What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is a refined hemp extract that has been added to a carrier oil. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that produces only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis component that can produce a psychoactive “high.” In fact, hemp is defined as having less than 0.3 % THC. Instead of producing THC, hemp plants contain mainly cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp has a long history of use for making fiber for textiles and rope, and has been bred to be tall and skinny with very small flowers, or buds.
The explosive popularity of non-intoxicating cannabis products containing CBD has led to the development of a booming $1 billion industry. Those who seek CBD’s medical benefits can consume a diversity of CBD-infused foods, supplements, and drinks. CBD oil has been used to treat wide-ranging symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, depression, and acne.
CBD additives come in many forms, but all fall into three major categories: CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, and CBD isolate. While “CBD oil” and “CBD-rich cannabis oil” may seem like two words for the same product, they differ significantly, mainly due to the fact that two distinct kinds of cannabis are used to make each.
History of CBD oil laws
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 made all cannabis varieties, including hemp, completely illegal, but the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp for fiber, while also legalizing the extraction of CBD from hemp if the hemp was grown in accordance with the law. This bill led to the rapid expansion of CBD products including oils, balms, creams, and gummies.. Interstate commerce of these products lies in a legal gray area because CBD and cannabis extracts are still considered a Schedule 1 narcotic, but the United States Drug Enforcement Agency has not enforced this regulation on businesses that sell CBD oil.
Hemp Oil, CBD Oil, THC, or…
Your choice! You can make cannabis-infused oil with hemp or marijuana, depending on what is legal and available in your area. Or, what you’re desired end-results are. Hemp oil will only contain CBD (or a very minuscule amount of THC), while marijuana-infused oil will likely contain both THC and CBD. The ratio and concentration of THC and/or CBD depends on the strain of marijuana and particular plant it came from.
Generally speaking, THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. But THC does a lot more than change your state of mind! Studies show that THC has even stronger pain and stress-relieving properties than CBD, which is known to help with insomnia, seizures and inflammation. While they each have notable and distinct stand-alone benefits, an oil or salve containing both CBD and THC has the highest potential for a wide array of health benefits (albeit illegal in some places). Known as the “entourage effect”, the synergistic combination of both THC and CBD through whole-plant cannabis consumption and extracts is more powerful than either one on its own.
Why Make Cannabis Oil
Cannabis oil is the foundation ingredient for ultra-healing homemade topical lotions, ointments, and salves – my favorite way to use it! Both THC and CBD have excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that cannabinoids have the ability to reduce acne, fine lines and wrinkles, soothe redness and irritation, and balance natural skin oils. Also, cannabinoids (THC especially) are analgesic – meaning they reduce pain. I regularly use our homemade cannabis salve on my knees, ankles, and other aching or inflamed joints and muscles.
Furthermore, making cannabis oil is one of the most reliable ways to create medicated edible cannabis products. Even so, it is extremely difficult to determine the exact potency of homemade edibles or cannabis oil. Because of this, it is suggested to consume with caution in very small doses at first. Cannabis oil can be consumed on its own, or added to other edible cannabis recipes.
On the other hand, simply chopping up weed to add to your brownie mix is not a good idea, for many reasons. As we already explored, cannabinoids are fat-soluble. That means that they not only bind with oils during the infusion process, but also that cannabinoids are more readily absorbed and digested in our bodies when they’re consumed with fat – such as oil. If you add raw cannabis to baked goods, it is less likely that the cannabinoids will bind to fats for a consistent and effective edible experience. Using decarboxylated cannabis to make cannabis oil further increases precision and consistency.
Different ways of making CBD oil
Learning how to make CBD oil is not rocket science, we promise. There are a couple popular methods to choose from, and with some research you can learn everything from how to make CBD oil with coconut oil to how to make CBD oil from isolate.
Let’s start with the basics, here’s what you’ll need:
Since CBD oil does not contain THC, it is not psychoactive and won’t leave you with a high. Before understanding the process of making CBD oil, you can get here to understand the key benefits of using CBD oil.
