Cannabis and coconut oil: Uses, benefits, and a recipe to make your own
Coconut oil has managed to infuse its way into some of the cannabis industry’s most sought-after products, including edibles and topicals, but why?
Why is coconut oil popular for cannabis infusion?
Coconut oil has a high concentration of fatty acids (saturated fats). The surplus of these fatty acids in coconut oil create a strong binding agent for cannabinoids.
Compared to olive oil, which contains a saturated fat content of less than 20%, coconut oil contains over 80% saturated fats and thus has the ability to retain far more cannabinoids during infusions, making it far more efficient. Coconut oil is a near-perfect medium for cannabis-infused oils.
Coconut oil uses and health benefits
Coconut oil also contains other sets of beneficial acids that have been known to have a list of potential health benefits. Lauric acid is a great example—when digested, lauric acid creates a monoglyceride that acts as an antimicrobial.
These fatty acids are found in abundance in coconut oil, making it a top contender for those looking for a healthier oil base than butter or canola oil.
Another fantastic benefit of using coconut oil is it will remain solid at room temperature. This makes it a great medium for using as a topical agent. Furthermore, its solid state allows the oil to be easily stored via gelatin capsules, a widely popular and highly effective method of consuming cannabis.
Gelatin oil capsules are so simple and easy to make at home—the ingredients can be purchased from just about any pharmacy or online, making for a fun and simple DIY project.
How to make cannabis-infused coconut oil
Aside from the fact that you can purchase coconut oil relatively inexpensively from just about anywhere, the process of decarboxylating and infusing cannabis into coconut oil requires only a few simple ingredients and can be done at home with minimal effort.
Recipe for cannabis coconut oil
- 1 cup of ground cannabis flower (7-10 grams)
- 1 cup of coconut oil
- Strainer or cheesecloth
- Grinder (a simple hand grinder works best; appliances like blenders and coffee grinder pulverize the cannabis, resulting in edibles with bad tasting plant material)
- Double-boiler, slow cooker, saucepan, etc.
- Grind your cannabis. You can include the entire plant, just the flower, a little bit of both—this is all a matter of preference. Just keep in mind that anything small enough to fit through the strainer will end up in your finished product, so again, do not grind your cannabis to a fine powder.
- Combine oil and cannabis in your double-boiler, slow cooker, or saucepan and heat the two together on low or warm for a few hours. This allows for decarboxylation (activation of THC) without scorching (which destroys the active ingredients). Cooking can be done a variety of ways: in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally; in a double-boiler on low for at least 6 hours (8 is better), stirring occasionally; or in a simple saucepan on low for at least 2-3 hours, stirring frequently (a saucepan is most susceptible to scorching). In all cases, a small amount of water can be added to the mixture to help avoid burning. Note: whatever method you choose, temperature of the oil should not exceed 245°F.
- Strain and store the oil. Do not squeeze the cheesecloth; this will simply add more chlorophyll to your oil. All remaining plant material can be discarded or used in other dishes if you have the wherewithal. The oil’s shelf life is at least two months, and can be extended with refrigeration.
How to use cannabis coconut oil
Once you’ve got an infusion of coconut oil, the uses are endless!
- Combine your infused coconut oil with beeswax and aloe to make your own an infused cannabis topical
- Use your coconut oil in place of oil in a recipe of your choice to make a variety of infused dishes (try Herb Roasted Potatoes!)
- Infused coconut oil can easily be used as a lubricant in the bedroom (But be safe! Coconut oil may weaken condoms)
- Put your infused coconut oil into capsules for easy measurable dosing
- Make an infused cannabis tea latte
Expect to see coconut oil remain a staple in future cannabis infusions across the market. As major brands continue to innovate, coconut oil should thrive on the ingredient lists of more products to come.
If, however, you don’t have access to a dispensary near you or want to try a fun DIY with your own material, you can always make your own at home. Trust us, you’ll go coconuts for this stuff!
How to make CBD coconut oil
For those who don’t want the effects of THC in their infused coconut oil, you can infuse it with CBD instead. Simply follow the recipe above but use CBD flower instead of THC flower to get the health benefits of CBD.
This post was originally published on April 16, 2016. It was most recently updated on April 16, 2020.
Coconut oil has infused its way into some of the cannabis industry’s most popular products. Learn why, and find a recipe to make your own.
How to Make Cannabis Coconut Oil (canna Oil)
Introduction: How to Make Cannabis Coconut Oil (canna Oil)
Cannabis coconut oil is a really versatile way to consume cannabis. It’s great taken alone or baked into all kinds of edibles – most strains of cannabis beautifully complement the flavor of coconut oil! Canna oil makes medicating super accessible, too – you can use indica, sativa, or even high CBD strains to get the desired effect you want.
It’s also super easy to make, and a great way to use up excess trim, kief or hash from harvest. In this instructable I’ll show you my favorite way to do it – simmering on the stove top! But I’ll tell you how to do it in a crockpot too.
This is a very fast and no-fuss version of canna oil – through lots of reading and quite a few experiments I really don’t believe it’s necessary to simmer it for-ev-errr and over complicate it. This method will give you a potent, tasty and fancy canna oil.
