How to make CBD oil at home
November 09, 2021
As long as you have some hemp flower and basic cooking knowledge, you can create medical hemp oil, or CBD oil, at home.
There are many benefits to making homemade medical cannabis oil, the biggest one being that you always know what's in the bottle. Being able to control every step of the process lets you tailor your oil however you see fit, ensuring that no harmful chemicals are used and it's exactly the strength you need.
Given that the CBD market is a budding industry, the lack of proper oversight allows companies to get away with scams like using hemp seed oil which contains no cannabinoids and still marketing it as a CBD product because it has the word hemp in it. Given the large volume of fake stuff out there, it can be hard for someone who really needs CBD to find something that works for them and they may need to resort to making it themselves. If making CBD oil at home is too involved for you, we highly recommend Sivan CBD. They use USA grown Hemp in their CO2 extracted hemp oil and have created specific formulas with cannabinoids other than CBD to deliver more targeted remedies to their customers.
In this article, we will discuss how to make your own CBD oil at home with some hemp flower and things you’d have laying around and we’ll also go over some basic tips and tricks to use during the process.
How do companies create CBD products?
“Hemp extract” is used to describe the substances made from the hemp or Cannabis Sativa plant. There are many different types of extraction methods and stages of extract, but the main goal is to distill all the goods parts of the hemp plant into a consumable form.
The hemp plant is actually not the only plant with cannabinoids in it. Until as recently as 2018 it was thought that hemp and marijuana were the only plants that contained any cannabinoids but new findings show that they are present in a lot of our everyday things. Cocoa, black pepper, broccoli, carrots, truffles and many more common plants all contain some level of cannabinoids. Industrial hemp has a very high CBD concentration while also having very low THC levels (psychoactive substance) and that’s what makes it ideal for extracting CBD for its therapeutic benefits.
When a company wants to create a CBD product, they first use an extraction method to get hemp oil from the hemp plant's stalks, leaves, and especially flowers which have the most dense source of cannabinoids. This will form a thick and waxy “crude oil” which is then mixed with ethanol and left to sit overnight in order to separate the waxes from the oils. After separating the wax from the oils, the ethanol is completely removed and the final product at this point is referred to as “full spectrum oil”. Further refining can be done with more harsh chemicals and processes in order to produce “broad spectrum oil” and “isolate” products, but there are a bunch of ways to achieve those outcomes and this article will get too involved with chemistry should we discuss. Any of these final extracts, though, full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolates can then be mixed into any vehicle for consumption; the most common forms being tinctures, edibles, and topicals.
Tinctures are the most versatile and easy to create form of consumption so this article will focus on making those.
How does CBD oil work?
CBD hemp oil works by stimulating our body’s internal endocannabinoid system. CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBC among other cannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our body to help regulate crucial processes like sleep and stress management.
CBD tends to have a sedative effect on users, but oftentimes, this is reported as an indirect result of people using it to reduce stress. The relaxing/calming properties of CBD can reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
While hemp might provide a sedative effect in some users, it can also work to increase alertness and energy. One common theory is that CBD’s sedative/uplifting effect varies based on dosage size. In smaller quantities, cannabidiol (CBD) tends to have a more uplifting effect; increasing alertness, mood, and focus. In higher quantities, CBD tends to have a more relaxing/calming effect; reducing stress, loosening up muscle tightness, and helping to provide longer uninterrupted sleep. CBD is so versatile that it can eve be utilized as a dietary supplement.
Your type of hemp extract may also affect the benefits one may experience. full-spectrum CBD oil, broad-spectrum CBD oil, and CBD isolate all can deliver different effects based on the different compounds present or not present.
What is the point of extracting cannabidiol oil at home?
Top notch hemp extraction equipment can be rather expensive. In order to produce the highest quality oil, you require advanced CO2 extraction machines and the entire extraction set up can cost upwards of a million dollars. This is why it isn’t always best to get the cheapest CBD you can find. More often than not, cheap products indicate poor quality hemp or “dirtier” extraction processes during the making of the oil. While the average joe can’t make the highest quality CO2 extracts at home, there are other, cheaper methods that can be easily performed at home to produce a good product.
By making CBD oil at home, you can save some money and tailor your CBD oil exactly how you like it. Continue below for a step by step guide on how to make your own homemade hemp tinctures.
A step-by-step guide to making CBD oil at home
The two most popular methods for making CBD oil at home, we will call: the oil method and the alcohol method.
The first, and preferred process that we will discuss is the “oil method”. This involves mixing hemp flower with any carrier oil that you prefer. The most common and effective oils to use are MCT Oil, hemp seed oil, olive oil, and avocado oil, but any carrier oil should suffice.
The quality of the product may vary based on what part of the hemp plant you’re using. We recommend using the flowers as they are the most dense with cannabinoids but any part of the plant should have something.
- First, you will need to buy some quality hemp. Depending on where you are there may be local options but if not a quick google search can help you find some reputable sources.
- After getting some, the whole process starts with decarboxylation. In its natural form, the hemp plant has a lot of CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) and trace amounts of CBD. When the plant is harvested, dried and aged, the CBDA starts to breakdown into CBD. Instead of waiting for the process to happen naturally, it can also be done by applying heat to the plant.
- In order to decarboxylate the plant, you will need to ground the plant matter up as finely as possible and put it in an oven set to 220 degrees Fahrenheit for about two hours.
