How to Make Marijuana Oil – 4 Foolproof Methods 

By  Cheri Sicard

 February 7, 2020

Marijuana oil — AKA canna-oil,  or weed oil to use a more slacker term, is a staple of  many cannabis recipes.  Since THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, is fat soluble, edible oils make ideal ways to bond it to food.  Likewise marijuana oils are the backbone of many medicated foods.  With these staples stored in your refrigerator or freezer you’re always ready to cook with cannabis.

What Kind of Oil and Marijuana is Best?

I am always asked what kind of oil is best to infuse.  That depends what you are going to use it for.  A neutral oil like canola, grapeseed, or vegetable oil is most versatile as you can use it most any recipe calling for oil.  For additional flavor elements, olive oil is a great choice.  You can even infuse solid at room temperature fats like coconut oil or vegetable shortening.  Use whatever works best for what you are planning to cook with it.

How to Save Money When Making Cannabis Oil

How to Prepare Marijuana for Cooking


You can cook with any kind of marijuana from trimmings to flowers when making weed butter.

There is no need to cook with top-shelf marijuana.  Those top-shelf strains are used priced that way because of their terpenes.  As many of these volatile compounds will be cooked off in the process of making edibles, it doesn't make sense to pay extra for them in this instance.

If your purveyor offers "shake" the marijuana world equivalent of the crumbs at the bottom of a bag of potato chips, check it out.  Shake is sold for far less than pretty buds but it can still be mighty potent.  Check out this link for more information about Shake.

If you grow your own, these are plenty of cannabinoid-rich trichomes left on your trimmings, especially the small "sugar leaves" that surround the flowers, and they make excellent cooking material.  Of course the quality of the plant matters, but if you grow great cannabis, don't waste those trimmings!

You can even make marijuana oil with old weed, although the effects of the edibles made from this may be a little different.  Different is NOT necessarily bad, in many cases these effects are desirable, such as pain reduction and better sleep.  Read more details about cooking with old cannabis here.

Dosing for Marijuana Oil

You will need to adjust the amount of cannabis used to make butter depending on the potency of the plant and what parts of it you are using.  Check out the Dosing Dilemmas page for additional information on how to determine dosing in your cannabis butter and edibles.

For this article and others on this website, I’ve listed the amounts I use to test the recipes for this blog as well as those in The Easy Cannabis Cookbook.  You can and should alter the suggested amounts to meet your needs, but these will give you a starting guideline.

For the base dose calculations for recipes on this site, I am assuming you are using 14 grams of 10%THC cannabis to make 1 cup of oil.

If that sounds confusing to you, no worries, I have a FREE online dosing class that explains all. Sign up here. And if you don't like doing math, my invaluable Dosing Calculators (the best $5.00 you'll ever spend) do all the math for you, calculate the per serving dose of your homemade edibles (even if you are not using lab-tested cannabis), and make it simple to adjust dosages to your needs before you make your edibles.  No more dosing surprises.  Check out the dosing calculators here.

To Make About 1 Cup Marijuana Oil at the dose tested on this site (see links above to adjust for YOUR NEEDS):

  • 1 1/4 cups edible oil of your choice
  • 1/2 ounce (14 grams) average quality decarboxylated dried bud

4 Foolproof Methods for Making Cannabis Oil

Marijuana Infusions made with the Mason Jar method

There are many roads that will bring you to the same destination.  Likewise, there are even more ways than what is listed below to make marijuana oil.

When it comes to gadgets, you don't need any.  But if you want one, the only gadget I personally recommend is the Ardent Nova or Ardent FX.  These invaluable tools perfectly decarboxylate your cannabis and make infusions like marijuana butter, oil, honey, etc.  Yes, there are other marijuana butter making kitchen machines out there, but in my opinion they have design or functionality flaws that them undesirable.  I do love my Ardent Nova and Ardent FX though and when cooking for myself they are always the method I use these days as it's just so easy.

