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How to Make Cannabis Oil: A Step-by-Step Guide

Last updated: January 18, 2022

how to make oil 2

Sometimes it’s preferable to consume cannabis in a denser, easier to consume form. Constantly burning or vaping plant matter is fairly messy, and smoke inhalation generally isn’t a very good feeling process on human lungs.

This is why many cannabis connoisseurs turn to cannabis oil. THC and CBD—the main psychoactive and health-benefiting substances found in cannabis—are soluble in both fats and alcohol.

There are other substances as well, such as butane, but for the home cook who is not looking to adding dangerous chemicals to their kitchen, fats and oil are the best options. The process differs ever-so-slightly from each other, so let’s go over the basic recipes for both fat and alcohol-based cannabis oils:

Cooking Oil Extraction

This process is for those who wish to cook food with their cannabis, or just want a minimal extraction process with little room for error.

cooking oil

Image by HomeMaker from Pixabay

Ingredients needed
  • About a cup of cannabis; ground, but not pulverized.
  • 1 cup of high-fat cooking oil

The oil can be anything from olive oil to coconut oil, or even butter as long as it has a high-fat content.

There are a few tools needed as well, specifically a cheesecloth, a slow cooker, and a hand grinder if the cannabis is still in one piece.

The slow cooker isn’t exactly necessary—anything that can keep the temperatures low and consistent works—but it’s by far the easiest way to go about this.

Two-Step Directions

  1. Combine the ground cannabis and the oil of choice into the slow cooker and leave it on low for 4-6 hours. Stir occasionally. If things begin to look a bit dry, add a small amount of water to prevent burning. The temperature should never get above 245F.
  2. Remove the mixture from heat, and strain it into a jar or similar storage device.
Things to consider
  • When straining the oil and cannabis mixture, do not squeeze too much. This will mostly just force chlorophyll and other unwanteds into the jar. Just let it strain under its own weight.
  • The oil lasts about 2 months, longer if refrigerated.
  • This should only be used for cooking or eating by itself; inhaling of cooking oils is generally not a good idea.
  • More frequent stirring may be required if using something other than a slow cooker.
  • Keep a close eye on temperatures and remember not to let it burn.

That’s all there is to this extraction. The mixture can be used in many recipes, but shouldn’t be heated too much, as high temperatures will damage both THC and CBD.

Alcohol Extraction

Alcohol extractions are a bit more involved than a cooking oil one, but the end product is much more versatile and can even be inhaled if done properly.

Only do this in a well-ventilated kitchen or outdoor area. Alcohol fumes can get pretty nasty in an enclosed space. Have an assistant if possible.

Also, only use cooking grade alcohol. High-proof varieties such as Everclear work great, but something like rubbing alcohol will not work if the end product is intended for human consumption.

Ingredients needed
  • An ounce of cannabis
  • A gallon of high-proof alcohol

Technically just these two ingredients mixed will produce a very potent beverage known as The Green Dragon, aka cannabis-infused alcohol. Not recommended for the faint of heart, but it’s possible.

To create oil from this mixture, the alcohol has to be heated. Once again, a slow cooker is ideal here, but a double boiler works as well.

Cannabis Oil

Photo by devansiennaescrow on Pixabay


  1. Vigorously mix the alcohol and cannabis, for about 3 minutes or until the liquid turns a darker green pigment. Strain the liquid into a secondary container.
  2. Add more alcohol to the leftover, wet plant mixture and repeat step 1 two or three more times to ensure full extraction.
  3. Now heat the mixture until the alcohol begins to steam off. A low, slow boil is key here, a violent mess of boiling alcohol is not ideal.
  4. Let it heat, occasionally stirring and scraping the sides, until the alcohol stops its boil.
  5. Move the oil to a permanent storage location and let cool.

Once cooled, the oil will harden up fairly quickly. Warm, slightly, to reconstitute it into a more liquid state. This can be used in any number of ways from cooking to vaporizing.

Things to consider
  • Alcohol fumes are potentially combustible if allowed to condense. Ventilation is needed.
  • Be sure to remove the mixture from heat as soon as the alcohol stops boiling.

Following either of these guides will produce a much more dense, and easier to consume product than cannabis flowers alone. Some caution should be taken not to overdo things when first trying the product, as both of them can be quite potent.

Have fun and stay safe!

Featured Image: Julia Teichmann from Pixabay