[2020 Update: This was an experiment, and is not a necessary step in making cannabis infused coconut oil. Some readers have had issues with the weed wash technique, especially if using lecithin in the infusion or if using another oil. I’ve only tried this with coconut oil that did not include lecithin and as you see from the experiment below, it can be temperamental. Some readers love it so we’re keeping it up if you want to experiment with it.
One way to potentially avoid the issue of non separation (aka soggy weed oil) is to add the lecithin to the infused coconut oil after the weed wash. Another is to use concentrates to reduce the flavor in your infusion. Please let us know in the comments below if you love another method that you’d like to share. This is a community and we all learn better from everyone’sexperiences.]
One of the questions I get asked the most is “How do I get some of the weed taste out of weed oil?”
If you know me at all, you know that I love the taste of my weed oil. The pot that the farmer and I grow is some dank organic greenhouse nugget and we get to choose our varieties.
That means that some of our stuff is fruity tasting and some can taste a little spicier. I’m all about figuring out ways to complement these flavors instead of trying to hide them or cover them up.
Artichoke Dip is one of my favorites for complimenting a dank/spicy flavored strain while adding fruity strains to green smoothies and berry shakes is the way to go.
If you, like me, don’t mind or weirdly enjoy the taste of your weed oil, skip this whole process and get right to baking!
But my world is expanding these days and it’s not really about my personal preference anymore. I realize that most folks are at the mercy of someone else to provide god-knows-what-it-is in a bag, and I remember how bad some of that stuff tasted.
I also started baking for the elderly recently, which is so rewarding and fun. Since providing end-of-life pain relief has become a newfound love, making edibles more palatable and downright joy-mongering has also come into the forefront of how I make weed food. Change is good.
Enter… The Weed Wash
I’m not talking about actually washing your weed (although that is a thing I guess).
The Weed Wash is a technique you can use after you make your oil. It helps remove chlorophyll and other compounds that cause the “green” taste in your green oil.
Do not mistake this for adding water to your oil during the extraction process. (If you’re considering doing this, just don’t.)
I got lured into using this technique when I first started working on Wake + Bake, and made several batches adding water to my oil and mix.
At first, I was like “AWESOME! Look at all of the black weirdness that the water is getting out of the oil. The water looked like a straight-up black lagoon and I figured it was pulling out “impurities” and leaving the oil with better flavor.
Soon after, I realized my oil wasn’t storing as well and I noticed that the consistency was kind of gummy. The potency wasn’t on par with the oil I had in the freezer (same trim, no water during extraction).
On Bad Kat’s Canna Pharm, she has a great article about why adding water to your oil during the extraction process is lame.
I won’t go into too much detail, because she’s got it covered, but here are a few key points that may help you understand why adding water while extracting is no bueno:
The water is not responsible for stripping the components you want: it only pulls excessive salt, chlorophyll and other inert properties into the mix, while at the same time hindering the oil and its ability to break down your cannabis glandular material.
Besides external contact interfering, the inert plant matter soaks up additional water via passive capillary action before it can absorb the oil, and overall prevents the oil from gaining as solid access and contact as it otherwise would have, ultimately preventing the oil that you’re relying on, to perform the extraction, from doing the job or making the progress that it otherwise could.
This leads to extended cooking requirements, including the 24-hour to several-day-long canna butter and oil recipes of the past, causing your cannabis to undergo unneeded degradation and excessive heat exposure.
Besides making a butter or oil with a reduced bioavailability when water is allowed in the oil or butter too early, and besides pulling in all the extra salts and waxes and chlorophyll that a pure oil wouldn’t…. that waste water you toss out at the end, if you check the bottom, after it’s settled?
You will notice a hash sediment.
[…] So many people, especially with the brief heating times recommended for water-butters these days, unwittingly pour out the equivalent of hash almost every single time they make canna butter!
Why Add Water AFTER Extraction?
I was skeptical after my first water/oil experience, but I saw that BadKat and a few others recommended it on a forum, and since I was making a batch of cookies for a 90-year-old man, I figured it would be a great time to test the technique.
Here were my results…
After Zero Weed Washes
After whipping up a batch of oil in the MB machine, I split the oil in half so I could have a control for this experiment. This batch was right out of the machine, no water added.
Scent: Delightful to me, but strong.
Flavor: Nutty, and distinctly weed-y.
