Edibles are a fantastic way to medicate for many reasons. Firstly, the effects of edibles last longer than smoking or vaping. Typically the effects of smoking or vaping can wear off in as little as 20 minutes. Edibles are effective for hours. Another benefit is that oftentimes smaller doses are more effective, so your flower will last longer. And, if you like to be in your kitchen, it is incredibly fun customizing your edibles to your liking.
Why is coconut oil a favorite option for home edible makers everywhere? Coconut oil is high in saturated fat. This means that those yummy little THC and CBD molecules have plenty of fatty acids to grab on to during the infusion process. THC loves fat. So much so that the effects of edible cannabis are most prominent when ingested in a fatty recipe or food (this is probably why cannabutter or cannaoil brownies are so popular). It’s important to keep this in mind when choosing recipes for your own medication making at home, so that you’ll enjoy the full health benefits.
What Can You Do With Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil?
Cannabis infused coconut oil should be an essential in any edible maker’s pantry. It is incredibly shelf stable and, more importantly, versatile. You can use it in place of butter or other vegetable oils in nearly any recipe. You can add a spoonful of cannabis coconut oil to coffee or tea (author’s tip: skip the caffeine if you’re prone to anxiety). You can spread a little on your toast at breakfast, or cook some protein or vegetables in it. You can even just take coconut oil directly, by the spoonful without any other cooking, mixing, or recipe researching.
Furthermore, cannabis coconut oil can be used as a topical ointment, massage oil, or lubricant. Another check in the pro column is that coconut oil is incredibly shelf stable if stored correctly.
Calculating the Right Doses
For those who are new to making edibles, you might be wondering how to calculate dosage. Without a testing device or a lab, you’ll end up with more of an estimate than an exact dosage. Remember, you’ll want to take it slow with your first few taste tests to make sure you’re not underestimating your dose too much.
To calculate the dose of your edibles or infusions, you’ll first need to know the approximate THC percentage of the flower. Typically you can get this information from the dispensary. If the flower came from a homegrown plant, you may be able to find an estimated percentage on the web for the strain, or just go with an average of 15%.
For the purposes of this equation, let’s assume the flower we’re using is 15% THC. We also need to know that one gram weighs 1000 milligrams.
If the cannabis flower is 15% THC, that means each gram has a maximum of 150 mg of THC. You most likely won’t be able to extract each and every one of those milligrams. On the high end, you can possibly expect 100 mg of THC. If you prefer stronger edibles, assume you’ll have only 30% absorption (or in this example about 50 mg per gram of flower), so you can be sure to get the dosing right. You can always cut your infusion with more coconut oil. Remember: it’s a lot easier to weaken the dose than strengthen it.
The next thing you’ll need to know is what you want the final dose per edible to be. Is it 10mg? 50? If you’re a newbie, start at 10 and work your way up from there. You’ll also need to decide: how many edibles are you going to make? A dozen cookies? A square pan of brownies cut into 9 equal pieces?
Multiply the dose by the number of finished medicated treats, and you’ll know the total amount of THC you’ll need in your recipe. Let’s say we’re making 9 brownies, and we’d like them to be 10 mg each. We know our flower is 15% THC. We would only need 1 gram of cannabis flower for this recipe. Maybe two if we’re under assuming the rate of absorption.
Is Lecithin Necessary to Use?Lecithin is an excellent additive for infusions. Anecdotal evidence indicates that lecithin can aid in the absorption of THC and other cannabinoids in the body. Is it necessary? No.
However, when making certain kinds of edibles, like gummies, or other recipes that might be water heavy, it can help in integrating the oil or fats into water-based treats. If you’re making a recipe that calls for eggs in it, you’re covered in the lecithin department.
An additional benefit to using lecithin in baked goods is that it can help prevent your cookies or cakes from being too dry. Sometimes infused butter and cannaoil can make your final product a little on the dry side. However, you can also combat this by making infused cannaoil that is twice as strong and then cutting it in the final recipe with an equal amount of regular butter or coconut oil.
Choose the Right Oil
You may be wondering, “can I use vegetable oil to make canna oil?” The answer is technically yes with a caveat. There is a reason that most experienced home edible makers and bakers recommend coconut oil and/or butter and that has everything to do with saturated fat content.
As mentioned above, THC and CBD are fat lovers. They are compounds that fall into the lipophile category. These compounds are fat soluble. So you want to go with the fattiest fats and oil for maximum absorption and effect in your edibles.
For comparison, coconut oil is about 60% saturated fat, whereas olive oil is only about 20%. That means olive oil is about 60% less effective at absorbing THC.
Why Decarboxylation Is ImportantOne of the most essential steps for making cannaoil is decarboxylation, aka decarbing. Decarboxylation is the process of activating the THC or CBD in your flower, so it can be infused into the coconut oil. In its raw form, the cannabinoids in the flower are not able to be processed in the same way, or with the same effect, in your body.
