How to Make Marijuana Oil – Stovetop and Slow Cooker Methods

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Cannabis Butter and Marijuana Oil

Marijuana Oil and Cannabis Butter

Marijuana oil — AKA canna-oil,  or weed oil to use a more slacker term, is a staple of  many cannabis recipes.  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.

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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.

As to the cannabis plant material itself, you can cook with any kind of marijuana from trimmings to flowers.  You will need to adjust the amount used depending on the potency of the plant and what parts of it you are using.  Check out the Understanding Cannabis Dosages page for additional information and dose ranges.

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.

Coconut Oil ready for marijuana infusion in the slw cooker

Coconut Oil ready for marijuana infusion in the slw cooker

To Make About 1 Cup Marijuana Oil:

  • 1 1/4 cups oil, olive, vegetable, canola, grapeseed, coconut, etc.
  • 1/2 ounce average quality decarboxylated dried bud
  • About 4 cups water

Why Add Water When Making Marijuana Oil?

You might be wondering why I include water as an ingredient.  Including water, especially when infusing marijuana oil on the stovetop, insures the cannabis will never reach a higher temperature than the boiling point or 212 degrees F.  More importantly, the chlorophyll and terpenes – the parts of the plant that give it its flavor and color — are water soluble and most will likewise bind to water during the cooking process instead of infusing themselves into the fats along with the THC.  This will mean less herbal flavor and green color in the finished marijuana oil.

Weed oil infusing in the slow cooker

Marijuana oil infusing in the slow cooker

Nonetheless, even when using water in the mix the marijuana oil might still appear quite green. The shade of green will vary from strain to strain with some coming out pale green or almost yellow, while other marijuana oils will take on a deep forest green color.  Keep in mind, however, that color has nothing to do with potency.

Another reason to use this technique is without water in the mix, the plant material tends absorbs too much of the oil.  This means usable product is going into the trash, a problem that’s reduced when adding water.  The increased liquid volume also gives cooks the option to add more plant material in order to make more concentrated infusions if they wish.

How to Make Marijuana Oil

Cannabis Oil – Slow Cooker  Method (best choice): Add oil, marijuana plant material, and water to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 8 hours.  I know some cooks who cook their oil for as much as 2 or 3 days in the slow cooker.  Feel free to do so if you choose.  It seems like overkill to me and after having tested longer cooking times, I found no improvement in quality or potency.  In fact, I noticed a stronger herbal flavor and not much else.  You can actually cook for less time, just make sure your mixture has time to come to a full simmer.

OR

Cannabis Oil – Stovetop Method:  Place oil, cannabis plant material, and water in a large lidded Dutch oven on the stove top.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low and simmer for 2 to 4 hours.  Take care and monitor the liquid level often, adding water as necessary to always keep at least 3 cups in the pot.  Simmering marijuana on the stovetop is very aromatic.  If you’re worried about nosy neighbors wondering what you are up to, cook other strong smelling foods such as roasting garlic at the same time in order to help camouflage the smell.  Better still, use a slow cooker.

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Draining and straining cannaoil

Draining and straining marijuana oil

Draining and Straining Cannaoil

The method of draining is identical for stovetop and slow cooker methods.  Place a cheesecloth lined strainer over a large pot or bowl and strain the liquid through this.  Before discarding plant material, pour a large kettle full of boiling water over the full strainer in order to wash through any extra oil clinging to the plant material.  Allow to cool then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Discard the plant material.  If you are using a solid at room temperature fat like coconut oil or shortening, chill water and oil.  The infused oil will harden into a solid when chilled making it easy for you to simply lift the piece off of the water below and discard the water.

Give the marijuana oil an extra rinse with boiling water to extract as much as possible.

Give the marijuana oil an extra rinse with boiling water to extract as much as possible.