Gadgets aside, you should never wait to start cooking with cannabis until you have a special gadget.  If you have an ordinary kitchen with pot and pans or a slow cooker, you already have everything you need.  Check out the first two tutorials below:

More help with Cannabis Oil and other Marijuana Infusions

My comprehensive online course Easy Cannabis Cooking for Home Cooks has a large module that includes detailed lessons and demonstrations on marijuana butter, oil, honey, dairy products, sugar, and tinctures.

Odor Reducing Tips When Making Marijuana Oil

How to Improve the Flavor of Marijuana Edibles - Making Marijuana Oil

Depending on how you make it, creating marijuana oil can be quite fragrant.  Stovetop and even some slow cooker methods are NOT DISCREET!

What can you do if you prefer NOT to broadcast your cannabis cooking activities to the entire neighborhood?  Relax, here are a few suggestions.

One option that a lot of people already own is to use an Instant Pot or other multicooker set to the slow cooker setting.  No odor until you open the lid.  If you don't already own an Instant Pot, you'll want one even for noncannabis cooking as it can work as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and more.  But they are also terrific for making odor-free marijuana butter and oil.

Another option is by Hamilton Beach, who makes a line of slow cookers (pictured above) that are great for reducing cooking odors when making marijuana butter or oil.  I am sure the fine folks at Hamilton Beach did not design the Stay and Go Slow Cooker for this specific purpose, but nonetheless they work great. That's because it has a rubber gasket on the lid and a clamp you can use to keep the slow cooker tightly closed.

People going to pot luck suppers (no, not necessarily the kinds with cannabis) love this feature as you can transport food in the slow cooker without it sloshing over.  But for cannabis cooks its beauty is in the fact that you will hardly smell the odor of simmering marijuana when infusing butter or oil.  At least not until you open the lid.  I discovered this quite by accident, but it works.  The Stay and Go Slow Cooker is also a quality product to use when making non-cannabis infused meals.

If you like to make small batches of marijuana oil, consider investing in the Ardent Lift Decarboxylator picture below) or its big brother the FX.  Not only do these special cannabis cooking gadgets take all the guesswork out of decarboxylation, you can actually make small batches of infusions right in them.  Learn more and watch the video demonstration at this link.

And as of 2020 Ardent came out with the Nova's big brother the FX, which is capable of infusing much larger batches than their original Nova, so if you like to make larger batches you will want the FX, if you make small amounts of butter at once, either one will do.

marijuana infusions in the Ardent Lift

What To Do with the Leftover Plant Material After Infusing?

The short answer is, bless and let it go!  If you did a good job at making oil, you have already extracted what you need.  There is, however, definitely something you should NOT do with it.  See the link below for one of my most embarrassing stories from when I first learned to cook with cannabis.

For more details about what (and what not) to do with leftover plant material, check out this link.

Draining and Straining Cannabis Oil and Other Marijuana Infusions

Draining and straining cannaoil

Draining and straining marijuana oil

The most traditional method of draining marijuana butter is to place a cheesecloth lined strainer over a large pot or bowl and strain the liquid through this.

Details of draining and straining infusions made with water in the mix are detailed on that tutorial page.

A lot of folks find the colander and cheesecloth and messy and cumbersome endeavor.  They are not entirely wrong.  There is a better way.  Check out this link for 3 easier and mess-free ways to strain cannabis oil.

Photos showing easy ways to drain and strain marijuana infusions.

Storing Cannabis Oil

Refrigerate infused oil until ready to use or freeze for even longer storage.  Fats can still go rancid in the freezer so try to use within 3 months. Check out this link for more details about freezing cannabis butter, marijuana oil or even finished edibles.

Congratulations!  Choose one of the methods above, make some oil and you’re now ready to start cooking with canna-oil!


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    • Hi Ronda, Storing an infused oil is really no different than storing the original oil. If it’s stored in a green or brown bottle with an airtight lid, it should last up to two years in the refrigerator.

