Getting the most out of your medical marijuana with coconut oil

coconut oil
That marijuana is medicine is no longer a secret. The science has been proven and we now must focus on educating the newly-converted as to how best to use nature’s most versatile creation.

For thousands and thousands of years the human race has used the cannabis plant to treat everything from menstrual cramps to leprosy. In 2900 BC the Chinese emperor Fu Hsi said the plant possessed “both yin and yang”. Ancient Egyptians used marijuana to treat glaucoma and inflammation. In Greece they used it for ear aches and swelling. Early American settlers used marijuana to treat depression (which they had plenty of). And in 1850 this ancient plant was added to the U.S. Pharmacopeia, and was known to successfully treat neuralgia, tetanus, typhus, cholera, rabies, dysentery, alcoholism, opiate addiction, anthrax, leprosy, incontinence, gout, convulsive disorders, tonsillitis, insanity, excessive menstrual bleeding, and uterine bleeding, among others.

Using coconut oil to create marijuana-infused medicine

Over the years humans have devised many, many ways to ingest marijuana. Some people like to smoke it. Others like to eat it by infusing it into food. Still others make a highly-concentrated paste-like substance that is so potent that a patient need ingest only a minuscule amount of it in order to medicate. But one of the easiest, safest and healthiest ways to consume medical marijuana is by infusing it into coconut oil.

The many health benefits of coconut oil

organic coconut oil

One of the fastest-growing trends among the “healthy eating” crowd nowadays is coconut oil, and for good reason. The health benefits of coconut oil are many, and include hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. Coconut oil can also provide relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, while helping to improve dental quality and bone strength. The benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their respective properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities.

Because coconut oil has become so popular it can be found in nearly any grocery store or big box supply store nowadays. If you would prefer to order coconut oil online you can pick some up here.

Methods of infusing coconut oil with marijuana

Though there are several different ways to infuse marijuana into coconut oil, the end result — when done properly — is cannabinoid-packed medicine that can be incorporated into just about any type of food, swallowed in easy-to-make capsules, stirred into a warm beverage (mmmm chai tea) or applied topically, on the skin. It is this versatility that makes marijuana-infused coconut oil so popular.

There are two methods that we will focus on for infusing coconut oil with marijuana: In a crock pot, which is how the majority of people will do it, and in a device designed specifically for creating infused oils called the Magical Butter Machine. The crock pot method can be done by anyone, but tends to be messy and much more time consuming than a Magical Butter, which does almost everything automatically and beeps loudly at you when your attention is needed. On the downside the MBM is on the pricey side and, sadly, out of the budget of many patients.

Decarboxylation

Before infusing your oil you will probably want to decarboxylate your medical marijuana by essentially roasting it in the oven at a very low temperature. Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide (CO2), and converts the non-psychoactive THC-A into THC, which is the main chemical in marijuana that produces a “high”. If your goal, however, is to avoid as much of the euphoria that typically comes with ingesting marijuana as possible then feel free to skip this step.

How to decarboxylate weed

How to decarboxylate marijuana in your oven

  1. Preheat oven to 240°.
  2. Break up your material (bud or trim) but do not grind.
  3. Place your material on a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan covered in aluminum foil and spread out in a thin, even layer.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for an hour.

Things to know before doing this:

  • It is smart to double-check your oven’s temperature, as certain cannabinoids begin to boil off around 250°F.
  • Decarboxylation produces a very strong odor, so be sure to do it when it won’t bother others (if you don’t want them to know you’re doing it).
  • If you are not going to use your decarboxylated material immediately it can be stored in an air-tight, opaque container.
  • If you are interested in learning more about the science behind decarboxylation, Marijuana Growers Headquarters has a fantastic article that explains the process in more depth, as well as a handy chart that shows the temperature at which various cannabinoids and flavinoids begin to boil off.

How much marijuana to use

The question as to how much, what strain and what form (trim or bud) to use will be a personal preference. Those with higher tolerances to marijuana or very high pain levels may prefer to use a strong sativa, while patients seeking sedative and sleep-inducing effects might opt for an indica or hybrid strain. If you are a grower or otherwise have access to trim material you can use that as well.

