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How to Make Your Own Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil Capsules

April 26, 2016

If you’re looking for an effective and efficient way to orally dose your cannabinoids in a manner that’s free of unwanted calories and unnecessary ingredients, then cannabis capsules may just be your answer. Canna caps, as they are often referred to, have become a staple across the cannabis industry as they offer a safe and effective oral delivery method that can be easily dosed and optimally metabolized. Most dispensaries carry some variation of the canna cap, and depending on where you purchase them, they may differ in their potency and ingredients.

Cannabis-infused capsules are also a perfect DIY project for anybody looking for a safe, inexpensive, and relatively simple at-home infusion. The required materials can be procured inexpensively, either online or at your local health food and/or drug store. This at-home project takes just a few hours and can be accomplished several different ways, depending on what ingredients and equipment are available to you.

Our recipe utilizes an infusion derived from coconut oil and soy lecithin. Combined, these two act as a terrific metabolizing agent for the cannabinoids as they pass through our digestive systems, enabling us to get more bang for our buck when dosing orally.

Cannabis and Coconut Oil: Uses, Benefits, and a Recipe to Make Your Own

Keep in mind that dosing will vary considerably depending on a number of factors, such as the potency of your starting material and the ratio of the ingredients used. There is no standard ratio, but you can use our ratio(s) as a rough guideline and experiment to find what is right for you. The only way to fully know how potent your capsules are is to take them to a lab for testing, so don’t be afraid to use this option if it is available to you.

Ingredients and Materials Required for Cannabis Capsules

  • 7-14 grams of cannabis (ground flowers are preferred for this recipe, though you can use kief and/or ground trim if you desire)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp soy lecithin
  • Oven or slow cooker
  • 45 to 50 empty gelatin capsules (preferably size 00)
  • Capsule Filling machine
  • Syringe: 10mm oral irrigators with tapered deep reach tips
  • 1 cooking pot with lid
  • 1 glass bowl
  • 1 baking tray
  • 1 sheet of parchment paper
  • 1 piece of cheese cloth
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 rubber band
  • 1 spatula

What is Kief?

Instructions

STEP 1: DECARBOXYLATION

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your material by grinding it finely with your grinder and spreading the grounds across a sheet of parchment paper that has been placed over a baking tray. Ovens tend to fluctuate in temperature, so it’s important to note that you do not want the oven hotter than 250 degrees. Any hotter and you begin to risk cooking off valuable cannabinoids. The material will need to bake for about 30-45 minutes before you can achieve a proper decarboxylation, though you can continue this process for longer if you prefer. Once finished, pull the tray from the oven and proceed to step 2.

If you plan on using your oven for the remainder of the process, keep the temperature at 220 degrees.

Cannabinoids 101: What Makes Cannabis Medicine?

STEP 2: INFUSION

1. OVEN- Begin by filling your cooking pot 3/4 of the way full with water and bringing it to a soft boil. Add your coconut oil and soy lecithin to your glass cooking bowl and place it within the rim of your cooking pot so that the bowl sits about 1-2 inches above the soft boiling water. After several minutes, your coconut oil and soy lecithin will melt down and you can add your finely ground and decarboxylated cannabis. Mix the material together until everything is homogenous. Empty the hot water out of your cooking pot and then add the oil mixture. Place the pot back in the oven (still at 220 degrees) for an additional 30-45 minutes. Check in a few times to stir, if necessary. You may cook the mix for longer if desired. This may affect the potency of your end product because it will allow for a further degradation of THC to CBN, a conversion known to add a more sedating effect to your finished capsule.

2.SLOW COOKER- Add your decarboxylated starting material, coconut oil, and soy lecithin to your slow cooker and turn the unit to LOW HEAT. Allow the material to cook for 2 hours (longer if desired) to achieve as proper decarboxylation, stirring several times per hour. Slow cookers tend to cook around 200 degrees on the low setting, so make sure you check beforehand to get a better estimate of how much time you will need.

