It’s good to have your own CBD-infused olive oil on hand for a variety of purposes. For instance, you can make some amazing oil-and-vinegar dressings that will do more than add flavors to your everyday salads. There is nothing like wondering why you feel so great an hour or so after a healthy lunch and then remembering, “Oh yeah, I had that CBD-infused olive oil and vinegar dressing!”
When you stop to consider what meals are essentially about, they are our “refueling” sessions where we can stock up again on proteins, carbs, and other nutrients necessary for survival. Well, let’s go ahead and add cannabinoids and terpenes to that list; for regular consumers, a regular intake of cannabinoids and terpenes may be as, or more, important than that worshipped cup of coffee or tea that millions depend upon for waking up and becoming alert to their surroundings.
Choosing Your Oil
There are all kinds of oils to which hemp flower strains can be added: the common list typically has butter and coconut oil at the top of the list. This is partly because both of those products can form into a solid or melt into a thick liquid, making it ideal for infusing other flavors, herbs, cannabinoids, or whatever other consumable ingredients your creative mind wishes to include.
With both butter and coconut oil, it’s easy to combine it with an equal amount of water, melt it down, add your materials (cannabis, hemp, or even a combination), and let it all cook for a few hours. You can then strain out the cooked materials and let the liquid cool back to a solid (an overnight stay in the fridge is a typical procedure); at that point, the water and butter (or coconut oil) are separated, with all the valuable and powerful cannabinoid now infused with the butter (or coconut oil).
Olive oil functions differently because it doesn’t turn solid by throwing it into the fridge. So we’re better off infusing our cannabinoids directly into the olive oil rather than diluting it with water and then later attempting to separate the two. In either case, the cannabinoids will bind to the oily properties but it can get messy and tedious siphoning out the water.
Fortunately, there is an elegant solution that just requires a good amount of time (about 6 hours) and a modicum of attention, perfect for us casual chefs who rather not live in the kitchen. But before we get to the nuts and bolts of infusing your cannabinoids directly into your olive oil, let’s talk about olive oil.
Why Olive Oil?
Some people claim olive oil to be the healthiest fat found on Earth. That claim may be debatable, but there is no doubt that olive oil is one of the most popular liquid fats consumed by humans today. Olive oil brings its own unique flavor to any dish in which it is used but it also enhances the flavors of any food it garnishes.
Most significantly, it has earned an excellent reputation as oil that readily absorbs and amplifies other flavors; nowadays you can find olive oils with infused flavors like:
- Green Chili
You can see there is a lot of potential variety in the flavoring you can add, but as you get to know olive oil better you will also learn that there are different types of olive oil with which you can begin working. Connoisseurs of olive oil will tell you that their pure flavors fall into three general clearly described categories:
Those same experts will more closely define flavors in a variety of descriptions, such as:
You can see that you can develop a more sensitive taste and awareness of the different kinds of olive oil, but for now, let’s stick with the basics. For us amateurs, our best bet is to use extra virgin olive oil, as this is the highest quality of all olive oils and has proven effective for infusion processes.
Olive oil is also more versatile than other oils, offering benefits to both the interior and exterior of our body since it can be used for cooking, frying, salad dressing, and even for hair or skincare regimens. It goes everywhere and seems to do everything, including delivering a host of potential health benefits such as:
- Antibacterial Properties
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties
- Brain Healthy
- Heart Healthy
- High in Healthy Monounsaturated Fats
- Reduced Risk of Diabetes
- Reduced Risk of Strokes
There are even indications that a regular intake of olive oil may help battle rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Finally, olive oil differs from many other oils in that it is not linked to weight gain; some studies have indicated that regular moderate consumption of olive oil may even assist in efforts to lose weight.
Knowing what you do about the wellness properties of CBD and other cannabinoids, imagine cannabinoids being directly infused into another plant-based product (the oil from pressed olives) that carries its own impressive resume of possible health benefits. Well, there is no reason to merely imagine, because you will learn how to infuse CBD and kief into olive oil for an elevated culinary experience.
Stovetop Instructions for Making CBD-Infused Olive Oil
These instructions are intended for the person with minimal cooking equipment; you can get away with as little as a stove, two pots, a strainer, and a cookie sheet.
Even though you should plan at least 6 hours to complete your infusion process, once you have it set up and running you don’t need to monitor it very closely. With that being said, make sure you have carved out enough time at home to get this accomplished, and then you can occupy yourself with other activities (or even a nap!) while the process is unfolding.
What You Need
Obviously, you need olive oil, hemp flower, and kief to make your CBD- and Kief-infused olive oil, but you also need equipment, so let’s do a quick review of what should be in your kitchen before you start this project.
You can get this done with the bare minimum, which includes:
- Cookie Sheet – required for decarboxylating your hemp flower
- Grinder – necessary for properly preparing your hemp flower before infusion
- Double Boiler – if you don’t have a double boiler, place a smaller pot over a larger pot in which you are simmering water
- Fine Mesh Strainer (5.5” DIameter) – perfect for separating the oil-soaked plant material from the cannabinoid-infused olive oil; alternately, you can use cheesecloth but if you plan to regularly make this you should invest in a good strainer
Also helpful to have, but not necessary, are:
- Scale – for more precise measurements, use a small food scale to weigh the amount of hemp flower you are adding
- Thermometer – to occasionally check the heat level of your olive oil, a simple food thermometer can do the trick
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ ounce of Fern Valley Farms Hemp Shake/Trim
Alternatively, you can opt to use ¼ ounce of Fern Valley Farm Hemp Smalls in place of a ½ ounce shake/trim selection; you need less because there is about 25% more CBD content found in the smalls along with about double the amount of terpene compounds. The extra terpenes found in the smalls will result in a flavoring more reminiscent of the strain used in the infusion process.
