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How to Make Cannabis Oil

How to Make Cannabis Oil

Making your own cannabis oil at home isn’t as hard as you may think. 

Whether you started enjoying the benefits of Cannabis in the 70’s, or are relatively new to its latest attention grabbing vibes, it’s pretty hard to argue that in 2019, we are definitely living in the future of cannabis. There are more ways than ever to snag your dose of Mary Jane. Far more than just the bongs, joints, blunts, and pipes that were familiar little less than a decade ago. 

You’ve now got edibles - like cookies, gummies, and even ice cream bars. Tinctures and salves, some pure CBD, others a combination of cannabinoids to ensure relief from a variety of problems. Even restaurants are catering to our favorite green gooey goodness. While you’re tallying up all of the the creative and extremely satisfying ways to ingest this wonder drug, you definitely can’t forget Cannabis oil.

What is Cannabis Oil? 

Cannabis oil, much like it’s leafy green mother, goes by a variety of names. Hash oil, honey oil, or canna oil for starters. Whatever you want to call this lovely stuff is up to you, but essentially the defining factor of cannabis oil is how it’s made. Canna oil is a semi-liquid or solid state oil that is extracted from the marijuana plant. How it’s extracted determines what the final product looks like. All cannabis oil contains both CBD and THC, as well as a few other cannabinoids. 

What are Cannabinoids?

Maybe we should take a quick step back. Cannabinoids are any of the chemical compounds that interact with a humans’ endocannabinoid system. This system is comprised of a bunch of little receptors that we have throughout our bodies. When we ingest a cannabinoid (like THC or CBD), they interact directly with these receptors and release specific neurotransmitters that then carry out different tasks in the body. 

The marijuana plant has at least 113 different cannabinoids that science has found, but the two that really take center stage are CBD and THC. THC is the psychoactive constituent of marijuana- it’s the stuff that gets you high. While CBD is non-psychoactive, it still plays some vital roles in how our bodies function following ingestion. Each of these cannabinoids play different roles in the body, well above and beyond just whether it gets you high or not. Both of these can be either naturally occurring, or synthetically produced. While science doesn't have a clear picture about what all of the (113!) cannabinoids do in the body, research suggests that almost all of them play some sort of role. Which makes synthetic cannabis far less effective as it generally lacks all cannabinoids that aren’t THC or CBD. 

Hemp Oil vs. Cannabis Oil

Another product that is making waves in the green market is CBD oil, or hemp oil. While CBD oil does have a bunch of really great benefits, it lacks the THC of cannabis oil, which reduces the amount of benefits. Taking CBD from a plant that has far fewer cannabinoids, or creating it in a lab, will further reduce its effectiveness. In order for cannabis oil to be an effective anti-cancer treatment, it must contain THC. The balance of THC to CBD will vary depending on the desired effects, but it does need both to work. Also, CBD oil is now being mass produced using harsh chemicals and subpar plants, if not synthetically created in its entirety. So it’s important that you know where your oils come from. Which is why homemade is generally best. 

How Does it Work?

Okay, schools out - back to canna oil. Cannabis oil has been found to have a number of different medicinal effects. Possibly the most promising is the research that is being done that suggests that canna oil can stop the growth of cancer cells. It may even help the body to destroy tumor cells, which is really catching people's attention. Outside of its anti-tumor properties, Canna oil has also been shown to help with things like insomnia, eating disorders, seizures, inflammatory diseases, chronic pain, as well as promote heart health by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. 

The medicinal benefits of cannabis oil are given a double fist bump by the ease of consumption. Cannabis oil doesn’t have to be smoked, in fact many of its medicinal properties can be enjoyed by vaping or eating, so even people with lung or digestion issues have the ability to get in on its many benefits. 

Cannabis oil will range from a golden light brown, to a dark thick and black glob. Extraction methods and temperatures will define what your oil ends up looking like. 

Steps to Make Cannabis Oil

Making the oil at home is much more simple than you would think. Weed oil and vape oil use the same “recipe” as standard canna oil with just a few minor tweaks. The recipe that most people swear by when making the oil at home is the infamous “Rick Simpson Method”. While we won’t devote a ton of time to this incredible man’s journey, it’s definitely worth looking into. 

Rick Simpson

Rick Simpson is essentially The Godfather of home cannabis oil use. After learning a bit about the alleged medicinal uses of marijuana in mice, Rick began to create his own canna oil at home. He used this to successfully treat not only chronic pain issues following a head injury, but also skin cancer! Being fed up with the treatment that he received from the traditional medical community, especially after they completely shut down his self-reported success, Simpson learned to make the tincture at home. He also happily shares his story and his recipe with any interested parties. 

