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Extracting With Oils

Oil and fat extraction is a method Skunk Pharm Research will be further developing, so watch this thread.

Cannabinoids and the other terpenes in cannabis, are readily dissolvable in fats and oils, so fats and oils may be used for both extraction and as a menstruum.

When I say fats and oils, I am referring to the vegetable and nut oils, as well as clarified butter.  Oils tasty enough that may be ingested with a dropper, mixed with drinks, or used in medibles.

Water solubility varies, but one of the advantages of using oil for extractions, is that they are for the most part non soluble in water, so they don't extract excessive water soluble constitutes, like chlorophyll.

There are practical limits to the potency that can be achieved extracting with oil, because as the oil becomes saturated with cannabis terpenes, they become less concentrated and their solvent action slows down to a crawl, before stopping altogether.

Potency can be ratcheted up somewhat through using the same oil to do multiple extractions of fresh material, but even that has limitations.

A key factor in achieving maximum removal rates and efficiency, is keeping the boundary layer between the un-dissolved resins and the unsaturated oils used for extraction regularly removed.  The method that we used in this experiment, was simple, but through periodic stirring.

Sublingual oil tinctures: 

Aside from their useful role in extraction, oils and fats may be mixed at any ratios with cannabis terpenes, if you are just mixing them together as oils.  Some of them are damn tasty even taken from a dropper, though as the concentration increases, the flavor becomes less fetching and it leaves more of a lingering aftertaste.

Choose an Oil:

We haven't tried them all, but we have tried Almond, Avocado, Butter, Canola, Coconut oil, Grape Seed oil, Hemp seed oil, Olive, Pecan, Sesame, and Walnut oils.  They all work well, so they are a good place to start, if you are new to extraction.

Here is a good link for determining the smoke points of the various oils:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point

Preparing the material:

We first start by drying the trim.  For the most floral flavor and the highest amount of lighter terpenes, material that is hung until it reaches the small stem snap stage is best for our purposes.

In our experience, for best flavor and taste, freshest material works best.  Older cured material loses the nuances of the floral undertones and just tastes like hash.

That means that the degree of drying and curing is also critical, if your goal is to maintain maximum terpene content.  Not that hash has a bad flavor, but it should be a conscious choice.

Choosing material:

Oil from buds is tastier than oil from even sugar trim, because most of the terpenes are produced by the buds, and that is where they are the most plentiful.  Tasty is usually not a word used to describe oil from fan leaves or stems, though effective may be.

The material that we used in this experiment, was donated sweet trim from Chocolate and was well dried and cured.

Oils used in this experiment:

We used Ghee (clarified butter), Coconut oil, Grape Seed oil, and Olive oil for the run, because they are commonly available and inexpensive.

Making Ghee:

To make the Ghee, we melted unsalted butter and cooked it at low temperature, until the butter fats separated from the Ghee.  We then skimmed off the floating butter fats, and sucked off the Ghee, using a turkey baster, leaving the heavier butter fats in the bottom of the pot.

Most recipes for extraction with butter call for boiling the material in water and butter, but we studiously avoid adding water and our Ghee extraction has only the lightest tinge of green and no chlorophyll flavor.

Here are the three extractions taken out of the refrigerator, where they were stored between cooking and actual pressing.  Note that the butter, olive oil, and the coconut extractions have the slightest green tinge, yet none actually had a chlorophyll flavor.

In this experiment, we didn't attempt to reach maximum saturation, but to determine what was reasonable to expect from a single batch.  To reach maximum saturation, we would have simply processed more than one batch of fresh material through the oil.

What we did, was fill four jars 3/4 full of the trim and then added enough oil to cover it, stirred it thoroughly, and then added another inch of oil.

We then lightly capped the jars and set them in a pot of hot water and simmered it on low for six hours, uncapping and stirring thoroughly a couple of times an hour.

At the end of six hours, we removed the jars from the hot water and set them aside to cool.  The next day, we cooked them two more hours, stirring regularly, and the third day we cooked them another six hours, for 14 hours total, with three heat cycles.