Recipe: How to Make Cannabis Cooking Oil

STEP 3: FILLING CAPS

While your oil is finishing in the oven, prepare the size 00 empty gelatin capsules and capsule filling machine by following the instructions on the package. These devices are designed to make capsule filling a much easier, more streamlined process, though the machine is not required — you can always poke some holes in a cardboard box with a pen to help hold the capsules in place while you fill them. (In my opinion, the small amount you will pay for the machine is worth the convenience.)

Now take your cheese cloth and secure it over the rim of your small bowl using the rubber band. When the oil is finally finished, remove it from the oven and strain the oil through your cheese cloth and into the small bowl, catching the unnecessary particulates along the way. Afterwards, be sure to let the oil cool to a temperature less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit before proceeding with filling your syringe. Gelatin capsules tend to melt over 100 degrees, so make sure that your oil is as cool as you can get it before letting it solidify.

Once the oil has cooled to your desired temperature, it’s time to fill the syringe. Do so by following your syringe’s instructions, and make sure the oil remains warm enough to stay liquid. Use the syringe’s tapered deep reach tip to feed the oil into the gelatin capsules, one at a time, until you run out of oil; repeat this process accordingly. Once finished, use the instructions on your filling machine to close each capsule. During this process, you may find that you have over filled a few caps. Use a hand towels or tissue to wipe the remaining residue. The finished caps can be store in a cool, dark place (like a refrigerator) until you are ready to use them. If done properly, this recipe will produce around 45-50 capsules (this amount is only an estimate and will depend on the ratios of starting material and oil you used).

How Are Cannabis-Infused Topicals Made? Leafly Tours a Manufacturing Lab

DOSING:

Dosing will depend on 3 variables:

  1. Potency of starting material
  2. Ratio of oil to starting material
  3. Decarboxylation

The easiest and most accurate way to test the strength of your caps is to take them to a lab for testing. If you’re looking for a rough estimate of how strong your caps are, take the potency of your starting material and convert it to milligrams. Once you have this figure, divide it by the net weight of your final yield and shave off 10% or so to account for decarboxylation. This should land you in the ball park of how potent your whole batch will be. Take this figure and divide it once more by the number of capsules you filled and that will leave you will an estimate to work with.

Dosing Homemade Cannabis Edibles: Why It’s Nearly Impossible to Calculate Potency

  • Gerry Malone

    All sounds good except for SOY LECITHIN ! Orgabic Sunflower Lecithin is a healthier choice.Cheers

    • seththayer

      absolutely agree. I also add drops of vanilla and orange extract for a more flavorful spoonful of oil.

    • Jimmy Sock

      Theoretically, there should be no difference between soy and sunflower lecithin. Should just be a mixture of 3 isolated phospholipids. I’m sure there may be minor remnants of other compounds from the plant, but I would question the assertion that it has an impact on the health effects of the product.

      • Denise Toomb

        What if you can’t eat soy, dude. Nasty shit.

  • Melanie

    what is the soy lecithin for or what does it do?

    • SeanStJohnLA

      Potency helps it with absorbing THC with Coconut Oil

    • Ian Iansen

      Please, if you can get it, use Liquid Sunflower Lecithin. Soy is made from waste, usually GMO soy beans. Who needs that? Lol

      • Denise Toomb

        Thank you. Soy sucks.

    • Ian Iansen

      Hi Melanie, lecithin helps the body absorb the THC/CBD, it makes your edibles seem stronger.

  • The jury is still out on if coconut oil is heart healthy. Since I’m trying to get away from saturated fat (cannabutter) can other oil be used, such as extra virgin olive oil?

    • SeanStJohnLA

      Coconut oil is wonderful for many things. Big Pharma and the Surgar industry have been trying to blame everything else. It’s unprocessed powers from whitening teeth helping me actually cure 2 small cavities literally dissapeared in a month from rinsing w oil

      • Joe

        Get a load of this guy. XD teeth are the only body part that cannot repair itself. Fact.

