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cbd oil with coconut oil

Cannabis and coconut oil: Uses, benefits, and a recipe to make your own

Coconut oil has managed to infuse its way into some of the cannabis industry’s most sought-after products, including edibles and topicals, but why?

Why is coconut oil popular for cannabis infusion?

Coconut oil has a high concentration of fatty acids (saturated fats). The surplus of these fatty acids in coconut oil create a strong binding agent for cannabinoids.

Compared to olive oil, which contains a saturated fat content of less than 20%, coconut oil contains over 80% saturated fats and thus has the ability to retain far more cannabinoids during infusions, making it far more efficient. Coconut oil is a near-perfect medium for cannabis-infused oils.

Coconut oil uses and health benefits

Coconut oil also contains other sets of beneficial acids that have been known to have a list of potential health benefits. Lauric acid is a great example—when digested, lauric acid creates a monoglyceride that acts as an antimicrobial.

These fatty acids are found in abundance in coconut oil, making it a top contender for those looking for a healthier oil base than butter or canola oil.

Another fantastic benefit of using coconut oil is it will remain solid at room temperature. This makes it a great medium for using as a topical agent. Furthermore, its solid state allows the oil to be easily stored via gelatin capsules, a widely popular and highly effective method of consuming cannabis.

Gelatin oil capsules are so simple and easy to make at home—the ingredients can be purchased from just about any pharmacy or online, making for a fun and simple DIY project.

How to make cannabis-infused coconut oil

Aside from the fact that you can purchase coconut oil relatively inexpensively from just about anywhere, the process of decarboxylating and infusing cannabis into coconut oil requires only a few simple ingredients and can be done at home with minimal effort.

Recipe for cannabis coconut oil

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of ground cannabis flower (7-10 grams)
  • 1 cup of coconut oil

Materials:

  • Strainer or cheesecloth
  • Grinder (a simple hand grinder works best; appliances like blenders and coffee grinder pulverize the cannabis, resulting in edibles with bad tasting plant material)
  • Double-boiler, slow cooker, saucepan, etc.

Directions:

  1. Grind your cannabis. You can include the entire plant, just the flower, a little bit of both—this is all a matter of preference. Just keep in mind that anything small enough to fit through the strainer will end up in your finished product, so again, do not grind your cannabis to a fine powder.
  2. Combine oil and cannabis in your double-boiler, slow cooker, or saucepan and heat the two together on low or warm for a few hours. This allows for decarboxylation (activation of THC) without scorching (which destroys the active ingredients). Cooking can be done a variety of ways: in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally; in a double-boiler on low for at least 6 hours (8 is better), stirring occasionally; or in a simple saucepan on low for at least 2-3 hours, stirring frequently (a saucepan is most susceptible to scorching). In all cases, a small amount of water can be added to the mixture to help avoid burning. Note: whatever method you choose, temperature of the oil should not exceed 245°F.
  3. Strain and store the oil. Do not squeeze the cheesecloth; this will simply add more chlorophyll to your oil. All remaining plant material can be discarded or used in other dishes if you have the wherewithal. The oil’s shelf life is at least two months, and can be extended with refrigeration.

How to use cannabis coconut oil

Once you’ve got an infusion of coconut oil, the uses are endless!

  • Combine your infused coconut oil with beeswax and aloe to make your own an infused cannabis topical
  • Use your coconut oil in place of oil in a recipe of your choice to make a variety of infused dishes (try Herb Roasted Potatoes!)
  • Infused coconut oil can easily be used as a lubricant in the bedroom (But be safe! Coconut oil may weaken condoms)
  • Put your infused coconut oil into capsules for easy measurable dosing
  • Make an infused cannabis tea latte

Expect to see coconut oil remain a staple in future cannabis infusions across the market. As major brands continue to innovate, coconut oil should thrive on the ingredient lists of more products to come.

If, however, you don’t have access to a dispensary near you or want to try a fun DIY with your own material, you can always make your own at home. Trust us, you’ll go coconuts for this stuff!

How to make CBD coconut oil

For those who don’t want the effects of THC in their infused coconut oil, you can infuse it with CBD instead. Simply follow the recipe above but use CBD flower instead of THC flower to get the health benefits of CBD.

This post was originally published on April 16, 2016. It was most recently updated on April 16, 2020.

Coconut oil has infused its way into some of the cannabis industry’s most popular products. Learn why, and find a recipe to make your own.

CBD Carrier Oils: Coconut Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil

If you’ve got a curious mind, as we do, you’ve likely wondered why we take CBD oil rather than just plain CBD by itself. If CBD is the only active therapeutic compound in a CBD product, why can’t we just swallow a spoonful of it and be done with it?