Lightly capping means snug enough to allow some pressure to build, but loose enough to vent off anything excessive.  Since we used cured material and didn't add water, there were little in the way of volatiles to boil off and produce pressure.

I left the lid off the boiling pot, so as to not force steam into the jar head space.

For pressing, we warmed the oils and ghee up by placing them in boiling water, this time with the lids on tight and the lid on the pot.

Next we cut up some rags from some surplus drape material, with approximately a 160/200 thread count,  and draped it over a restaurant sized potato ricer that we scored at Hongs Restaurant Supply in Portland.  By pressing it down into the potato ricer, it formed a pocket that holds approximately a quart of plant material.

Folding the cloth over and pressing it, produced  a pristine clear oil, which was tasty enough to dropper.

The most flavorful, was the ghee, and possibly the fastest to uptake and produce an effect.  Alas, after just testing just enough of each of them to determine their flavors, I needed a nap, so the next phase of this project, is to titrate for potency and effect, as well as flavor, using volunteer test panels.

We also will experiment with different ways to use the oils in medibles, so stay tuned!

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145 Comments

  1. Lisa M.

    I'm a really good cook, former math/sci geek, suffering with GI bleeding given to me by NSAIDs (it actually happens a lot). Been treated for 2 months with no change by BigPharma corticosteroids, now they want to put me on auto-immune drugs... to treat an Rx-induced bleed. "Not so fast," say I. If anyone is isolating CBDa, CBG CBC, please let me know and I'll gladly subsidize. If however, all I can do is cook it myself, I have a crock pot, a pressure cooker, a potato ricer and some wicked knife skills. My only relatable kitchen experience is in making flavored syrups (ginger is my fave, but I do mint and lavendar), jams and flavored vodkas. I'm getting some relief from a whole bottle of CBD oil (Trishula brand) taken a dropperful at a time over about 48 hrs (approx 15 mg CBD), every time I thought of it, but it's marked only CBD, not CBDa. So there could be even more benefit to other isolates, hm? All suggestions appreciated. If you're in LA I'll cook you dinner. TIA

    Reply       Edit
  2. lindacondell

    Hi, I've already produced a few batches of oil using a couple of different methods, the one described in this article is preferable. I'll be using kief to produce my next few batches of oil. Is the same decarboxilation time/temperature required, if at all? Thanks for your ongoing open research and assistance!

    Reply
  3. Marc

    Hi My wife has Ms with lots of pain and other problems, we made a batch of oil using cbd critical mass and extracted with isopropyl alcohol (we followed the instructions for Rick Simpson oil) The problem is, the finished oil is now so pure and strong that even a tiny pin head drop sends my wife into crazy, whacky land, its way to trippy to use and lead a normal existence, Also we have some dried bud left that we were advised to heat and this too is just as strong, so of no use. We were wondering if anyone knows of a way to make it less potent! We assume the THC has been heated and activated very well, can we destroy this to leave CBD or will this also be destroyed in the process? Ta 

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  4. Jsteezy

    Hey there guys! Awesome stuff here! I'm decarbing right now in boiling water. I'm not sure what the temperature is supposed to be at though during this point. What should the water be at and what should the oil be at? After doing this 3 times like you did then baking my brownies(considering I dont cook bake too long) will they be a good heady medible? I would like to eat an edible in the morning that gets me feeling more of a head high and energetic. Will the potency be maximized?

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      1. Jsteezy

        I see. Picked up a thermometer and the oil seemed to be cooking at around 180-200 for 2 hours last night and I just started it up again tonight. Does this for long periods fully decarb? or does that happen when the oil is baked into the brownies? Should I raise the temperature?

        Reply
        1. skunkpharmresearch

          Yes it will decarb the oil. The total heat effect is what you end up with, so if it isn't fully decarboxylated by extracting, it will decarboxylate more when baking, but at those temperatures you do end up with more sedative extraction, because it also produces CBN.

