How to Use Cannabis Oil
The use of marijuana for medical purposes has opened up a market for infusing oils with Tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise know as THC. As we all know THC is the psychoactive substance that gives users the effects they are looking for when they consume marijuana. As the health benefits of marijuana have become widely acknowledged, consumers have begun cooking with weed oils as part of their regular diets. This blog is meant to explain the process on how to make THC oils, provides tips for making infused products and most importantly shows you eight ways to use marijuana oils.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How Do I Prepare Cannabis To Make Weed Oil?
The first step is to decarboxylate your flower. If you are unsure of how to do this, here’s an article on how to decarboxylate cannabis, and here’s another explaining what decarboxylation is.
Decarbing your cannabis before infusion is a critical step before making any sort of canna oil. You can go with an oil you prefer, as it is often comes down to personal preference regarding which oil is better to infuse with cannabis. To get the most out of your decarbed cannabis, choose an oil with good infusion rates. You can see more about the infusion efficiency of different oils here. Once you figure out which oil you want to use, whether it is coconut oil, olive oil or something more exotic it is time to begin the infusion process. That involves infusing the decarbed product with your oil of choice.
If you have the NOVA, place the oil and decarbed cannabis inside for the infusion process. Ideally, do not grind it but rather break it up into popcorn sized nugs, but it is fine to use shake or ground bud as well. Throw your cannabis right in your decarboxylator (putting it in silicon or a shot glass if you’re using kief/concentrates) and let it run its cycle while you gather your ingredients.
How To Infuse The Oil?
When you have finished decarbing you will want to do a quick infusion with your oil. For the oil to get infused with the THC it needs to get heated thoroughly and evenly. Providing too much heat or too little heat will affect the process. Uneven heating will also impact the process.
When your canna oil is done infusing, remove any plant matter by carefully straining it through cheesecloth (available in the cooking section of stores like Target or Walmart) or a coffee filter. Pour your infused oil into a container and you’re done! If you are looking to make cannabutter, be sure to place it in the fridge to harden. Canna oils, on the other hand, are fine to store on the counter. The most important thing is to keep it in an airtight container (mason jars work great) in a cool, dark space.
Now, there are differences of opinion on how long to infuse cannabis oil. Some who feel the infusion process must be at low heat for 6 hours or more while others believe that the time can be cut short. Take the guessing out of accurately measuring your dosages and how long it takes to infuse THC oil with the NOVA Decarboxylator. The overall objective is to retain as much THC from the material as possible, and we have the testing results to show the effectiveness of the Ardent infusion process
How To Accurately Measure Dosage
The ideal ratio for making weed oil is to calculate the amount of cannabis it will take to get the THC dosage that you want, and then mix with the desired amount of oil. It is important to understand the dosage that you want for your oils before you start infusing the marijuana.
Typically decarbed cannabis flower has between 5-20% THC content, which means about 50-200mg of THC in every gram of decarbed flower. It may be more or less depending on how the plant was grown. You can use more or less decarbed cannabis in your infusion to dial the dose up or down. After infusion, you can separate the material from the infused oil. For even cleaner oil, use a fine screen to remove the decarbed marijuana from the oil after infusion.
Many consumers enjoy making THC oil with coconut oil due to its ability to mask the taste of cannabis. As there are a growing number of edible users who don’t like the taste of marijuana.
How To Use THC Oil
Once the infusion process is complete and you have poured the filtered cannaoil into a container, the next commonly asked question is “how to use thc oil?” There’s really no end to what you can do with THC oil. Again, based on yours interests, a dessert, toast or any dish which uses butter or oil can be made. How much can go into each of these dishes will be based on the recipe of the dish.
If you are not sure on how to measure the dosages of cannabis, you can read our guide on accurately dosing cannabis by taking THC measurements. In a medical situation it’s advised to consult your doctor on how much marijuana you should consume for each dosage. Many consumers use a dropper with the oil decanter to measure the amount of oil used each time. Whether you are making brownies or chocolates at home you can measure the dosages based on the amount of decarbed cannabis used to make the cannabutter or canna oil.
How To Use Cannabis Oil (8 Best Ways)
All of these activities are home-based. This means you can handle the preparation of weed oil or cannabutter and the subsequent dishes on your spare time. As long as you have all the ingredients and the equipment to get it done correctly, the process is simple and can quickly save you a lot of money quickly. The Ardent NOVA Decarboxyolator is the perfect tool if you are looking for the best way to decarb cannabis to make THC oil without wasting time or material.
