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How to make CBD oil

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Contents

  1. What is CBD oil?
  2. History of CBD oil laws
  3. Making CBD oil
  4. Choosing an oil
  5. Dosing CBD oil
  6. Bottom line

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is a refined hemp extract that has been added to a carrier oil. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that produces only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis component that can produce a psychoactive “high.” In fact, hemp is defined as having less than 0.3 % THC. Instead of producing THC, hemp plants contain mainly cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp has a long history of use for making fiber for textiles and rope, and has been bred to be tall and skinny with very small flowers, or buds.

CBD oil is a refined hemp extract that has been added to a carrier oil. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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The explosive popularity of non-intoxicating cannabis products containing CBD has led to the development of a booming $1 billion industry. Those who seek CBD’s medical benefits can consume a diversity of CBD-infused foods, supplements, and drinks. CBD oil has been used to treat wide-ranging symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, depression, and acne.

CBD additives come in many forms, but all fall into three major categories: CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, and CBD isolate. While “CBD oil” and “CBD-rich cannabis oil” may seem like two words for the same product, they differ significantly, mainly due to the fact that two distinct kinds of cannabis are used to make each.

History of CBD oil laws

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 made all cannabis varieties, including hemp, completely illegal, but the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp for fiber, while also legalizing the extraction of CBD from hemp if the hemp was grown in accordance with the law. This bill led to the rapid expansion of CBD products including oils, balms, creams, and gummies.. Interstate commerce of these products lies in a legal gray area because CBD and cannabis extracts are still considered a Schedule 1 narcotic, but the United States Drug Enforcement Agency has not enforced this regulation on businesses that sell CBD oil.

Making CBD oil

On a large scale, CBD oil is made by extracting entire hemp plants creating a crude paste, which is then refined in several ways and added to a carrier oil. Other minor cannabis components with some medical benefits, (such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabidivarin (CBDV), are extracted alongside with CBD. Terpenes, the components responsible for the smell of cannabis and other flowers and plants, are sometimes reintroduced to harness additional medical benefits. Because CBD oil contains other components, it may be referred to as broad spectrum CBD oil, which reportedly has greater benefits than if CBD is taken on its own.

CBD oil is made by extracting entire hemp plants creating a crude paste, which is then refined in several ways and added to a carrier oil. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Making CBD-rich cannabis oil

This type of CBD product generally refers to a cannabis extract high in CBD that has not necessarily been added to a carrier oil. Instead of using hemp plants, this product is produced using drug-type cannabis plants bred to make mostly CBD, and little THC. Drug-type cannabis differs from hemp in that it has been bred for generations to make large buds coated in THC-rich cannabis resin that are prime for smoking and making into edibles and topical salves. While drug-type cannabis typically produces high levels of THC, interest in the medical benefits of CBD has motivated people to breed high-CBD plants. High-CBD drug-type cannabis produces much more CBD per plant than hemp does, but because of their lineage, they are not legal to grow under the 2018 Farm Bill. These CBD plants are, however, legal to grow in certain states with medical and recreational cannabis laws, and cannabis extracts made using these plants may be purchased in those states.

Making CBD isolate

CBD isolate is, in short, pure CBD. Isolate is made by refining CBD oil or CBD-rich cannabis oil. Due to the low cost of growing hemp versus high-CBD drug-type plants, CBD oil is often a cheaper source than CBD-rich cannabis oil for the production of CBD isolate. CBD isolate is a white, slightly sticky powder.

CBD isolate is a crystalline solid or powder that contains pure CBD. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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How to make CBD oil at home

To fully harness the medical benefits of CBD, customizing the consistency, potency, and carrier liquid of your of CBD oil for your needs is essential. The most straightforward and efficient way to make your own CBD oil is to start with CBD isolate, which is readily available in dispensaries and online from reputable sources. Another easy way to administer CBD oil is by dissolving it in alcohol, to make what is known as a tincture.

Tools for making CBD oil

Many of the tools needed for the home production of CBD oils or tinctures are likely to be things you already have in your kitchen or medicine cabinet. A jeweler’s scale that can measure grams two places past the decimal point is a must to accurately measure your CBD isolate and can be purchased fairly cheaply online. A spoon or small scoop will be needed to transfer the measured CBD isolate to a storage container. Additionally, you will need either oil or alcohol. The exact type will be your preference, but some properties of each need to be considered before making a purchase. The simplest way to dose the CBD oil or tincture precisely is by using a dropper bottle that indicates how much it delivers; these typically measure out 1 milliliter for the whole dropper. Measuring the oil or alcohol is most easily done with an oral syringe.