For the recipes below we recommend using marijuana flower, or a combination of flower and trim. You can also use just trim and leave out the bud, but you will need to use more of it if you want to achieve the same potency that you would with a flower infusion.

A word about Lecithin

sunflower lecithin

Lecithin is a yellow-brown colored fatty substance found in all living things (it’s a gooey substance that makes up about a third of your brain). Lecithin contains choline, which is used throughout your entire body as a major ingredient in each and every cell membrane. Besides the fact that your brain absolutely loves this stuff, lecithin provides other benefits when it is included in marijuana infused oils.

First, lecithin gets more cannabinoids into your brain and other cells and it gets them there faster since, you know, your brain is made of the stuff. Second, lecithin increases the effectiveness of the cannabinoids as well as the intensity of the effect. Also, lecithin acts as an emulsifier in the infusion process, helping more cannabinoids to bond with the oil molecules.

Sunflower lecithin is now widely-regarded as being a better alternative to traditional soy-based lecithin. You can probably find sunflower lecithin in your local health foods store, and you may find it in liquid form, granule form or both, either of which is fine. If you can’t find sunflower lecithin locally it’s easy to order online.

Method #1: Crockpot

  1. Combine 1 cup of organic coconut oil with1 tbsp sunflower lecithin (liquid or granules) in crock pot set on low or warm (150° -160° F is ideal).
  2. Stir in 14 grams of dried marijuana or marijuana flower and trim. If using trim only try 21-28 grams.
  3. Cover and stir every 30-45 minutes.
  4. Simmer 2-3 hours. Turn off and let cool.
  5. Once cool, strain through cheesecloth. It’s easiest if you use small wire strainer with a handle to catch the bulk of your material. Holding this over a bowl that has had several layers of cheesecloth secured over it with rubber bands works really well.
  6. Twist your cheesecloth, which should now have gross organic material all over it, into a ball. Now squeeeeeeze that medicine out into the bowl until you’ve got every drop or your hand gets tired, either one.
straining the material
straining through cheesecloth

Method #2: Magical Butter Machine

magic butter machineAs we said earlier there are big benefits to using a Magical Butter Machine for your infusions: It’s drop-dead easy to use, it’s fully-automated and it is super easy to clean up with a built-in cleaning cycle. It was designed to precisely extract the nutrients and flavor from herbs and infuse them into oils, butters and both alcohol as well as glycerin-based tinctures.

  1. Combine 2 cups of organic coconut oil with 2 tbsp sunflower lecithin (liquid or granules) in the MBM. If your coconut oil is solid you can liquefy it in a microwave set on defrost for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add between 14 and 28 grams of marijuana bud, trim or a combination of both. There is no need to break anything up or grind anything. The MBM has a high-speed commercial immersion blender that sounds like a space ship every time it spins up. My guess is even the toughest Mexican brick weed would come out beaten to a pulp. The blender is very thorough.
  3. Set the temperature to 160° and press the 1-hour button.
  4. When the timer goes off let the oil cool down for about 30 minutes. After the oil is cool, slip the included “love glove” on one hand, hold the filter bag with the other hand over a bowl and pour the contents of the MBM into the filter bag.
  5. Squeeeeeeeeeze that medicine out of the bag into the bowl.
  6. Toss the left-overs into the compost pile, toss the glove and bag in the dishwasher and run the clean cycle on the MBM.

How to consume your newly-infused cannabis oil

Since coconut oil can so easily replace butter, oil and other fats that are frequently called for in recipes it can be included in many different types of dishes. Not just for brownies anymore, cannabis-infused coconut oil is great in dressings, sauces, pasta dishes and much more. Medicated sausage gravy anyone?

botanical extractionsAnother great way to consume coconut oil that has been infused with your favorite bud is by filling gelatin capsules and taking them on a regular basis. This is by far one of the best ways to regiment your medical marijuana intake, as it allows you to create and follow your own consistent recipe and take consistent doses. In other words, if you need to be able to schedule your medication then this may be the best option for you.

