extraction but it is very heavy flavor-wise (and in a way that doesn’t always compliment the… sharply ‘green’ taste of cannabis), and can have issues with rancidity – Good in a pinch, but other options may work better than olive oil.
Very popular due to it’s versatility in a wide range of recipes, coconut oil has a unique molecular makeup that allows it to stay solid at room temperature, only turning into a liquid when exposed to heat. Though claims of coconut oil’s “health benefits” may be a bit overblown (3) the additional flavor coconut oil imparts to a dish often compliments the somewhat grassy, “green” flavor that cannabis brings to the party. Do note, though, that coconut oil tends to have the worst shelf life out of the oils we’ve listed, and we recommend making sure your end infusion is kept well-sealed and in a dark, cool location.
Choosing Your Method
When infusing any kind of cannabis with any kind of oil “low and slow” is going to be your best option for heat. Though CBD rich hemp flowers can be infused cold (see notes below) heating your carrier oil + cannabis mixture will help the speed the process along – But within bounds, as high heat means running the risk of damaging your end infusion. That means selecting a process for making CBD oil that offers good temperature control, and for that we have two recommendations:
The Double Boiler Method:
A double boiler is a common culinary setup for making delicate sauces, working with chocolate, or any fashion of cooking where direct contact with heat can cause problems – This makes a double boiler perfect when learning how to make CBD oil.
Though dedicated double boiler setups can be bought they can also be replicated at home easily enough with a pot filled half-way with water, and either a wide steel bowl or another pot; you want your second vessel to be able to fit snugly (but not air-tight) into the first.
Place your water-filled pot onto the stove top and set your secondary pot/bowl on top, turning the burner on to medium-low. As the water in the first pot begins to heat it turns into steam, which gently transfers warmth into the second container.
Into this container place your oil of choice and your hemp/cannabis plant. Stir to combine and leave to steep – How long depends on your personal preference, but we recommend a minimum time of at least 2 hours. Keep an eye on it during the steep, and never let the temperature exceed 200°F – Any higher and you run the risk of cannabinoid compounds (namely your cannabidiol) evaporating into the air.
The Slow Cooker Method:
Similar to the above, if kept on the “low” setting a slow cooker is also a good method infusing your CBD oil with gentle heat. For this you’ll need a slow cooker (obviously) and a tall, wide-mouth jar.
Fill your jar with your oil and hemp plant before setting it down into your slow cooker. Now fill your slow cooker with water until it reaches roughly half-way up the outside of the filled jar. Turn your slow cooker onto the low setting and let steep for several hours; we recommend 4 as a minimum in this extraction process. This method doesn’t require intense watching but check in every so often to ensure the water hasn’t evaporated out of the slow cooker – If it’s looking a little low just gently pour in a bit more.
It’s worth noting here that both of these methods for making CBD oil (and any process involving both cannabis and heat) will make your entire living space smell riotously of weed. If you have ever decarbed cannabis on your own or been in the presence of someone making edibles you understand what this sentence means – If you have not, then know that warm infusing your own CBD oil at home also means letting every neighbor you have know that you’re cooking with weed.
The Room Temperature Option
If you live in an area where cannabis use hasn’t been legalized, this can cause some concerns – Though your CBD oil is completely legal under federal law, differentiating the smell of CBD and THC isn’t something local law enforcement is usually trained on. If smell is an issue, you can also do a cold infusion of your CBD oil – Simply combine your decarbed plant material in a jar, secure the lid tightly, and store in a dark location for a minimum of two weeks.
While your CBD infusion sits, make sure to stop in once every day or two to give the container a shake – This will help prevent the hemp flowers from settling in a fashion that makes the cannabinoids more difficult to leech out. While this method certainly is an option for those needing a bit more stealth in their CBD oil infusion technique this process isn’t entirely effective, and it certainly isn’t fast; for those needing to do a cold extraction of their CBD, we recommend looking into recipes for alcohol-based tincture products instead.
Filtering Your CBD Oil
Now that your oil has been CBD infused it’s down to the final step: Filtration.
Regardless of which method you used, filtration stays the same. First line a container with cheese cloth or otherwise use a vessel that can hold a coffee filter in place. Then, pour your steeped oil & leftover hemp flower into the filter, letting it sit and drain for as long as it needs. From here you can give your remaining cannabis buds a squeeze if you’d like to free all the remaining oil, but be warned this can impart both additional color and flavor to the end product that may not be desired.
Once strained & drained your CBD oil is now finished! Regardless of your oil choice, be it olive oil or even peanut, we recommend making sure it’s kept well-sealed and in a dark, cool location; now that your carrier oil has been steeped additional volatile compounds have been introduced, increasing its likelihood of going rancid. Keeping your CBD oils (and other cannabis products) in air-tight containers in a dark location (IE: a closed pantry) will help make sure they have the best possible shelf life.
From here you can use your new homemade CBD oil however you’d like – Using it as an ingredient for high quality CBD infused gummies or cookies are certainly an option, but cannabis oil can also be taken by itself plain as a dietary supplement. Whichever way you choose to consume your CBD product we hope our article on how to make CBD oil has helped – Enjoy!