In most instances, oil will rise to the top of the water but won’t solidify.  No problem.  You can use a spoon to skim the oil off the water.  Even better is a kitchen gadget called a gravy separator that looks like a small pitcher with the spout originating on the bottom.  This unique design allows the water to be poured out while retaining every drop of the oil floating at the top.  During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, gravy separators are sold everywhere, otherwise find them at gourmet shops.  You can also find extra large gravy separators year round at restaurant supply stores.

Now it’s time to strain one more time to remove as much sediment as possible.  Place a double layer of cheesecloth over a strainer and pour the oil mixture through.

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.

You’re now ready to start cooking with marijuana oil!

Odor Reducing Tip When Making Marijuana Oil

Hamilton Beach makes a line of slow cookers (pictured in this article) that are great for reducing cooking odors when making marijuana 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 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.  Check it out!

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49 Comments

    • Hi, It depends on what I’m using the oil for. But, the short answer is yes. However, if the oil will be used as a topical or for someone who doesn’t want as much “high” as others, then the answer is no. I hope this helps.

  1. How would you recommend carboxylating/activating the cannabinoid that can’t be metabolized without such processes? I read somewhere that the temperature required for that is around 240 F, but I’m unsure about whether or not this would be critical for cooking. I normally make brownies and I suspect that baked goods probably don’t get anywhere near that temperature in the center. I like the idea of having water in with the oil, but I don’t want to limit the efficacy of my oil. Do you think that I could heat the oil to 240 F after I strain It?

  2. Hi I’m new this and have a question.
    Is the thc as well as cbd high in the oil when you are done following all the steps?
    I’m trying to make it with a good dose of both and I don’t want to use the alcohol method.

    • I am not sure which alcohol method you are referring to, do you mean making a tincture?

      There is no “high” from CBD, although both THC and CBD have many medicinal properties. When you make a butter or oil infusion you are infusing both these cannabinoids (along with many others) into the butter or oil, so yes you would get the benefits of both. How much of each will depend on the plant material you are cooking with and its individual cannabinoid profile. This varies widely from strain to strain. If you are using lab tested cannabis you will have a good idea of what to expect. While you can estimate a THC percentage (my free dosing course teaches you how), CBD is impossible to estimate without a lab test. Not only is the amount of CBD in each strain drastically different, you don’t physically feel the effects of CBD in the same way you do THC. Hope this all makes sense. Cheri

  3. Johnathen Young on

    Dumb question I guess but would you be able to smoke it? Was wondering if i put a drop or two on my bowl if it would have any effect or just wasting my time.

  4. I always decarb in the oven 1st at 250 degrees for 25-27 minutes. I use flower broken up into a layer spread out on a plate or cookie sheet usually covered with tinfoil or an oven/Turkey bag if making a lot. I then do the stovetop method trying to keep it between 190-200deg for 2 hrs. I’ve tried for up to 5hrs and didn’t notice much difference.

    • You technically can, but I wouldn’t. You aren’t really wasting it by tossing out the plant material after making butter because you have already extracted the good parts. Yes there might be a few trichomes left, but not much, so to my mind all this will really do is give you yucky tasting pesto. (I do make infused pesto, but I use cannabis infused oil). So feel free to give it a try if you like, but my recommendation is to toss the leftover plant material after extractions. WHatever you do, don’t put it down the garbage disposal (I learned that the hard way, seized up and had to call a plumber).

  5. Hi, can i add a tablespoon of liquid lecithin to the crockpot before heating my bud and coconut oil? I usually add it to my cannabutter after i infuse and cool, and melt again. Tried adding before one time and came out like mud. Maybe just melt the coconut oil again after and add then?

    • I am not sure as I do not use lecithin and see no reason to use it when infusing oil as lecithin helps bind water and oil and when infusing coconut oil you are binding fat to fat. I am doing more research into lecithin now and there will be a feature on it soon. There are certain cooking application where I could see it being useful, but for infusing oil and butter, I do not see that it is necessary, unless I uncover something in further research that I haven’t already.

