For thousands and thousands of years the human race has used the cannabis plant to treat everything from menstrual cramps to leprosy. In 2900 BC the Chinese emperor Fu Hsi said the plant possessed “both yin and yang”. Ancient Egyptians used marijuana to treat glaucoma and inflammation. In Greece they used it for ear aches and swelling. Early American settlers used marijuana to treat depression (which they had plenty of). And in 1850 this ancient plant was added to the U.S. Pharmacopeia, and was known to successfully treat neuralgia, tetanus, typhus, cholera, rabies, dysentery, alcoholism, opiate addiction, anthrax, leprosy, incontinence, gout, convulsive disorders, tonsillitis, insanity, excessive menstrual bleeding, and uterine bleeding, among others.
Using coconut oil to create marijuana-infused medicine
Over the years humans have devised many, many ways to ingest marijuana. Some people like to smoke it. Others like to eat it by infusing it into food. Still others make a highly-concentrated paste-like substance that is so potent that a patient need ingest only a minuscule amount of it in order to medicate. But one of the easiest, safest and healthiest ways to consume medical marijuana is by infusing it into coconut oil.
The many health benefits of coconut oil
One of the fastest-growing trends among the “healthy eating” crowd nowadays is coconut oil, and for good reason. The health benefits of coconut oil are many, and include hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. Coconut oil can also provide relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, while helping to improve dental quality and bone strength. The benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their respective properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities.
Because coconut oil has become so popular it can be found in nearly any grocery store or big box supply store nowadays. If you would prefer to order coconut oil online you can pick some up here.
Methods of infusing coconut oil with marijuana
Though there are several different ways to infuse marijuana into coconut oil, the end result — when done properly — is cannabinoid-packed medicine that can be incorporated into just about any type of food, swallowed in easy-to-make capsules, stirred into a warm beverage (mmmm chai tea) or applied topically, on the skin. It is this versatility that makes marijuana-infused coconut oil so popular.
There are two methods that we will focus on for infusing coconut oil with marijuana: In a crock pot, which is how the majority of people will do it, and in a device designed specifically for creating infused oils called the Magical Butter Machine. The crock pot method can be done by anyone, but tends to be messy and much more time consuming than a Magical Butter, which does almost everything automatically and beeps loudly at you when your attention is needed. On the downside the MBM is on the pricey side and, sadly, out of the budget of many patients.
Before infusing your oil you will probably want to decarboxylate your medical marijuana by essentially roasting it in the oven at a very low temperature. Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide (CO2), and converts the non-psychoactive THC-A into THC, which is the main chemical in marijuana that produces a “high”. If your goal, however, is to avoid as much of the euphoria that typically comes with ingesting marijuana as possible then feel free to skip this step.
How to decarboxylate marijuana in your oven
- Preheat oven to 240°.
- Break up your material (bud or trim) but do not grind.
- Place your material on a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan covered in aluminum foil and spread out in a thin, even layer.
- Cover with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for an hour.
Things to know before doing this:
- It is smart to double-check your oven’s temperature, as certain cannabinoids begin to boil off around 250°F.
- Decarboxylation produces a very strong odor, so be sure to do it when it won’t bother others (if you don’t want them to know you’re doing it).
- If you are not going to use your decarboxylated material immediately it can be stored in an air-tight, opaque container.
- If you are interested in learning more about the science behind decarboxylation, Marijuana Growers Headquarters has a fantastic article that explains the process in more depth, as well as a handy chart that shows the temperature at which various cannabinoids and flavinoids begin to boil off.
How much marijuana to use
The question as to how much, what strain and what form (trim or bud) to use will be a personal preference. Those with higher tolerances to marijuana or very high pain levels may prefer to use a strong sativa, while patients seeking sedative and sleep-inducing effects might opt for an indica or hybrid strain. If you are a grower or otherwise have access to trim material you can use that as well.
For the recipes below we recommend using marijuana flower, or a combination of flower and trim. You can also use just trim and leave out the bud, but you will need to use more of it if you want to achieve the same potency that you would with a flower infusion.
