How to Make CBD Oil
Did you know that you can make CBD oil at home? It's easier than you might imagine. With the right ingredients (high-CBD hemp flower and a carrier oil, for example), even amateur DIYers can achieve homemade CBD oil success!
And why stop with DIY CBD oil? Learning about professionally manufactured products can teach us a variety of useful tips and tricks:
- Do you know why the majority of CBD oil tinctures are packaged in dark glass?
- Or why fractionated coconut oil (also known as MCT oil) is the most commonly used carrier oil?
- What about CBD products that contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes? Is that something we can do at home?
- And how about the specs to create the perfect infused oils, offering additional wellness benefits?
HINT: it's less complicated than you'd believe!
By studying the pros, we can learn how to make CBD oil like the pros, right from the comfort of our own homes. But first, let's get to know the basics of cannabis oil so that we can truly master the craft of homemade CBD oil.
What All Goes Into a CBD Oil?
At the root, CBD oil only needs to contain two ingredients: CBD and carrier oil. However, what comprises these two vital ingredients?
CBD (cannabidiol) is found in cannabis plants, including both hemp and marijuana. However, because marijuana plants are high in THC, known to cause an intoxicating "high," CBD oil is best made from hemp flowers high in CBD and low in THC. Note that products made from whole-plant hemp flowers also contain about 0.3% THC by dry weight—this will not get you high, but you can also craft completely THC-free CBD oils if desired (which we'll get to in a moment).
Carrier oils do just what the name implies: "carry" CBD to endocannabinoid receptors found throughout your body. Unlike other cannabinoids, CBD molecules cannot bind to these receptors on their own. Instead, carrier oils allow interaction between CBD molecules and endocannabinoid receptors at a microscopic level. In turn, these receptors send signals to your brain, giving you the benefits of CBD you know and love!
As we mentioned earlier, the most commonly found carrier oil is fractionated coconut oil, also known as MCT oil. MCT oil can be found in the majority of brand-name, professionally manufactured cannabis oils. This carrier oil is successful at carrying orally-ingested CBD molecules through first-pass metabolism relatively unscathed. This allows more CBD to be absorbed by the body, a process known as bioavailability. Other popular carrier oils include extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil (which makes for a 100% hemp-made DIY CBD oil!), even jojoba seed oil or grapeseed oil!
If you have at least four grams of high-CBD hemp flower and at least ¾ cup of carrier oil, you can easily learn how to make CBD oil at home.
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Isolate
Knowing the necessary ingredients isn't all that goes into CBD oil, however. There are also various types of CBD oil, notably full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate CBD products. How do they compare to one another?
Both full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD products derive from a whole-plant extraction process of the hemp plant. The difference: full spectrum cannabis oil contains the 0.3% THC concentration naturally found in hemp plants, while broad spectrum cannabis oil has the THC removed after extraction. If you utilize hemp flower (not CBD isolate or another formulation) to craft DIY oils, you are likely creating a full spectrum or broad spectrum cannabis oil. Extractions of this kind contain additional cannabinoids and terpenes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and beyond. These natural compounds work together to increase the efficacy and absorption rate of the CBD inside your system, a phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect.
In case you need a breakdown of the compounds found in full spectrum and broad spectrum products:
- CBD and other cannabinoids (CBG, CBN, CBC, THC) share similar properties, interacting or binding to endocannabinoid receptors and delivering benefits to your overall well-being.
- Terpenes give most plants—not just cannabis plants—their unique smell and (sometimes) taste. They play an essential role in infused oils. CBD oils with higher terpene levels have more aromatherapeutic effects than their non-Entourage Effect counterparts.
- Flavonoids are natural compounds often found in the very fruits and vegetables we consume regularly. They offer antioxidant-rich effects and are known to give a variety of plant species their unique color.
- Amino acids handle a range of bodily functions. They provide energy, regulate digestion, keep your musculoskeletal system running smoothly, and so much more. Amino acids are also known to possess neurotransmitter properties!
- Essential fatty acids, which most notably includes Omega-3 and Omega-6, are much like amino acids in that they regulate a variety of important functions within the body. They have been known to decrease the symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve overall eye health, aid heart health, and more!
CBD isolates are just that: isolated CBD. They do not contain additional cannabinoids and terpenes. They also don't contain flavonoids, amino acids, essential fatty acids, or other naturally hemp-derived compounds. However, that may not matter to some CBD users. In fact, CBD isolates are the most effective way to create a completely THC-free CBD experience! Because CBD isolates contain nearly 100% pure CBD, the corresponding DIY CBD oil will be 100% THC-free as well. While we do believe in the efficacy of the Entourage Effect, we do suggest CBD users choose the type of cannabis oil that best fits their lifestyle.
With knowledge of all three CBD oil types, you can create a range of different yet effective CBD oils right from the comfort of your own home!
DIY CBD Oil: How to Make CBD Oil at Home
**Raw cannabis flower (including both hemp flower and marijuana flower) does not contain any actual CBD or THC molecules. Rather, it contains the molecules to create CBD and other cannabinoids. Decarboxylating your cannabis in the oven is an easy way to bring out these cannabinoids, benefiting your health and wellness and making your DIY CBD oil the most potent it can be!
