How to make CBD oil at home
WRITTEN BY RUTH WICKHAM
Clutching the tiny bottle, I stared in disbelief at the $500 price sticker. Why must I pay so much for 50ml of oil that might only last a couple of months?
Where else could I get some CBD oil? It would be cheaper to make it myself. How hard can it be?
You can make your own CBD Oil
Good news! Making your own CBD oil is really not that hard. You don’t need to buy any expensive equipment, and it only takes a few hours.
The hardest part of the entire process for many (especially in Australia) is sourcing the cannabis.
In Australia, although medicinal cannabis and CBD can be obtained, it is a tedious and expensive process. If you don’t have medical approval, you’ll need to find your cannabis material some other way.
It’s important to be cautious when doing this, as cannabis varies widely from strains that are high in THC (the part responsible for the ‘stoned’ or ‘high’ feeling) right down to industrial hemp which is high in CBD but very low in THC (less than 0.3%).
Important to keep this in mind if ‘getting high’ isn’t the intended outcome..
CBD is a single cannabinoid, and only one of many you will find in the cannabis plant. Using the method we outline below, it’s impossible to separate CBD from other cannabinoids such as THC. This means that if you start with a high THC cannabis flower, your final product will be high THC.
How to make CBD oil
There are three ways to make CBD oil:
- CO2 extraction
- Ethanol method
- Oil method (which we’ll discuss in greater detail below)
The first method produces the purest form of CBD, with high pressure being used to force carbon dioxide through the plant material at low temperatures. The process is called Supercritical Fluid Extraction. Unless you’re familiar with industrial chemistry and are in possession of a CO2 extraction machine worth over $100,000, this method probably isn’t the one for you.
The second method uses high grade alcohol to extract the CBD. The cannabis plant is ground up, mixed with the alcohol, and heated gently over a couple of days to evaporate all of the alcohol and leave just the ‘FECO’ (Full Extract Cannabis Oil). You can do it at home, but it is both time consuming and potentially dangerous, needing safety equipment and care to avoid an explosion from the evaporating alcohol. This YouTube video explains the process.
The third method, and the one we’ll be discussing in greater depth, involves extracting the CBD using oil. It is far more practical, it will save you money, you won’t need to purchase any fancy equipment, and the process can be completed within a single day.
This is the most suitable method if you’re planning on making CBD Oil at home.
How you can make CBD Oil at home
What you need
Firstly you need some cannabis plant matter. The strain of cannabis you use (hemp or marijuana) and the parts of the plant you include – flowers, buds, leaves, stems – will determine the makeup and strength of your CBD oil, including the proportion of CBD to THC. (Note: The seeds of the hemp plant do not contain CBD).
- Cannabis plant matter – about a cupful (250ml)
- 1 cup (250 ml) Coconut ‘MCT’ oil
Oils like CBD are too strong to be used directly, so a carrier oil such as coconut oil makes accurate dosing easier. It also removes the strong odour while retaining the medicinal benefits of the CBD.
The total amount of oil you end up with will vary depending on heating method and duration. Generally speaking, you’ll end up with a similar amount of oil to that which you start with. If you use 250ml of Coconut oil, you’ll end up with roughly 250ml of total oil.
The important measurement is the amount of CBD in the cannabis, and the total amount of CBD in the final oil. This is obviously harder to measure so you’ll want to be careful to start with small doses of your final product.
- knife, scissors or blender to break up your greens into small pieces
- baking tray (you may choose to line the metal tray with baking paper)
- double boiler or crock pot (slow cooker)
- cheesecloth, strainer or coffee filter
- glass storage jar with lid
Before you start, you need to decarboxylate your plant matter. This process involves applying heat to release the cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids so that your body can use them.
Break up your plant material with the knife or scissors or with a quick whizz in the blender.
Spread a single layer of greens on the baking tray, and place it in your oven at about 1050C for about an hour. When you remove it, it should be dry and slightly crisp, but not scorched.
2. Add Carrier Oil
Mix your cooled, decarboxylated cannabis with the coconut oil, and stir well to make sure the plant matter is saturated with oil. Coconut oil solidifies at about 24 °C (76°F), so you may need to warm it gently first.
Heat it gently.
You can pour the mixture into a bowl and sit it over a pot of boiling water. Keep checking so the water doesn’t boil away.
Or you can put your mixture in a glass jar sitting on a cloth in a slow cooker and crockpot on a low setting.
Heat for 3 hours, let it sit for 3 hours, and then heat it for another 3 hours. Finally, turn off the heat and let sit until cool.
4. Strain and store
Strain your mixture through cheesecloth, squeezing out as much oil as possible. Or push it through a sieve or coffee filter. Store the oil in an airtight jar in a cool, dry, dark place.
How to use your CBD oil
You can use your oil by applying drops of it under your tongue, starting with one or two drops, two or three times a day, and building up slowly when you find out what effect it has. Many people find relief for chronic pain, sleep disorders, and other ailments, but everyone is different.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of CBD oil, check out Amber’s article.
As is the case with many things in life, making your own CBD oil has its pros and cons. You are likely to save a heap of money and control the ingredients going directly into your oil. There’s also something inherently satisfying about creating your own medicine. The trade off (especially in Australia) is difficulty obtaining cannabis flower and knowing exact percentages of CBD versus other cannabinoids.
Bought CBD comes with information about the concentration of Cannabidiol (CBD) in the oil, as well as possible Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which will help you to determine your ideal dosage.
If you’re a visual learner, this short YouTube video demonstrates the whole process very simply and clearly.
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As a retired educator, after 20 years' teaching primary school children in Australia and 10 years' training adult ESL students in 6 countries around the world, Ruth Wickham is now a freelance writer with a special interest in Cannabis for medicinal purposes.
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