Texture: Solid, like regular coconut oil at room temp. A bit of dark particle sediment on the bottom.
After One Weed Wash
I melted the canna oil down and added room temperature/cold-ish water and put it in the fridge overnight. When I woke up, I cut the oil that had risen to the top and removed it from the container. There were oil chunks floating around and the water had turned a light green-golden color. It seems like you lose some oil while doing this, but the difference in the smell and taste was pretty incredible.
Scent: Mildly weedy.
Flavor: Light, and still nutty.
Texture: Still solid, like regular coconut oil at room temp, but the dark Particle sediment on the bottom was nowhere in sight.
After Two Weed Washes
In hindsight, this is where I would stop. As you’ll see in the next wash, the oil seemed to get somewhat waterlogged, but that could have been because I got pressed for time and put it in the freezer for a few hours.
Still, this batch was perfect and I think it’s worth the time and effort up until this point. After this wash, the oil was perfect for whipping up and had the faintest weed taste and smell. It was really nice.
Scent: Faintly weedy.
Flavor: Light and tasty.
Texture: Creamy and light. It seemed like it would have made a great whipped spread, but I’ll have to try that the next time I stop at this many washes.
After Three Weed Washes (overkill)
At this point, I was ready to get baking, so I did the last wash and tossed it in the freezer. The oil got waterlogged and when I was baking with it, I had to let the water drip out on several occasions. It didn’t change much flavor or scent wise, but the water still turned colors a bit, so I’m guessing that something was still happening.
Scent: Lightly weedy. Not noticeable at all until your nose was right up on it.
Flavor: Light with a tiny bit of a weedy after taste.
Texture: Waterlogged, which I think was due to rushing it into the freezer. Other than that, once I got most of the water , it creamed up with sugar for cookies very nicely.
Weed Wash: the Summary
From my experience, if you’re trying to improve the flavor of your canna oil without destroying potency or the cannabinoid profile, doing a post-extraction wash or two can be a valuable use of your time.
However, the more you mess with your oil, the more chances you have to do something weird to it (see Weed Wash #3), so it may be a little much to keep washing your canna oil, especially if it doesn’t taste awful.
If your canna oil does taste awful no matter how many washes you do, let that serve as a reminder to lobby against the criminalization of cannabis in your state or nation. Better laws mean better weed 😉
Let me know how it goes for you in the comments below! For more recipes like this, check out my healthy cannabis cookbook.
Hi Corinne! Thank so much for this info. I haven’t seen this method before and I am def going to try this out before I make my edibles. I have made 23oz of canna oil. How much water do you recommend adding to wash it?
I usually double it.
I was wondering if you tried water-curing the weed before decarboxylation, instead of weed-wash?
From what I know, it is highly recommended for edibles, here is a link for example (there are plenty others, with different times and instructions): http://www.growweedeasy.com/water-curing-how-to
Also, thank you so much for your recipies! I’m planning to try the cannaoil as soon as I get the materials 😉
Hello! after purchasing a mb2 and buying 16 oz of coconut oil
i was wondering if you could tell me if 10gs of “top shelf” with 1 cup of oil will be ok to run a cycle with in the mb2? seeing as how i doubt itll reach the min fill line..?
this is my firt time and this is all the ingredients i have…
The issue would be the heating pole being sufficiently covered to heat the coconut oil!
Hi Corinne! Does this method work with butter?
I had a question about the hash sediment you mentioned, it was my understanding that most if not nearly all the THC will bind to the fat in the oil during extraction at nearly 300 degrees F. Should I be saving and using the sediment left behind? And is it still useable even though I add soy lecithin to increase bioavailability?
I just tried washing for the first time after making a batch with decarb flowers (5g) coconut oil (1/2cup) and lecithin (1/2tbsp). When I added the water to the melted oil, I shook it up and put it in the fridge. Even after cooling overnight it still seems to be totally milky and is not separating at all. Is this due to the lecithin? Is there anything I can do to fix it?
Late reply but just wanted to say aside from unknown effects of lecithin you shouldn’t have shook it as you potenially made an emulsion which you dont want.
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I was wondering when I make my own recipe of brownies, can I Substitue the full amount of oil for canna oil in the recipe or do I need to cut back on the canna oil so I don’t overpower or make the brownies too strong? Thanks in advance!
