How To Make CBD Oil From Leaves And Stems

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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. Ethanol extraction can produce hemp and cannabis oil with up to 99% purity, meaning a higher quality end product using Ethanol extraction Keep reading for a tried and true process for making cannabis oils and butters. These can be put in almost any food or drink, though you will want to carefully test your creation out to determine proper dosage. The following is an excerpt from The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements

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.

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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. (I personally prefer to make homemade cannabis tinctures over edibles.)

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!

The content (activation or decomposition) of THC with time and temperature. Note that CBD takes about 2x as long at the same temperatures. Graph courtesy of 420 Magazine

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.

How to Extract CBD From Hemp and Cannabis Plants

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the three main chemicals found in the cannabis plant, and it has grown in popularity in recent years as scientific studies continue to find benefits for its application.

Over the past few years CBD has become so popular that it is now being produced into a wide range of commercial and pharmaceutical products, from edibles, oils, creams and even infused drinks such as coffee.

This naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant can be used for the treatment of various mental and physical illnesses, and possess beneficial properties such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, anticonvulsants and antipsychotics.

Cannabinoids are THC-free, meaning they do not provide you with the ‘high’ of cannabis and that means CBD products are legal in many countries around the world.

CBD, however, is not easy to extract from the hemp plant. The medicinal properties of the plant can easily be damaged in the extraction process, particularly if the wrong equipment is used.

Learning how to extract CBD from a hemp or cannabis plant, and using the most effective machinery to do this, is essential for a high-quality end product.

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How can CBD be extracted?

The purpose of CBD extraction is to create cannabinoids in a pure and highly concentrated form that are suitable for human consumption. CBD can be extracted from both hemp and cannabis plants, although it is most oftenly extracted from the stalks and stems of industrial hemp plants.

The two most popular methods for extraction are ethanol and C02. C02 extraction involves filtering plants through a series of chambers that control temperature and pressure. This methods isolates cannabinoids at a 90 per cent efficiency by applying different temperatures and units to the hemp or cannabis plants.

The C02 extraction method requires extremely expensive equipment that use pressurized C02 (carbon dioxide) to pull the CBD from the plant.

Ethanol extraction, however, can produce cannabis oil with up to 99 percent purity, meaning a higher quality end product. Ethanol extraction involves introducing the solvent ethanol to the hemp or cannabis plant in order to extract the cannabinoids.

So, what’s the best equipment?

Maratek & Cannabis Oil Tech is a leader in the separation of cannabis and hemp oils from ethanol and our machinery creates a finished product with over 99 percent purity.

With installations across the US and Canada our highly automated and advanced Oil & Ethanol Recovery System – Continuous (OERS-C) and our Oil and Ethanol Recovery System – Batch (OERS-B) are highly regarded within the industry.

Our machinery, which is designed specifically for the cannabis market, requires less manpower than industry competitors and both pieces of equipment are significantly more cost-effective than using C02 extraction machines.

Here are some benefits of using Cannabis Oil Tech’s equipment:

  • Our systems produce a Cannabis or Hemp oil with up to 99 percent purity.
  • Can decarboxylate the oils.
  • Offer both batch and continuous systems for companies of all sizes.
  • Industrial quality with stainless steel, grade 304 or higher (including fittings and condenser).
  • GMP compliant (Good Manufacturing Practices compliant).
  • Class 1, Division 1 certified By MetLab, for explosion proofing and safety.
  • Much less expensive than using CO₂ systems, Rotovaps or butane for oil production.
  • Extremely safe to operate.
  • Very non-labor intensive, running for hours or even up to days without needing an operator.

Find out how Cannabis Oil Tech can help your CBD extraction and contact us today!

Recipe: Extracting Cannabis into Oil or Butter

Keep reading for a tried and true process for making cannabis oils and butters. These can be put in almost any food or drink, though you will want to carefully test your creation out to determine proper dosage.

The following is an excerpt from The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements by Sandor Ellix Katz. It has been adapted for the Web.

Note: It is important to consider the current laws in your state before you get busy in the kitchen with your THC.

