This easy, step-by-step beginner's guide will teach you how to make cannabis-infused MCT oil at home. This oil infusion can be used as a sublingual tincture or a base for many cannabis-infused recipes.
What is Cannabis-Infused MCT Oil?
Cannabis-infused MCT oil is a popular type of cannabis oil infusion made with just cannabis flowers and MCT oil.
MCT oil is a type of saturated fat extracted from coconuts that are rapidly digested and absorbed by the body.
"Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a unique type of fatty acid naturally found in coconuts that support the metabolism and are easily digested and burned by the body for energy and fuel" (1).
MCT oil remains liquid at room temperature, is completely clear with no color, and has no flavor.
Many people prefer liquid MCT oil for infusions because it is tasteless.
MCT is also a popular staple in the popular bullet-proof coffee trend.
The process for infusing MCT oil with cannabis is the same as making traditional infused coconut oil and can be achieved in many different ways.
You can use this simple at-home process with printable directions below to make a crockpot cannabis-infused MCT oil tincture, or you could use an infusion machine like the LEVO II or Ardent Machine to infuse for you.
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Is This MCT Oil A 'Tincture'?
I’ve seen lots of people, including those inside my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community, fuss over the terminology of a tincture.
That means this cannabis MCT oil will be considered an infusion.
However, you’ll often see people refer to MCT oil as tinctures simply because they are oftentimes held under the tongue for sublingual application.
This is the difference between holding an oil or tincture under your tongue vs. simply swallowing it.
While the difference is small, the different effects can be quite noticeable.
Sublingual Use for MCT Oil
Sublingual, meaning under the tongue, involves holding oil or tincture under your tongue to be absorbed by our mucous membranes into the body.
There is a dense concentration of capillaries under the tongue and around the mouth, so products held in the mouth are delivered directly to the bloodstream, making sublingual administration quick and easy (2).
Some people prefer this method due to the quick absorption rate and high bioavailability rate of around ~30%, producing a quicker, more effective absorption into the bloodstream.
For this application method, it is recommended to hold the oil or tincture under your tongue or inside your cheek for as long as possible for the best results and most efficient absorption.
Many people like this method because the typical onset time starts fairly quickly, between 15-30 minutes.
The typical duration time lasts for an average of 2-4 hours.
The cannabinoids in the oil or tincture are then absorbed into the bloodstream and circulate throughout the bloodstream, affecting the whole body.
This method bypasses digestion and the first-pass metabolism in the liver, unlike cannabis edibles.
Edible Use of MCT Oil
Unlike sublingual absorption, edible consumption is a bit more complicated.
Edibles, also known as oral cannabis consumption, involve eating cannabis that is then processed through the gastrointestinal tract.
This is because the ingested cannabinoids pass through the digestive system.
Once the cannabis is eaten and digested, the THC is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the liver, where it undergoes the hepatic first-pass metabolism.
During this process, enzymes hydroxylate THC (Δ9-THC) to form 11-hydroxytetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC), a potent psychoactive metabolite that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier (3).
This means that eating cannabis can provide stronger, more potent, or intoxicating effects in some individuals.
There are even anecdotal reports of people experiencing hallucinogenic effects when too much THC has been consumed.
This potent intoxicating metabolite, 11-OH-THC, causes potentially unwanted (or wanted) side effects for many unknowing cannabis consumers.
This is why with edibles, it is so important to be careful of accidental excess cannabis intake by overeating.
MCT Oil vs Coconut Oil
It is important to note some differences between MCT oil and coconut oil, primarily when baking or used in recipes.
While both are derived from coconuts, there is a noticeable taste and texture difference.
|Coconut Oil||MCT Oil|
|Derived from Coconut||Derived from Coconut|
|Solid at room temperature||Liquid at room temperature|
|Opaque when solid||Remains clear|
|Refined has no flavor, unrefined has a slight coconut flavor||Has no flavor|
|Easy to substitute in baked goods||Not as easy to substitute in baked goods|
|Not great for sublingual application||Great for sublingual applications|
|May cause digestive distress in large amounts||May cause digestive distress in large amounts|
|High smoke point, 350° F, great for cooking||Low smoke point, 284° F, not good for cooking|
MCT Oil and Digestive Distress
One important thing to note is that MCT oil in large amounts may cause digestive distress in some individuals.
Many members of my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community have reported that consuming too much MCT oil, either in an edible or sublingually, causes digestive problems.
MCT oil can cause significant gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and cramping, because it is metabolized differently by the body.
Additionally, it is not recommended for individuals who have liver problems.
That is why it is important to start low and go slow, just like all things cannabis, that way, you can see how your body reacts.
Start With A Small Test Batch First
Additionally, you may want to consider making a small test batch before making a larger batch.
This recipe calls for 1 ounce of flower and 16 ounces of MCT oil, which will yield a large batch.
If you want to make a smaller batch first to see if MCT oil infusions are right for you, use this guide below.
Can I Make Infused MCT Oil With FECO?
Yes, if you want a stronger, more potent infusion, you can make this MCT oil infusion with FECO.
Follow the directions for making FECO here, including directions for mixing with MCT oil after cooking.
You can also make infused MCT oil with other types of cannabis concentrates.
