Many people use CBD oil to reduce inflammation, soothe pain, or improve their body's response to stress. And it's super easy to make at home, too. Plus you can use healthy fats and you'll know exactly what you're putting into your bottle, avoiding the refined oils and additives that commercial producers sometimes add.
If you're looking to make CBD oil, you'll need just two ingredients: hemp and a carrier oil like olive oil. The result is a vibrantly herbaceous infused oil with soothing anti-inflammatory properties.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is a non-intoxicating herbal remedy made from hemp flower, another is cannabis honey. It is rich in cannabidiol, a type of compound found in cannabis that has strong anti-inflammatory properties. One of CBD's benefits is that it conveys the beneficial properties of cannabis without the high since it contains little to no THC.
Many people take CBD to help combat inflammation, anxiety, or restless sleep. Some research suggests it helps protect and support nervous system health (1) and may reduce pain (2), while other research suggests it supports gut health and proper immune system function (3).
To make CBD oil at home, you'll need to follow a simple two-step process: decarboxylation and infusion. While it sounds complex, decarboxylation is a simple process of precision heating that activates beneficial compounds in cannabis. The second step, infusion, releases those compounds into a carrier oil. Infused oils are easy to take, and oil makes these compounds easier for your body to absorb, too.
Activating the CBD
In order to make CBD oil, you need to extract cannabidiol from hemp first. Further, you need to activate through a process called decarboxylation. The compounds in cannabis plants aren't active or bioavailable on their own; rather, they're activated through heat which is why the plant is traditionally smoked.
Rather than smoking, you can activate these compounds through other means of heating. Some people bake hemp flowers in a slow oven for about an hour or use a slow cooker. These methods are inexpensive, but they're also imprecise and may not activate all the CBD.
To activate CBD efficiently and to get the most from your plant material, you'll need a precision cooker (also known as a decarboxylator) that can maintain the exact temperatures needed for the full activation of CBD and other cannabinoids. With precision heating, decarboxylators extract a higher percentage of beneficial plant compounds than cruder methods and are a worthwhile investment for anyone who takes CBD oil regularly or wants to make a consistently good product.
Where to Find a Decarboxylator. Commercial CBD oil producers use huge decarboxylators capable of activating the cannabinoids in several pounds of cannabis; however, if you're making it at home, you'll need a smaller version.
We used the Ardent Flex for making this CBD oil. With multiple settings, you can use it to activate CBD as well as similar compounds. And, you can also use it to make herbal infusions. Save $30 with code NOURISHED.
What you'll need to make CBD oil
To make CBD oil you only need two primary ingredients: hemp and a carrier oil. Hemp flowers that are high in CBD will yield the best results, and if you can't find them locally, you can order them online. After decarboxylating the hemp flowers, you can then use them to make a CBD-infused oil.
High-CBD hemp flower
Depending on their strain, cannabis may contain large or relatively low amounts of CBD. When you make CBD oil, choose a strain with a high CBD content so that you can extract the most beneficial compounds into your homemade oil.
Where to Find High-CBD hemp flower. Since hemp flower is non-intoxicating with negligible to no-detectable THC content, it is legal on a federal level. You may be able to find it locally; however, your best bet is to purchase it online from Botany Farms.
Finding the right carrier oil
A carrier oil is an oil that you use for herbal infusions. Coconut oil and MCT oil (which is derived from coconut) are popular carrier oils both in commercial and homemade CBD products. Avoid highly refined, inflammatory oils such as vegetable oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, and corn oil.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Choose high-CBD strains so that your homemade oil is rich in these beneficial compounds. Your oil is only as good as the ingredients you put in.
- Use a high-quality, healthy fat. We prefer extra virgin olive oil, but you can also use coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, ghee, or butter.
- Precision matters. For consistency and to extract the most CBD from your plant matter, use a precision cooker.
- Store your CBD oil as you would any other herb-infused oil. For infusions made with olive or coconut oil, a dark cupboard away from small children works well.
- Try adding mint, vanilla or citrus extract if you plan to take it on its own as they'll improve its flavor. If you plan to use it in cooking, then you can skip the flavorings.
CBD Oil Recipe
Activating the hemp.
- Place the hemp flower inside the Ardent Flex, and then press the mode button to activate the A2 mode (approximately 280 F). Allow the flex to run the full cycle and cool completely, at least 30 minutes after the cycle completes.
Make the oil infusion.
- Pour the oil over the decarbed flowers, and then seal the flex. Press the mode B button to activate the Infuse cycle.
- Allow the machine to cool completely, and then strain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in the mint extract, and store the oil at room temperature away from direct light and heat up to 2 months.
How much to take
There's two primary ways to take your homemade CBD oil. First, you can use small amounts in place of olive oil in recipes like this maple vinaigrette or this beet salad. The second way is to take it as a supplement.
Clinical studies on cannabidiol use a very wide range of doses, with some studies using up to 1500 mg daily (5). However, the recommended dose is usually much lower - usually between 10 and 20 mg to start. Dosing largely depends on your weight, your symptoms, and their severity. So, if you plan to use the oil therapeutically, work with a knowledgable health care provider to pinpoint the appropriate amount for you. This calculator can give you a starting point.
How much cannabidiol is in your homemade oil depends on three factors: 1) the percentage of CBD in your hemp flower, 2) how much you used (in this recipe: 5 grams), and 3) how much oil you used. This calculator can help you determine how much CBD is in your homemade oil, and therefore how much you should take.
- Campos, A. et al. (2016) Cannabidiol, neuroprotection and neuropsychiatric disorders. Pharmacological Research.
- Fine, P. et al. (2013) The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain. Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal.
- Martinez, V. et al. (2020) Cannabidiol and Other Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoids for Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders: Useful Nutraceuticals? International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
- Bergamaschi, M. et al. (2011) Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Currenty Drug Safety.