        • Raymond Norcross

          fact the teeth can rebuilt them selves studies have shown that the right nutrients and the lack of garbage we put in our system and increase in natural calcium they can repair themselves FACT

          • rodken

            Really? Your hilarious! FACT

    • AndyPandy Pudding AndPie

      The jury is most definately not out on this. Don’t fall victim to the sugar industry. They PAY for those studies to be published.

      • Steve

        Yes, coconut oil is primarily medium-chain fatty acids, not long-chain fatty acids. It goes directly to the liver where the liver converts it to ketones which the brain just loves! It’s not converted to belly fat.

      • Bassman843

        Coconut oil is good to a limit. I started 3 1/2 years ago putting a tablespoon of coconut oil in my coffee every morning because of many suggestions on social media. 3 months later I had to have stents put in because my coronaries were seriously blocked. True story. Be careful with the stuff.

    • Nicole Carpenter

      You can use olive oil but saturated fats bind to cannabinoids more effectively, so it will be much less potent. nothing wrong with saturated fats, anyway, especially not the amount needed to administer the medicine. i don’t drink alcohol but i do use tinctures. alcohol IS poison, but the tincture is not a large enough dose to have a negative effect.

      • Jennifer L. Deline

        So..if I want more CBD effect ,I can use coconut oil…and Don’t decarbox in oven?

        • Ian Iansen

          Hi Jennifer! If you want more CBD effect, you can use a higher CBD strain of plant, or possibly use roots and stems to infuse you goodies, as these are higher in CBD…strains like charlottes and gorrilla glue (or whatever they call it now) are higher, and there are plenty more out there these days!

          • Get Up & Go Now

            Charlottes Web is a high strain of CBD
            Gorilla Glue is high in THC

          • Ian Iansen

            Thanks I am not sure of all the CBD strains. Guess a good seed site or Leafly Will list CBD and the levels

  • Freeflight

    Any good ideas what to do with the plant matter/rest that’s left after straining trough the cheesecloth?
    This recipe says nothing, most others say to just “throw it away”. Tho that feels like a waste, are there any good ways to consume that (rather nasty) stuff?

    • Jeanne M Knight

      last year I had a high CBD strain , kept the cheese cloth tied off and used it to rub on sore spots. worked real good .

    • seththayer

      I add a few tea bags and some boiling water and enjoy a nice pot tea for the day.

    • Bill healy

      I’m thinking of composting the leaves and using it in the potting soil in future grows. Any thoughts?

    • Kate Wetmore

      When I make my CBD capsules, I don’t bother to strain the mixture. I use pipettes to get the mixture into the capsules. I cut off the small part of the tip making a larger opening to suck up the oil with some particulate matter, then pipe it into the capsules. I’ve been doing this for a year now and it works great. I still end up with some particulate matter left over, but not nearly as much as when I strained the mixture. Plus it’s one less step. The capsules are kind of ugly looking, but that’s not a problem for me.

    • afterallthat

      For awhile I trashed the plant matter after straining. Then, after saving some, I tried spreading a thin layer on some toast and then spreading from fruit jelly on top. Great results! Save the plant matter. It’s likely to be as potent as the capsules.

    • Nathan Alexzander

      Yeah give it back to mother nature, she even likes to take a day off and relax! and put it in a compost pile for the garden!

    • Joanne
  • Swagman

    I want to make a tincture or infusion to use for medicinal purposes. If I use raw cannabis will I get all the medicinal benefits of the strain without the high or will I lose some of the other effects as well?

    • John Smith

      Can you not just skip straight to the slow cooker? Sureley the decarb will happen there as the oil and weed is sat at around 220 Dec for hours? (I.e. What’s the benefit of using oven first? I’m scared of burning it!

      • Swagman

        I specifically don’t want to decarboxylate the THC as tincture will be used daytime. I could also use the THCA. I just need to know what will happen to the CBD effects.