A word about Lecithin
Lecithin is a yellow-brown colored fatty substance found in all living things (it’s a gooey substance that makes up about a third of your brain). Lecithin contains choline, which is used throughout your entire body as a major ingredient in each and every cell membrane. Besides the fact that your brain absolutely loves this stuff, lecithin provides other benefits when it is included in marijuana infused oils.
First, lecithin gets more cannabinoids into your brain and other cells and it gets them there faster since, you know, your brain is made of the stuff. Second, lecithin increases the effectiveness of the cannabinoids as well as the intensity of the effect. Also, lecithin acts as an emulsifier in the infusion process, helping more cannabinoids to bond with the oil molecules.
Sunflower lecithin is now widely-regarded as being a better alternative to traditional soy-based lecithin. You can probably find sunflower lecithin in your local health foods store, and you may find it in liquid form, granule form or both, either of which is fine. If you can’t find sunflower lecithin locally it’s easy to order online.
Method #1: Crockpot
- Combine 1 cup of organic coconut oil with1 tbsp sunflower lecithin (liquid or granules) in crock pot set on low or warm (150° -160° F is ideal).
- Stir in 14 grams of dried marijuana or marijuana flower and trim. If using trim only try 21-28 grams.
- Cover and stir every 30-45 minutes.
- Simmer 2-3 hours. Turn off and let cool.
- Once cool, strain through cheesecloth. It’s easiest if you use small wire strainer with a handle to catch the bulk of your material. Holding this over a bowl that has had several layers of cheesecloth secured over it with rubber bands works really well.
- Twist your cheesecloth, which should now have gross organic material all over it, into a ball. Now squeeeeeeze that medicine out into the bowl until you’ve got every drop or your hand gets tired, either one.
Method #2: Magical Butter Machine
As we said earlier there are big benefits to using a Magical Butter Machine for your infusions: It’s drop-dead easy to use, it’s fully-automated and it is super easy to clean up with a built-in cleaning cycle. It was designed to precisely extract the nutrients and flavor from herbs and infuse them into oils, butters and both alcohol as well as glycerin-based tinctures.
- Combine 2 cups of organic coconut oil with 2 tbsp sunflower lecithin (liquid or granules) in the MBM. If your coconut oil is solid you can liquefy it in a microwave set on defrost for 3-5 minutes.
- Add between 14 and 28 grams of marijuana bud, trim or a combination of both. There is no need to break anything up or grind anything. The MBM has a high-speed commercial immersion blender that sounds like a space ship every time it spins up. My guess is even the toughest Mexican brick weed would come out beaten to a pulp. The blender is very thorough.
- Set the temperature to 160° and press the 1-hour button.
- When the timer goes off let the oil cool down for about 30 minutes. After the oil is cool, slip the included “love glove” on one hand, hold the filter bag with the other hand over a bowl and pour the contents of the MBM into the filter bag.
- Squeeeeeeeeeze that medicine out of the bag into the bowl.
- Toss the left-overs into the compost pile, toss the glove and bag in the dishwasher and run the clean cycle on the MBM.
How to consume your newly-infused cannabis oil
Since coconut oil can so easily replace butter, oil and other fats that are frequently called for in recipes it can be included in many different types of dishes. Not just for brownies anymore, cannabis-infused coconut oil is great in dressings, sauces, pasta dishes and much more. Medicated sausage gravy anyone?
Another great way to consume coconut oil that has been infused with your favorite bud is by filling gelatin capsules and taking them on a regular basis. This is by far one of the best ways to regiment your medical marijuana intake, as it allows you to create and follow your own consistent recipe and take consistent doses. In other words, if you need to be able to schedule your medication then this may be the best option for you.
If you choose to use gelatin capsules then you can probably find everything you need in your local health foods store. You will need a supply of empty capsules (these size “00” work very well) and an inexpensive capsule filling machine, unless you want to fill the capsules one at a time. You will also need a plastic syringe, preferably one with a curved tip like this if you are using a filling machine. Capsules can be stored in a dark, dry place (like in a bottle in your medicine cabinet) for around 30 days. If you are making more than a 30 day supply it’s best to store the extra oil in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and make up a new supply of capsules when your medicine cabinet supply gets low.
