Marijuana oil — AKA cannabis oil (or canna-oil or cannaoil or canna oil), or weed oil to use a more slacker term, is a staple of many cannabis recipes.
Before we go any further, I want to clarify that, for the purposes of this article, when I talk about cannabis oil, I mean an edible infused oil used for cooking, not a concentrate like FECO or RSO. That is something entirely different. To clear up confusion about what the broad term "cannabis oil" can mean, check out this article (don't worry if you find it confusing, the terms can be mighty confounding and you are not alone). OK, let's talk about cannabis infused oil for making edibles.
Since THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, is fat soluble, edible oils make ideal ways to bond it to food. Likewise marijuana oils are the backbone of many medicated foods. With these staples stored in your refrigerator or freezer you’re always ready to cook with cannabis.
What Kind of Oil and Marijuana is Best?
I am always asked what kind of oil is best to infuse. That depends what you are going to use it for. A neutral oil like canola, grapeseed, or vegetable oil is most versatile as you can use it most any recipe calling for oil. For additional flavor elements, olive oil is a great choice. You can even infuse solid at room temperature fats like coconut oil or vegetable shortening. Use whatever works best for what you are planning to cook with it.
How to Save Money When Making Canna Oil
You can cook with any kind of marijuana from trimmings to flowers when making weed oil. There is no need to cook with top-shelf marijuana. Those top-shelf strains are used priced that way because of their terpenes. As many of these volatile compounds will be cooked off in the process of making edibles, it doesn't make sense to pay extra for them in this instance.
If your purveyor offers "shake" the marijuana world equivalent of the crumbs at the bottom of a bag of potato chips, check it out. Shake is sold for far less than pretty buds but it can still be mighty potent. Check out this link for more information about Shake.
If you grow your own, these are plenty of cannabinoid-rich trichomes left on your trimmings, especially the small "sugar leaves" that surround the flowers, and they make excellent cooking material. Of course the quality of the plant matters, but if you grow great cannabis, don't waste those trimmings!
You can even make marijuana oil with old weed, although the effects of the edibles made from this may be a little different. Different is NOT necessarily bad, in many cases these effects are desirable, such as pain reduction and better sleep. Read more details about cooking with old cannabis here.
Dosing for Marijuana Oil
You will need to adjust the amount of cannabis used to make butter depending on the potency of the plant and what parts of it you are using. Check out the Dosing Dilemmas page for additional information on how to determine dosing in your cannabis butter and edibles.
For this article and others on this website, I’ve listed the amounts I use to test the recipes for this blog as well as those in The Easy Cannabis Cookbook. You can and should alter the suggested amounts to meet your needs, but these will give you a starting guideline.
For the base dose calculations for recipes on this site, I am assuming you are using 14 grams of 10%THC cannabis to make 1 cup of oil.
If that sounds confusing to you, no worries, I have a FREE online dosing class that explains all. Sign up here. And if you don't like doing math, my invaluable Dosing Calculators (the best $5.00 you'll ever spend) do all the math for you, calculate the per serving dose of your homemade edibles (even if you are not using lab-tested cannabis), and make it simple to adjust dosages to your needs before you make your edibles. No more dosing surprises. Check out the dosing calculators here.
Cheri's Dosage Calculators
Perfect dosing every time, even when not cooking with lab tested weed. Easy to use!
To Make About 1 Cup Marijuana Oil at the dose tested on this site (see links above to adjust for YOUR NEEDS):
- 1 1/4 cups edible oil of your choice
- 1/2 ounce (14 grams) average quality decarboxylated dried bud
4 Foolproof Methods for Making Cannabis Oil
There are many roads that will bring you to the same destination. Likewise, there are even more ways than what is listed below to make marijuana oil.