  • How would you recommend carboxylating/activating the cannabinoid that can’t be metabolized without such processes? I read somewhere that the temperature required for that is around 240 F, but I’m unsure about whether or not this would be critical for cooking. I normally make brownies and I suspect that baked goods probably don’t get anywhere near that temperature in the center. I like the idea of having water in with the oil, but I don’t want to limit the efficacy of my oil. Do you think that I could heat the oil to 240 F after I strain It?

  • Hi I’m new this and have a question.
    Is the thc as well as cbd high in the oil when you are done following all the steps?
    I’m trying to make it with a good dose of both and I don’t want to use the alcohol method.

    • I am not sure which alcohol method you are referring to, do you mean making a tincture?

      There is no “high” from CBD, although both THC and CBD have many medicinal properties. When you make a butter or oil infusion you are infusing both these cannabinoids (along with many others) into the butter or oil, so yes you would get the benefits of both. How much of each will depend on the plant material you are cooking with and its individual cannabinoid profile. This varies widely from strain to strain. If you are using lab tested cannabis you will have a good idea of what to expect. While you can estimate a THC percentage (my free dosing course teaches you how), CBD is impossible to estimate without a lab test. Not only is the amount of CBD in each strain drastically different, you don’t physically feel the effects of CBD in the same way you do THC. Hope this all makes sense. Cheri

  • Dumb question I guess but would you be able to smoke it? Was wondering if i put a drop or two on my bowl if it would have any effect or just wasting my time.

  • I always decarb in the oven 1st at 250 degrees for 25-27 minutes. I use flower broken up into a layer spread out on a plate or cookie sheet usually covered with tinfoil or an oven/Turkey bag if making a lot. I then do the stovetop method trying to keep it between 190-200deg for 2 hrs. I’ve tried for up to 5hrs and didn’t notice much difference.

    • You technically can, but I wouldn’t. You aren’t really wasting it by tossing out the plant material after making butter because you have already extracted the good parts. Yes there might be a few trichomes left, but not much, so to my mind all this will really do is give you yucky tasting pesto. (I do make infused pesto, but I use cannabis infused oil). So feel free to give it a try if you like, but my recommendation is to toss the leftover plant material after extractions. WHatever you do, don’t put it down the garbage disposal (I learned that the hard way, seized up and had to call a plumber).

    • i soaked my muslin bag of green matter in a pan of full fat milk on a stove simmering for 30min then made a coffee for me and my pals…….WoW just WoW

  • Hi, can i add a tablespoon of liquid lecithin to the crockpot before heating my bud and coconut oil? I usually add it to my cannabutter after i infuse and cool, and melt again. Tried adding before one time and came out like mud. Maybe just melt the coconut oil again after and add then?

    • I am not sure as I do not use lecithin and see no reason to use it when infusing oil as lecithin helps bind water and oil and when infusing coconut oil you are binding fat to fat. I am doing more research into lecithin now and there will be a feature on it soon. There are certain cooking application where I could see it being useful, but for infusing oil and butter, I do not see that it is necessary, unless I uncover something in further research that I haven’t already.

      • doesn’t lecithin make your body absorb the thc better and faster? I read that somewhere and don’t know what is true. Also for this recipe do you strain coconut oil 2 times, or is one time enough after you have pored boiling water over it, and let it cool down?
        thank you

          • If you want better absorption just use olive oil. The long chain unsaturated fatty acid monoglycerides have shown to significantly enhance the bioavailability (BA) of cannabinoids by avoiding the liver.

            Regarding lecithin – I also read a study that self-emulsifying drug delivery systems (SEDDS) can enhance BA, at least compared to MCT, but the study didn’t really specify what the SEDDS fatty acid composition was. So if you add a high HLB (hydrophilic lipophilic balance), or more hydrophilic lecithin, at the exact correct ratio, it can potentially emulsify the oil upon digestion, but i doubt it. You can try adding lecithin to oil in different ratios, then adding it to water, and checking to see if it disperses.

    • Well you could have it lab tested, not practical or cost effective for most home cooks. Or take my free dosing class, which will give you a pretty close estimate. Find it at this link bit.ly/dosing-course

    • Any amount you have will do, it just will be slightly less potent using trim than buds. You can use my dosage calculator at my FREE dosing course to figure out how strong your infusion will be with less potent leaves vs buds.

