When it comes to cannabis, there are a tragillian ways (and counting) to consume it.
There are so many different ingestion methods, strains, phenotypes, dosages, cannabinoid ratios, etc. that using this plant medicine can be a minefield of choices.
So I’m going to say something that I’ve never said before (that I can remember):
if you’re going to make ONE cannabis infusion, let it be this infused MCT oil tincture.
Why Cannabis MCT Tinctures?
While technically not a “tincture” in the classic sense (chill herbalists… I know you care about this), you can use MCT oil sublingually and it can substitute for alcoholic tinctures in many recipes.
You can store it in a dropper bottle, like a tincture. You can dose it easily, like a tincture. And you’ll probably feel the effects more quickly than eating fat-based edibles, like a tincture.
However… when you infuse any oil, it’s considered an infusion. So yes, herbalists and people who have strong opinions about things like this… it is technically an infusion.
I hope I said infusion enough to stop any debates from forming in the comments 😉
Now let’s get back to MCT oil and why it’s awesome.
MCT Oil is a medium chain triglyceride oil derived from coconuts.
When eaten, MCT’s are digested easily and head straight for your liver. And your liver is the place where that mystical THC to 11-Hydroxy-THC takes place.
So for cannabis infusions/tinctures, it’s very effective. It’s also great for making extra strength weed lube, massage oil, oil pulling and cannabis coffee.
The science behind it is simple but incredible. MCTs go directly from the digestive system to the bloodstream without being digested first. This makes MCT oil ideal for people with digestive disorders.
In my experience, this quick turnaround to the blood stream means that cannabis infused MCT oil comes on a little more quickly than other fat based infusions.
While butter and coconut oil contain MCTs, MCT oil only contains fatty acids and is in a concentrated form making it a higher energy oil than butter or coconut oil.
Even without cannabis, I’ve been really loving putting a couple of teaspoons in my afternoon tea. I was skeptical at first about the whole MCT craze, but I really feel an energy boost that lasts for a couple of hours.
MCT has a number of benefits that can help support your health while you’re medicating. Stacking functions (too soon for a permaculture joke?)!
I use a full spectrum MCT oil derived from organic coconuts that is solvent free (this one). If you’re already an MCT geek and would like a more concentrated form of the smaller chain MCTs like Caprylic Acid, this one is very popular.
The Crockpot Method for MCT Cannabis Tinctures
This was the method I started with because I wanted to find something simple and easy. It is that. You just toss everything in the crockpot and let it infuse. The issue with the crockpot method is that, while it’s very simple, it’s also smelly and temperatures between crockpots can vary a lot. If you have issues with either of those, skip down to the next infusion method.
1. Combine the following in a crockpot on warm or low (warm is usually sufficient in most crockpots):
- 1 Cup Oil MCT OIL
- 1 teaspoon- 1 Tablespoon Sunflower Lecithin (Optional): If you reallly don’t like the flavor of lecithin use 1 teaspoon. Otherwise, use 1 Tablespoon per cup.
about 3.5-7grams per cup of oil
Stir every once in awhile.
After about 2-4 hours* of steeping, turn off the crockpot and allow the oil to cool before moving onto the next step.
3. Set up your strainer so it fits snugly in a container. Line with a large piece of cheesecloth or a reusable nut milk bag.
4. Slowly pour plant matter and oil into the cheesecloth-lined strainer or nut milk bag.
5. Using a string or twist tie, gather the cheesecloth around the plant matter and secure.
7. Pour oil into a pint jar and place in the fridge until cool. Seal with a lid. Store in refrigerator or in a cool, dark place. See storage tips for more information.
Just a tip: *Some people argue that steeping longer is better. Some argue that high heat for shorter amounts of time is the way to go. Some people say it doesn’t really matter.
The data is still out on this one, but the 2-4 hour range on low heat (around 180°) seems to create the most uplifting and potent oil.
We still don’t really know if longer is better, but some people may be mistaking “more high” or “more potent” for “more sedated”. It’s possible that folks who cook their oil for 8-48 hours may be experiencing higher amounts of CBN (Cannabinol).
