How to Make CBD Oil from Flower

Published April 25, 2023
How to Make CBD Oil from Flower - Secret Nature

CBD flower is amazing, so it only stands to reason that you might want to enhance the potency of the CBD naturally present in hemp flower. As you’ll find in this guide, though, making CBD oil from CBD flower — the type of distilled, delicious oil found in vapes — is more difficult than it seems.

There are certainly ways to make oils that contain CBD at home. We’ll cover a few of the methods at your disposal as we go on — taking care to inform you of all the pros and cons along the way.

What is CBD oil?

First, it’s important to define what CBD oil is. The term is used to refer to a variety of different substances, including:

  • CBD-infused cooking oils (butter, coconut oil, etc.)
  • Pre-formulated CBD tincture products
  • Undistilled CBD extracts
  • Distilled CBD extracts

When most people set out to make CBD oil from flower, they’re thinking about the last two options we just listed. Making CBD cooking oil is easy, after all, but it doesn’t provide the results you might be expecting if you’re used to professionally crafted CBD extracts.

You’re also probably not planning to make an entire tincture complete with a carrier oil, flavoring, and other ingredients. Chances are, you want to make the type of CBD oil you can dab with but at your own house. Is it possible?

What is CBD flower?

CBD flower is where CBD comes from. It’s the dried buds of Cannabis sativa plants that have been bred to contain high concentrations of CBD and low concentrations of THC.

Purists consider CBD flower to be the most natural type of CBD to consume. It’s also relatively potent — while less potent than vapes, which contain concentrated CBD.

Like THC cannabis, CBD flower comes in many different strains, each with their own terpene profile. CBD flower is the raw material that professional manufacturers then use to make CBD extracts and finished products.

How is CBD oil made?

On a commercial scale, CBD oil can be made using a variety of different methods. Three of the most popular include:

  • Hydrocarbon extraction: The cheapest but also the dirtiest option, BHO (butane hash oil, “hydrocarbon”) is the standard in the industry — though it’s far from gold.
  • Ethanol extraction: Ethanol is more expensive and trickier than BHO, but it produces better, cleaner results.
  • CO2 extraction: Considered to be the cleanest method for extracting CBD, CO2 extraction is nonetheless expensive and wasteful.
  • Can you make CBD oil at home?

    Yes, it is possible to make certain types of CBD oil at home — even with very limited kitchen equipment. Professional-grade CBD oil extracted using butane, ethanol, or CO2 should not be made at home since these processes require ample space and safety considerations.

    If you want to make CBD oil at home, stick with coconut oil or avocado oil. Trying any other techniques could put you in serious danger.

    What do you need to make CBD oil from flower?

    If you’re planning to make simple CBD oil in your kitchen, here’s what you’ll need:

    • 3.5-7g CBD hemp flower, ground and decarboxylated
    • 2-5 cups cooking oil of your choice
    • A crock pot or double boiler
    • A mixing bowl
    • A cheesecloth
    • A thermometer
    • A stirring spoon
    • A jar with a lid

    For detailed instructions regarding how to extract CBD oil in your kitchen, refer to our in-depth guide on the subject. The process is relatively simple and should only take 1-2 hours.

    A note of caution regarding DIY CBD oil extraction

    Extracting CBD at home is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. Plus, you need professional-grade equipment if you want professional-grade results, and the average CBD flower user will not want to entertain either the repurposing of space or the financial expenditure entailed in such an enterprise.

    Not only is extracting CBD expensive and difficult, but many methods are also dangerous. Sure, you can shoot butane down a glass tube full of CBD weed, and the end result might be some brownish extract that dribbles down onto your parchment paper.

    What do you really know about the CBD oil you just made, though? Is it safe? Is it effective? You’ll need to commission lab tests to know for sure, only adding to the difficulty and expenditure involved in your new hobby.

    If you’re still committed to extracting CBD at home, just be aware of what you’re getting into. You’re playing with pressurized, volatile gasses and plant matter that could easily (if falsely) be construed as federally illegal. It may be best to leave CBD extraction to the experts.