When it comes to gadgets, you don't need any. But if you want one, the only gadget I personally recommend is the Ardent Nova or Ardent FX. These invaluable tools perfectly decarboxylate your cannabis and make infusions like marijuana butter, oil, honey, etc. Yes, there are other marijuana butter making kitchen machines out there, but in my opinion they have design or functionality flaws that them undesirable. I do love my Ardent Nova and Ardent FX though and when cooking for myself they are always the method I use these days as it's just so easy.
BUT, you should never wait to start cooking with cannabis until you have a special gadget. If you have an ordinary kitchen with pot and pans or a slow cooker, you already have everything you need. Check out the first two tutorials below:
- How to Make Cannabis Oil in a Mason Jar (stovetop method)
- How to Make Marijuana Oil With Water in a Slow Cooker or on the Stovetop
- How to Make Cannabis Oil in the Ardent Nova
- How to Make Cannabis Oil in the Ardent FX
More help with Cannabis Oil and other Marijuana Infusions
My comprehensive online course Easy Cannabis Cooking for Home Cooks has a large module that includes detailed lessons and demonstrations on marijuana butter, oil, honey, dairy products, sugar, and tinctures.
Odor Reducing Tips When Making Marijuana Oil
Depending on how you make it, creating marijuana oil can be quite fragrant. Stovetop and even some slow cooker methods are NOT DISCREET!
What can you do if you prefer NOT to broadcast your cannabis cooking activities to the entire neighborhood? Relax, here are a few suggestions.
One option that a lot of people already own is to use an Instant Pot or other multicooker set to the slow cooker setting. No odor until you open the lid. If you don't already own an Instant Pot, you'll want one even for noncannabis cooking as it can work as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and more. But they are also terrific for making odor-free marijuana butter and oil.
Another option is by Hamilton Beach, who makes a line of slow cookers (pictured above) that are great for reducing cooking odors when making marijuana butter or oil. I am sure the fine folks at Hamilton Beach did not design the Stay and Go Slow Cooker for this specific purpose, but nonetheless they work great. That's because it has a rubber gasket on the lid and a clamp you can use to keep the slow cooker tightly closed.
People going to pot luck suppers (no, not necessarily the kinds with cannabis) love this feature as you can transport food in the slow cooker without it sloshing over. But for cannabis cooks its beauty is in the fact that you will hardly smell the odor of simmering marijuana when infusing butter or oil. At least not until you open the lid. I discovered this quite by accident, but it works. The Stay and Go Slow Cooker is also a quality product to use when making non-cannabis infused meals.
If you like to make small batches of marijuana oil, consider investing in the Ardent Lift Decarboxylator picture below). Not only do these special cannabis cooking gadgets take all the guesswork out of decarboxylation, you can actually make small batches of infusions right in them. Learn more and watch the video demonstration at this link.
And as of 2020 Ardent came out with the Nova's big brother the FX, which is capable of infusing much larger batches than their original Nova, so if you like to make larger batches you will want the FX, if you make small amounts of butter at once, either one will do.
What To Do with the Leftover Plant Material After Infusing Marijuana Oil?
The short answer is, bless and let it go! If you did a good job at making oil, you have already extracted what you need. There is, however, definitely something you should NOT do with it. See the link below for one of my most embarrassing stories from when I first learned to cook with cannabis.
Draining and Straining Cannabis Oil and Other Marijuana Infusions
The most traditional method of draining marijuana butter is to place a cheesecloth lined strainer over a large pot or bowl and strain the liquid through this.
A lot of folks find the colander and cheesecloth and messy and cumbersome endeavor. They are not entirely wrong. There is a better way. Check out this link for 3 easier and mess-free ways to strain cannabis oil.
Storing Cannabis Oil
Refrigerate infused oil until ready to use or freeze for even longer storage. Fats can still go rancid in the freezer so try to use within 3 months. Check out this link for more details about freezing cannabis butter, marijuana oil or even finished edibles.
Congratulations! Choose one of the methods above, make some oil and you’re now ready to start cooking with canna-oil!
(This article was originally published Feb. 2020.)