Every medical cannabis patient should have some medicated cooking oil in their cupboard. Having the medicated oil on hand makes cooking an impromptu medicated meal a breeze. And it’s just as easy to make the medicated oil itself so let’s get cookin’!
You can infuse cooking oils with a cannabis concentrate or with cannabis plant matter. There are pros and cons to both.
Infusing Cooking Oil with Concentrated Cannabis Oil – Pros and Cons
Easy to dose
Less cannabis flavor
Doesn’t need refrigeration
More expensive if you have to purchase the starting material, (a concentrated oil, like BHO, CCO, or FECO).
Infusing Cooking Oil with Cannabis Plant Matter – Pros and Cons
Less Expensive – If you grow your own cannabis this method is very cost-effective.
Because of the chance of botulism, this method requires the oil to be refrigerated.
Very slow process
Expensive if you have to purchase the plant matter
Must be double-filtered unless you don’t mind plant matter in your oil.
Many years ago I was infusing cooking oil with herbs for flavor. I abruptly stopped the process when I read about how easy it is for Clostridium botulinum, (a bacterial spore that is readily present on plant material and in soil), to grow and become highly toxic in this process. When plant matter is placed in oil, the low-acid, oxygen-free environment favors the growth of these spores. They can spontaneously germinate, given the right conditions and material to grow in, thus turning into the bacteria that produces a powerful toxin called Botulism. This toxin can cause severe illness and death. So, if you choose to make your cooking oil directly from cannabis plant matter it MUST be kept in the freezer or be refrigerated at a temperature of 41ºF or below to prevent the growth of C. botulinum spores.
There are specific steps to take that utilize citric acid washes when infusing herbs like basil, rosemary, and garlic in oil. However, no process has yet been documented on how to pre-process raw or dried cannabis plant material for safe oil infusion. This is why it is safer to use concentrated cannabis oils that have been processed in a closed-loop system or with 190/200 proof grain alcohol (ethanol) with no additional ingredients. These processes prevent the growth of C. botulinum spores and the cooking oils made with these processes are safe to store outside of refrigerated temperatures.
Oils to Use
Olive oil is often used to infused flavors from plants and herbs. If you like the flavor of cannabis it may be a perfect complement to the distinct earthy flavor of olive oils. If you are interested in having the cannabis flavor dominate, you may want to use a more bland flavored oil, Like canola oil. Both canola and olive oils are healthy because they contain fewer polyunsaturated fatty acids than many other vegetable oils and thus oxidize and turn rancid less quickly. Coconut oil is another healthy choice. These three oils have a longer shelf life than many others, and this is especially important if you will be using the oils as topical as well as cooking with them.
- Infusing Oil from Plant Material
If you choose to use plant material to infuse your cooking oil, be sure it’s dry and be sure to hand grind it. A mechanized grinder can tear up the trichomes, so don’t do that. This long, slow heating method and cooking with the oils will do your basic decarboxylation for you, so it’s not necessary. Use a 50/50 mix of oil and plant matter, ie: 1 cup of ground plant matter to 1 cup of oil.
Place the plant material in a crock-pot, double boiler, or electric yogurt maker, and cover with your cooking oil of choice, leaving at least an inch or two of oil above the plant matter.
Gently heat the herbs over very low heat (preferably between 100° and 140° F for 1 to 5 hours. The oil will takes on the color and scent of cannabis. (Some people recommend heating the oil 48 to 72 hours at a controlled temperature of 100° F). Turn off heat and allow to cool.
Once the oil is cooled, strain using cheesecloth. You will probably have to do another strain through a coffee filet, and this takes a very long time so be patient.
Bottle in dry, sterilized glass jars or bottles and don’t forget to label them with the date and contents before storing.
Store in the freezer or refrigerator.
Be careful the first time you use this infused oil. If you used nice buds it may be very strong.
- Infusing oil with a Concentrated Cannabis Product
So easy and accurate! This is based on an 80% THC concentrate.
1. Warm oil in a microwave or use a double boiler.
2. add the desired amount of concentrated oil. (Be sure to purchase your concentrate in a measured syringe so you know how much you are using if not using the entire amount.) Adding a full 1 gram syringe of 80% THC (800mg) to 2 cups of cooking oil will give you 2 cups of 800mg cooking oil. Let’s break that down into tablespoons since that’s a measurement most often used.
- 16 Tbsp to a cup, and 32 Tbsp to two cups, so 800 ÷ 32 = 25mg THC per tablespoon
If using in baking 1/4 cup of oil will be 100mg THC (in a recipe that serves four, that will be 25 MG THC per serving)
1/3 cup will be 133mg THC
1/2 cup will be 200mg THC
2/3 cup will be 266 mg THC
3/4 cup will be 300mg THC
You can adjust the quantities and strengths as you like.
There are the methods and the math, so go get cookin’! We have the Concentrated Cannabis (CCO) oil you need at all the Organica Clinics.