When you smoke, you use a flame to activate the cannabinoids in cannabis. Unlike with smoking, to decarb flower for edibles, you’ll use a baking sheet, and your oven in an incredibly simple process. You do not want to skip this part and miss out on the full potential of your cannabis infusions.
Cannabis Infusion Ratio
For the completely new edible maker, it may be tricky to figure out how much cannabis to use per cup of oil. A good rule of thumb is to use about a quarter to a half ounce of plant material per 1 cup of oil. You can always use less, and you can definitely use more. But this is a safe ratio to use. You don’t want to use so much flower that you’re unable to maximize the extraction, and you don’t want to use so little that you have to eat an entire pie to get your dosing correct.
Best Straining Method
The best way to strain your crock pot cannabis coconut oil is using a mesh strainer, and cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter. You will want to use a very fine, tight woven cheesecloth, but not so fine that the oil is getting caught in the strainer.
List of Supplies Needed to Make Cannabis Coconut Oil
To make cannabis coconut oil, you will need the following tools and supplies:
- 1 cup of coconut oil
- 7-14 grams of cannabis flower
- Baking sheet
- Tinfoil/Aluminum foil
- Mesh strainer
- Mason jar
- Medium saucepan or crock pot/slow cooker
How to Make Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil
Step 1: Decarboxylate your cannabisWeigh your cannabis flower and then roughly break it apart and spread it in an even layer on a baking sheet. Flower should be broken up into even-sized pieces, so that it decarbs evenly. You can use a grinder to grind the flower into smaller pieces. Bake the flower in an oven that has been preheated to 240 degrees fahrenheit for approximately 45 minutes. To preserve the terpenes, cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil, and allow the flower to come to room temperature while remaining covered.
Step 2: Combine flower and coconut oil
Place your flower and coconut oil in a mason jar (choose a size that will fit in your crock pot with the lid on). Stir gently. Add the lid to the mason jar, and screw it on tight enough to prevent outside water from getting into the jar, but not so tight that it will fully seal during the infusion process.
Step 3: Give the jar a hot bath
Place the mason jar in a crock pot filled with room temperature water. You’ll want to make sure there’s enough water to cover the jar (or jars if you’re making several batches or splitting one batch among several smaller jars). Optional: line the crockpot with a towel to protect the jars from bumping into each other.
Step 4: Let it simmer
Set the crock pot on low and let it simmer for a minimum of 2 hours, up to 6 hours. Stir or shake the jars occasionally.
Step 5: Strain the flower out
Once the coconut oil is infused, and the jar(s) has had a chance to cool down enough to handle, you’ll need to remove the plant matter from the cannabis. Line a mesh strainer with some cheesecloth, and pour the oil through into a new, clean storage container or jar. Allow the oil to fully drain. You can gently squeeze the cheese cloth, or press the raffinate down to expel more oil, but this may introduce more chlorophyll into your cannabis coconut oil. Seal the new jar and store.
- Stovetop and Mason Jar:
- Instead of using a crockpot, you can accomplish the same kind of infusion method using a saucepan filled with water. Start with cold or room temperature water, and let the water boil for two hours. Keep an eye on the pot though. You’ll want to replenish with more hot water as it boils off, especially if your mason jar is too large to cover with the pot lid.
- Saucepan Only Method:
- Rather than doing a water bath, you can place both your coconut oil and decarboxylated plant material in a saucepan and simmer together on low heat for up to two hours. You’ll need to keep a close eye on this method though, because you run the risk of the oil getting too hot and ruining the final product. You do not want to fry your flower. Not unlike consuming edibles, when infusing you want to go low and slow.
- Double Boiler Method:
- The double boiler method is more or less the same as using a saucepan and a mason jar or the crockpot. Water goes in the bottom, flower and oil go in the top, and let it simmer for 2-6 hours.
- The longer your cannaoil and plant material simmer together in the heat, the more likely your final infusion will taste like the plant. This is a personal preference, but if you find the flavor to be unpleasant, try shorter infusion times.
Best Way to Store Your Cannabis Coconut OilOne of the strengths of cannabis infused coconut oil is that it is incredibly shelf stable and can last for quite some time. If stored properly, cannabis infused coconut oil has a shelf life from 2-3 months stored at room temperature, and up to three years if stored in your fridge, before degradation starts to change the potency and flavor.
To store the cannabis coconut oil, you’ll need a clean, dry, airtight container or jar. And you’ll most likely want to keep it in a cool dark place (like a pantry or kitchen cabinet), or in your refrigerator. An amber or dark colored jar can protect your infusion from degradation by protecting it from the light.
Learning to infuse DIY coconut cannaoil may seem like a daunting task, but the truth is with a little time and patience you’ll be able to find the perfect dose, method, and recipes for your lifestyle. Cannabis-infused coconut oil is a staple ingredient in many home chefs’ kitchens for a reason, so put this article into practice and find out for yourself. And don’t forget to leave a comment down below and let everyone know how you have used your own cannabis coconut oil.