If you wish to add flower to your food intake, there are multiple options to do it depending on your taste and personal preferences. There are plenty of canna oil recipes that you can use. Don’t forget there are also benefits of using decarbed cannabis without going through the infusion process. There are even recipes for making cannabis ice cream. Since there are a lot of ways to use canna oil and cannabutter, we put together a list of uses, along with the best oils for each one. You can also see this next link for more information on the best oil to infuse THC.
Using cannabutter or alternatives such as cannabis canola (here’s how to make edibles without butter) oil in baked goods are classic ways to make edibles, but a lot of people have started using cannabis coconut oil in their favorite sweet treats since it’s vegan and paleo-friendly. You can also use infused olive oil in your baked goods although it’s important to know that most olive oils have a strong flavor that may change the flavor of your finished goodie.
Cooking with weed oils like olive, peanut, or canola are great ways to inject THC into your meal. Cook with it as you would normally, just be mindful of how much you’re using since the effects of ingesting cannabis are slower to set in and last much longer than smoking. Ideas: saute veggies, roast potatoes, marinate meat, or mix up a vinaigrette for your favorite salad.
If you’re already using cannacaps or want to start, infused coconut oil is a great addition to your capsules. Because coconut oil has a high saturated fat content, it helps your body best absorb the cannabinoids, delivering a stronger effect per dose of medicine (THC and CBD) than other oils. In addition, coconut oil has a long shelf life, meaning that cannacaps made with this oil will last an extremely long time (especially if stored in the fridge or freezer!)
4. Pain Salve
Cannabis-infused salves and topicals deliver quick pain relief and a feeling of relaxation to your muscles, without any psychoactive effects. Coconut oil infusions are a good choice for creating your own pain salves because coconut oil is a great transporter of CBD from your skin into your body’s cannabinoid receptors. Better CBD absorption means more relief for sore muscles, arthritis, and other localized pains. It also becomes as easy as adding your infused coconut oil into a non-cannabis product you already own and love!
In addition to pain salves and balms, cannabis coconut oil is a great addition to almost any skincare routine. Mixed with aloe vera and vitamin E, it makes a great lotion for everyday use or for healing sunburns. Some skincare gurus swear by cannabis coconut oil as a facial moisturizer, claiming that with regular use, you’ll get a glowy complexion and see the anti-aging effects of cannabis.
Cannaoil in your smoothie? Yes! Due to its reputation as a superfood and the creamy texture that results from blending coconut oil, it has become a popular addition to smoothies. There are a lot of cannabis recipes out there but you can experiment by adding a tablespoon of cannabis coconut oil or less if your infusion is strong (5-10 mg is a good starting point) to your favorite smoothie recipe.
Adding cannabutter or cannaoil to your tea may sound strange, but it actually results in a creamy, latte-like drink. As far as oil goes, coconut oil is the best choice due to the flavor and the fact that unlike other oils, it gets creamy when mixed up. Just brew a cup of your favorite tea and stir in the cannabutter or cannabis coconut oil until it’s mixed well. The result is a warm, comforting, medicinal cuppa, sure to make you feel good.
“Bulletproof coffee”, coffee with unsalted butter or coconut oil in place of cream or milk, has exploded in popularity over the past few years. It’s a staple in paleo and keto diets and many vegans enjoy the coconut oil version. Of course, mixing in cannabutter or cannabis coconut oil is a great way to get the perceived benefits of bulletproof coffee along with a healthy dose of THC. Stir into your favorite brew, or put it in the blender for a frothy morning drink.
Additional Canna Oil Recipes
If you are wondering what type of dishes to prepare with your canna oil, we recommend several different ways of eating decarbed weed in our recipes. Whether you are looking to make baked goods, alcoholic drinks using weed oil, or infused recipes for food, the possibilities are endless. Some of our most popular canna recipes include:
Keep in mind the proper dosages for your recipe of choice. We must also note that the consumption of marijuana for is age-restricted. If there are children at home, take all proper precautions to ensure they don’t ingest weed oil or cannabis butter or accidentally add it to their food.
Perfect Decarb Tool
If you are looking for the best way to decarb marijuana, we recommend you purchase the Ardent NOVA Decarboxylator to get the perfect decarb each time. Whether you are looking to make canna oil or cannabutter. Our goal is to provide some inspiration for your cannabis cooking adventures. Whether you’re a recreational or medicinal user, there are lots of ways for you to use cannabutter or canna oil in the kitchen. Share your favorite recipe in the comments!