If you choose to use gelatin capsules then you can probably find everything you need in your local health foods store. You will need a supply of empty capsules (these size “00” work very well) and an inexpensive capsule filling machine, unless you want to fill the capsules one at a time. You will also need a plastic syringe, preferably one with a curved tip like this if you are using a filling machine. Capsules can be stored in a dark, dry place (like in a bottle in your medicine cabinet) for around 30 days. If you are making more than a 30 day supply it’s best to store the extra oil in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and make up a new supply of capsules when your medicine cabinet supply gets low.

What to expect

Everyone’s tolerance to cannabis is different, and some people’s experience changes based on how their body metabolizes the cannabinoids they have ingested. In most cases, infusing coconut oil with marijuana tends to produce effects that come on much slower than smoking, but last longer and tend to be more mellow-inducing.  Many patients find that coconut oil is a great way to treat chronic conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, Cron’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, glaucoma and depression. Others use infused coconut oil in place of over the counter or prescription sleep medication because of its gradual onset, prolonged effect and ability to function normally the next morning.

Whatever your reason for using medical marijuana, there is a good chance that supplementing that intake with the many wonderful health benefits of coconut oil can assist in promoting healing and better overall health.

44 thoughts on “Getting the most out of your medical marijuana with coconut oil

  • March 17, 2015 at 6:51 pm
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    This is basically the way we do it. I would use a small crock pot for a batch with only 1 cup of coconut oil. A large one would provide too much surface area. Once the batch is done and all oil is squeezed out of the plant material, we store the plant material in the freezer and I add a spoonful to my coffee grounds when brewing coffee. Gives you a nice wake me up and pain relief for most of the day.

    Reply
  • March 29, 2015 at 5:49 pm
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    I’ve been only using coconut oil for medibles for over a year! I do crockpot method. Best ever!
    Cannamilk helps too, & doesn’t knock me out like the medibles.

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  • April 2, 2015 at 10:13 pm
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    Hi, Thanks for the great tutorial! I’ve made it once using a pressure cooker as per instructions from another canna warrior. What I’ve been trying to accomplish is adding enough olive oil at the end to keep the coconut oil liquid to be able to get a dropper full in liquid form but so far the olive oil ( I used organic extra virgin pure olive) isn’t working! I’ve added 2 T so far to a mixture that was two cups of Coconut oil to begin with. Thanks for any help you might have to offer.

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    • May 10, 2015 at 2:42 pm
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      I just found liquid version of coconut oil, I want to infuse into that to have something that stays liquid. Just not sure how that would seperate from the water in the end. I suppose you could make a double strength batch with the solid form, then add liquid form after seperating from water. (So you’d have a 50/50mix of solid to liquid- maybe that would be enough to remain liquid?)

      Reply
    • August 6, 2015 at 10:31 am
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      Gabriele you can use just the oganic virgin Olive Oil to extract the cannabis with.
      I have seen great results (lab report) in extracting thee Cannabinoids and flavanoids etc using Olive Oil…they did 2 hours @ 98 degrees celcius. Peace!
      ;-)~~’

      Reply
  • April 14, 2015 at 7:47 pm
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    Hi and thanks for this!

    I have a couple of questions. Would this possible work in a toaster oven set to 160 instead of a crockpot? Secondly, I was always told to let it heat as long as you can, up to 6-12hrs. Is there any benefit to this?

    It’s that time of year to get my vaporizer leftovers ready for baking and I am looking forward to using coconut oil for the first time instead of butter. Many thanks for your help!

    Reply
  • May 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm
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    Hi. do you have any links to studies on sunflower lecithin? or the lecithin-THC connection? Thanks!

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    • July 21, 2015 at 7:40 am
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      I’m also interested in this. Greetings

      Reply
  • May 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm
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    Another thing you can do is make coconut honey. You make cana-coconut oil then soften to room temp and whip in honey 1/2 to 1cup of honey to 1 cup of coconut oil. You can then just eat it by the teaspoon full. Yummy.

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    • August 30, 2015 at 1:34 am
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      This is a great idea then you can use raw honey for additional health benifits.

