How to make your own CBD oil at home
As CBD continues to rise in popularity, there are literally thousands of CBD products to choose from. But did you know you can make your own CBD oil at home? The process is fairly easy and only requires some basic equipment that can be found in most kitchens.
As a cannabinoid, CBD isn’t water soluble, but alcohol does a great job of pulling these chemicals out of dried plant matter. Be sure to source high-proof, food-safe grain alcohol that will leave no harmful residue behind.
As well as high-quality alcohol, you’ll need some cannabis or hemp flowers as a source of cannabinoids. Many cannabis flowers have been grown to contain high levels of THC, and aren’t suitable when crafting CBD oil. However, some newer strains have been designed to contain large amounts of CBD alongside almost no THC at all. Another option is to use hemp flowers. These buds come from industrial hemp plants, contain almost no THC, high levels of CBD, and are legal in various countries throughout Europe and beyond.
Before you begin the extraction process, it’s important to think about how you’re going to use the oil. If you intend to use it orally or sublingually (under the tongue), then it’s critical to decarboxylate your plant material before carrying out the steps below. Decarbing converts the cannabinoid acid CBDA into the desired molecule CBD via heat. During the actual extraction process, temperatures are only raised high enough to cause the volatile alcohol to evaporate. If you need to decarb your weed, you can find out how to do so in our decarboxylation guide.
Now that we’ve covered these important points, let’s take a look at the ingredients and equipment needed for the process.
- Around 30g of ground buds or 60–100g of ground, dried shake or trim
- High-proof, food-safe grain alcohol
- Mixing bowl
- Fine strainer such as a piece of cheesecloth or a sieve
- Catchment container
- Double boiler (a set of two fitted saucepans/pots stacked together with space between them)
- Wooden spoon
- Plastic syringe
To begin, place your decarbed buds or trim into the mixing bowl and pour in enough alcohol to completely submerge the plant matter. Use the wooden spoon to stir the material for 5 minutes. During this time, the alcohol will pull out the desired constituents such as CBD and terpenes. Stirring will help to accelerate the process and dislodge the trichome glands that produces these substances.
Next, you’ll need to separate the CBD-rich alcohol extract from the plant matter. Strain the solution through a piece of cheesecloth or a fine sieve into a bowl below. You’ll notice that the alcohol has a dark green color to it. Repeat the process above with fresh alcohol a few more times to get the most out of your buds or trim. Eventually, the extract will start appearing more clear in color, a sign that the material is now spent.
Now it’s time to set up the double boiler. If you don't have a setup like this already, an easy makeshift option is to fill the bottom of a saucepan with water, then place a stainless steel bowl into the saucepan that fits snugly, but doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan.
Pour the alcohol extract into the stainless steel bowl/top of the double boiler and apply gentle heat. High-proof alcohol is highly volatile and will evaporate at a low temperature. Keep the heat down and turn the heat on and off where necessary. It’s important to carry out this process away from any naked flames and ideally under an extractor fan or outdoors. The vapor produced when the alcohol evaporates is highly flammable and poses a real fire hazard.
Keep stirring the extract for 15–20 minutes while the alcohol evaporates. The mixture should turn extremely viscous.
After all the alcohol is removed, the extract should display a thick, tar-like consistency. Whilst it’s still warm, draw it up into a large syringe or multiple smaller ones. This makes it easy to store and administer.
THE NATURE OF HOMEMADE CBD OIL
This method creates a high-potency full spectrum extract, meaning it’s not just CBD present in the end product. This process also pulls out terpenes from buds and trim, aromatic molecules with their own health benefits, tastes, and smells.
You’ll also notice that this oil has an extremely thick consistency and green-brown appearance. It looks different than a lot of commercial oils available. This is because alcohol extraction also removes waxes, lipids, and chlorophyll from the plant matter, some of which ends up in the final product.
This oil can be used in a plethora of ways. You can add it to smoothies or juices, place it under the tongue for rapid absorption, or even mix it into creams and ointments for topical application.
OTHER SOURCES OF CBD OIL
If you don’t have the time to make CBD oil at home, or don’t like the idea of boiling off such high-proof alcohol in your kitchen, there are plenty of products out there for you. Just do your research and make sure to purchase CBD oil from a trustworthy source.