        • Marina G

          I am wanting to know the same thing – I hope someone who knows answers if you can skip this, thanks!!

          • John Smith

            Seems like a waste of time hey 😜

          • Get Up & Go Now

            THCA WITH HEAT CONVERTS TO THC,
            CBDa needs heat to convert to CBD!
            So heat is necessary, if CBD IS YOUR GOAL USE INDUSTRIAL HEMP
            WHICH SUPPOSEDLY IS HIGH IN CBDa and low in THCa this will give the effect youre looking for. Anti inflammatory !
            Peace all!

        • Laura

          CBDA transforms from its acidic form to CBD with heat.
          Think of it like this: the reason smoking greens works so quickly to feel the effects is because you’re inhaling the cbd and thc that has been activated by your lighter/source of heat.
          It’s all chemistry when you come down to it, breaking down compounds and molecules with the elements.

          If you are going to decarb for CBD effects primarily, all you need to do is make sure you’re working with a sativa dominant strain that has a high percentage of CBD.

          Check out your local dispensary and ask them what sativa dominant strains they have available to make your own oil mixtures with. Explain you want as little THC count as possible.

          If you decarb any greens, you will have THC in it—the potency is another matter that can be looked into by being choosy with your marijuana strain. Sativas will be your new besties 🙂 stay away from indices and hybrids, try to go for full sativa!

          You can’t avoid thc completely when you decarb the plant. Your plant material determines what kind of effects you’re looking to get with your infusion/tincture.

      • EuroYank

        You can omit the oven decarb’ although it may have a small effect on potency. Raw (fresh) herb can be used if you want to reduce the amount of THC, but any heat will result in some conversion of THCA to THC. Regret I don’t know how CBD is effected by either approach.

        • John Smith

          Surely the same thing happens in the slow cooker as in the oven? Is the oven not a waste of time? Or does it not decarboxylate as well when it’s with the oil…?

          • EuroYank

            Decarboxylation requires a balance between temperature and time, but fortunately the ratio is pretty wide. For example, you may get essentially the same potency from baking 2 hours at 220F as from cooking 8 hours at 190. I’ve tried it both ways many times and have come to the conclusion that it is the character of the high that is effected, for example if you cook it longer, more CBN is created, which adds a sedative effect. So yes, either the oven or the slow cooker will decarb’ the herb. Together they alter the character of the high, which some people may perceive as increased potency.

  • Tigerpond

    When it says cook longer if you want, how much longer for the best sedative effect?

    • seththayer

      last time I did this, I used a metal bowl set in a pot of water. I filled teabags with my product and let it steep in the oil on low heat for 10 hours. Amazing!

      • Tigerpond

        thank you!

  • Jason D Schierloh

    How can I substitute CBD isolate? I don’t want to use cannabis if possible.

    • Kevin Holmes

      I have made my own tinctures and CBD will dissolve into the coconut oil with heat and stirring or you can get some mct oil that will dissolve CBD with heat… I used this with just CBD isolates alone and the results were terrible… the CBD was dissolved and mixed into the oil but there were very little effects as compared to CBD + Terpenes … I bought up some common terpenes and made my own terpene mixes based upon terpene profiles published online… You can buy premixed terpenes at a 1ml for about $20 at Amazon or you can do what I did… I saved sooo much money making my custom terpene profiles compared to online terp purchase… Terpenes made all the difference in the world…

  • Jennie Mele

    How to sensibly buy LEGAL cbd oil? Because I got a letter saying customs has confiscated my package two times already and I’m pissed.

    • Jennie… go to SDM (Shoppers Drug Mart) and ask. They will get you set up.

  • H. Pinkard

    What form of soy lecithin should be used… powder, granules, or liquid?

    • seththayer

      try sunflower lecithin..I use liquid. tastes better and better for you

      • Dianne

        I just finished my first batch of canna butter in my new Magic Butter Machine & a lot of my powdered sunflower lecithin ended up sticking to the sides of the vessel by the end of the 2 hours. I think I’ll use the power for smoothies & go pick up some of the liquid for the canna recipes.