      • doesn’t lecithin make your body absorb the thc better and faster? I read that somewhere and don’t know what is true. Also for this recipe do you strain coconut oil 2 times, or is one time enough after you have pored boiling water over it, and let it cool down?
        thank you

        • Some people say that, but I have yet to find scientific proof of that. I do the boiling water, strain, then strain again for fine particulates, but that is optional.

    • Well you could have it lab tested, not practical or cost effective for most home cooks. Or take my free dosing class, which will give you a pretty close estimate. Find it at this link bit.ly/dosing-course

  6. If using the crockpot method do you still decarb first or does it decarb when it’s cooking in the crockpot?

  7. Hi there! If I wanted to use trim instead of the buds, would you recommend an amount needed to copy this recipe?

    • Cheri Sicard on

      Any amount you have will do, it just will be slightly less potent using trim than buds. You can use my dosage calculator at my FREE dosing course to figure out how strong your infusion will be with less potent leaves vs buds.

  8. Hi There,

    I’m wondering if I should measure my coconut oil in solid or liquid form for the recipe? Thanks!

  9. Dumb question but if I am using a non solid at room temperature oil such as olive oil how do I extract the water from the canna oil?

  10. Hi Cheri, I am very new and had been given 1:1g in mct oil of thc / cbd 50/50 to try (each 200mg) to try to make foods with.
    I assume, being a liquid, I do not need to decarb but am ready to make into chocolate and brownies (for instance). Can I use this straight into your recipes and if so how do I calculate the conversion if I dont want to use or make butter and only have this little bit on hand.
    Thank you for all you do!!

    • We really have no way of knowing if it was decarbed and if so how well it was so it may or may not be. You could decarb but may end up over decarbing. In all liklihood it has already been decarbed, esp if you have a lab test that list amount of THC (as opposed to THC-A).

      I am not clear on how much you have. Are you saying you have 1 gram of oil that contains 400 mgs cannabinoids (CBD and THC)?

      But yes you can add this directly to recipes, there is nothing magical about butter as opposed to other types of fats.

      • Be careful please when it comes to cannabis and pets, especially dogs!

        All species above mollusks have an endocannabinoid system and are born with endocannabinoids in their systems. This means nature hardwired them to respond to cannabis, and in fact, cannabis can have many therapeutic benefits for pets, including, as you have referenced, relief from arthritis pain.

        BUT…that said, you must be EXTREMELY cautious when it comes to THC and pets, especially dogs as dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than any other species! Likewise, it is very easy for them to get too much. In most cases they will sleep it off and be fine but it is scary for the owner to watch and uncomfortable for the pet if they get too much. Overdose is characterized by a condition known as Static Ataxia, which is characterized by a wide-legged stance, drooling, disorientation, and the animal being hypersensitive to touch (if you pet dog who has had too much, it will react almost like an electrical shock). They are likely to have quick shallow breathing too. It can take hours to wear off and it is scary to watch.

        CBD-only medicine or high CBD strains are far safer for dogs.

        I am not a doctor or a vet, but Colorado holistic veternarian Dr. Rober Silver has done a lot of work and research in this area and has written a book on the subject. Find his website at http://www.potforpets.info/.

  11. Am harvesting my Sour Tsunami today and planning on making cream or lotion. My question is, can I dry and decarb in one step or should I use my normal drying procedure before decarbing?

    • You can skip the cure if you are going to just infuse the plant material. You can decarb, I might add a half hour or so at a low temp (under 200) to dry it a bit, then decarb, but if you don’t have this option it should still work. Decarbing is about a temperature difference, not the level of dryness, so it should work fine.

  12. I am getting ready to make topical oil to be used in lotion and salves. Do I use the same process as making edible oil only using almond or jojoba (or whatever topical oil I want)?

    • Yep, you got it! The only difference for me when making topicals is I decarb some of it and leave some undecarbed so I get full spectrum (both THC-A and CBD-A along with THC and CBD). This is optional, but I find it makes the most effective topicals. I am currently at work on a new online course about making cannabis topicals, but you are definitely on the right track.

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