There are also direct uses of THC oil. Some people decide to put a few drops of the oil below their tongue for it to have an almost immediate sublingual effect. As mentioned earlier, using coconut and sweeter oils in the preparation of your canna oil will help remove the odor and give it a better smell. Lastly, savory canna oils pair better with more savory dishes, just as you would expect.
How to use cannabis oil to best effect it's not all about baking canna oil recipes! 8 tips on using THC oil to put your weed to good use!
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.
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!
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.
1 cup coconut oil or other oil of choice, such as olive oil. We like to use organic coconut oil because it is solid at room temperature (and tastes good), which makes it perfect to eat a tiny spoonful of, spread on bread like butter, or use in a salve. (Note that our salve recipe calls for 1.5 cups coconut oil, so scale up if you intend to make that)
Optional: A few grams of raw cannabis. In addition to decarboxylated cannabis, we like to add a little handful of raw homegrown bud to our oil as well. While the most significant and well-documented health benefits from cannabis are attributed to active THC and CBD (found in decarbed cannabis), there are also emerging studies showing some promising health benefits from their raw forms – THCA and CBDA. Therefore, we like to use a little of each to create a full-spectrum and well-rounded finished product.
A double-boiler, or make-shift double boiler (such as a glass pyrex bowl or stainless steel bowl perched on top of a saucepan with water below) OR a crock pot/slow cooker
Fine mesh strainer
Storage container, such as a mason jar with lid
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CANNABIS OIL
The most important aspect of making cannabis oil is to not overheat it. In fact, some folks choose to add decarbed cannabis to oil and allow it to infuse at room temperature (in the dark) for several weeks, rather than heating it at all.
The heat applied in this recipe simply helps expedite the cannabinoid extraction process to bind with oil. However, because we are starting with already decarboxylated cannabis, the goal is to avoid heating it over 200 degrees. 120 to 180°F is even better. Maintaining a lower temperature will preserve the already-active THC and CBD content as well as the terpenes. That is, unless you intentionally want to convert THC to CBN to create a very sleepy and sedate final product.
That is where the double-boiler or slow cooker (with a low temperature setting) come in handy! Even over the lowest flame, heating oil in a pot directly on the stove is much more difficult to prevent overheating, and also creates “hot spots” – destroying our precious cannabinoids.
I suggest monitoring the oil temperature with a probe thermometer if possible. Because oils have a higher boiling point (or “smoke point”) than water, the oil will not appear to be as hot as it really is! For example, the oil may be well over 212 degrees but not visibly bubble and boil like water would at the same temperature.
If your cannabis is not yet decarboxylated, grind or tear it up into fairly small pieces. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, and heat it in the oven on 250°F for 25 to 30 minutes.
Add water to the bottom pan of your double-boiler. Now add 1 cup of coconut oil to the top section of the double-boiler. Heat until it melts. (OR, on the low/warm setting in a crock pot)
Stir in 7-10 grams of decarboxylated cannabis into the melted oil. Feel free to also include an optional few grams of raw ground cannabis if you desire.
Continue to heat the cannabis and oil over a low heat for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can continue this process for several hours if desired, though many recipes call for only 20 to 30 minutes. If available, use a probe thermometer to check the temperature. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain the oil below 200°F. We aim for a target temperature range of around 130 to 150°F and infuse for one hour.
When the time is up, line a strainer with cheesecloth and position it over a glass bowl. Pour the cannabis and oil mixture through the strainer. Gather the cheesecloth and gently squeeze out the excess oil from the cannabis. Warning: the oil will be hot, and your hands will get greasy! You may want to wear food-grade gloves.
Ideally, use your cannabis oil within 6 months to 1 year. As long as it doesn’t mold, the oil doesn’t “go bad” over time – though the potency can decrease as some THC will naturally convert to a more sleepy cannabinoid called CBN.
How to Use Cannabis Oil
When it is finished, you can use you cannabis oil any way you’d like!
Add homemade cannabis oil in any body care recipe that calls for cannabis-infused oil, such as this topical salve recipe. It can help heal sore muscles, joints, inflammation, eczema, psoriasis, and even slow or prevent skin cancer cell growth!