          Reply
          1. Jsteezy

            So my main concern is a full extraction via coconut oil. This is my second time ever making a cooking oil and the first experiment was a success, but as you said it did produce something more sedative. During the extraction you explain here, you use a simmer for the first 6 hours but then later it says, "the boiling water". This left me rather confused as to the temp I need to maintain during an extraction as well as leaving me thinking decarboxylation and extraction are the same in one, and that to achieve a full extraction you must FULLY decarboxylate. So I guess my question is what temps you use to not convert THC to CBN faster than THC-A to THC, but solely during the extraction process. Or is this something that I need to mainly concern myself with during baking? As long as the coconut oil does not go over - I'm guessing based on my understanding - 200 degrees Fahrenheit? I appreciate the time you've dedicated towards this research, I must have been a little too medicated the first read and misinterpreted. Thank you so much for the awesome information! -J

            Reply
      1. Jon

        I tried coconut oil extract in a cloud vape pen, tastes good no result. trying to learn more about hexane and non polar solvents and proper removal of said solvents. to make wax. all wax I am finding still smells of hexane or smells of mold from water content. I know this isn't the tread for this topic but i applied to the vape pen question

        Reply
  5. Mainah

    Graywolf, I found this link in the 2013 Granny Storm Crow listing: http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/description?CC=US&NR=2012046352A1&KC=A1&FT=D&ND=3&date=20120223&DB=EPODOC&locale=en_EP It is a patent for a decarboxylation and extraction method that seems accessible to anyone with basic kitchen equipment, using common materials with short processing times. As I am no chemist and do not speak geekeze fluently, so would you mind giving me your opinion on it? Sounds almost too good to be true if I'm understanding what I'm reading. The basic claim seems to be that vitamin B6 essentially facilitates and controls the process over a short window of time, used in conjunction with some form of ethanol. Even vanilla extract is mentioned as a possibility so it seems that would eliminate the need for 190 proof, which would make the process more accessible to those of us where 190 isn't legally sold, as well as making it less expensive. The vehicle used for the extract is hemp oil, but I would prefer coconut oil. Have you seen this before? Thanks in advance for your invaluable advice, Mainah

    Reply       Edit
    1. skunkpharmresearch

      Thanks for sharing the link Mainah, as I haven't seen it before. Decarboxylating after an oil extraction is nothing new, and works well. Using B6 to facilitate that certainly is, but if you Google pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), one of its properties given is that of a decarboxylator. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyridoxal_phosphate Looks to me like it is worth checking out!

      Reply
  6. poplars

    so I know I've been asking a lot of questions, you guys seem to have the answers! I was wondering if infused oils can be absorbed sublingually?

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      1. poplars

        thanks, one last question if I can... I have this oil that I concentrated pretty highly, but it doesn't seem to have the effect I was expecting, the process was: warm wash ethanol 190 proof with a 1 quart mason jar 3/4th full, covered with ethanol, warm washed for 4 mins, strained, then put fresh material in and repeated. this process was repeated 5 times, then the resulting completely black oil, looking black in the light. the material used was completely dry, and had been for months in a dry curing room at room temperature since last october. the room was dark though. this liquid was transferred into 4 oz of extra virgin coconut oil, 4 teaspoons of lecithin was melted into this mixture. after testing, I then put it in a 250F oil bath, following the curve until the co2 bubbles tapered. the thing is, I figured this oil would be active within a few dropperfuls (a few mL...) but it seems to only be lightly effective. any ideas on where I may have gone wrong here? I understand this is alot of information and I tried to present it in a reasonable fashion. I don't expect you to take time to respond to this but I'd greatly appreciate it if you do. thanks

        Reply
        1. skunkpharmresearch

          The black would probably look dark green in smeared on white paper. It isn't a measure of oil concentration. I would suggest checking your math first. We've found 100 mg BHO Absolute to be a good pain dose for a low tolerance person and 300 mg to be adequate for most heavy tolerance patients. We average about 20% Absolute oil yield by weight, after winterizing, so if you had an oz of material in the quart jar, you would have had 28.3 grams X .20 = 5.7 grams of oil, or 57 low tolerance doses/ 19 high tolerance doses. You might check your numbers with actual weights.