    How to extract CBD from flowers: 4 options

    There are dozens of different approaches to getting CBD out of hemp flower and into a concentrated form. Four particular methods, though, stand out due to either their popularity or ingenuity:

    1. Simplest approach: Making “medicated” cooking oil

    We’ve already covered our recommended approach when it comes to making CBD oil from home — just cook it into an oil using the types of kitchen implements you already have lying around. There’s no (or low) added cost, and the results will be perfectly satisfactory for most users.

    2. You might blow your house up: DIY BHO

    We absolutely do not recommend this method, but to avoid acknowledging it would be even more dangerous. Technically, it’s possible to use pressurized butane to dislodge cannabinoids from the trichome oil sacs that dot the surface of cannabis buds. It’s no exaggeration, though, that trying to make your own BHO CBD oil at home could be deadly to you or others.

    3. It costs a fortune: Professional ethanol or CO2 setups

    The saying goes that if you want to do something, do it right. When it comes to extracting CBD oil, the only way to “do it right” is to do it with either CO2 or ethanol — both of which cost many thousands of dollars to set up properly and safely. These extraction processes are outside the reach of average consumers, but they’re the processes used to make the commercial-grade products you can buy online for a fraction of the cost.

    4. Small batch, connoisseur: Rosin machines

    There is, in fact, one perfectly legitimate way to make CBD oil from flower at home: using a rosin machine. These devices use heat or simply pressure to gently remove oils from cannabis flower without any solvents whatsoever.

    The machines themselves usually cost a few thousand dollars, and they only produce around a gram an hour — making them practically useless from a commercial perspective. For serious cannabis users who aren’t afraid to invest a chunk of change into their hobby, though, rosin machines may just be the ultimate option.

    Making CBD oil with flower FAQ

    Learn more about the ins and outs of making CBD oil with hemp flower below:

    — Can you make CBD oil with leaves and stems?

    Yes, it is possible to extract CBD from leaves and stems, but only with professional-grade equipment, and only in very small quantities. DIY enthusiasts making CBD oil at home are strongly cautioned to use CBD-rich hemp flower instead.

    — What is the safest extraction method for CBD?

    At home, the safest CBD extraction methods are cooking oil extractions and rosin extractions. In terms of the presence of solvents in commercially produced products, the methods that pose the least risk of contamination are ethanol and CO2.

    — What is the easiest way to extract CBD oil?

    The easiest way to extract CBD oil at home is surely extracting it in a crockpot or double boiler using CBD flower and common kitchen implements. That’s also among only a few truly safe ways to extract CBD at home.

    — How much CBD is in a gram of hemp flower?

    CBD-rich hemp flower ranges from 5-20% CBD, so a gram might contain anywhere from 50-200mg CBD. You need to test your CBD flower ahead of time to determine much CBD you’ll derive during extraction.

    — How much does a CBD oil extraction machine cost?

    Commercial-grade machines used to extract CBD oil start in the tens of thousands of dollars and go up from there. Simple rosin extraction machines, though, can sometimes cost less than $5,000.

    — What is the best solvent for CBD extraction?

    Most experts consider CO2 to be the best CBD extraction solvent. Others contend, though, that ethanol extraction is just as safe while being more efficient.

    DIY CBD oil from flower: Risky, and only questionably worth it

    In the end, is it even worth it to consider making CBD oil from hemp flower? Only if you’re doing it with cooking oil in your kitchen or with a pricey rosin machine. Don’t be the guy who looks like a war veteran due to his DIY BHO mishaps. Don’t invest in a commercial-grade CO2 or ethanol setup — obviously.

    Realistically, it’s much cheaper and far less of a hassle to just buy your CBD oil from professionals who make it for a living. Serious hobbyists aside, hardly anyone has the time and dedication necessary to make their own CBD oil. Buying it online, though, is often as easy as a click of a button.

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