What to expect
Everyone’s tolerance to cannabis is different, and some people’s experience changes based on how their body metabolizes the cannabinoids they have ingested. In most cases, infusing coconut oil with marijuana tends to produce effects that come on much slower than smoking, but last longer and tend to be more mellow-inducing. Many patients find that coconut oil is a great way to treat chronic conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, Cron’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, glaucoma and depression. Others use infused coconut oil in place of over the counter or prescription sleep medication because of its gradual onset, prolonged effect and ability to function normally the next morning.
Whatever your reason for using medical marijuana, there is a good chance that supplementing that intake with the many wonderful health benefits of coconut oil can assist in promoting healing and better overall health.
This is basically the way we do it. I would use a small crock pot for a batch with only 1 cup of coconut oil. A large one would provide too much surface area. Once the batch is done and all oil is squeezed out of the plant material, we store the plant material in the freezer and I add a spoonful to my coffee grounds when brewing coffee. Gives you a nice wake me up and pain relief for most of the day.
Wow thanks !
I’ve been only using coconut oil for medibles for over a year! I do crockpot method. Best ever!
Cannamilk helps too, & doesn’t knock me out like the medibles.
What is cannamilk? Please. 😊 I have asthma and suspect my smoking is keeping it flared.
What are your thoughts on making a high end veg glycerine tincture with sunflower lecithin?!
Hi, Thanks for the great tutorial! I’ve made it once using a pressure cooker as per instructions from another canna warrior. What I’ve been trying to accomplish is adding enough olive oil at the end to keep the coconut oil liquid to be able to get a dropper full in liquid form but so far the olive oil ( I used organic extra virgin pure olive) isn’t working! I’ve added 2 T so far to a mixture that was two cups of Coconut oil to begin with. Thanks for any help you might have to offer.
I just found liquid version of coconut oil, I want to infuse into that to have something that stays liquid. Just not sure how that would seperate from the water in the end. I suppose you could make a double strength batch with the solid form, then add liquid form after seperating from water. (So you’d have a 50/50mix of solid to liquid- maybe that would be enough to remain liquid?)
You will have to heat it on low since coconut oil hardens when cooled, no matter what you use in it.
Gabriele you can use just the oganic virgin Olive Oil to extract the cannabis with.
I have seen great results (lab report) in extracting thee Cannabinoids and flavanoids etc using Olive Oil…they did 2 hours @ 98 degrees celcius. Peace!
When making my oil I use 50% coconut oil and 50% grape seed oil. If you stick it in the fridge it will harden but if you keep it in a cool, dry place (your kitchen cabinet, maybe?) it stays liquid.
Using grape seed oil is a really neat idea, I’ve never thought of that.
The grape seed oil will also act as a preservative to keep your infusion fresh and viable longer at room temperature.
Put the container your oil is in inside a larger container of hot water to keep it liquid while you are using it.
Hi and thanks for this!
I have a couple of questions. Would this possible work in a toaster oven set to 160 instead of a crockpot? Secondly, I was always told to let it heat as long as you can, up to 6-12hrs. Is there any benefit to this?
It’s that time of year to get my vaporizer leftovers ready for baking and I am looking forward to using coconut oil for the first time instead of butter. Many thanks for your help!
Hi. do you have any links to studies on sunflower lecithin? or the lecithin-THC connection? Thanks!
I’m also interested in this. Greetings
Another thing you can do is make coconut honey. You make cana-coconut oil then soften to room temp and whip in honey 1/2 to 1cup of honey to 1 cup of coconut oil. You can then just eat it by the teaspoon full. Yummy.
This is a great idea. Probably keeps it liquid when mixed with honey I’d imagine.
This is a great idea then you can use raw honey for additional health benifits.
Sounds delightful and yummy!
Would this work like cbd oil for seizures if I use a high cbd strain?
Yes, you can infuse strains with high CBD strains into coconut oil just like you would more traditional strains.
Yes, you can infuse a high CBD strain into coconut oil. It just won’t be as concentrated as pure cannabinoid extract using solvents or CO2 and thus more difficult to know your dosage.