          Reply
  7. brad

    I have been extracting with oil for a while (crock pot, 12 hrs.). However, the most recent time I added a couple ounces of Everclear alcohol as well. By the end of the cook time all the alcohol had evaporated, of course, and the final oil was a greener than normal, (which doesn't bother me), but more importantly, the potency seemed much, much stronger. Does this make any sense?

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  8. guzias1

    "Alas, after just testing just enough of each of them to determine their flavors, I needed a nap, so the next phase of this project, is to titrate for potency and effect, as well as flavor, using volunteer test panels." hahaaaaaaaaaa

    Reply       Edit
  9. Dissofiddle

    ok Thank you ! I Think I got the main ideas for a good oil extraction / glycerine tincture, but the last questions remaining was about that. Acually , I heard once by someone ( maybe not as reliable as I thought ) , that it was difficult to permorm good glycerin tinctures as the water boils off and that so it looses its potency. I found it was a weird speech however as the cannabinoids are not hygroscopic. I know some fellows who failed their 24h glycerin hot extraction, and it was the explaination that was given ( but my opinion is about a bad decarboxylation or poor material ) . what do you thiink ? thanks again. This website is amazing , it is difficult to find good extraction tutorial on the internet

    Reply       Edit
      1. Dissofiddle

        Neither , I didn't explain it very well. Actually , he means that the water that glycerin contains naturally ( it seems that glycerin absorbs water from the ambiant air as much as 20% of the glycerin weight ) will boils off without a lid during a hot extraction. For him , it is the reason why hot glycerin tincture are difficult to achieve. So when I read your tutorial, I asked myself about this issue again. ( as you keep the lid on your jars ).

        Reply
          1. Dissofiddle

            Ok thank you, I was just wondering about why you put the lid on the jars. this website is amazing, good job !

            Reply
  10. Dissofiddle

    hello ! Your tutorial are awesome ! But i wanted to know, why do you need pressure in the mason/canning jar during the process ? I mean , it is less efficient without pressure ? why ?

    Reply       Edit
  11. Brad

    Thanks for your quick reply. So totally unnecessary and a waste of time, I get it. Just curious from a chemistry standpoint, do you think it will significantly effect the final product (assuming all the water is separated from the oil at the end of the process via freezing)? Thanks!

    Reply       Edit
  12. Docoptic

    Hi, love your website. We have been doing butter extractions for several years now for use in baked goods. Our process is slightly different from yours! We put about 2 ounces of flowers ground in a normal bud grinder into a quart mason jar. We add about a cup of water just to wet the material and then add 1 pound of unsalted butter. This is sealed and put into a pot of hot (not boiling) water for about 5 min to completely melt the butter. We then agitate for about 10 min by hand. The temperature is low enough to handle the jar without discomfort (so ~ 110 to 120 F). We put the jar back into the hot water for another 5 minutes just to heat it up a bit and repeat this process for only an hour or so total. Strain and put in the refrigerator (putting the jar on its side not upright). The water and butter separate of course! We drain off the water and add more clean water and gently remelt the butter. Agitate the mix and put back into the fridge. We do this 3 or 4 times till the water comes off clean (usually very slightly milky). It make a very light green butter that is wonderful in brownies or (my favorite) molasses cookies. We have been baking at 310 F to help retain the active ingredients. My wife uses these for pain and especially insomnia. Works better for insomnia than anything she has tried! Question: Would adding salt water instead of just water help remove more chlorophyll? Cheers!

