As great as cannabis oil is for a wide array of ailments and diseases, it isn’t cheap. As it turns out, making your own is far less difficult than you might imagine – and we’re here to help!
In particular, cannabis oil is renowned for the success patients have found in using it to treat cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, among others.
It’s sold under many different names, too, including black oil, Rick Simpson oil (RSO), and Phoenix tears.
As for how it’s used, cannabis oil is usually taken either via syringe or cannabis capsules.
Choosing the best strain for you
Depending on what you want the cannabis oil for, the strains you decide to use may vary widely. For instance, strains high in both THC and CBD are considered best for cancer treatment. Other ailments, such as epilepsy, for instance, may respond better to high CBD, low THC strains.
In any case, for purity sake, we recommend using organic cannabis.
To get started, you’re going to need a few things.
One ounce of high-quality medical cannabis or 2 to 3 ounces of trim. You can also throw in small stems and fan leaves for good measure
- Everclear alcohol
- Double boiler or rice cooker
- 1 medium glass mixing bowl
- Cheesecloth or clean nylon stocking
- Large wooden spoon
- Silicone spatula
- 2-quart mixing cup or container (to catch liquid)
- Sterile oral syringes
- Cooking thermometer
- Fans or ventilation (if indoors)
- Parchment paper
Step 1: Prep workspace
As you’re dealing with heat and flammable items, it’s especially important that your work area is clear and clean – and consider having a fire extinguisher at your disposal in case anything goes wrong.
Additionally, you want to make sure the area is well-ventilated, and – as one of the primary dangers of this extraction method is the potential for an explosion – consider doing it outside if you can, as there will be less buildup of combustible gasses with the increased ventilation. We also recommend burn protection as well as possibly a safety respiratory mask, in addition to safety goggles to protect your eyes.
Step 2: Solvent extraction
We recommend using a solvent such as high-proof alcohol as it helps burn off any potential carcinogens.
These are the steps you’ll need to follow with your solvent:
- Add your cannabis to your glass bowl
- Pour your alcohol into the bowl, just enough to cover the herb
- Stir the cannabis with your wooden spoon continuously for a couple of minutes. This mixes the cannabinoids with the alcohol
Step 3: Strain and second soak
Straining out the plant material from your solvent is a two-step process, and helps ensure the purity of your extract.
- Cover your 2-quart measuring cup or extra container with cheesecloth or a clean nylon stocking. You will be pouring the cannabis over the top to strain the plant materials from the alcohol, so make sure you can easily grab and bundle up your strained material
- Pour your cannabis mixture over your cheesecloth into the second container
- Gather up the cheesecloth or nylon and squeeze out the remaining liquid
The first straining should result in a dark green liquid; a mix of alcohol and cannabis resin. The second soak helps purify it the rest of the way.
- Take your strained plant material and empty it back into your glass mixing bowl
- Pour more Everclear over the top until it is fully submerged
- Stir continuously with your wooden spoon for a couple of minutes
- Repeat the straining process and empty your second batch of alcohol into your runoff container
Step 4: Burning off the solvent
This is where safety becomes paramount, and ventilation is especially important.
If you’re indoors, keep your fan on your cooking medium and direct off gasses toward an open window or door. The last thing you want is an explosion in your kitchen.
There are two ways to do burn off your solvent, either with a rice cooker or a stovetop and double boiler.
Option A: Rice cooker
Opting for a rice cooker is nice because it is portable, meaning that you can take it outside if you’re concerned about safety.
Before you make oil with a rice cooker, you may want to test to see how hot your cooker gets beforehand. You can do this by adding in some water prior to cooking your oil and bringing it to a boil in the cooker.
Use your thermometer to test the temperature of the water. Touch the thermometer to the bottom surface, so you know exactly how hot it will get.
- Fill the rice cooker 3/4ths full with the canna-alcohol (you can add in more liquid later as the levels drop with cooking)
- Turn your rice cooker on, and LEAVE THE LID OPEN. You can gently drape some cheesecloth over the rice cooker to keep any dust out of the oil. Make sure the cloth is not touching the oil (see video below)
- Use the White Rice setting and heat your liquid on high and allow the solvent to boil down
- Keep an eye on your oil throughout the cooking process
- Remove the rice cooker pot from the machine when the oil becomes thick and dark green. Remember to use your oven mitts
- Stir the liquid and watch the bubbles. When the amount of bubbles rising to the top decreases substantially, you’re ready to remove the oil
- Use your silicone spatula to remove the cannabis oil from the pot.
- Using a toothpick, gently scrape off the cannabis oil onto some parchment paper
Option B: Double boiler
Follow the same safety tips as above before beginning to heat your extraction with a double boiler.
- Fill the bottom of your double boiler with water
- Pour canna-alcohol into the top pan
- Turn your burner on high and wait for your top pot to boil
- Once the liquid bubbles, immediately turn off your burner. The boiling water will do the rest
- Let the mixture in the top pan bubble for 15 to 20 minutes. You can turn the burner back on if you stop getting bubbles
- Once the oil is nice and thick, it is complete. You can remove it from the pan and scrape it out onto parchment paper when it cools
Step 5: Fill your syringes
Once the oil has cooled, use the syringe for dosing, or to fill capsules to make cannabis pills.
The video below has plenty of great tips, as well:
Many thanks to Herb for the great tips!