Step 1: What You’ll Need
- metal strainer/sieve
- bowl or large measuring cup
- jar or bowl to store the canna oil
- decarboxylated cannabis (buds, trim, kief, hash – 40 grams)
- unrefined coconut oil (2 cups)
We’ll talk a little about dosing on the next step.
Unsure how to decarboxylate cannabis? Click here to find out!
Step 2: Dosing + Strains + Expectations
(Pictured above – Doctor Who water hash, Doctor Who in bud form – so purple. Doctor Who sugar leaf trim)
What I’m using for this batch:
- 2 cups unrefined coconut oil
- 40 g Doctor Who trim, decarboxylated
This is a fairly strong dose – about 1.5 g of trim per tablespoon of canna oil. The medibles this canna oil makes will be used primarily for combating migraines so stronger is better!
Guidelines for dosing:
I recommend using anywhere from 0.5-1.5 g of trim/bud/hash/etc per tablespoon of oil. If this is your first time experimenting with canna oil, try using 16 grams of cannabis to 2 cups of oil.
When using buds, it’s okay to use less than you would if you were using trim as there will be more trichromes present and therefore more THC. If I was using buds instead of trim in this batch, I probably would have used 0.5 grams of bud per tablespoon of coconut oil.
For more information on dosing cannabis, I really recommend picking up a copy of The Ganja Kitchen Revolution by Jessica Catalano. The book includes a very nice dosing chart and explains how to demystify making edibles with the right amount of THC for you.
This article on The Cannabist also includes a helpful way of figuring out the THC content in edibles.
What to expect when using canna oil:
Cannabis taken orally a totally different beast – it can take you much longer to feel it, and the effects can linger much longer on average. Canna oil is often quite potent and can make you super sleepy, so never try a new dose when you have obligations later. 😉
You can try to combat sleepiness by using only sativas in your canna oil, or by choosing a strain high in CBD. But it might still make you a teeny bit tired (edibles always do that to some folks!), so always use caution.
What to do if you take too much canna oil:
If you ever take too much while trying to figure out the proper dose, don’t worry! You may feel anxious or wonder why you ever thought this was a good idea – but I promise it will pass and the benefits are worth it.
Your best bet is to drink a glass of water and lie down. Sleeping is always the best possible way to handle having a bit too much cannabis.
If sleep seems unreachable, try dimming the lights and putting on music or the TV. You can try talking to someone too. Whatever relaxes you! Just keep in mind that it will pass in a few hours at most.
Step 3: Combine the Coconut Oil and Cannabis and Simmer
Combine the cannabis and coconut oil in a small saucepan over the lowest heat you can manage.
Once the coconut oil has melted, let the mix simmer uncovered (stirring ever so often) for an hour.
HEY! If you’d like to do this in a crockpot you definitely can. Just let it go on low for a couple hours. It’s not necessary to take it longer than that.
If your canna oil turns out super green or not green at all, that’s fine. The green-ness relates only to the chlorophyll present, not how strong the canna oil is.
Step 4: Strain
For straining, use cheesecloth in a sieve over a large measuring cup. A sieve normally isn’t fine enough on its own! It won’t matter too much if you end up with particulates in the oil, but it always looks nicer without them.
Place two layers of cheesecloth in the sieve and put it over the measuring cup.
Pour the hot oil and cannabis mixture into the cheesecloth.
Let it drip for an hour or so and then squeeze the rest out by hand.
You can use the processed cannabis in other things once you’ve squeezed out the oil, but it shouldn’t have much THC left in it at all. One of the most awesome ways is to mix it with softened butter – you end up with an awesome cannabis compound butter that you can use on toast or maybe even put a dollop on a steak or under the skin of a chicken.
However, don’t feel bad if you just compost it or throw it out – nearly all the good stuff is in the canna oil now!
Step 5: Cool and Store
Pour the canna oil into a glass jar or bowl and leave uncovered until room temperature and beginning to solidify. (Leaving it uncovered is very important because we want to avoid condensation forming in the jar)
Once entirely cooled, close the container and store in the fridge or in a cool dark place. This will keep for up to a year!
See how dark it is before and how light it is when it solidifies? That’s what it should look like if you don’t simmer it too long and you’re not too rough with it. If you poked it a ton it might be more green.
Step 6: Using Cannabis Coconut Oil
You can consume this coconut canna oil on its own or use it in edibles!
If this is your first time trying it, I recommend taking 1/4-1/2 tablespoon by mouth to start. Wait at least 3-4 hours before taking more. How you feel after this will let you know if you need to increase or decrease your dose. It will also give you a baseline for edibles.
If making edibles, try using recipes you’ve made before. Knowing how many cookies, muffins, slices of cake, etc. that a recipe produces will allow you to figure out about how much THC per serving there is. (Because we know we’re using a certain amount of cannabis per tablespoon of coconut oil – you can determine the strength based on the amount of oil you used in the recipe and how many servings it makes)
Another good thing to keep in mind: you can even do half canna oil and half butter if you need the edibles to be a little less strong.
How to Make Cannabis Coconut Oil (canna Oil): Cannabis coconut oil is a really versatile way to consume cannabis. It's great taken alone or baked into all kinds of edibles – most strains of cannabis beautifully complement the flavor of coconut oil! Canna oil makes medicating super accessible, t…