Equipment / Supplies
- High-quality hemp or cannabis flowers
- Oil or alcohol
- Infuser / decarboxylator
- Baking sheets, pot, cheesecloth, coffee filter, thermometer (if not using a decarboxylator or infuser)
There are two key steps for all methods: decarboxylation and infusion. Decarboxylation sounds scientific and complex, but it is simply the process of heating dried cannabis/hemp buds in order to activate the compounds within. Heat is needed to activate these compounds in order to enjoy their effects (this is why smoking is a popular method of consuming CBD). Infusion is the process of releasing the now activated compounds into a carrier oil or alcohol.
In order to activate CBD with precision (recommended so that you get the most out of your CBD oil or tincture), you should use a decarboxylator. Decarboxylators maintain precise temperatures so that you can ensure complete activation of the compounds. There are many affordable decarboxylators on the market; we recommend the MB2e MagicalButter Machine or Levo II for high quality, precision, and features such as a smartphone app, temperature control, excellent customer service, and potency control. Most decarboxylators also have an infusion cycle. If cost is a concern, then a more affordable option like the MagicalButter DecarBox is an excellent choice. Remember that purchasing a decarboxylator may cost a pretty penny upfront, but it is an investment that will continue to pay off the longer you use it. If you want to try making CBD oil without any equipment, you can also bake the hemp or cannabis on a baking sheet at 280° F / 138° C for approximately one hour in order to activate it.
If you want to make a CBD oil that has little to no THC in it, then hemp flowers are an excellent option for you as they contain either zero or trace amounts of THC. They are also a great choice if you are looking for a way to make cbd oil stronger, as they produce a more potent product. If you are not concerned about small amounts of THC, then you can use CBD-dominant cannabis. With this option you can also enjoy the so-called “entourage effect”: the theory that cannabinoids are most effective when taken together.
It’s easy to see why making CBD oil is an excellent choice. Cannabidiol (CBD) bonds well with oil, and CBD oil has a high bioavailability, making it a popular choice. You can use common oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, and even butter. Note that the oil you choose will have an effect on the taste and texture of the final product. For a neutral, tasteless oil, use MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride). Let’s learn how to make CBD oil!
- If using a decarboxylator, follow the manual instructions in order to activate 5g of the hemp/cannabis.
- If using household items, bake 5g of the hemp or cannabis on a baking sheet at 280° F / 138° C for approx. one hour in order to activate it.
- If using a decarboxylator, pour in ¾ cup of your oil of choice and start the infusion cycle.
- If using household items, transfer the baked hemp/cannabis to a pot, add ¾ cup oil, and let it infuse on low heat for 2 hours. Do not let the mixture exceed 200° F / 93° C as excess heat will kill certain cannabinoid compounds.
- Let the mixture cool and then strain through cheesecloth or a sieve. Store in a glass container with an airtight seal for up to one year.
Wondering how to make CBD oil from isolate? You can also make CBD oil by dissolving CBD isolate in the oil of your choice, and then storing in a cool, dark place. As suggested by its name, CBD Isolate is made when CBD is isolated from the cannabis plant’s other compounds. Manufacturers undertake multiple processes in order to produce CBD Isolate, which is ground into a slightly sticky powder. CBD Isolate is pretty much guaranteed to contain pure (99%) CBD. You can purchase CBD isolate online, or at your local dispensary.
Similar to CBD oil, CBD tinctures are made with the decarboxylation and infusion method. Cannabis/CBD tinctures are alcohol-based, but consumed in the same way as CBD oil. For dosage, start low and go slow is common wisdom. For making tinctures, it is essential to choose a food-grade, high-proof, alcohol such as Everclear. Double check that the alcohol is safe for consumption. Higher alcohol content will help dissolve the cannabis resin/CBD isolate.
- Same as with the CBD oil method above, activate 1 oz of the hemp/cannabis using either a decarboxylator or the baking method, or simply begin with purchased CBD isolate.
- Mix the flowers or isolate in a glass jar with 750 ml high-proof alcohol and seal well.
- Shake the jar once a day and store in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks.
- Strain the mixture through cheesecloth, coffee filter, or a sieve. Store in a glass container with an airtight seal for up to one year.