CBN is a product of THC. When THC is exposed to heat and light, it oxidizes and produces CBN. CBN is that sleepy, ultra-relaxed, munchie monster kind of cannabinoid.
CBN can be great for a number of issues, but if you want a more uplifting experience instead of a couch-locked afternoon, a lower steep time or decarb time could be the answer.
Mason Jar Crockpot Method for MCT Cannabis Tinctures
This is just an all around excellent and simple method. If you want to keep the smell under control or you want to make a small batch of oil, the mason jar is your new best friend. Just use the crockpot oil method, but instead of putting the oil and herb directly into the crockpot, do the following:
1. Fill your crockpot about halfway with water (or just enough to cover the herb).
2. Fill a mason jar with:
- 1 cup of MCT oil
- anywhere from 3.5-7g decarbed cannabis (depending on the density and dosage of your plant material) with at least enough oil to cover the cannabis completely
- 1 teaspoon – 1 Tablespoon sunflower lecithin
3. Cover with lid. Alternatively, cut a piece of foil to cover the jar opening. Seal with the ring. Poke a thermometer through the foil so you can regulate the temperature.
4. Place the mason jar in the crockpot and put the crockpot on high.
5. Burp the jar and shake vigorously after about a half hour to make sure that there’s not too much pressure building up. If you get a lot of pressure on the first burp, make sure to burp the jar often.
6. Strain (save material for making High Chai).
Just a tip: Make sure that you do everything you can to avoid rapid temperature changes (keep it on warm or low and don’t add cold water) and pressure buildup (burp your jar regularly) or the jar can break using this method.
Concentrate/Hash Infused MCT Oil
I’ve tested making concentrate infused MCToil in all of the above methods and it works well for each of them. You just have to adjust the measurements and you can shorten up the time a bit. Once the oil turns amber colored and is homogeneous all the way through, your oil is thoroughly infused.
I prefer using the mason jar method for hash that has not yet been decarboxylated (because you can decarb it directly in the mason jar and add oil to it without dealing with any mess).
But if I’m working with a concentrate that has already been decarboxylated, I will use the stovetop/double boiler method because it’s faster and easier.
Hash can be anywhere from 30-95% THC, so that means 1 gram of concentrates can be anywhere from 300-950mg of THC. If you infused just one gram in a cup of oil, that would make the stuff anywhere from 6.25mg/teaspoon to 20mg/teaspoon.
If you’re working with concentrates, it’s best to get your concentrates tested or to buy them from a reputable dispensary so you know what you’re working with. If you don’t have that luxury, start very low and go very very slow.
1. Using any of the methods above, combine:
- 1+ gram of decarboxylated hash (I usually use 2 grams per cup to make about 1400mg thc/cup of oil)
- 1 Cup of MCT oil
- 1 Tablespoon Sunflower Lecithin
2. Steep and stir until the concentrates and the oil are completely combined.
3. No need to strain, just pour into jars, spray bottles or other storage container and store in a cool dark place (the fridge or freezer for longer term storage).
Always remember to calculate your dosage before consuming any homemade cannabis infusion and start low and go slow, especially when using high THC plant material.
Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. I’m not a doctor. I’m also not a lawyer and can’t defend you if you get busted trying to make this recipe in a state that still considers possession or cultivation of cannabis a criminal act. I don’t agree with this law, but I’d never advocate that you break it. Jail would suck. Instead, I strongly advise that you work to change the law in your state or nation by supporting and being active in grassroots organizations that are trying to legalize cannabis in your area (they’re everywhere). This recipe is heretofore only intended for people who live in states or countries where medical or recreational use of cannabis is legal, who are 21 and older, of sound mind and who understand that operating heavy machinery (cars, trucks, planes, etc.) under the influence of any intoxicant, including THC rich marijuana, is incredibly dangerous, immature, and wholly stupid. Please don’t ever eat and drive. Support public transportation or use the two legs that evolution gave you and walk your sweet ass wherever it is that you need to go.