There’s no longer a shortage of ways to get the benefits of CBD and THC. Gaining the mental and physical benefits of cannabis and cannabidiol is largely dependent upon how it’s consumed; each method providing a unique experience and host of effects. The three basic methods of consumption are inhalation, oral, and topical. Although there have been many advancements in the inhalation process, the effects and risks associated with smoking are widely debated, and most health professionals agree that smoke-free methods pose less risk and are medically preferred.
Cannabis oil (or “canna-oil”) is becoming an increasingly popular way of consuming cannabinoids. Much like it’s CBD counterpart, THC can be extracted from plants and infused into fatty oils for topical or oral ingestion. The benefits of canna-oil mirror those of traditional CBD and THC consumption methods and can be useful for those on high-fat healing diets for epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. It can also be used topically for pain relief, easing inflammation, treating symptoms of Psoriasis, and has even been claimed to help keep skin healthy and youthful.
Another benefit of canna-oil is the simplicity of the process—it takes no longer than a few hours, so many people choose to make it at home. THC is extremely fat-soluble, therefore the active compounds can be easily extracted, and is simply made by infusing fatty oils (such as olive, coconut, canola, or avocado oil) with cannabis.
Types of Canna-Oil
The two main types of canna-oil: vegetable oils and coconut oil. There are several high-fat cooking oils that can be used to make canna-oil. Olive oil is a popular choice because it’s rich in healthy fats and contains antioxidants. Another, more obscure option, is avocado oil due to high levels of monounsaturated fats as well as being a rich source of vitamins A, B, and E.
Coconut oil is among the most popular oil to use in canna-oil recipes. Aside from containing the highest concentration of saturated fats (beneficial for extremely potent oil), coconut oil itself has many perceived health benefits. Mixed with the healing capabilities of THC, coconut oil is thought to be a very useful tool in alternative medicine, able to treat a wide variety of ailments.
Many recipes that call for canna-oil can also use cannabis butter (cannabutter) instead of oil. Like coconut oil, butter is high in fat and will extract more cannabinoids than other options, however loses its potency in about two weeks, versus a year with oils.
Before beginning the infusion process, there are a few steps to take to maximize the potency and effectiveness of your canna-oil. Heating your cannabis before infusing it with oil helps to convert the THCA into THC. The name for this process is decarboxylation, or decarbing for short. Second, is to properly dose your canna-oil. To do so, it is important to know the amount of THC in your cannabis, the amount needed for your recipe, and the amount of oil required. There are calculators online, like this one, to determine the potency of your oil.
Decarbing Your Cannabis
These are some of the best step by step guides to preparing your cannabis for infusion.
Making canna-oil is a simple process that involves two ingredients: Cannabis and oil. However, there are a few different recipes you can follow to make canna-oil depending on the equipment you have available and how much time you want to invest.
The quickest and simplest recipe only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and is an option to quickly whip up a batch of canna-oil that can be stored for up to a year.
What you need:
¼ ounce cured cannabis flowers, ground
¼ cup cooking oil (extra virgin olive oil for this recipe)
Herb or coffee grinder
Fine mesh strainer
Shallow frying pan or saucepan
Place oil into pan
Using a wooden spoon, stir in ground and decarbed cannabis into oil over very low simmer for 10-20 minutes. Never allow oil to boil.
Remove from heat and let cool
Pour mixture through a strainer and into a bowl
Use spoon to press cooked cannabis to release more oil
Store canna-oil in a tightly sealed container. Refrigerate or keep in cool, dark place
(adapted from The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook)
Canna-oil in Slow Cooker
This method can be used with any type of cooking oil, and requires less attention than canna-oil in a pan but takes a lot more time.
What you need:
1 to 1.5 ounces of ground, decarbed cannabis
2 cups of cooking oil of choice
Fine mesh strainer
Pour oil into slow cooker
Add cannabis and stir until herb is completely covered in oil
Heat mixture for 3 hours on slow cookers lowest setting
Allow to cool for about 8 hours
Repeat heating and cooling process for increased potency (optional)
After final cooling, use strainer to strain out herb and pour oil into bowl. Use spoon to release remaining oil.
Store in tightly sealed container. Keep refrigerated or in dark cool place.
(recipe from Herb.co)
Canna-oil in Double Boiler
While is recipe takes less time to prepare than in a slow cooker, it requires the use of a double boiler. Olive oil or canola oils is recommended for this recipe, but can also use coconut.
What you need:
Double boiler (purchased or homemade)
1 ounce of cannabis (ground and decarbed)
3 – 3.5 cup of oil
Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer
Fill bottom pan with a few inches of water
Pour oil into top pan
Place over medium heat (gentle boil – NOT a rolling boil)
Add cannabis once oil is warm and almost simmering
Stir frequently while keeping oil close to simmering (if it boils, remove from heat and lower temperature)
Continue for 1-2 hours
Strain mixture through strainer or cheesecloth and into bowl
Using spoon, press cooked cannabis to release more oil
Store in tightly sealed container in refrigerator or dark, cool place
(recipe from Weedlist)
Best Coconut Canna-oil Recipes
Since coconut oil is very high in fats, it is able to absorb more cannabinoids than most cooking oils. Since coconut oil is solid, recipes for using coconut oil vary a bit.
Canna-oil in a French Press
What you need:
Bowl filled with ice water
French press coffee maker
Heat-resistant glass dish or baking tin
¼ ounce of cannabis
5 ounces oil
Soak and blanch herb
- Coarsely grind dry herb, soak in distilled water for 24-48 hours.
- Change water twice a day to clean and remove impurities
- The next day, place herb in tea strainer. Bring water to a boil in pot
- Place tea strainer in boiling water for 5 minutes
- Remove strainer then place in bowl of ice water for 1 minute
- Remove herb from strainer and wring out excess water
Dry and Decarb
Once herb is decarbed, pour oil into french press placed standing up in a pot of simmering water
Mix cannabis into oil and cover french press. Press plunger to just above the oil
Gently simmer for 4 hours. Check water level every 20 mins to ensure it’s even with or slightly higher than plunger
After 4 hours, remove french press from pot, push plunger all the way down and strain oil into clean jar.
(recipe from Jeff the 420 Chef)