For years, I’ve got the following question:
“What’s the best oil for making edibles?”
And in the past, I’ve had to break that down into two answers.
- I like coconut oil because it’s so versatile and can be used in edibles, topicals or as an on the fly weed lube.
- Scientifically… I dunno.
For the longest time, we didn’t have enough data to really answer the question: What oil extracts most of the good stuff from your plant material?
That all ends today.
Yesterday, I talked to Shanel over at Ardent Cannabis and she passed on some really interesting data that answered that question and more.
So today’s post is for those of you who are ready to geek out on cannabis infusions. We’re going to cover:
- The oils that extract the most THC (with lab testing!)
- The limit of how much flower you can infuse into an oz of oil (with lab testing!)
- And what you can do to make easy potent infusions that have 100% decarb and 80%+ extraction rates
But if you’re ready to get nerdy about cannabis infusions, read on to find out more.
What’s the best oil for extracting THC and CBD?
If you’re here, we might be the same brand of weird. Do you like reverse engineering childhood cereals to make them healthy? How about talking about weed lube like it’s going out of style? Well, then… this chart may make your brain very very happy…
I’ve poured over this chart for a couple of days now and while more questions came up as I thought about it, it gives some pretty compelling answers.
Here’s what I took from it:
- Most oils are really good at extracting cannabinoids. You can safely assume that your oil will infuse at 80%+ when doing dosage math.
- If you look at the first three tested, with the highest percentages, they used a smaller amount of plant material in the 1 oz of oil. When you put ½ gram into 1 oz, all three oils/butter tested at over 90%.
- But when you look down the chart, you’ll see that the MCT oil lost about 4% of cannabinoids when the amount of cannabis was increased to 4 grams of plant material into the same amount of oil (1oz or about 1/4 cup of oil). I don’t think this is anything to be concerned about, but it shows that you can get a LOT of cannabinoids from your plant material into a VERY small amount of oil without losing much. My guess is that you could extract those “missing” cannabinoids by making high chai out of the leftover plant material.
And the winner is?
Butter lovers rejoice! On the chart above, butter did better than the other two tested with the smaller amounts of cannabinoids.
I wish they would have tested coconut oil with the same amounts as butter so we could have answered this age old question of butter vs. coconut oil, but maybe in another life.
There’s another chart from Ardent that showed EVOO infusing up to 96%, using 2 grams of plant material in 1 oz of oil. So technically, according to these tests, the winner is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
BUT, when they bumped the plant material up to 4 grams in 1 oz of oil, it infused at just 83%. So clearly, there’s a lot of variation and smaller amounts seem to infuse at higher percentages.
The takeaway is that fat-based infusions work great! I love different oils for different recipes and uses.
MCT is awesome when you’re on the go.
EVOO is great for savory things like salad dressing and everything that Racheal Ray cooks.
Coconut oil is so versatile and can be used in salves, edibles, capsules, suppositories, etc. etc. etc.
And butter is butter. If you’re not a vegan and don’t have issues with dairy, it improves the flavor of everything it touches and makes a great carrier for cannabinoids.
How much cannabis can you infuse into oil?
These tests show that if you’re not concerned about losing 4-12% of your potential cannabinoids and you infuse 4 grams into every 1/4 cup of oil, you can make very potent oil in small amounts (up to 58mg/tsp).
That means that in about 1/4 cup of oil, you can infuse upwards of 670mg.
As a HUGE proponent of microdosing, I would caution that having oil that’s this potent isn’t for everyone. It’s quite rare that you would need large amounts of THC and regular use of high THC dosages can throw off your whole endocannabinoid system, leading to more issues down the road.
So I would recommend balancing your ratios of CBD:THC and cutting the oil if it’s too strong before incorporating it into recipes.
The best way to decarb and make potent cannabis oil
All of these tests were done in the Nova Decarboxylator. You may have heard me mention the Nova before because I’ve used it to decarb everything I’ve made in the past 4 years.
For a long time, you couldn’t infuse directly in the device so you’d have to dump the decarbed material into an MB2, mason jar or crockpot and infuse it there.
Thankfully, the folks at Ardent came up with a simple and economical solution that makes the Nova the ONE device you need to make small-batch, potent infusions. They developed a silicon sleeve that you can decarb and infuse in.
So now you just:
- Put your plant material in the device. Hit the button. The light will turn red. (if you’re using high CBD plant material, do this step twice)
- When it turns green, add your oil and hit the button again.
- When it turns green, strain out the plant material and store or add to your favorite recipe.
This is the best deal on the Nova anywhere and you get the added bonus of the sleeve that makes it an all-in-one infusion solution.
This week, I’ll talk a little bit more about the sleeve and infusing oils in the Nova, so let me know if you have questions about decarboxylation, infusion or using the nova to infuse.
P.S. If you really want to get your geek on, you can read the full post from Ardent about infusion here: What We Learned From Infusing Oils and Testing THC Levels
With infused love,