Cannabis Infused Coconut Oil & Marijuana Capsules
The greatest oil to use when making cannabis infused capsules is definitely coconut oil. Because coconut oil contains high amounts of EFA’s (essential fatty acids) is makes a very good binding agent for the cannabinoids and draws them out of the cannabis plant-material very nicely. Coconut oil is fairly inexpensive, is readily available in organic form, and is easy to work with at room temperature since it solidifies. All of these reasons, plus the added health benefits of using coconut oil make it the best oil for making cannabis infused capsules.
Health Benefits of coconut oil
Coconut oil has many health benefits on it’s own. It contains high amounts of essential fatty acids as well as beneficial saturated fats. Coconut oil contains a very high amount of lauric acid – which is highly beneficial for the human immune system. Coconut oil contains more lauric acid than any known source – other than mothers-milk.
The EFA’s that are found in coconut oil are processed directly in the liver. This process causes an increase in metabolism, while at the same time giving the person who ingests it an energy boost.
Coconut Oil Infused with Cannabis
Infusing cannabis into coconut oil works great when looking for a way to ingest cannabis. Since the essential fatty acids in the coconut oil are easily processed by the liver, and THC is also processed by the liver when eaten, the infused oil gives the cannabinoids a great entry into the liver where it can be processed into the metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC. 11-hydroxy-THC is said to be 4-5 times as potent as the smoked form of THC.
Once the cannabinoids are infused into the coconut oil, you will be able to gain the benefits of both the medical marijuana strain you have chosen to use, as well as the natural health and immune benefits of the coconut oil itself.
In order to make coconut oil capsules that are infused with cannabis, we must complete a two-step process. The first step is to infuse the cannabis into the coconut oil. The second step is where you will turn the infused oil into easy to take gelatin capsules.
What you will need:
- Cannabis Material – trim/bud-shake (very close trim, no lower leaf), 2 grams of trim per 7 grams of coconut oil. If using quality buds adjust recipe to 1.5 grams bud for every 7 gram coconut oil.
- Organic Coconut Oil (about $20 from health food store)
- Double Boiler
- Grinder – coffee grinder designated for cannabis use works great.
- Clean white handkerchief
- Syringe without needle – The ones for injecting meat/turkies work well.
- Scale that measures in grams
- Candy thermometer or instant-read digital thermometer. (infra-red heat guage works too)
Step 1 – Infusing the coconut oil with cannabis
First measure out all of your ingredients. The coconut oil may be measured and placed directly into the top portion of the double boiler and the heat turned on. Heat the oil up as high as it will go in the double boiler. While heating, move on to the next step.
Grind the pre-measured marijuana up in the coffee grinder. Once ground very well, make sure there are no stems left in it. You should be left with a fine-ground marijuana powder. I like to pour this marijuana powder through a sifter at this point, in order to remove any over sized pieces and leaf stems.
Check that the coconut oil is at a temperature of at least 200 degrees (fahrenheit). If not, you may remove the top portion of the double-boiler and place it directly on a burner (placed on med-med/high) for just a minute or two – in order to bring up the temperature. Once over 200 degrees, move on to next step…
Pour the ground up marijuana into the heated oil. Immediately you should hear a little noise and begin to smell the terpenes in the plant material evaporating. Don’t worry, as long as you are keeping the temperatures in the 200’s you will not be losing any active cannabinoids. Once the marijuana has been poured into the coconut oil, slowly stir the mixture up in order to combine well.
Activating the THC:
In order to give you the desired effect (psychoactive ability) , the cannabinoids in the marijuana material need to be activated. When THC is in it’s natural plant form, it is actually called THC-A, and does not get us high or medicated until it is heated past a certain temperature for a determined length of time. During the heating process, a reaction called decarboxylation takes place and removes the -A(carboxylic acid) part of the THC chain. Once the carboxylic acid is removed, the THC is psychoactive and is available for human uptake. Read more about the decarboxylation process…
Heating The Mixture:
Once the coconut oil and marijuana have been combined, it’s time to let it bind together. Heat is our friend here. Over the next 2 hours or so, we will heat the marijuana and coconut oil and maintain a temperature of at least 170(f). This process will cause the cannabinoids in the marijuana material to melt into the oil infusing the 2 together.
