How to Make Cannabis Oil

Of all the forms marijuana can take, cannabis oil is prized for its potency as well as its medicinal effectiveness. Cannabis oil can be taken orally, infused into edibles, and more. However, you’ll end up paying a premium for this product in a retail setting–even when purchasing through medical programs.

Whether you want relief from chronic symptoms or just want to get a nice buzz going, you can easily make your own cannabis oil at home with a few easy-to-find components and a well-ventilated work-space. Let’s see how it’s done!

Safety First

There are two factors that scare most people off from homemade cannabis oil. The first is a fear of, well, explosion. This makes sense when coupled with the knowledge that a good portion of commercially available cannabis oil is produced through the highly flammable process of butane extraction.

The second fear is that you may end up with a product that retains impurities or leftover butane material (yuck!).

To assuage your fears of making your own cannabis oil, we’re going to take you through a process that uses high-proof alcohol as the solvent. The alcohol is less flammable than butane and will burn off completely, leaving you with a pure and potent extract–as long as you’ve got these safety precautions covered:

  • Remove clutter and wipe all counters with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Open all windows, and run a fan to ensure maximum ventilation.
  • Have hot pads, safety goggles, and a fire extinguisher handy.

What You’ll Need

With safety protocol firmly in place, here’s what you’ll need to make your own cannabis oil:

  • 1 oz. of quality cannabis (or 2-3 oz. if you’re using trim or lesser quality buds).
  • Everclear (190 proof)
  • Mixing bowl (glass)
  • Spatula (silicone)
  • 2qt container for catching liquid
  • Cheesecloth
  • Double boiler
  • Parchment paper

Ready to Start Making Cannabis Oil?

Step 1: Extraction

The first step couldn’t be easier.

  1. Add your cannabis to the glass bowl.
  2. Pour in enough alcohol to cover the plant matter.
  3. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes.

This will allow the cannabinoids in the plant resin to mingle with the alcohol.

Pro Tip: You can increase the effectiveness of this step by breaking up any large nugs you have before adding the alcohol. This will expose more surface area–and therefore more cannabinoids–to the solvent, speeding up the process overall. 

Step 2: Strain & Soak (x2)

oil2To get the most out of your cannabis, you’re actually going to perform the soaking process a second time. Go ahead and grab that 2 quart container and cheesecloth!

  1. Cover the container with cheesecloth. (A clean nylon will also do the trick in a pinch)
  2. Pour your alcohol and cannabis mixture slowly over the cheesecloth so it strains through into your container.
  3. Gather the straining cloth and squeeze to ensure all the liquid makes it into the container.

After that first soak, you’ve got a bowl full of alcohol and extracted resin from the cannabis. But, a single soak can leave a lot of cannabinoids behind, so let’s repeat the process.

  1. Dump the plant material you just strained back into the mixing bowl.
  2. Submerge it in alcohol again.
  3. Stir for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Repeat straining steps

Step 3: Cooking Your Cannabis Oil

Now it’s time to get down to business, and cook off that alcohol solvent.

  1. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water.
  2. Pour your alcohol/cannabis solution into the top of the double boiler.
  3. Cook on medium-high until the top bot begins to boil.
  4. Immediately turn off the burner but do not remove boiler from heat.
  5. Allow the solution to bubble for 15-20 minutes, turning the burner back on medium-low if the bubbles stop.

You’ll notice as you approach the 20 minute mark that you see fewer and fewer bubbles rising. This is normal, and an indicator that you’re almost finished. Once the oil has reduced to a thick consistency, it’s done!

At this point, you can use your silicone spatula to remove your cannabis oil from the pan and scrape it onto your parchment paper to cool.

Step 4: Storage

Drop_of_cannabis_oilThe final consistency of your cannabis oil may vary, depending on the type and quality of flower you use. A good rule of thumb is not to let the oil sit out too long before storing it–in case it ends up stickier than you anticipated.

People who use their cannabis oil for medicinal purposes often prefer to store it in syringes for easy dosing. If that’s your plan, be sure to watch the oil carefully and fill those syringes early on before the oil reaches its final level of stickiness.

If you’re using another form of storage like small jars or silicone containers, timing is less important. But remember that the longer you leave your oil to cool, the more likely it will be to pick up dust or other household impurities that you don’t want as part of your cannabis experience.

The Bottom Line

With proper safety precautions in place, making your own cannabis oil can be a simple and even fun way to get high-quality concentrate at home for both medicinal and recreational use. Give it a try!

Article By: Spencer Grey