What about using hash?
One important step was left out of the article: Please store all cannabis medicines out of the reach of children and pets. Clearly label your medicine stored in a refrigerator.
What is the advantage or disadvantage to this recipe versus solvent extraction of oil?
NEVER use SATIVA in the Oil if you are trying to cure cancer. The energetic effects increase your blood pressure which is the opposite of the sedative effects of INDICA, vital in providing the rest and sleep necessary for healing. Rick Simpson warns that using sativa will raise blood pressure which could harm those individuals who already, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are living with compromised systems.
How much should someone consume for cancer curing effects?
When I make my vegetable glycerin tincture…it always has what appears to be tiny specks of keif which lines the outside of the dropper and inside of the bottle…Is this non infused THC?…Anyone else have this…used a small amount of lecithin…Any ideas anyone?
Yes i have had it…but not lately…idk what it is either…
If I make it with out decarbing it first so it is a THCA oil, would it decarb and turn to THC if cooked/ baked? Or will it stay THCA even when I bake it at a high temp?
no mention of decarbing first?
So I’m thinking that since the lecithin is used to help it into the brain, as well as other benefits, can i add it later, since i don’t have any right now, this is the first time I’ve heard of it, or maybe I can save the debris and reheat when I get some.
I just made some of this oil and the sunflower lecithin I had ordered arrived after the oil was finished and firming up. I just put the jar of oil into some warm water to soften it more and added the lecithin.
I combine 1 cup of coconut oil with 2 cups of water, 7 grams bud. After simmering 2-3 hours I strain and put in the fridge until the coconut oil hardens on top. I love it because the water takes a the shit that I do not want out of the mix.
I know that my oncologist will never prescribe cannabis, but since it is legal in my state I can try it anyway. Does anyone know what the dosage would be for breast cancer that has metastasized? I don’t know how to get any information on this. I ordered the Magical Butter Machine and plan to make it that way with the coconut oil.
Becky, for treating cancer you are more likely to see good results (in my opinion) with a hash oil type extract using high-proof alcohol. There is a great write-up on how to make this oil with the Magical Butter Machine (it’s not a completely automated process but it’s not that hard) here: http://www.420magazine.com/forums/420-product-reviews/220836-magical-butter-2-review-making-concentrated-cannabis-oil-mb2-machine.html
Thanks so much for the information. I made it. I am taking it…sure wish it had a better taste!
That’s fantastic Becky, keep us updated on how it goes!
You can actually take it as a suppository as well and you won’t get the high from it.
I was unable to open those links can u tell me what Facebook group this is? My brother in law has cancer and maybe my father. I am trying to find all info I need before making a batch. Thanks
Hi Becky, hope you beat breast cancer, wishing you a speedy recovery! x
Thanks for the positive energy, Kate! I made the oil in the MBM, and am working my way through it.
I belong to many groups on FB where you could get the answer. Cancer success stories, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1646041299002515/?multi_permalinks=1672054796401165&ref=notif¬if_t=group_highlights or https://www.facebook.com/groups/416702921703509/ These are wonderful groups and have lots of people that can answer questions. I hope that helps.
Thanks for sharing the links Linda.
I was unable to open those links can u tell me what Facebook group this is? My brother in law has cancer and maybe my father. I am trying to find all info I need before making a batch. Thanks
If cannabis is legal in your state, is there a dispensary you could go to with questions? On the other hand, I have found a lot of great information online at sites like this.
When using the magical butter maker is says use 14 to 28 grams of marijuana does the 28 grams make it stronger or make more oil
It would yield more oil. I decarboxolyze the buds first.
I eat the cannibis coconut oil infused MMJ. I don’t throw anything away
Can I use this as a pain relief massage oil?? Will it still work similarly although not consumed?
Would THC-A be just as effective as THC if you do not decarboxylate?