Choosing an oil

As CBD isolate is neutral in taste, the oil in which it is dissolved will dictate the flavor of the final product. An unflavored oil, such as medium chain triglyceride oil, commonly known as MCT oil, will make for a neutral tasting product. Strong-tasting oils, such as coconut and olive, may be used as well if desired. Coconut oil is often solid at room temperature as it has a high content of saturated fat, so it will need to be heated carefully for making CBD oil. If you’re making a tincture instead of an oil, a high grain alcohol is key. Liquor is diluted with water to an alcohol content of 40 -50 %, which is not suitable for dissolving CBD because of the high water content (CBD is not soluble in water). High-grain alcohol (90 % or greater) is needed for full incorporation.

As CBD isolate is neutral in taste, the oil in which it is dissolved will dictate the flavor of the final product. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Dosing CBD oil

The first crucial step in the process of making CBD oil or tinctures is deciding the desired potency. Assuming you want to administer your oil or tincture with a dropper bottle, it is necessary to know milligrams of CBD delivered per milliliter of oil/tincture. Most dropper bottles hold 1 fluid ounce (1 fluid ounce

30 milliliters). Dissolving 600 milligrams of CBD in 30 milliliters of liquid will make an oil/tincture that delivers 20 milligrams of CBD per milliliter (600 mg ÷ 30 mL = 20 mg/mL). To make a higher potency oil/tincture, dissolve more CBD in the same volume; the total milligrams of CBD you add, divided by the total volume of the oil/alcohol you add, will give you the potency in milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL).

The first crucial step in the process of making CBD oil or tinctures is deciding the desired potency. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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If you’re using any oil except for coconut, weigh the desired amount of CBD isolate on a notecard on your scale. Fold one edge of the notecard, place the folded angle into the edge of the dropper bottle, and carefully tap the notecard until the CBD falls into the bottle (do this over a clean tray to gather anything that may have fallen during the process). Pour your measured amount of oil or alcohol into the dropper bottle (30 milliliters or 1 fluid ounce if you follow the guide above). Shake and swirl; the heat from your hand will help dissolve the CBD, but it may take a few minutes. The final product is shelf-stable and ready to administer orally, into topicals, or into foods and drinks.

Due to its higher saturated fat content, coconut oil is mostly solid at room temperature (unless you’re in a very hot climate) and therefore cannot be administered with a dropper bottle. The coconut oil must be heated until liquid before dissolving the CBD. You can simply heat a measured amount of oil for your desired dose in a small pot or saucepan at a very low temperature. It is important to monitor the oil for signs of overheating and adjust the temperature accordingly. Alternatively, a double boiler can be used in place of a saucepan.

If you prefer to make a tincture but are concerned with the high alcohol content needed, glycerine can be used to dilute alcohol-based tinctures. CBD is not particularly soluble in glycerine on its own; however, CBD already dissolved in alcohol can be fully incorporated with glycerine to dilute or sweeten the tincture. Dosing will need to be adjusted with the addition of a larger volume of fluid. This can easily be done by making the initial tincture more potent and diluting it down with glycerine to your desired concentration.

Bottom line

You can channel the potential health benefits of CBD oil at home, but you should consult your physician before beginning a regimen and verify any applicable state or local laws.

How to make CBD oil Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD oil? History of CBD oil laws Making CBD oil Choosing an oil

Cannabis tinctures 101: How to make, consume, and dose them

What is a cannabis tincture?

Cannabis tinctures are alcohol-based cannabis extracts—essentially, cannabis-infused alcohol. In fact, tinctures were the main form of cannabis medicine until the United States enacted cannabis prohibition. They’re a great entry point for both recreational and medical consumers looking to ease into smokeless consumption methods.

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How to make cannabis tinctures

If you don’t have a full kitchen or just prefer simple, mess-free preparation techniques, cannabis tinctures are a great DIY project. You can make a tincture with a jar, alcohol, strainer, and cannabis. That’s all you need!

Using alcohol vs. glycerin for tinctures

When it comes to making tinctures, high-proof, food-grade alcohol is going to be your best friend. If you wish to avoid using alcohol, glycerin, a plant-based oil, is an acceptable replacement. However, glycerin is not as efficient at bonding to cannabis compounds and will produce a less potent tincture.

Some people try to make a more potent glycerin tincture by first using alcohol, carefully evaporating the (very flammable) alcohol off of the tincture, and then introducing glycerin afterward. You get the potency of the alcohol with the glycerin body. Considering the dangers associated with evaporating alcohol with a heat source, we at Leafly do not recommend this method.

Choosing the right type of alcohol for tinctures

The goal is to find a high-proof alcohol that is safe for consumption. The higher the alcohol content, the better it will dissolve cannabis resin. Everclear is my alcohol of choice when making a tincture, as it is both safe to consume and highly potent.

Products like isopropyl alcohol are not intended to be consumed and should never be used when making a tincture—save that for cleaning your pipes!