  • Enver Rodriguez

    Ardent from NOVA decarboxilation best in the market and very precise ……………….

    • Dianne

      NOVA from Ardent.

  • Rockmaiden

    I feel like FECO (full extract cannabis oil) is the way to get the most powerful, effective medicine. Using a food grade solvent (Everclear) you end up with an oil that is 80+% THC (high CBD as well depending on strain). The slow cooker coconut oil method doesn’t extract anywhere near that amount of medicine. This method is great for balms and a preventative oil perhaps, but for the cancer ass kicker, FECO is the way to go.

    • Iggy

      this is hella late but does anyone know if you can use High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract(sold as sauce in syringes in dispensaries where I live)
      If I combine it with an oil like coconut oil or MCT oil and put it in capsules will it work? I’m not very knowledgeable about this area and don’t want to make capsules that do not work. From what I have read the Lecithin can help it but I know not all types work orally with THC. Thank you if anyone can answer my question!

    • Jimmy Sock

      Are you talking about 80%+ THC by volume or relative to other extracted components? If the only reason the THC % is higher in FECO is that you evaporated off the alcohol, then I would question whether there’s any added benefit to having such a concentrate product. What I’m getting at is if the only reason coconut oil caps have less THC by % is because of the coconut oil, I am not too plussed about having to take a teaspoon of oil instead of a drop of FECO. If, on the other hand, you are not taking the solvent volume into account, and you mean THC is comprising 80% of total extracted components (meaning you have better isolated the thc from the other compounds and the chlorophyll, etc. then I could buy the benefit. Though, ethanol is a pretty promiscuous solvent though due to its middle of the road polarity.

  • Joseph d Divincenzo

    trying to make my own e liquid using VG.Decarboxylating then infusing the VG in a crockpot. Can you give me some instruction,ratios ect

  • André Racicot

    Look into water-curing your already-vaped bud! Water-curing gets rid of any nasty “burn grass” flavors. Then, you can extract using anything fatty… if your bones have enough marrow in ’em, that should be enough. Otherwise, I’d get some butter, veg oil or coconut oil to do extraction, and add that to your broth! BEWARE, it’s potent stuff! I’ve been Couchlocked using AVB many many times. lol

    Enjoy!

  • Nails

    Oil extraction is a waste of time and money. It’s just as easy and faster to extract using a solvent (such as 99.9% isopropyl alcohol), and you end up with AT LEAST twice as much THC extracted from the flower.

    Google “how to make RSO”, and do not ignore the safety precautions! Then take your RSO and mix it very well (using heat!) with olive oil, 3 parts olive oil to 1 part RSO. Now you have a manageable and potent extract that can be easily put in a capsule using an eye dropper. 1-2 drops for a mild effect, 3+ drops will get you pretty buzzed depending on your tolerance.

  • any successes with filling cellulose caps with MMJ oil concentrate? The stuff as thick as pine sap, so must be heated a bit to lower viscosity. BUT, don’t want to melt capsules…will need about two drops (25mg each) per capsule…and maybe I should add liquid coconut oil, to reduce possibility of oil degrading capsule (leaking). What size caps would be recommended?? HELP, TIA

  • Laura

    I use the leftover decarb’ed greens for face masks and soothing thc cbd baths. Has been doing wonders for my joints. 🙂

    I add honey, fresh squeezed lemon, green tea and brown sugar. It makes for amazing exfoliant, cell rejuvenator and moisturizing face mask/body wash.

  • Christy805

    I’ve heard decarb temp needs to be at least 240 degrees for 40 minutes. How could these be effective at 220 degrees?

  • Samster

    Can you use a Extractcraft to render oil from your cannabis tincture and then combine with MCT oil to fill capsules? Anyone have a recipe to share using that method?