    Reply       Edit
    1. skunkpharmresearch

      Adding salt should help keep an emulsion layer from forming and it will help keep alot if not all free chlorophyll from complexing with the organic layer. It also helps to add an acid (vinegar) to help the process. I have not tried this method with butter and it may make it unpalatable. I am speaking strictly from a chemistry point of view. Joe

      Reply
      1. Lance

        Yo awesome website! How much vinegar would u recommend using? And I assume you mean with hexane in a seperatory funnel? Peace Thanks

        Reply
          1. Lance

            I was reading this paragraph: Adding salt should help keep an emulsion layer from forming and it will help keep alot if not all free chlorophyll from complexing with the organic layer. It also helps to add an acid (vinegar) to help the process. I have not tried this method with butter and it may make it unpalatable. I am speaking strictly from a chemistry point of view. Joe I thought u were talking about using salt water and vinegar, or each separately, in a sep funnel with Hexane or petroleum ether to polish hash oil...? A chemist friend of mine said it was possible to separate terpenes using vinegar. Know anything about this? Thanks

            Reply
            1. skunkpharmresearch

              You could use salt and pH to prevent emulsion's between organics and water in a funnel or when making butter. The basic principles are the same. I haven't heard anything about vinegar extracting terpenes. I would find it surprising if it did. Considering its charge it would act similarly to how it does in Italian dressing.

  13. csb420

    How did the test results come out? Any feedback on potency? I plan on doing this process this weekend with coconut oil. Am interested in knowing how potent it could potentially be with one "cycle". I am wondering if should plan on passing the oil through another batch of fresh material after the initial run. Thank you!

    Reply       Edit
    1. skunkpharmresearch

      We are still putting together the test panel, but I can tell you how it probably came out, based on past experiments. It is probably about 25% cannabis essential oils, and would increase to about 35% with a second cycle using fresh material. While you can mix the essential oils, and the menstruum oils at any ratio, they won't extract at any ratio, because as it becomes more saturated, it becomes less agressive as a solvent. About 50% would be the maximum if it were done in Heaven. That just means that you have to take a larger dose to do the same thing as 100% straight essential oils, and the required dosages are still small. IE: A dropper instead of a drop.

      Reply
    2. skunkpharmresearch

      We have not baked out the products for testing yet. they are refrigerated until use. However, considering health benefits and the fact that coconut oil passes the blood brain barrier. it is certainly my oil choice, at least until testing is complete. when our gas chromatography is set up and running, we will have a good idea as to uptake of various cannabinoids, as well as effect. both will be of interest especially in comparison.

      Reply
      1. Walter Nuehring

        OK I've been reading stuff on this site for quite awhile now and I gotta say you ppl are the shit!! But this topic is something that I felt I am pretty strong in but after reading all comments I feel a little confused. I am a chef by trade & now I'm trying to live out my dream and have become an edible chef now! I too use coconut oil for most of my applications what I do is a co2 extraction to get my hash then to increase potency I decarb it in the oil I carefully get my oil up to 252° using a digital oven thermo & a candy thermometer as soon as it hits the :temp I toss in the hash and immediately pull off burner! I play this game for 30 mins back & forth regulating temp keeping it @ 252 for 30 mins. Then I add ½ oz of strongest clear alcohol I can get then about 2 cups of water. Here in WA everclear is only available in 151 Prof so that's usually what I get or 100 prof vodka. From my understanding please correct me if I'm wrong but the alcohol is supposed to kinda help transfer THC,CBD/CBN Kinda like a jump start? Force more into the fat itself... the combination of the alcohol & the shock of temp is supposed to work... Does that sound right to you guys? So what has confused me is my method sounds like a hot extraction & your saying that tends to be on the sedative more "medicinal"? So doing a slower lower extraction will leave me with a more heady THC type of buzz? Oh I almost forgot after I strain my oil I put it in fridge and let the water & oil separate I warm up the oil again and add lecithin and mix aggressively. This helps it bind with our cannabinoid receptors in our body's to absorb more of the good stuff... now I just had my stuff tested and the raw hash tested at 21.3% THC 2.9% CBD 0.0% CBN After it was processed into oil they were 26.1 THC 3.3% CBD 5.1% CBN. SO I achieved high CBD/CBN all because of the heat? If I go slow & low do you think they would be present? Am I wasting or losing anything here?

        Reply
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