      Reply
    • June 22, 2016 at 11:23 pm
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      Sounds delightful and yummy!

      Reply
  • May 11, 2015 at 7:12 pm
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    Would this work like cbd oil for seizures if I use a high cbd strain?

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    • May 11, 2015 at 7:21 pm
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      Hi Lex,
      Yes, you can infuse strains with high CBD strains into coconut oil just like you would more traditional strains.

      Reply
    • May 11, 2015 at 10:59 pm
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      Yes, you can infuse a high CBD strain into coconut oil. It just won’t be as concentrated as pure cannabinoid extract using solvents or CO2 and thus more difficult to know your dosage.

      Reply
  • May 11, 2015 at 10:51 pm
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    One important step was left out of the article: Please store all cannabis medicines out of the reach of children and pets. Clearly label your medicine stored in a refrigerator.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2015 at 11:30 pm
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    What is the advantage or disadvantage to this recipe versus solvent extraction of oil?

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  • May 20, 2015 at 11:56 am
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    NEVER use SATIVA in the Oil if you are trying to cure cancer. The energetic effects increase your blood pressure which is the opposite of the sedative effects of INDICA, vital in providing the rest and sleep necessary for healing. Rick Simpson warns that using sativa will raise blood pressure which could harm those individuals who already, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are living with compromised systems.

    Reply
  • June 7, 2015 at 8:21 pm
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    When I make my vegetable glycerin tincture…it always has what appears to be tiny specks of keif which lines the outside of the dropper and inside of the bottle…Is this non infused THC?…Anyone else have this…used a small amount of lecithin…Any ideas anyone?

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    • March 17, 2016 at 2:26 pm
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      Yes i have had it…but not lately…idk what it is either…

      Reply
  • June 20, 2015 at 1:26 am
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    If I make it with out decarbing it first so it is a THCA oil, would it decarb and turn to THC if cooked/ baked? Or will it stay THCA even when I bake it at a high temp?

    Reply
  • August 30, 2015 at 1:42 am
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    So I’m thinking that since the lecithin is used to help it into the brain, as well as other benefits, can i add it later, since i don’t have any right now, this is the first time I’ve heard of it, or maybe I can save the debris and reheat when I get some.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2015 at 9:52 am
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    I combine 1 cup of coconut oil with 2 cups of water, 7 grams bud. After simmering 2-3 hours I strain and put in the fridge until the coconut oil hardens on top. I love it because the water takes a the shit that I do not want out of the mix.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2015 at 11:40 am
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    I know that my oncologist will never prescribe cannabis, but since it is legal in my state I can try it anyway. Does anyone know what the dosage would be for breast cancer that has metastasized? I don’t know how to get any information on this. I ordered the Magical Butter Machine and plan to make it that way with the coconut oil.

    Reply
  • December 20, 2015 at 9:21 pm
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    When using the magical butter maker is says use 14 to 28 grams of marijuana does the 28 grams make it stronger or make more oil

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    • February 5, 2016 at 2:16 am
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      It would yield more oil. I decarboxolyze the buds first.

      Reply
  • December 28, 2015 at 10:39 pm
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    I eat the cannibis coconut oil infused MMJ. I don’t throw anything away

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  • May 17, 2016 at 11:07 pm
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    Can I use this as a pain relief massage oil?? Will it still work similarly although not consumed?

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  • June 1, 2016 at 8:50 am
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    Would THC-A be just as effective as THC if you do not decarboxylate?

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  • June 5, 2016 at 7:39 am
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    I use 3 cups coconut oil 3tbspns sunflower lethicin 28 gms flower decarb 240 degrees for 40 min in oven then add all to mbm and run 2 2 hour cycles at 160 degrees . I have a high tolerance one tblspn is all i need hits in a few hours and lasts for at least 6 to 8 hours very strong . I have made it with less oil but seems not to be any stronger so in my experience with the mbm 3 cups to 28 gms seems ideal ..it may be due to saturation . When using less oil i have been able to run the dregs again and got more meds so there may be a saturation level as to how much infusion takes place . Im my experience less oil does not mean more potent or concentrated it means it all did not get infused ..

    Reply

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