The CBD oil market is vast and growing quickly. But, until some kind of FDA approval and regulation is applied, only a certain number of the companies making CBD oil could be considered a trusted source. One of the reasons so many businesses are getting into this field is that CBD oil is not difficult to make. Then again, to make clean quality CBD oil is a whole different story. So, for me, the first option should always be to purchase your clean, quality CBD oil from a trusted source. But CBD isn’t cheap and for those on a budget, growing your own hemp and producing your own oil might just be a better option.
Method One: The one that has been used since beginningless time.
CBD oil isn’t new. Although, the internet would like you to think that it is. Particularly the powers that be would like you to think that this is a new substance which requires mountains of study and research. Here is the news. People have been taking cannabis since forever and, people have known about its methods and benefits since long before the internet began ranting about CB1 and CB2 receptors.
You might be thinking: “Yes, but we are talking about hemp here not cannabis’
Let me give you another insight. There is no difference. The distinction between hemp and cannabis is something that has been invented to draw a line between cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC and cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC. In other words, it is a legal term. Hemp is cannabis. They are the same plant, but different strains contain different levels of CBD, THC and other compounds.
So you might think that CBD oil is a new thing. But really, it’s just a low THC, high CBD type of cannabis oil. The same cannabis oil that we have been making in the crockpot on our back porches since we got taught how from our Uncle Willy. This is probably the easiest and cheapest way to make CBD oil depending on the oil and the plant you use.
What will I need?
Crockpots are also known as slow cookers. They range from some very modern, fancy ones to the very basic model. For this project, I would recommend the good ole basic model. They can’t cost hundreds of dollars but for the basic model, you really shouldn’t have to pay more than $50.
Cheese Cloth aka Muslin Cloth (Or a pair of ya Mam’s stockings)
This is the cloth that they use to squeeze the liquid out of cheese. You will be using it to squeeze the oil out of the plant matter. Don’t stress if you don’t have access to a cheesecloth. Instead, you can just steal a pair of yer Mothers (or Father’s) stockings. Or, you can ask them if you are a good child. By the way in the picture below, that’s a cheesecloth hanging down, not a ballsack.
A big bag of hemp
In my own experience, using the leaf and stems usually makes decent oil. If you are using a mid to high THC plant, there is plenty of THC in the leaf and stems which is usually just not accessible when you consume leaf in the normal way. The leaf and stem are also very high in CBD for a high CBD plant so it is just fine to only these in your oil. If your plant is homegrown and reasonably low in THC then you may also want to throw in a few of the buds. This might make it that little bit more potent. I should warn you away from using buds if you are using a very high THC plant and especially hydroponic. For starters, I wouldn’t be using hydro anyway as it usually contains a horrendous amount of chemical and toxin. If you are using the oil for medicinal or emotional purposes, it’s the last thing that you want. Using high THC buds in edibles is for experienced cannabis users only. It can produce overwhelming sensations that are more potent and last much longer than if you were to smoke or vape it.
The carrier oil of your choice.
According to the Accidental Psychonaut, cold-pressed sesame oil is the best type of carrier oil. I would say a few things about this:
- Cold-Pressed is a must. The oil that has been heated may not be as potent, maybe less nutritional and can even be carcinogenic.
- Cold-pressed sesame oil is extremely expensive, especially organic (which is highly recommended).
- However, it has incredible antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is especially good as a massage oil in winter.
You can also use:
- Hemp Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Sunflower Oil
All of these should be cold-pressed and organic.
Traditionally, this recipe often uses butter. But, butter can get quite brown so it could be quite unpleasant for cooking purposes. We mostly used butter as we turned it into edibles such as cookies or brownies.
What not to use
Sure you CAN use it. If you are are just using it as a massage oil it might be fine but in terms of taking it orally, olive oil has quite a potent flavor that can ruin the flavor of your oil.
Cheap Vegetable Oil
This includes canola oil. This kind of oil is generally a waste product and is re-packaged as a cheap cooking oil. If you are looking for any kind of health benefits from your CBD oil, you should avoid this type of oil at all costs.
How to Do It
- Step One – Fill your crockpot two-thirds of the way with your plants material
- Step Two – Add the oil until it covers your plant material by 1-2 inches.
- Step Three – Cook for 7 hours (Traditionally we cooked on low for 24-48 hours – The accidental Psychonaut doesn’t recommend this as it can burn. Perhaps you can start at 7 hours and then cook a bit longer each time to see how far you can push it. Your slow cooker should always be on LOW) You will probably want to cook outdoors as the smell can be quite potent.
- Step Four – Let your oil cool for a while. Warm oil is OK. Hot oil is dangerous.
- Step Five: Strain and squeeze the oil through your cheesecloth or stockings.
- The resulting oil is thick and golden to dark green depending on your methods and strain of plant you are using.
- You should store the oil somewhere dark and cool (preferably the refrigerator) and use within 12-24 days to prevent the oil going rancid.
This is the most traditional but also the crudest way of making CBD/cannabis oil. Whilst it won’t require many Walter White skills and is relatively inexpensive, I guarantee, it will certainly do the job.