Well, the body doesn’t really work that way, unfortunately. In order to digest things properly and absorb minerals/nutrients for use, compounds must be broken down and absorbed through the intestinal wall.

While we can absorb CBD by itself, it is much more efficient (up to three times more efficient, in fact) when we ingest it along with a carrier oil. Since cannabinoids from the cannabis plant (like CBD and THC) are fat-soluble (meaning they dissolve in oil rather than water), infusing them in a saturated fat enhances their bioavailability drastically.

But why is CBD oil often made with coconut oil? We all know that hemp (where many CBD oils come from) produces a natural oil from its seeds, so why don’t we just use hemp seed oil instead? The answer comes down to lipids and how the human body absorbs them.

CBD + Coconut Oil = The Perfect Combination

Coconut oil is pretty much the perfect carrier oil for CBD because of its saturated fat content. The way that cannabinoids work molecularly is that the higher the lipid content of the oil they are in, the better and more efficiently they can absorb. Conveniently, coconut oil contains up to 90% saturated fat, as opposed to olive oil and hemp seed oil which only contain around 14% and 11% fat content, respectively.

These lipids come in forms of either medium-chained or long-chained triglycerides and the body transports each type differently through biochemical transporters. Medium-chain triglycerides absorb and break down quickly whereas long-chained triglycerides require certain enzymes to help absorption and breakdown.

Since the saturated fat content of coconut oil largely comprises medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) instead of long-chain triglycerides (LGTs), you don’t need to be concerned about it clogging up your arteries.

In fact, coconut oil is one of the only natural oils that has a high content of MCTs. While these serve as an excellent energy source that is much easier to metabolize than complex carbohydrates or LCTs, they also act as an advantageous carrier for CBD.

Ultimately, the reason why most of the best CBD oils are made with coconut oil as opposed to hemp seed oil is because coconut oil has more saturated fat. Therefore, it can break down and carry more CBD molecules, and ultimately deliver more cannabidiol to our cells for absorption.

Without coconut oil, a large percentage of CBD molecules simply end up making their way to the liver, at which point they’d be treated as waste and simply excreted through urine. This is why you want to select a CBD tincture that uses coconut oil over olive oil or some other type of oil.

The Science Behind Coconut Oil and CBD

A few studies exist on why coconut oil acts as the molecular carrier of choice for CBD. While a lot of the scientific language can be pretty complex and confusing, what the research basically says is that when you ingest CBD in a high-fat oil (like coconut or pure MCT oil), you’re getting the maximum possible absorption.

Here’s how it works: lipids (the scientific word for fats) stick to the walls of whatever internal transport system they’re traveling through. Think about our blood vessels, for instance: you’ve heard of clogged arteries and plaque buildup that causes heart disease. Well, this is due in part to high amounts of bad fat in the system. These lipids stick to the artery walls and do not break down easily (metabolize), so they just sit there and accumulate.

cbd from coconut oil

Good saturated fats, on the other hand, actually absorb very quickly and easily directly through the intestinal wall. One type of good fat is medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), like those that occur naturally in coconut oil.

Since lipids can absorb directly through the intestinal walls instead of passing through the entire digestive system, a fat-containing substance like coconut oil can maximize the bioavailability of CBD. Scientifically, this is referred to as intestinal lymphatic transport.

Lymphatic transport is crucial when taking certain medications (CBD included). It means these medications avoid the liver breaking them down. If CBD enters the liver, it metabolizes it into smaller components. At this point, it becomes less efficacious in terms of its therapeutic or pain-relieving potential.

On a side note, this is also why liposomal transport is used to deliver certain medications. It allows them to pass directly into cells through the gut lining. Some companies are already experimenting with CBD liposome capsules for maximum absorption.

Final Thoughts on Why CBD Is Made with Coconut Oil

To be clear, not all CBD oils are made with coconut oil. There are plenty out there that are infused in olive oils or natural hemp seed oils, and they do indeed work just fine – depending on how their manufacturers extract and process them.

All fat-containing oils, like coconut oil, provide for the maximum absorption rate of CBD into the body’s cells, by allowing it to pass directly through the intestinal wall instead of entering into the liver.

As you’ll find if you end up using CBD frequently, many of the best CBD oils and tinctures are infused in a quality coconut oil or MCT oil. However, just like with anything else related to your health and body, we encourage you to work with a cannabis-knowledgeable physician or PCP before trying any type of cannabis or CBD product.

Why is CBD oil made with coconut oil? Well, there are a few reasons. Here we explain why coconut oil is (usually) better than hemp seed oil.