Spike the heat:
Heating the mixture will bind the ingredients together, but we still need to make sure that decarboxylation takes place. What I like to do is make sure the oil/marijuana mix is heated up to 250(f) at least once during the cooking process. Early into the heating process, I like to take the top portion of the double boiler off – and place it directly onto a hot burner. Using a thermometer – make sure the mixture does no go over 250(f). Once you reach 245-250, simply remove the pot from the burner and place it back on top of the double boiler. Keep an eye on the temperature – it may spike higher than 250 at this point, but it will slowly begin dropping again. Heating past 250, or holding the temp that high for more than 20 minutes will produce negative results.
Heat the marijuana and coconut oil together in the double boiler for 2 hours total time before removing from the heat.
Allow the mixture to cool enough that you can touch the oil without getting burned. I like to let the coconut oil and marijuana cool to about 100 degrees before moving on to the next step.
Strain the marijuana out of the coconut oil:
Using a small wire-strainer and handkerchief, I pour the mixture through and into a bowl or large measuring cup. Using the handkerchief I wrap it around the ball of plant material and use my hands to wring every drop of marijuana-infused coconut oil out. Once you have squeezed every drop of infused oil out of the marijuana material, place the plant material aside for later use.
You should now have a somewhat green looking coconut oil left. This oil is jam packed with the medicinal value of marijuana. If you go no further than this, you have a great marijuana-infused coconut oil that may be used topically, or mixed into your favorite recipe. If you keep going, we will turn this infused coconut oil into capsules for easy consumption.
Making the Cannabis Capsules:
Since you had 2 hours to kill while stirring the cannabis infused coconut oil, you should have been prepping for this final step. The final step is going to be where we actually put the infused oil into gelatin capsules. I take the infusion time to setup and load the Capsule Machine and have it ready for use.
Open up the capsule making machine and place the top and bottom halves on a tray or plate (so you don’t make a mess on your counter).
Take 24 empty 00-Sized gelcaps (machine must be same size) and begin opening them up one-by-one. Place the large half into the larger part of the machine, and place the shorter pieces in the shorter part of the machine. Repeat until machine is full of all 24 capsules.
Fill your syringe with the slightly-warm, infused coconut-oil and very slowly begin pushing it out into the large sized portion of the capsules, again one-by-one. You should stop filling the capsules just before they are full, so that they don’t overfill and so that it allows room for expansion. ONLY FILL ONE SIDE OF THE CAPSULE. Leave the shorter halves empty.
Once all the large sides of the capsules are filled, simply put the two pieces of the machine together and snap them in place (check the instructions that came with the machine). Once they are snapped in place, you can pull the 2 halves of the machine apart and press the capsules out of the short side.
Once the capsules have cooled to room temperature, the oil inside will soilidfy and the capsules are ready for storage and use.
VIOLA – You have just made cannabis infused coconut oil capsules!
A few more tips:
** The stronger the starting material – the more potent the capsule. Self titrate starting with ONE capsule, increasing dosage the next day if desired results are not achieved.
*** You make increase the strength of the cannabis capsules by using different forms of cannabis. Infusing kief, hash, or extracts into the coconut oil instead of trim/bud will increase the dosage dramatically!
** Drink a glass of milk when washing down in order to increase the effect!
** Capsules may take an hour (or longer) to “kick-in”. Do not take additional doses until you are sure the first one has taken effect and you know the strength.
** The cannabis material that you strained out of the coconut oil in the previous step still has some psychoactive ability and medicinal properties to it. You can use this material to make topicals and other preparations for medicinal use.
*** Store in amber-glass bottles or storage jars away from direct light and heat for best storage.
**** Over-consumption (not to be confused with over-dose) is possible whenever taking cannabis orally. This is usually due to the fact that they take so long to “kick-in”, causing the user to think they are not working, thus prompting them to take another dose. Please take extra precautions when taking marijuana orally – until you are familiar with the effects and your own tolerance.
**** If you have any sensitivity, or allergy to any of the ingredients above, please DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE. The same applies to anyone who may be negatively affected by a boost in energy and metabolism caused by the coconut oil.
*** Never operate a vehicle or heavy machinery while taking cannabis infused capsules. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as medical advice.
Additional reading and sources below
Bonsor, Kevin. “How Marijuana Works” 02 July 2001. HowStuffWorks.com. http://science.howstuffworks.com/marijuana.htm 14 January 2013.