Though cannabis is most often smoked, at least in the United States, it also has a long history of being enjoyed as food. Many regions of the world have developed elaborate culinary traditions for the preparation of cannabis food and drink. Eating cannabis rather than smoking it spares your lungs, though because it metabolizes and takes effect much more slowly, dosage is more difficult to regulate.

Generally the way people cook with cannabis is to extract the THC into butter or oil. THC is oil-soluble, so it can be easily extracted into fats, but not into water. THC is most concentrated in cannabis flower buds, but it is found in lower concentrations throughout the rest of the plant. Cooking with cannabis butter or oil is an ideal way to make use of the leaves and stalks of the plant, after the flower buds have been separated and trimmed for smoking.

A disclaimer: Consider the current laws in your state before cooking with cannabis. The following recipes are intended for legal usage and are not encouragement to break the law.

My friend S. — who lives in California, where she uses legal medical cannabis to control her fibromyalgia — makes cannabis snacks for several of the organized cannabis-buying clubs in the Bay Area. S. collects discarded leaves and stalks and cooks them into butter and olive oil, which she incorporates into various delicacies. She uses 1 ½ pounds of leaf for 5 pounds of butter or oil. If you grow your own cannabis or know someone who does, leaves and stalks are inevitable by-products that are abundantly available. If you have only buds available to you, use ¼ to ½ ounce per pound of butter or oil.

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The simplest method is direct extraction.

  • First, grind the dry plant material to expose maximum surface area.
  • Then sauté the well-ground plant material in butter or oil, very gently, for an hour or more.
  • After sautéing you can strain out the plant solids and use just the infused butter or oil, or you can allow the butter or oil to remain coarse and leave the cannabis fibers in it. Fiber gives your digestive system a good scrub.

S. uses a more involved method, which I will describe for the adventurous connoisseur. S. has cooked far more cannabis than anyone else I know, and she is emphatic that the best way to extract the THC is by water extraction. This involves slowly and gently cooking the cannabis in butter or oil that is mixed with water. The addition of water enables you to cook the brew longer without any danger of burning, and S. says that it enables a fuller extraction of THC. Be aware that this is a strongly aromatic process which S. does legally—in accordance with state but not federal law—in her urban California neighborhood.

For water extraction, place the plant material in a cooking pot, cover it with water, add the butter or oil, and gently heat on a stovetop. Once the brew begins to bubble at the sides—before it comes to a full boil—lower the heat, insert a heat distributor (a metal plate, often of several layers, that absorbs and spreads the heat) between the burner and the pot, cover the pot, and gently cook. S. recommends cooking for eighteen hours for a full extraction. If this is not practical, cook as long as you can.

As in salad dressing, the oil (or melted butter) will float to the top. When you are done cooking, you need to separate the cannabis oil from the water and spent plant fiber. The easiest way to separate out the plant fibers is to pour the cannabis-oil-water brew through a strainer and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. Unfortunately, some of the precious butter remains trapped in the spent plant material.

S. says the most effective way of separating out the plant fibers without losing any oil is to fashion something akin to a French coffee press, a porous disc that presses the plant fibers to the bottom of the pot, under the water and out of the oil. Hardware cloth (a steel mesh available in hardware stores) or an aluminum pie plate with holes poked in could becut to shape for this purpose. Use a spoon or other implement to press the disc down, trapping the plant fibers beneath it, and hold them at the bottom of the pot. Then move the whole pot, with the disc weighted down, to the refrigerator and cool it to congeal the oil or butter. Once the fat is congealed, carefully scoop it out, leaving behind the water and plant material to discard.

Use your butter or oil however you like. Spread it on toast, bake with it, or cook anything you like with it. Use just a little to start, until you gauge the potency and appropriate dosage. In contrast with smoking cannabis, which affects the brain within minutes, your body needs some time to metabolize the THC when you eat cannabis, so it doesn’t take effect as quickly. In the interim, it is sometimes tempting to eat more; be aware that it is easy to eat too much cannabis. An overdose won’t kill you, but it can make you feel disoriented, disabled, and uncomfortable. Start with a small amount, then wait two or three hours to see how it affects you before eating more.

Always keep cannabis in a safe place, and clearly marked, to prevent people from unknowingly eating it.

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