How to make Cannabis infused coconut oil.
Many South Africans are wanting to make their own Cannabis Coconut oil at home to use as beauty creams or for making Cannabis edibles at home.
Making cannabis-infused coconut oil is as simple as steeping quality Cannabis in a quality oil. Technology has bought us fancy machines like the Magical Butter machine, but the infusion process can be done right on a stovetop or hot plate with the help of a double boiler.
Coconut oil has among the highest concentration of fatty acids (saturated fats). The surplus of these fatty acids in the coconut oil create a stronger 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 extractions, rendering far more medicinally efficient products in return. Coconut oil, therefore, is a near perfect medium for cannabis.
Choosing the Right Strain
Your next choice will be determining what strain(s) of cannabis to use. The infusion process does not drastically change the effects or flavours of the variety of cannabis used. Therefore, you will want to use a cannabis strain that delivers the desired effects you want to achieve (indica, sativa, hybrid, high-CBD). Most importantly, you want to be sure that the cannabis you use is free from impurities (such as mold, fungus, bugs, and pesticides). If the cannabis is compromised, the infusion process will not correct it.
Cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are all affected differently by heat. A double boiler traps steam between the pans (provided you have a good seal) and remains steady about 105° C.
The most volatile terpenes will start to evaporate around 21° C (filling the air with a pungent aroma). A majority of the remaining terpenes will begin to evaporate rapidly around 38° C.
The boiling points of flavonoids range between 134° and 178° C, so the dominant flavours of the strain you use should still be evident in the infused oil.
Cannabinoids, specifically THC and CBD, exist in acidic and activated forms. In the plant, these cannabinoids exist almost entirely in the acidic form and are known as THCA and CBDA. When heated, these acidic forms undergo a chemical reaction called decarboxylation that results in THCA converting to THC and CBDA converting to CBD. Complete activation occurs when heated to 105° C for 90 minutes. In theory, the double boiler cooks at 100° C, but many factors can change that number, so you may need to experiment by adding or subtracting a few minutes to achieve your desired effects. Remember, if you are going to use the oil in a recipe that will expose it to further heat, you don’t want it to be fully activated at this stage.
Further, coconut oil has an average smoking point of 177° C, and can be very tricky to cook on direct heat. A double boiler cooks by steam so the oil doesn’t burn easily. Overcooking the oil compromises the fats and the taste will be most unappealing. If this happens, all you can do is throw it out, wipe the pan clean, and start over.
Organic, virgin (or extra-virgin), raw, unrefined, centrifuged and cold-pressed are all terms you want to look for when selecting a coconut oil for ingesting with no cooking or for use in low-heat cooking. These oils typically deliver a strong coconut flavour.
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.
Recipe for Cannabis Coconut Oil
- 1 cup of ground cannabis flower (or less for milder potency)
- 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 the 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 or slow cooker, 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 three 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 118°C.
- 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.
Check out the video below for more tips and recipes on how to make Cannabis Coconut oil at home.