  • Dumb question but if I am using a non solid at room temperature oil such as olive oil how do I extract the water from the canna oil?

  • Hi Cheri, I am very new and had been given 1:1g in mct oil of thc / cbd 50/50 to try (each 200mg) to try to make foods with.
    I assume, being a liquid, I do not need to decarb but am ready to make into chocolate and brownies (for instance). Can I use this straight into your recipes and if so how do I calculate the conversion if I dont want to use or make butter and only have this little bit on hand.
    Thank you for all you do!!

    • We really have no way of knowing if it was decarbed and if so how well it was so it may or may not be. You could decarb but may end up over decarbing. In all liklihood it has already been decarbed, esp if you have a lab test that list amount of THC (as opposed to THC-A).

      I am not clear on how much you have. Are you saying you have 1 gram of oil that contains 400 mgs cannabinoids (CBD and THC)?

      But yes you can add this directly to recipes, there is nothing magical about butter as opposed to other types of fats.

      • Be careful please when it comes to cannabis and pets, especially dogs!

        All species above mollusks have an endocannabinoid system and are born with endocannabinoids in their systems. This means nature hardwired them to respond to cannabis, and in fact, cannabis can have many therapeutic benefits for pets, including, as you have referenced, relief from arthritis pain.

        BUT…that said, you must be EXTREMELY cautious when it comes to THC and pets, especially dogs as dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than any other species! Likewise, it is very easy for them to get too much. In most cases they will sleep it off and be fine but it is scary for the owner to watch and uncomfortable for the pet if they get too much. Overdose is characterized by a condition known as Static Ataxia, which is characterized by a wide-legged stance, drooling, disorientation, and the animal being hypersensitive to touch (if you pet dog who has had too much, it will react almost like an electrical shock). They are likely to have quick shallow breathing too. It can take hours to wear off and it is scary to watch.

        CBD-only medicine or high CBD strains are far safer for dogs.

        I am not a doctor or a vet, but Colorado holistic veternarian Dr. Rober Silver has done a lot of work and research in this area and has written a book on the subject. Find his website at http://www.potforpets.info/.

  • Am harvesting my Sour Tsunami today and planning on making cream or lotion. My question is, can I dry and decarb in one step or should I use my normal drying procedure before decarbing?

    • You can skip the cure if you are going to just infuse the plant material. You can decarb, I might add a half hour or so at a low temp (under 200) to dry it a bit, then decarb, but if you don’t have this option it should still work. Decarbing is about a temperature difference, not the level of dryness, so it should work fine.

  • I am getting ready to make topical oil to be used in lotion and salves. Do I use the same process as making edible oil only using almond or jojoba (or whatever topical oil I want)?

    • Yep, you got it! The only difference for me when making topicals is I decarb some of it and leave some undecarbed so I get full spectrum (both THC-A and CBD-A along with THC and CBD). This is optional, but I find it makes the most effective topicals. I am currently at work on a new online course about making cannabis topicals, but you are definitely on the right track.

  • I followed your directions with the crockpot method and placed the oil/water solution in the refrigerator. It has been in there overnight and is still not separating. Ideas or thoughts?

    • Wow, I am not sure what to say to this Oil and water separate, that is just science, so I am not sure how this could possibly be. I am assuming you strained out the plant material? I am not understanding, the fridge is not even necessary just makes it easier, even on the counter it should separate. I am at a loss.

      • I know!! This is the first time I have ever added water to this process. I thought about adding more olive oil to the mix. I just put it in the freezer to see what they would do. I am so bummed. I dont know if I should throw it out and start over. Just typing that last sentence hurt my heart ha!!

        • Don’t throw it out yet! I would finely filter it, but it in the fridge or freezer and see what happens. It just makes no sense. Oil and water separate. You didn’t add lecithin did you? That might make oil and water bind. But that was not in my instructions.

  • Not at all. It was in the refrigerator all day and did not separate. Let’s see what happens in the freezer. I just need it to separate:(