I use 3 cups coconut oil 3tbspns sunflower lethicin 28 gms flower decarb 240 degrees for 40 min in oven then add all to mbm and run 2 2 hour cycles at 160 degrees . I have a high tolerance one tblspn is all i need hits in a few hours and lasts for at least 6 to 8 hours very strong . I have made it with less oil but seems not to be any stronger so in my experience with the mbm 3 cups to 28 gms seems ideal ..it may be due to saturation . When using less oil i have been able to run the dregs again and got more meds so there may be a saturation level as to how much infusion takes place . Im my experience less oil does not mean more potent or concentrated it means it all did not get infused ..
Any idea of the shelf life and/or how to store it?
Concerning the purity filter bags… micron numbers? Multiple bags in different numbers?
I’ve read that wetting freshly decarboxylated cannabis with a +50% ethanol water solution and a small amount of vitamin B6 or limonene, will increase the THCa and CBDa conversion yield. The ratio should be around .094g of B6 or limonene per 1 gram of cannabis (@20% potency) so .7g for 7g cannabis or .78g for (@25% potency) of same weight. Boiling out the water and ethanol you add the dried again cannabis to a pre heated oil of that above the boiling point of THC @314 F+ for no more than 15 minutes. The highly heated lipids in the oil then bond freely and more completely with the THC and other cannabinoids making the yield high grade oil. Strain Cool and compare
Has anyone tried grapeseed oil. I cannot use coconut oil. Has anyone AK (Applied Kinesiology / Muscle test) tested to see which is better?
My 6 year old takes cannabis oil. Do I HAVE to infuse it with coconut oil or can he just take it straight up in a capsule?
I’ve made cannibas infused coconut oil in a crock pot, on the stove and in my magic butter machine. It all turns out the same but the machine is obviously way easier. I store it in a glass jar in the fridge and it lasts up to a month. I break it into pieces and just eat it raw before bed and also use it as a pain reliever. I have lupus and fibromyalgia and have tried many different prescription pain relievers, gels and creams to help with pain. Massaging the oil onto the painful areas helps way more than any prescribed medicine. Once you try it, you’ll be a believer and it will blow your mind that the government made marijuana illegal in the first place. All while they have had the knowledge of the amazing health benefits.
What would you say your “dose ” is when you use it to sleep? Gram, tsp? 😊
With the sunflower lecithin will their be any seperation?i followed the recipe stated above and there is some greyish funky looking slime at the bottom on the jars i can only assume its the sunflower lecithin i have made medicated coconut oil a few times before and never looked like this any thoughts or comments on this would be appreciated i have been letting it harden up in the fridge and been scraping it off should i be doing that?
No, lecithin is an emulsifier so it actually helps to hold things together. The goop that settles to the bottom are plant waxes and lipids, and can be scraped off and discarded.
Thank you! I use lecithin too, mostly in tinctures because I never feel an effect from trying to dose it and let it absorb in my mouth anyway. But theres always slime at the bottom of the jar if i use lecithin and rarely any if i dont. I’ve tried using lecithin at different times like before I add everclear or oil and I’ve tried adding it after I’ve added everclear or oil.
Do you know when the best time to add lecithin would be?
Also, i decarb in a mason jar usually at 240 for an hour or sometimes slightly less time. Seems a half hour or 40 minutes isn’t giving me as strong results as 45 minutes to a hour of decarbing. All my experience us from reading online and trial and error, but it sucks when I’ve screwed things up
I’ve been making canna butter for years, and use this method for keeping plant material separate from butter/coconut oil, without cheesecloth. I use a women’s nylon ankle stocking. I put it in a tall glass, and stuff it with trim/buds. Then I tie off the top, and put it in the crock pot mixture of heated butter/coconut oil, with the tied off part hanging out of the top, with the lid on. After cooking for 2-3 hrs. or longer, I let it cool, then squeeze the stocking, using my hands, or even better a potato ricer, which gives more leverage. Then into the fridge til it’s separated from the water. The butter can be used for cooking or put into capsules for simple ingesting without the need to eat something. Although it may be good to have something in your stomach, depending on your tolerance.
I bought both the Ardent lift decarboxylator and the MBM. Since I can’t afford to use the recommended 7 to 14grams of cannabis, I’m using 4 grams for 2 cups of coconut oil. Will I get any effect from that amount? Medicinal cannabis is so expensive.