- When the flowers are done, take them out and let them cool for 5 - 10 minutes. Then put it in jars and mix it with the carrier oil of your choice. The plant matter to carrier oil ratio is ultimately up to you, but most hemp connoisseurs recommend about 5 - 7 grams of hemp per 2 fl oz of oil.
- Once combined, cap the jars and put them in a pot or another similar container that can boil water. Make sure that the jars are tightly sealed so that steam doesn’t dilute the mixture and the carrier oil doesn't evaporate away. Also try and put a towel or silicon pad between the jar and pot bottom to ensure even heating of the solution.
- Turn the stove on to low or medium heat to get the water to a simmer.
- Let the container sit in the pot for about 3 hours, occasionally checking to make sure there is enough water to completely cover the amount of solution in the jars.
- After 3 hours, remove the jar from the simmering water and let it sit to cool and continue mixing for another 3 hours.
- The mixture should be good to go after sitting, but if you want an extra potent solution, repeat steps 4-7 again.
- Once you’re happy with the outcome, you can finally use your homemade CBD oil! Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth or coffee filter into a new jar and use it however you prefer. Make sure to squeeze all the oil out of the plant matter so you don't leave anything behind!
- For storage purposes, it helps if these new jars are made of dark glass and that they can be properly sealed. CBD oil can deteriorate if it's exposed to the elements, specifically light and air.
The second method, which is a little faster but produces a more harsh result, is the “alcohol method”. Depending on how much care you take with filtering the alcohol out, the CBD oil can be a lot more harsh, but the end result is just as effective as the oil method.
- Before you start, make sure that you are using a food grade ethanol. This process can be done with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) but will produce something very unpleasant and requires a slightly different process. These steps will outline the process using ethanol alcohol.
- Repeat steps 1-3 in the “oil method” for sourcing and decarboxylating your hemp.
- After decarbing the plant matter, mix it into a jar with your high-proof ethanol. Make sure to use enough ethanol to cover all the plant matter. As a good starting reference for how much plant matter to ethanol, we recommend the same ratio as the oil method: 5 - 7 grams of flower per 2 fl oz ethanol.
- Vigorously shake the mixture so that the ingredients properly combine. Do this for about 30 seconds to one minute and then let the mixture sit about 5 minutes. Repeat this three times.
- Once that's done, strain the alcohol solution into a jar using a cheesecloth or coffee filter. Make sure to squeeze the liquid out of the plant matter to get as much of your solution as possible.
- Once you have the solution in a jar, you now need to boil the alcohol out. Place the jar, uncapped, in a pot of water with a towel or silicon pad between the bottom of the pot and the jar as to not damage the oil. Make sure the water only goes to about half way up the uncapped jar so no water will get in when it starts simmering.
- Bring the water to a simmer and wait for all the alcohol to evaporate out. The amount of time required is dependent on how much oil you make and what kind of jar you’re using, but you should let the jar simmer until you have a viscous, dark amber looking solution. If you smell the jar and there is no longer an alcohol smell, you should be good to go. If when you use it you still detect alcohol, repeat steps 6 - 7 until it’s up to your standards.
- For storage, place the extract in a dark glass, sealable container and put it somewhere dark and at room temperature.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of making CBD tinctures at home?
The biggest advantage of making CBD oil at home is that the whole process is completely customizable.
From choosing the extraction process to finding the best hemp strain, you can micromanage everything. The ability to choose your own strain is especially great. If you smoke hemp and found one strain in particular to work for you, you can distill it and consume it in any form you want. You can also add some of your own ingredients and additives. For example you can put powdered melatonin or vitamins in your oil as well if you want a sleeptime tincture or something to use to start your day.
Having the ability to choose the strain can have a major impact on the whole wellness process. Different strains of hemp have different cannabinoid compositions and therefore can induce different effects in individuals. Hemp companies usually create oils based on the principle of one size fits all, or they source the cheapest hemp flower which is always changing causing their products to yield inconsistent effects. This is why you need to find a reliable manufacturer, like Sivan CBD, that creates oils with different intended purposes and has a consistent supply chain.
Another major benefit to homemade oils is the transparency and price difference. It is nice that you will always know which ingredients were used and the process the oil went through. Good CBD oil can also be pricey and homemade CBD oil can be significantly cheaper. The end product is usually a bit less potent and not quality controlled but it's a great option to use if you don't have access to properly manufactured CBD oil.
Making tinctures at home is not for everyone, though. For most, the process is too time-consuming and doesn’t make them the product they may have been expecting. There is also a lot of room for error and making mistakes.
Additionally, this process only allows you to create a full-spectrum hemp extract. While these substances are much more effective and potent, they do have some THC. With a lack of quality control for homemade oils, it’s impossible to say how much THC is in your solution without a lab test.
How to dose CBD oil?
Dosing is another hurdle when making homemade CBD. Without proper quality control and lab tests, it’s impossible to tell how much CBD and other cannabinoids you’re actually ingesting
As mentioned, determining the strength of a substance will be very hard. While hemp extracts are known for not having severe side effects, you don’t want to feel drowsy during the day or energetic at night. With homemade oils, it's best to find a recipe you like, stick to it, and to determine what outcomes you receive given that specific method.
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- Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., Hughes, S., (2019), Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series, The Permanente journal, Portland, OR, USA
- Sachs, J., McGlade, E., Yurgelun-Todd, D., (2015), Safety and Toxicology of Cannabinoids, Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Orlando, FL, USA