Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil: How to Use It, How to Make It
Posted by Glenn Beierle on 03/17/2017 in Recipes
Updated on January 14, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile ingredients available when combined with cannabis. It’s not only an effective method of delivering medicinal marijuana, but it can also be used in drinks, food and even turned into sprays and creams.
Here’s some information on how it’s used, as well as how you can make your own edibles.
Why Use Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil?
One of the reasons why coconut oil is such a popular ingredient in cannabis-related products is that it has a surplus of fatty acids, which provides a strong binding agent for the therapeutic cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. It’s made up of more than 80 percent saturated fat. For the sake of comparison, olive oil has only 20 percent. As a result, products made with coconut oil retain far more cannabinoids and provide more medicinal benefits. It also contains lauric acid, which can help fight harmful bacteria in the gut.
It’s very important to note, however, that when you use cannabis-infused coconut oil, you won’t feel the effects right away. Products containing the oil typically take a long time — as long as three hours — to deliver therapeutic benefits, because the body has to first digest the cannabinoids. But once it takes effect, those benefits can last for several hours.
The process of infusing cannabis into coconut oil doesn’t typically alter the flavor of a cannabis strain, nor does it alter the psychoactive effects of that strain. So, whatever type of weed you use, you need to choose the strain that will deliver the kind of effect you want to achieve — whether that’s a hybrid, sativa or indica.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a strain is to make sure it doesn’t have any bugs, fungus, mold or other impurities. If it does, infusing the cannabis with coconut oil won’t cleanse those impurities.
Different Types of Coconut Oil
There are a great many uses for coconut oil when it comes to cannabis-based edibles. You can make it into a sauce or a dressing, add it to a stew or soup, or even use it as a poultry rub before you put your chicken in the oven. It’s great for mixing into foods like fish or scrambled eggs, and you can add it to hot chocolate, tea, coffee or a smoothie.
The type of coconut oil you’ll use will depend on how much coconut flavor you want. Unrefined and cold-pressed oils are usually better for products that require either no cooking or cooking with low heat, because they deliver a strong flavor. Refined coconut oil is usually preferred for sautéing, baking and frying, and results in a lighter coconut flavor.
Here’s some quick information on some of the different types of oils that are available:
- Unrefined Coconut Oil — Also known as “virgin” coconut oil, refined oil is produced without the application of heat. It’s very high-quality, but it’s also rather expensive. It’s not only very smooth and mild, but it also tastes good enough to be eaten directly off a spoon.
- Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil — The method of producing cold-pressed coconut oil is similar to that used to produce unrefined oil, with the exception of the drying process, which requires heat. The amount of heat used, as well as the drying method, will determine how the oil tastes as well as its quality. For example, if it’s processed at a low temperature, the result will be a milder coconut flavor. If it’s processed at a higher temperature, it may taste more like toasted coconut.
- Refined Coconut Oil — Most of the coconut oil you’ll find at the market is refined. It’s less expensive than other alternatives and it delivers a lighter coconut taste. While the process used to refine the oil will remove some of its nutrients, it’s still good to use for cooking. Just make sure the labeling says “solvent-free.” If it doesn’t, don’t buy it.
How to Make Cannabis Coconut Oil
Making coconut oil-infused cannabis is a lot easier than most people think. You’ll need a stovetop or a hot plate with a double boiler and the following supplies:
- A quarter-ounce or half-ounce of cannabis
- 1 cup of coconut oil
- Cheesecloth (an 8-inch by 10-inch piece should work fine)
- Cooking twine (about three feet should work) or a clean, white shoestring that hasn’t been used
If you don’t have high-quality bud, you can still use trim or shake. You don’t want to use stems or seeds, though.
- First, lay out the cheesecloth.
- Put your weed in the middle of the cheesecloth, making sure you break up any larger buds.
- Spread out the cannabis evenly.
- Fold the opposite ends of the cheesecloth and then fold in an open end. Tuck the other remaining end into that one and roll up the cloth.
- Use the cooking twine/shoelace to tightly tie up the roll.
- Put a few inches of water into the bottom pan of the double boiler, making sure the water doesn’t touch the top of the pan. Then, set the shallow pan on top of it. Set your heat to medium to ensure a gentle boil.
- Add the coconut oil to the top pan.
- Add a cup of water when the oil is nearly melted.
- Keep heating the water/oil mix until all of the oil is melted and then add the cheesecloth. Use a spoon and press gently into the liquid.
- Cover the pan and let it cook for about 90 minutes. Make sure you check back every 30 minutes or so to flip the cheesecloth and gently stir.
- After 90 minutes, the water/oil mix should have a deep green color. Turn off the heat, take out the cheesecloth and put it in a bowl. Press with your spoon to squeeze out the oil. Add it to the oil/water mix and put in the refrigerator.
- Once the mixture cools off, the oil and water will separate. You should see water at the bottom (it will look like it’s dirty) and a green, solid oil on top. Poke a couple of holes in the solidified oil and turn it over to drain off any remaining water.
And that’s it! Now you’ll be able to use your cannabis-infused coconut oil in any way you like. Check out our other medical marijuana recipes to get the most from your coconut oil.