It really depends on how much oil the recipe asks for and how strong your oil is. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil and a good dose for the strength of your oil is 1 tsp, then you’ll have 48 doses in a batch. If a good dose is a tablespoon, you’ll have 16 doses in a batch. I’ve had strong batches of oil that are good at 1/2 tsp, so a batch of brownies would have contained almost 100 doses and a single brownie would have been waaaay too strong.
I recommend testing your oil first and adjusting the recipe as necessary. I hope that helps 🙂 Much love!!
Thanks!!!.. This has been very helpful.. I’ll stick to 2 post washes from now on.. Also, I’m a vegan so I use vegan butter, however it doesn’t solidify well which makes draining the water after a wash difficult.. I end up loosing more butter then I care to.. I’m going to start using coconut oil instead, as it solidifies quite well. 🙂
What kind of oil did you use that gave you the results in the picture? I’m new to this, have an MB2E and made tincture for gummies. Have not tried oils or butter yet. Thanks!
This was coconut oil. It’s my go to for cannabis oil. I prefer it over butter. You can find out more about it here. Hope that helps!
Hi Corinne, is this cannabis oil the same as Rick s oil? I am just diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, stage 4. I made my own cannabis oil using your recipe, coconut oil and washed, decarbed 5g to 1 and 1/4 cup cc oil. I made this prior to knowing I have cancer , I made it for pain control. Anyway, I want c b d oil to kill the cancer and needed to know if using the cc oil as the extractor is ok. Than you, blessings, Kasandra
Hi Corinne, I did not word all of that correctly. I know it is ok to use vicinity oil as an extractor, but is the oil basically the same as R S oil? I want to avoid the strong toxic extractors. I know I will have to change the amount of product to make it stronger, I was thinking 15 g to one cup cc oil. Thank you
I actually was getting stomach cramps from my first few attempts with the crock-pot butter.. The next batch, I followed the instructions for the weed-wash – and the stomach problems were fully gone.. Thanks :)…
The only issue is that the butter is water-logged – and now melts our gelatin-capsules.. I have to freeze the capsules as I make them to avoid this melting..
Looking for solutions on how to possibly dry the washed butter – to remove all water content (leaving only the coconut oil).. I might just end up spreading the butter on a plate while aiming a hair-dryer for 30 minutes (unless a better solution is found)..
Maybe we can put the butter in the oven at low temperature?..
Has anybody tried this with success?
We just decided we would try to place the double-washed butter into the crock pot for a few hours – where all the water should fully evaporate (leaving only the coconut oil)..
I know that people who (mistakenly) cook with water sometimes need to add more water – to keep the liquid level over solids (due to evaporation)…
But in our case, the solid phase is behind us – and I think the oil should remain high quality, if sitting in the crock pot overnight to evaporate the water.. This would allow capsules to be made without the melting problem..
Will update this thread with our results..
Hi Marc! Thank you for your updates <3 So glad the weed wash helped with your stomach issues. Let me know how this works out. I'd love to try it!
I have a question about water. I started thinking about tap water, but then I wondered if that would partially defeat the purpose of washing in the first place, depending on the water content in the area in which you live. I’m not crazy about ours. Has anyone noticed any difference between the various you see on the shelf in the grocery store in regards to the washing process?
Would this weed wash method work with oils other than coconut? Infused olive oil, canola oil for example? Thanks so much.
Late reply but should work with anything that’s not water-solubale which should be all oil-based products however the seperation afterwards is difficult if your product doesn’t solidify at freezer temps.
How long will coconut canna oil last in the fridge? Weeks.. Months?
One of my favorite recipes I make with cannabutter is fudge. BUT, washing the butter/oil afterwards or infusing with water makes the chocolate seize when mixing it. I wash my weed BEFORE the decarb process to remove a lot of the chlorophyll but is this reducing the strength of my cannabis? The butter is fine for baking but not so much for melting chocolate. 🙁
Regarding the weed wash, have you ever heard of blanching the cannabis buds and letting them dry before decarbing (yes you have to let it sit dry). This is another method I heard of for reducing the weedy taste and getting a cleaner lighter color. Your thoughts…
I made some coconut oil and tried the wash. I pulled it out of the frig and there was mold on top? Any suggestions?is it all bad and have I done something wrong in the storing process? Please help
Main reason people add water during the making of cannabutter is actually not so much for purification purposes but to avoid the butter from burning/browning, so i would still advise it for first timers (even if it lessens potency ever so slightly) unless you can watch it like a hawk, but it’s hard to watch something like a hawk for hours.