Making the tincture

To keep it simple, I like to use this ratio when making a tincture: For every ounce of cannabis flower, use one 750 mL bottle of alcohol (for an eighth of weed, that’s about 3 fluid oz).

This produces a mild effect, great for microdosing. If you want a more potent tincture, reduce the amount of alcohol by a third until you hit your desired potency.

  • Step 1: Decarboxylate your cannabis flower or concentrate (if you’re using flower, grind it to a fine consistency).
  • Step 2: Mix your flower or concentrate in a mason jar with high-proof alcohol (preferably Everclear).
  • Step 3: Close the jar and let it sit for a few weeks, shaking it once a day.
  • Step 4: After a few weeks, strain it through a coffee filter.

And if you don’t feel like waiting several weeks, you can even get away with shaking it for 3 minutes, straining, and storing.

How to dose and consume cannabis tinctures

It’s important to be consistent when making tinctures. If you make two batches at different strengths, a dose from each won’t be the same. Write down how much alcohol and cannabis you use for each batch so it can be replicated again if it was to your liking.

Once you’ve made the tincture, dosages are easy to self-titrate, or measure. Start with 1 mL of your finished tincture and put it under your tongue. If you’re happy with the effects, you’re done.

Otherwise, ramp up your dosage slowly to avoid getting uncomfortably high—try 2 mL the next day, and so on, until you find the dose you’re happy with.

According to The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook, cannabis tinctures will last for many years when stored in a cool, dark place. Their long shelf life means you can make large quantities of them in one sitting.

Compared to the traditional cannabis-infused brownie, tinctures are a low calorie alternative. If you make a tincture with 190 proof alcohol, you’re looking at about 7 calories per mL.

Cannabis tinctures can be incorporated into all sorts of meals and drinks:

  • Juices
  • Ice creams and sherbets
  • Soups
  • Gelatin
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Salad dressing

I like to add some cannabis oil to my homemade chicken tikka masala for a delicious infused dinner.

Benefits of using cannabis tinctures

Tinctures are especially great for first-time cannabis consumers. Here are some reasons why:

  • They’re discrete. Has there ever been a moment in your life when you said to yourself, “I really wish I smelled more like weed smoke right now?” Me neither. Consuming a tincture allows you to avoid the smell while enjoying all the benefits of cannabis. It is also super easy to conceal in a small jar in your bag.
  • Fast onset of effects. Effects from a cannabis tincture set in rather quickly. Whereas cannabis edibles can take an hour or more to kick in, tinctures can be felt in as little as 15 minutes. This allows you to quickly understand how the cannabis is affecting you before you move onto other activities.
  • Easy to dose. Tinctures are the perfect product for finding your preferred dose! You can measure your dose with an eyedropper and increase, decrease, or let it ride.

Cannabis tincture FAQs

How do I take my tincture?

Cannabis tinctures are usually taken by putting a few drops under your tongue (sublingually). When taken this way, the arterial blood supply under your tongue rapidly absorbs the THC. That being said, you can always swallow the tincture in a drink or food, but it will be absorbed slower by your liver.

Do tinctures burn under your tongue?

Some people have reported experiencing a burning sensation under their tongue after a few drops of tincture—the high-proof alcohol used to make a tincture is responsible for this. If the tincture burns under your tongue and you are looking for a different option, you can get a glycerin-based tincture or incorporate your tincture into a beverage.

How long does a cannabis tincture take to kick in?

When dosing a tincture sublingually, expect to feel the effects in 15-45 minutes and reach your peak high at about 90 minutes. If you simply drink the dose, expect a slower onset that more closely resembles traditional edibles.

How long will I feel the effects of a cannabis tincture?

Expect to be high longer than when you smoke or vaporize, but shorter than when you eat a butter or oil-based edible.

Cannabis tincture guide summary

Tinctures are alcohol based cannabis extracts. They’re a great entry point for both medical and recreational consumers looking for a smokeless method of consumption. Tinctures are easy to measure for dosing. Start with one eye dropper full under your tongue. When taken under the tongue, also called sublingually, effects should come on within the hour.

If you drink your tincture or add it to food, effects can take up to two hours to come on – more like edibles. If you’re happy with the effects, you’re done. If you’d like more, take it one eyedropper at a time. Always remember because it could take up to two hours to feel effects, the golden rule when ingesting cannabis is to start small and be patient. That way, you don’t end up uncomfortably high.

However you ingest a tincture, you can expect to feel the effects for longer than you smoked or vaporized cannabis. Tinctures will last for many years when stored in a cool, dark location. The long shelf life means you can make big batches of your own and have a convenient and accurate way to consume cannabis when you want to.

This post was originally published on June 16, 2016. It was most recently updated on March 4, 2020.

Learn everything there is to know about cannabis tinctures. Find out what they are, how you can make them, and how to dose and use them at Leafly.