Method Two: The slightly more Breaking Bad method
The next method is traditionally more of a lab kind of method. But, I found a video that makes it very simple to do using household items. Please be aware that this method uses ethanol which is extremely flammable so if you are going to do this, take extreme care and have all fire-safety equipment on standby.
What will I need?
No, it’s not the name of a band. Cold ethanol is one of the many solvents used to extract CBD. Ethanol is quickly gaining ground as the leading ‘affordable method’. Leafly explains:
Ethanol turned out to be effective, efficient, and safe to handle. The FDA classifies ethanol as “Generally Regarded as Safe,” or GRAS, meaning that it is safe for human consumption. As a result, it is commonly used as a food preservative and additive, found in everything from the cream filling in your donut to the glass of wine you enjoy after work.
Well if the FDA says so it must be true right?
Hemp – Preferably bud
In this case, we are looking for the maximum strength of extraction possible so we should use buds that are from organic hemp plants. You can still use this method with the whole plant.
Cooking spoon for stirring
2 glass bowls
Coffee percolator and filters
Water distiller (Still)
The distiller here is called an air still. This is a very quick, clean and easy way of extracting the ethanol (alcohol). A still will purify your ethanol so it can be used again and again.
Please use ethanol in a ventilated space or use ventilation equipment, especially when cooking. Fumes can be extremely hazardous.
How to Do It
- Cover your buds in a glass bowl with cold ethanol
- Stir for 3 minutes
- Strain using a sieve
- Filter liquid through a coffee filter in the coffee percolator
- Separate cannabinoids from ethanol with a water distiller. Keep the ethanol to use again
- Cook for 24 hours on the coffee machine surface. Test with a paper clip (spark test)
- Mix with a carrier oil
This is a reasonably clean method of extraction. You will notice that the yield is very low in this method but the resulting extract is quite potent. Please take care when using ethanol and heat.
Method Three – The Nerd Method
This is where it gets a little complex. Not too much. It is reasonably similar to method two but, it requires some additional equipment and a lot more attention to detail.
What will I need?
In this particular instance, 100grams of bud!
That’s just less than four ounces of bud. Which is quite a lot. Especially given that this will make just over 10 grams of extract.
One large and one small glass beaker
Food-Processor/Coffee Grinder or Blender.
This guy uses a blender but I have never heard of breaking up dry ingredients by using a blender. You can watch him throw around the blender violently to get it to happen. I always felt coffee grinders were the most effective for breaking up bud. Just be aware that if you let it go too far you can end up with dust. So be conservative with your blitzing.
No mention of what type here. He simply uses alcohol. In terms of solvents for oil extraction, Sydney Solvents say:
Isopropyl Alcohol is a petroleum based product that has no additives and is a completely pure solvent. Some like to use this solvent as it doesn’t have the bitex component to it but it is a petroleum based product so some do not like that association. Another point is that Isopropyl Alcohol is not recommended to be consumed at all but we have been told by customers that through the process the solvent does get flashed off when performed correctly.
Interesting. I mean he could be just using vodka or even ouzo for that aniseedy fragrance. But doubtful.
Again, I did say that these methods get more difficult. I guess that also includes solvent choice. If in doubt, revert to methods one or two!
Magnetic Hot Plate Stirrer (and magnetic stirrer bar)
Specifically made so you can apply heat and stir at the same time.
SIDE NOTE: I have found blenders on the market that cook and stir simultaneously. If expensive chemistry equipment is out of your reach, it might be an option to Chop up your bud, stir and heat all-in-one?
Coffee Filters with matching funnels.
Bottles with corks or chemistry bottles with stoppers
How to do it
- Chop up your 100grams of bud in a blender (Yikes) or other chopping devices
- Add bud to a large beaker and cover with alcohol
- Add alcohol to the blender to wash out the remainder into the beaker
- Stir using magnetic stirrer for 15-20 minutes (no heat) Keep area ventilated
- Strain liquid through a sieve and discard plant material
- Strain liquid through coffee filters into bottles and discard filters
- Plug bottles and leave in the sun for one hour to remove chlorophyll
- Pour into water distiller (Air still) and distill alcohol
- Remove into a small beaker
- Place on a magnetic stirrer hot plate. Set to 200 degrees and turn on the stirrer. Don’t forget to VENTILATE!
- Use Laser thermometer to monitor the temperature of the liquid
- Alcohol will start to evaporate at 72 degrees. (bubbles form and volume reduces)
- Hold temperature at 106 – 110 degrees centigrade for 1-2 hours to achieve decarboxylation (If the plant has THC)
- Adjust temperature accordingly
- Cook down until all bubble activity ceases
- Suck up into a syringe
- Add to the appropriate carrier oil
Whilst this method may involve a few items that are not generally available in a home, kitchen, the method itself, given the availability of items seems quite straightforward. The additional attention to detail may result in oil with more potent qualities.
Whatever method you choose in the end, please take your time and take all safety precautions including having fire equipment on standby and making ventilation a priority! Give that you can grow your own hemp, this method might end up saving you money. But, if you are going to spend lots of money on cannabis and then take a risk in converting it into oil, why not just buy your CBD oil from a trusted source instead?
This article is a collection of ideas by the author. It does not constitute facts or advice in any form. Please consult a medical professional and check the legality in your area before purchasing or taking CBD products.
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