I would also like to know what Corrine thinks about blanching the herb a la Jeff the 420 Chef’s method. I have been doing this lately. not sure how the baked good will turn out but the butter is a golden color. I am not sure if it fully decarbed tho. He recommends 350 degrees ( seems too high) for 20 minutes ( seems to short). I did 240 degrees for an hour but the herb is still wet. Jeff also leaves the herb sit over night to dry out. I was inpatient with the first batch cuz I needed to get my butter brewing. I just decarbed two more oz’s. They will be sitting overnight and we’ll see how they dry out. They still feel very wet even after an hour of decarbing….
I wrote a post yesterday specifically because your comment was the straw that broke the camels back. I’ve been getting lots of questions about this lately. Check it out on the blog 🙂
Hello, thought I’d chime in with a recommendation. Don’t put the mixture of canna oil and water in the fridge (or freezer!) right away. Doing so will cause water that hasn’t been seperate by polarity/density differences, that still resides within the oil layer, to be locked within your oil. From the sounds of it Corinne, you’re use of the freezer in wash #2 & #3 is what caused the problems you mentioned with further washes. If you allow the oil and water to seperate as much as possible before cooling, and then allow it to cool slowly in the fridge, then the oil should solidify very purely with an easy to pour off water layer above.
I won’t get to test this theory, based off my experience with alkaloid extractions that use the same differences in polarity and density, until summer, but I would love to know the results.
Thanks Luz!! I can’t wait to test this <3
Nice!!! I actually documented the butter washing technique on Treatingyourself.com as PharmaPharmer well over a decade ago. It works very very well but this article lacks a clear process for the procedure.
This process removes most of the water soluble contaminants and forces denser contaminants to the bottom of the butter puck where they can be physically removed i na whole layer. For making carmels and confections this is a MUST to avoid little flecks of scortched contaminant in final product.
Chrons/IBS patients do better with this type pf butter as the soluble fiber has been removed.
Here’s some tips:
1. Use a hand mixer on low to very very thoroughly mix the oil/butter with the water to maximize contact.
2. Use a large volume of water for your wash. Like a few gallons per 4 cups of butter/Oil
3. Bring wash just opt boiling point but carefuller to not allow it to come to a full boil or you could be in for a HUGE boil over mess.
4. Allow it to cool to room temprature slowly to allow more seperation of water/fats.
5. DO NOT use lecithin prior to water washing.
Can you wash the butter or oil in the Levo after you’ve infused it?
I had the same thing happen to mine, only I didn’t shake it and tried not to jostle it in any way. I’m worried it’s ruined. Is there anything I can do to rescue this batch of coconut oil?
Thank you so much for pointing out the lecithin issue in doing weed washes. It was confusing why it worked for some, but didn’t for others. I think you cracked the case. It was an experiment I did and shared without testing it with lecithin and didn’t realize the coconut oil recipe had been updated to incorporate lecithin directly into the infusion. I’m very sorry your infusion didn’t turn out. We learn more every day about how to work with this plant medicine and it can be tricky trying to keep it all updated. Thank you again for sharing so that I could update the post so others can avoid the same outcome.
Hi Corinne, I love the taste of my canna oil as well!
My question: I read that adding lecithin after decarb and before infusion is wrong. They said to add after the straining process while still warm.
The reason they claim is the lecithin will hold onto unwanted elements or any food soluble additives that a dispensary my have in it’s growing process. I tried it and it certainly made for a lighter oil than when I added it before. Not sure which is correct. What are your thoughts?
I use the method that Jeff420 so wash my weed, super easy to do and your oil or butter comes out looking beautiful.
Thanks for all the great tips!
Oh I loved this soo much! I always wondered and now I know. Keep up the great work and experiments..now lemme get to “weed washing”!!
I just made my first batch of canna-oil using MCT and a mix of oven-decarbed shake and flower. No lecithin. I did not read enough about washing beforehand so now I have 14 oz of dark green oil. I don’t think adding water will help now. It’s been in the fridge all day and is still liquid, so I don’t think this separation method will work since there’s no solid to separate. Any ideas to help me now, or should I just resign myself to some weedy tasting edibles and put this on the live and learn list? Do you think if I mixed in water that I’d get a separation of the liquids and be able to siphon off a cleaner version of the oil from the top?