- If you are using smalls, you need to prepare your hemp buds by grinding them up. You can use a hand grinder but if this is going to become a regular activity, we recommend investing in an electric herb grinder (many people find coffee grinders do an excellent job of pulverizing hemp buds). If you opted for a shake/trim strain, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
- Before combining your hemp with your olive oil, you need to decarboxylate your hemp. (This converts the less active CBDa into the CBD you are used to consuming.) Set the oven at a low heat (about 250˚F), lay a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and spread your hemp evenly across the paper. Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. At this low heat, the hemp will not combust but will brown and turn slightly crispy.
- Once the hemp is decarboxylated, combine it with the olive oil in the top section of the double boiler (or in the top pot of two pots; the bottom pot holds the water). This should be kept to the side while you heat up the bottom part of your double boiler.
- Bring the double boiler to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Place the top section onto the double boiler. NOTE: the simmering water in the bottom pan should not reach the bottom of the top section but instead should create indirect heat to perform the infusion process.
- THIS BEGINS THE INFUSION PROCESS WHICH SHOULD TAKE 6 HOURS.
- About once every 60 or 90 minutes, check on your mixture. Most importantly, make sure the water in the lower part of your double boiler isn’t evaporating away; if so, add more water, bring it back to a boil, and then return to a simmer. If you have a thermometer, you can check the temp of your oil, which will probably be in the range of 140-160˚F. You can also swirl the pan or stir your mixture, but that only will make you feel like you are contributing something important to the process since all it needs is heat and time for the infusion to proceed.
- After about 6 hours, the infusion process should be complete. Remove the top portion of the double boiler from the stove and let it cool down until you can handle the pot with your bare hands.
- Using your strainer (for extra fine straining, place a swatch of cheesecloth inside the strainer), pour your infused liquid through it into a measuring cup (or another container) at least 1 cup large. (By pouring it into a measuring cup, you can see how much oil was dissipated in the infusion process; there should be approximately ⅔ to ¾ of a cup of olive oil remaining.)
- Discard the used hemp material and pour your CBD-infused olive oil concoction into a stylish crystal cruet or another appropriate serving container.
Now sit back and congratulate yourself on your first of many batches of CBD- and kief-infused olive oil!
Calculating the CBD Content in Your Olive Oil
We recommended using ½ ounce of one of our CBD flower strains; for purposes of this example, let’s assume that we chose Super Sour Space Candy CBD shake/trim with a 14.78% CBD content before decarboxylation. As explained in our detailed article, Decarboxylation Demystified, there is a slight increase in the percentage of CBD content per gram (even though there is a decrease in volume as measured by weight after the decarboxylation process). Because of this, we can safely round up our CBD content to 15% and will still likely be underestimating the full CBD content but should be well within range.
Decarboxylation will also reduce the weight of your material by around 10% to 12%; using the higher estimate, that ½ ounce (14 grams originally) will weigh about 12.25 grams which we will round down to 12 grams.
Using our assumed 15% CBD content, there is 150mg of CBD per gram in your decarboxylated material. Since you ended up with 12 grams, there is 1800mg (12 X 150mg) of CBD in your olive oil.
Finally, as noted in Step 8 in the above directions, the volume of your cup of olive oil will also reduce. We will assume for this example that ¾ of a cup of CBD-infused olive oil remains from the process.
Okay, we now have enough information to complete the calculation after which we will know how much CBD is in each teaspoon (likely the smallest measure you will use in your culinary endeavors).
There are 16 tablespoons in a cup. Since we have ¾ of a cup of CBD-infused olive oil, we have a total of 12 tablespoons (¾ – or 75% – of 16 equals 12). There are 3 teaspoons per tablespoon, so we have a grand total of 36 teaspoons.
We already calculated our CBD content at 1800mg, so all we need to do is divide those 1800 milligrams by 36 to know how much CBD is in each teaspoon. Our handy calculator reveals that each teaspoon contains 50mg of CBD, an ideal serving and dosage for many occasions!
Preserve Your Olive Oil
While it’s highly likely that your olive oil will be consumed well before its normal shelf life of 9 months to a year, proper storage of your olive oil will preserve its freshness and flavor longer.
While any exposure to air, heat, and light will start the deterioration process, any efforts to minimize the effects of those elements will prolong the life and viability of your olive oil.
Consequently, keeping your olive oil in well-sealed containers that are stored in dark and cool areas will go far in protecting your CBD-infused olive oil. If you must keep it in brighter spaces, consider using amber or other dark-colored containers to protect it from the light’s rays.
Finally, we recommend you label each container of CBD-infused olive oil so you know the potency of each batch you make. By including date, CBD flower strain, and estimated CBD content per teaspoon, you know exactly what you are working with whenever the mood strikes you to make a dish with CBD-infused olive oil!