Use cannabis oil in meals or medicated edible recipes. Try to use as low of heat and cooking time as possible to preserve cannabinoids and terpenes. Look for “no bake” recipes, or ones that you can only lightly heat the oil again in a double-boiler. For example, you could make these chocolates, some no-bake cookies, or add medicated coconut oil to a frosting recipe. Another option is to use the coconut oil like butter on toast, or mix it into already-cooked pasta or sauce. (See the dosing information and caution below!)
Enjoy a small dose in a cup of hot tea or other warm beverage, perhaps with a dab of honey.
Consume a small dose of the oil straight on its own. Try holding a small amount of oil in your mouth or below your tongue (sublingually). According to Leafly, “sublingual dosing offers a fast onset, shorter duration, and lower intensity than traditional oral cannabis edibles”.
Homemade Cannabis Oil Potency: Proceed with Caution
Homemade cannabis edibles are tricky because it is very difficult to determine their exact potency. Without laboratory testing (which is expensive and not readily available to most people) it is virtually impossible to calculate the THC and CBD content of the finished cannabis oil or medicated edibles that you prepared.
First of all, if you are using homegrown cannabis like we do, then you likely don’t know the strength of the bud you started the process with. Even if a strain is marketed to have a particular THC and CBD content or ratio, homegrown plants can vary wildly depending on how they were grown, harvested, dried, cured, and stored. Furthermore, there are variations within plants (expressed as phenotypes) that leads them to have differences even among plants of the same strain.
Say you make oil or edibles with cannabis purchased from a dispensary, and thus has a tested and known THC and CBD content. Even then, the potency of the end product depends on several variables that make it difficult to calculate: How old the pot is, and how you stored it. The time and temperature it was decarboxylated. The process you used to make your oil or edible. Did you cook the the edible further? How old is the edible, and how has it been stored? All of those factors can either increase active THC and CBD content, or decrease it with further heat and time.
Dosing Homemade Cannabis Oil & Edibles
Always start out with very small amounts of cannabis edibles or oil (particularly those containing THC) – also known as “micro-dosing”. I don’t consume edibles often, though we regularly vaporize cannabis and make salve. When we do make cannabis coconut oil, I always start out with only 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of straight oil and then scale up next time if needed – but not right away!
Once you do figure out the perfect personal dose for your homemade oil, you can work your math magic with an edible recipe to determine how much of it to eat. For example, say my perfect dose is 1/2 teaspoon. I want to make this chocolate recipe, which calls for 1/2 a cup of coconut oil. With a quick Google search, I see that there are 24 teaspoons in half a cup. That means there are 48 Deanna-size doses worth of cannabis oil in that batch of chocolate!
In a perfect world, that recipe yields me 48 individual chocolates, ready to pop in my mouth in the “just right” dose. However, the final yield will depend on the type of chocolate mold I use. Perhaps I will end up with only 24 chocolates. Then, I would need to only eat half a chocolate at a time. Get it? You can apply the same math magic to a cookie recipe, tub of frosting, or whatever else you dream up – assuming you portion them out evenly.
The Effects of Cannabis In Edibles Versus Smoking or Vaporizing
Remember, it takes far longer to feel the effects when you consume cannabis as an edible than when you smoke or vaporize it! Rather than instantly crossing the blood-brain barrier via the lungs, ingested cannabis needs to go through your digestive system before you’ll feel anything. That process can take between one to three hours, depending on your metabolism and what else is in your system.
The most common mistake that people make when consuming cannabis products (aside from eating too much) is getting impatient. They think it isn’t working, and take another dose shortly after the first one. Then when it all hits, that mellow ride can quickly turn into an “oh shit” moment.
In addition to taking longer to “kick in”, edibles linger in your system. Meaning, you feel the effects for significantly longer. A high from ingested cannabis can last up to 12 hours.
Furthermore, the effects of edibles are different than those felt when smoking or vaporizing cannabis. The edible experience is often much more intense, potentially disorienting, and provides a stronger “body high”. It can also cause a racing heartbeat and/or nausea if you overdo it, which can be very alarming and uncomfortable.
Ready to get infusing?
In closing, take it easy when it comes to edibles, especially if it this is all new to you. The last thing I want is for people to feel sick or have a bad experience. But if you do it right, oils and edibles can be powerful and wonderful healing tools to have at your disposal.
Finally, please remember that kiddos are especially curious about edible goodies, so keep your stash hidden securely away!
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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.