Watch: How To Make Your Own Medical Cannabis Oil

by Monica Thunder

on April 30, 2015

It’s just like an episode of Emeril Live… except green cannabis leaves frame the counter, and a Bob Marley poster hangs from the wall.

Welcome to Chef Derek Butt’s YouTube cooking show, where we learn how to cook with all things cannabis. It’s more than just learning how to bake your favorite cookie for your next day off. Chef Butt offers instructions for DIY medicinal grade cannabis products, effectively offering individuals with serious conditions a more affordable way to medicate with cannabis.

Medicinal grade cannabis oil is particularly expensive. Cannabis oil is known for its success in treating various forms of cancer, children with epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, depression and migraines, among other ailments. Yet a single dose can cost between $50 and $100 at a dispensary, and patients often pay thousands of dollars for just a few rounds of treatments, according to an SF Weekly article published in 2013.

To add another barrier, in the United States, medical cannabis is legal in just 23 states. In those states, approved patients with a doctor’s recommendation can legally grow specified amounts of their own cannabis plants, and make their own cannabis products for self-use at home. If you live in one of the other 27 states, making your own medicinal grade products is a felony crime, just as illegal as purchasing them, selling them, or growing.

For patients living in states (or elsewhere) where medical cannabis is legal, Butt’s show may help make medicinal grade cannabis more affordable. On Butt’s show, he walks the viewer through all the steps needed to turn 2 ounces of cannabis into 7.5 grams of cannabis oil. Everyone’s body is different, so the number of doses this yields varies by individual.

Here’s how Butt recommends you do it, according to the video:

A safety note: during this process, it’s important to keep the alcohol away from any fire hazards. 99 Isopropyl is highly flammable. Wait to light up until after you’ve finished.

First, blend two ounces of high quality herbs coarsely. The quality of the herbs matters — higher quality cannabis makes higher quality cannabis oil. Chef Butt recommends a strain with a higher cannabidiol (CBD) content for medicinal use, like Charlotte’s Web or Cannatronic.

Next, put the blended herbs into a glass jar (glass is important — plastic can contaminate the oil) with 500 milliliters of 99 Isopropyl alcohol. Butt recommends freezing everything — the herb and the glass jars — beforehand.

After the mixture sits for a few minutes, strain the liquid into another glass jar. Chef Butt uses a flour sifter as a strainer. Once finished, strain the mixture a second time, this time with a coffee filter. The resulting liquid should be pretty clear.

Next, you have to boil it down. Chef Butt recommends a rice cooker. Put the strained liquid into the rice cooker and bring it to a boil. It will slowly reduce down to a thicker oil. It’s finished when it stops boiling. Don’t overdo it, or the oil will burn.

Finish the oil by putting it into a small container or measuring cup and setting it on a hot plate. The oil will bubble slowly for a few minutes. It’s done when it stops bubbling. At first, it will have a syrupy consistency, but it will settle into a more tar-like texture after cooling. The color should be a rich gold.

“Sweet,” said Chef Butt when he finished.