Step-By-Step Guide With Photos
If you are a visual learner, this step-by-step guide with photos will show you how to set up your entire process from start to finish.
Step #1 - Prepare a Water Bath
There are many different ways to create a water bath using either the stovetop, a crockpot, Instant Pot, or sous vide machine.
The goal is to create a water bath that stays at approximately 180-190° F for the cooking process.
The printable instructions below are for using a crockpot. The images shown here are for a sous vide set up.
For the crockpot method:
Lay a clean tea towel down on the bottom of the crockpot.
This will create a buffer between your mason jars and the crockpot, potentially preventing any jar from moving or cracking during cooking.
Fill your crockpot with enough warm or hot water to cover the top of the mason jars you plan on using by an inch to create a water bath.
Place the digital instant-read thermometer into the water.
Start the crockpot heat on high. When a temperature of 185° F is reached, turn the crockpot to low.
For the sous vide method:
This is not technically sous vide because we are not cooking under a vacuum in the jars, but we use an immersion circulator to keep a constant water temperature.
Simply prepare a large vessel to hold your water and set the immersion circulator to a temperature of 185° F.
Step #2 - Prepare and Decarboxylate the Cannabis Flower
While the water bath is heating in the crockpot, measure and decarb the cannabis flower in the oven at 240° F for 40 minutes.
Click here for a full cannabis decarboxylation tutorial, if needed.
Step #3 - Prepare the Jars for Submersion
Evenly divide the MCT oil between the mason jars you plan on using.
You can either use pint-sized or half-pint-sized jars, it's you're preference, just be sure they fit in your crockpot.
No matter the size, be sure to leave a ½ inch headspace from the top.
If you plan on using sunflower lecithin, add it to the mason jars now.
Evenly divide the decarbed flower between the MCT oil-filled jars and stir well.
Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean paper towel and place the lid on.
Tighten the metal ring to finger-tip tightness; it does not have to be tightened all the way but do not tighten too tightly.
Step #4 - Place the Jars in the Water Bath for 4 Hours
Once the water bath reaches a temperature of 185° F, carefully place the jars into the water bath.
Place the lid on the crockpot and leave it alone to infuse for 4 hours.
After 4 hours, carefully remove the lid, followed by the jars from the hot water. Set them aside to cool.
Step #5 - Strain & Store The Oil
Once cool enough to handle, you will want to strain the MCT oil through a paper filter and funnel, cheesecloth, or French press coffee filter to separate the plant matter from the oil.
Save the leftover cannabis pulp for use in future recipes.
Then return the prepared cannabis oil to whatever jar you would like to store it in, we use a small amber tincture jar.
Store the prepared cannabis MCT oil in a cool, dry place. It will last longer if stored in the refrigerator and even longer if stored in the freezer.
How to Determine The Dosing
While a calculator is no replacement for lab testing, this tool has been designed to help you get a more accurate guesstimate of the potency of your cannabis infusions and extractions.
Use An Infusion Machine For Your Edibles
Cannabis-infusion machines are countertop devices that do all the work for you by decarboxylating and infusing your butters, oils, and more.
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How to Make Cannabis-Infused MCT Oil
- Fill your crockpot with enough warm to hot water to cover the top of the mason jars you plan on using by an inch to create a water bath.
- Place the digital thermometer into the water. Start the crockpot heat on high. When a temperature of 185° F is reached, turn the crockpot to low.
- While the water bath is heating in the crockpot, measure and decarb the cannabis flower in the oven at 240° F for 40 minutes. Click here for a full cannabis decarboxylation tutorial, if needed.
- Evenly divide the MCT oil between the mason jars you plan on using. You can either use pint-sized or half-pint-sized jars, it’s you’re preference, just be sure they fit in your crockpot. No matter the size, be sure to leave a ½ inch headspace from the top.
- If you plan on using sunflower lecithin, add it to the mason jars now.
- Evenly divide the decarbed flower between the MCT oil filled jars. Stir well. Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean paper towel and place the lid on. Tighten the metal ring to finger-tip tightness, it does not have to be tightened all the way. Do not tighten too tightly.
- Once the water bath reaches a temperature of 185° F, carefully place the jars into the water bath.
- Place the lid on the crockpot and leave it alone to infuse for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, carefully remove the lid, followed by the jars from the hot water. Set them aside to cool.
- Save the leftover cannabis pulp for use in future recipes. Then return the prepared cannabis oil to whatever jar you would like to store it in. We use a small amber tincture jar.
- Store the prepared cannabis MCT oil in a cool, dry place. It will last longer if stored in the refrigerator and even longer if stored in the freezer.
- Yield: ~16 ounces / ~2 cups
- Temperature Control: The water bath does not need to stat perfectly at 185° F the entire time. Any temperature between 170°-190°F is OK.
- Safety First: I recommend you sanitize your jars by keeping them submerged in the 185° F crockpot for 10 at least minutes. This step is not necessary, but good practice for safety and hygiene.
- Floating Jars: Sometimes the mason jar will float when placed in the water bath. This is no need for concern, simply put something heat and water safe over the top of the jar to weigh it down, a clean rock works well.
- Alternative Carrier Oil Options Include:
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Coconut oil