Making Infused Oils at Home
If you wish to make infused oils, you don't have to change the process! In fact, adding additional infusions (just like the pros do) can have many benefits to your overall CBD oil regimen. For example, menthol or natural mint infusions can help mask the earthy taste of CBD oil which some users find…unfavorable at times. Lavender infusions, on the other hand, have been known to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, elevate mood, reduce menstrual cramps, and more.
We advise DIYers to use natural lavender (and other raw plant material whenever possible), not lavender essential oils or other lavender extracts. Professional CBD oil manufacturers may have access to pure, high-quality ingredients like lavender extract, but consumer-available products of this kind can contain unadvertised ingredients or contaminants that are unsafe for ingestion.
Here are some easy infused oil additions you can add to the other ingredients in the top of your double boiler:
Addable Ingredients (Choose One)
- ¾ cup flower parts (lavender, calendula, rose, hibiscus)—DO YOUR RESEARCH if you want to use other flowers not listed
- ¾ cup fresh mint leaves (peppermint, spearmint, sweet mint)
- ½ cup citrus peels (orange, lemon, lime, yuzu)
- ½ cup fruits and berries, dried or fresh (acai, strawberries, apple)
- ½ cup tea leaves (we don't recommend using tea bags because, depending the material and quality, they may leak unsafe contaminants into the hot oil during the long cook time)
- ½ cup coffee beans (to add a nice caffeine boost!)
Professional Manufacturing: How to Make CBD Oil for Market
Making CBD oil, from a professional standpoint, requires many additional steps. For starters, products that enter the market are subject to different quality standards. But you might be surprised to discover which standards are in place and which are not.
Professional CBD oils must be safe and free from contaminants, right? Not exactly.
All reputable CBD companies subject their products to third-party lab testing, but this is by no means a requirement of the CBD industry from a legal perspective. Every product found at CBD Choice—CBD oils, topicals, gummies, and beyond—is third-party laboratory tested, guaranteeing a safe, effective, and honest cannabinoid treatment. However, because testing standards are not put in place by the government, we advise CBD users to avoid products that are not proven to be third-party lab tested, with verifiable results.
The key term here is "third-party." Why? The current CBD industry is a bit like the Wild West, at least from a regulatory perspective. It is not technically illegal to sell unverified CBD products, meaning products could be made from marijuana, contain high levels of THC which cause intoxication, contain any number of unsafe manufacturing byproducts and chemicals, and more.
Third-party laboratories are not affiliated with individual CBD companies and do NOT profit from the sale of CBD products. They are often paid a flat-rate by the CBD company to perform testing analyses. These tests show concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids, as well as perform a number of quality checks for contaminants, fillers, and more.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who is in charge of creating regulations for the CBD industry, has yet to release comprehensive guidelines to regulate the CBD industry as a whole. We suspect that when they do, third-party lab testing requirements will become legally required, a win for safe CBD and consumer health! And in line with the 2018 Farm Bill, the piece of legislation that effectively legalized CBD nationwide, all legal, professional-market CBD companies must:
- Ensure that their products contain absolutely no more than 0.3% THC, the average amount naturally found in the hemp plant.
- Submit their hemp plants and products to regular oversight testing. Any plants or products found to contain more than 0.3% THC by dry weight will be classified as "marijuana," not hemp, and be disposed of.
Supercritical CO2 Extractions
Many professional CBD oils utilize a supercritical CO2 extraction to retrieve CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and more from the hemp plant. The process of supercritical CO2 extraction goes like this:
- Gaseous CO2 is transformed into a liquid state, subjected to very high pressures and very low temperatures.
- Liquid CO2 is forced into a "supercritical" state, done by reheating the liquid while further increasing pressure. Supercritical CO2 exhibits properties of both liquid and gaseous CO2. Neat, right!
- Hemp plants are placed in a chamber.
- Supercritical CO2 is pumped through the chamber, dissolving small trichomes found on the plants. These trichomes contain CBD and other cannabinoids.
- Cannabinoids, terpenes, and other molecules are left intact while unwanted plant material is gently dissolved away by the supercritical CO2.
- CO2 returns to a gaseous state, and the extraction is complete!
This obviously differs from the at-home double boiler method mentioned above. However, it involved a lot of complex and expensive machinery to perform supercritical CO2 extractions. Some companies have even found ways to extract CBD and other cannabinoids using hot air, solvents, and more.
In addition, a large number of CBD companies opt to store CBD oils in dark glass tinctures with a fitted dropper attachment. The dark glass stops light from penetrating. If you didn't already know, cannabis oils are extremely photosensitive! Store them in dark glass if you want to be like the pros and increase longevity of your DIY CBD! You can purchase your own dark glass tinctures at a variety of locations around the internet.
Making CBD Oil, Together!
Have you already learned how to make CBD oil at home? Tell us about your experience in the comments! Of course, homemade CBD oil is all about personalizing your overall health & wellness routine. By curating a selection of high-quality ingredients that bring about the most benefits to you, personally, you can experience immense improvements in at-home cannabinoid care.