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Home » Blog » Hemp Education » How to Make Cannabis Oil: Is a DIY Process Possible?

How to Make Cannabis Oil: Is a DIY Process Possible?


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Some people have a tendency to gravitate towards homemade items rather than buy what they need at the store. Aside from food, you may have seen homemade recipes for toothpaste, shampoo, energy drinks, facial creams, and even motor oil. How about cannabis? Naturally, some existing and new users alike want to know how to make cannabis oil. We’ll explain the general DIY process. However, please read this post in its entirety and don’t just skip right to the how-to section. We have a lot to say about this subject.

Why Make Your Own Cannabis Oil?

Before attempting to brew your own concoction, think long and hard why you want to do this. What’s your reasoning? Are you skeptical of the purity of store-bought cannabis products? Are you trying to save money? Do you want to be the go-to guy that friends turn to for a quick CBD fix? We perfectly understand your potential reasonings. We do believe, though, you should perfectly understand your own aspirations before learning how to make cannabis oil. There are a lot of complexities involved.

Is It Legal?

Here’s a more pressing question: Is it even legal to make cannabis oil in your own private residence? According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, any form of cannabis extract is considered a Schedule 1 control substance. This means possession is illegal; that extends to making it. However, there are state laws in place that protect citizens in this area from federal intrusion. You have to look at the laws of your state to determine the legality of making cannabis extract.

In California, for example, it’s a felony to manufacture your own extracts. This is outlined in the Health and Safety Code 11379.6, which states:

“The Manufacture of BHO is a violation of California state law.”

BHO refers to butane hash oil. This is the umbrella term for the various forms of cannabis extract (e.g. oil, wax, shatter, dabs, etc.).

The Risk Hazard

The overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of marijuana legalization. The illegality of making your own BHO, though, is a bit more understandable. The manufacturing process poses serious danger to you and everyone within your vicinity. The process includes the use of highly toxic and flammable materials. There have been multiple cases of DIY cannabis makers getting maimed or killed in a house fire after their homemade brew suddenly ignited and exploded in their face. Fellow home occupants and adjacent neighbors are also at risk in such scenarios.

In a 2017 case in Humboldt County, three men cooking their own BHO out of a rented garage did not follow safety procedures. This resulted in a deadly blast that injured two of the men and killed the third. The men, as well as the homeowners that rented their garage to them, are now facing serious felony charges.

Other Factors to Consider

Are you familiar with the different forms of cannabis strains? Do you know which ones contain the psychoactive cannabinoid THC? If the homemade extract contains levels over 0.3%, you’re likely in violation of both federal and state law.

Here’s another one: Are you interested in making a CBD isolate extract or a CBD full spectrum? The latter contains multiple other cannabinoids, potentially including THC, rather than just pure CBD. Do you know which strains and which parts of the plant contain the highest concentrations of CBD and/or other cannabinoids? The concentrations and potency especially matter if treating a specific ailment.

Do you have a way of measuring the purity of the finished product? What percentage of it is pure CBD? Are there trace levels of THC? The product may also contain dangerous residual traces of chemicals and solvents. Professional manufacturers (or the reputable ones, at least) submit a sample of their product to a commercial lab analysis agency for purity testing.

Do You Still Want to Learn How to Make Cannabis Oil?

Does it sound like we’re trying to talk you out of making your own cannabis extract? Yeah, that is what we’re precisely doing. We believe there are simply too many “what ifs” that may pose a safety and legal liability. Nevertheless, we realize some people will attempt to learn how to make their own cannabis oil anyways. If you choose to proceed, then do so at your own risk. The Universal Plant is not responsible for any undesirable outcomes that may arise.

How to Make Cannabis Oil: The DIY Process at a Glance

There are, by the way, multiple ways of making cannabis oil. We’ll explain the variations and alternative approaches.

  1. The first step is the most important. Prep the workspace by opening windows and turning on fans. This ensures adequate ventilation and reduces fire risk.
  2. Add your cannabis of choice in a glass bowl and pour high-proof alcohol over the contents. Use just enough alcohol to submerge the herb. Stir with a wooden spoon. The alcohol acts as the solvent.
  3. Strain the plant from the solvent by pouring the liquid over a measuring cup covered with a cheesecloth.
  4. Squeeze the cloth to extract the liquid into a separate container.

You now have the cannabis extract dowsed in solvent. There are two viable approaches for the next steps.

The Rice Cooker Method

If you choose to use a rice cooker, consider performing the following steps outdoors for maximum ventilation.

  1. Pour the strained cannabis extract into the rice cooker and turn the cooker on. Do NOT put the lid over the cooker. Use a heat setting that you would use for cooking white rice.
  2. Cook until the liquid becomes a thick dark green oil. Stir the oil until the bubbles dissipate.
  3. Use a spatula to remove the oil. With a toothpick, gently scrape the oil into a clean sheet of paper.

The Double Boiler Method

  1. Stack a cooking pot over another. Fill the bottom pot with water and the top pot with your strained cannabis liquid.
  2. Turn the stove on high and let the pots heat until the cannabis liquid/oil begins to boil
  3. Switch off the stove and let the pot sit for about 20 minutes. The top pot should continue to bubble. If not, turn the stove back on.
  4. The liquid should thicken, giving you oil that you can scrape onto a sheet of paper.

Use a syringe to suck up the resulting oil and fill into a dropper bottle or into empty capsules.

Proceed with Caution

Once again, we do not recommend Homemade cannabis brews unless you really know what you’re doing. We understand that some users are really passionate about the cannabis industry and want to take that passion further by learning how to make cannabis oil. If this describes you, then spend some time on the subject matter, learning the ins and outs of the industry. Know your specific state laws and cannabinoid concentrations of different cannabis strains.

For new users, we strongly advise buying from a commercial supplier. If purity concern is an issue, then check out our Where to Buy page for a list of trusted suppliers.

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Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has a degree in Neuroscience from Duke University, and is the research writer for The Universal Plant. He has dedicated his life to helping men and women around the world educate themselves and take action to improve their health with natural plant-based and nutrient therapies. Follow him on Instagram @_christopherwalker