Home-made cannabis oil

Making cannabis oil at home using the Rick Simpson method is something that can be done by just about anyone. It all starts with a few simple ingredients:

  • 99.5% Isopropyl Alcohol 
    • in a ratio of 2 gallons/pound of marijuana or 2 cups/ounce 
    • Chill the alcohol in a freezer the night before intended use for ease of desired effect
  • Marijuana
    • High quality Indica Colas are the plant of choice
    • 1 ounce of good quality marijuana should typically yield 3-4 grams of oil

Then, snag some supplies:

  • Two stainless steel stock pots, or food-grade plastic buckets
  • Long wooden stirring spoon
  • Stainless steel rice cooker
  • Electric cooling fan
  • Extension cord
  • Plastic funnels
  • Coffee filters
  • Clean, empty plastic or glass bottles
  • Stainless steel measuring cup
  • Coffee warmer
  • Large syringes

*Try and make sure that any supplies you use are stainless steel or food grade. This way protective coatings or plastics won’t leach any chemicals into your oil. 

And now the process:

  • Step One
    • Place your marijuana into the large stock pot or bucket. Put in just enough of the chilly Isopropyl Alcohol to dampen the weed. Crush, smash and stir for about five minutes so the greens can more readily release their cannabinoids. 
  • Step Two
    • Add enough chilled Isopropyl Alcohol to completely cover your plant goo mixture. Stir, crush and smash for another five minutes to completely combine the new alcohol with the old mixture. This is called “washing”.
  • Step Three 
    • Give the mixture a second to settle, and pour as much of the liquid into the second bucket as you can. Leaving as much of the plant muck in the first bucket as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as you’ll strain it all later, but the more plant you leave in the first bucket, the more cannabinoids you’ll be able to extract. 
  • Step Four
    • Repeat step two in the first bucket, again submerging your plant matter and stirring and crushing for five minutes. 
  • Step Five
    • Repeat step three. At this point, you can go for a third round of washing, but don’t add this mixture into the second bucket. Get a new bucket for this wash, as this mixture will have an extremely low cannabinoid content. This stuff is ideal for topical applications of canna oil while the first two washes will provide the base for ingested oils. 
  • Step Six
    • Allow the solvent in bucket #2 to sit while you clean up the previous steps. Use the plant matter in compost to create super soil (ideal from growing more of your Mary Jane). Clean and rinse the first bucket. 
  • Step Seven
    • Line a plastic funnel with a coffee filter, and place the funnel into the top of one of the jars. Pour the solvent from the second bucket into the jars, using the coffee filters to strain out any plant material. You can strain the solvent a few times using new filters. Make sure that you remove any excess plant matter from the solvents. At this point your liquid should be dark yellow and free of any particulates. 
  • Step Eight
    • Set up the rice cooker and cooling fan in a well ventilated area (like outside or in a room dedicated for this production). The idea is to now cook off any alcohol that’s still held within the liquid solution. The fan should be set up so that it blows across the vents of the rice cooker. This keeps the alcohol fumes from condensing on the cooker. 
    • Alcohol fumes are not only super toxic to inhale, but they’re also incredibly flammable! So make absolutely sure that you’re set up in an area that doesn’t have any open flames, sparks, or even red hot elements. 
  • Step Nine
    • Only fill the rice cooker about ¾ full of the liquid mixture. You don’t want it to boil over. 
    • The rice cooker will automatically heat up to, and keep your mixture, between 210-230 ºF. This is the ideal temperature for boiling off excess alcohol while not boiling (and destroying) your canna oil. It also serves to decarboxylate the cannabis, which you’ll want to produce the ideal tincture. 
  • Step Ten
    • As the mixture reduces (boils off the excess alcohol), you can slowly add any excess solvent you had that wouldn’t fit on the first round. Just make sure that you never exceed the ¾ full rule. 
  • Step Eleven
    • Once you’ve added all of your solvent, and the mixture has reduced to roughly two inches in the bottom of the rice cooker, add ten to twelve drops of water. This will help get rid of any remaining solvent or residue. Swirl the contents of the rice cooker gently to boil off any excess alcohol. 
  • Step Twelve
    • You’ll know you're just about done when the mixture begins to make a crackling sound and bubble start to form. Dark steam (that might look a little like smoke) will start to roll off the liquid. Wait for the rice cooker to switch to the low setting and then turn it off. 
  • Step Thirteen
    • Let the oil cool for about five minutes and pour the cooled liquid into a stainless steel measuring cup. Place the filled measuring cup on a coffee warmer and to completely remove any leftover water. The oil will bubble while on the coffee warmer. This is a sure fire sign that you’ve got some left over water in the mixture. Leave it on the coffee warmer until all bubbling has stopped. This can last anywhere from five minutes to a few hours. 
  • Step Fourteen
    • Once bubbling has stopped, remove the measuring cup from the coffee warmer and set it aside to cool. Once it has cooled, collect the oil into a large, needleless syringe. Then, cap it or store in dark lidded bottles and use as needed!

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