Cannabis Coconut Oil: Benefits, Risks, and Tips for Making Your Own
February 13th, 2018
From lowering your risk of heart disease to giving you silky-smooth skin, coconut oil is believed to bring all kinds of health benefits to the body. And, as it turns out, those benefits might be enhanced by mixing this nectar with another of nature’s treasures: cannabis.
Coconut oil has been creeping its way into the cannabis industry for some time now. From tasty edibles to pain-relieving topicals, cannabis coconut oil is increasingly used to elevate marijuana products for a number of distinct reasons.
For starters, coconut oil contains some of the highest concentrations of fatty acids (AKA saturated fats) around. The abundance of fatty acids creates an exceptionally strong binding agent for cannabinoids when compared to other oils. For example, olive oil’s saturated fat content is just around 20%, compared to coconut oil, which contains a whopping 80%. This increased concentration means coconut oil can retain more cannabinoids during extractions so that more medicinally-efficient cannabis products can be made.
Secondly, cannabis compounds are fat soluble. That means they break down in fat rather than in water. So, if you want to enjoy all the benefits of edible cannabinoids, then you need to take them with some fat to enhance their effect. As mentioned, coconut oil is full of fat, which is why it’s considered superior to other substances for nutrient absorption. And this isn’t just true for cannabinoids. Coconut oil is great for taking other fat-soluble nutrients as well, making it perfect for delivering many other nutritional supplements to the body, like Vitamin E and beta-carotene.
Finally, the type of saturated fats in coconut oil plays a beneficial role as well. Different kinds of fats come in different shapes. Coconut oil contains what are called medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), while other oils, like canola and sunflower, are comprised of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs). Our bodies have a much easier time breaking down MCFAs and, unlike LCFAs, which needs additional enzymes to break it down, our livers metabolize that energy directly. In other words, your body will burn them right away.
The Benefits of Cannabis Coconut Oil
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably no stranger to the growing list of benefits cannabis has for the mind and body. Well, coconut oil has plenty of its own too, so mixing them together is a unique kind of superfood that can enhance a number of different functions.
Improves Heart Health
The fats in coconut oil contain the good kind of cholesterol (HDL) while helping to lower the kind that can harm your heart (LDL). Combine that with THC, which is believed to lower blood pressure, and you have one heart-healthy treat.
Both cannabis and coconut oil contain anti-inflammatory properties that, when used together, are thought to relieve a wide range of ailments from arthritis and injuries to an upset stomach. When applied topically, cannabis coconut oil might also reduce skin irritation.
Stronger Pain Reliever
THC is considered by many to be a highly effective painkiller without the harmful side effects that many others, like opioids, have. Coconut oil’s aforementioned strong binding capabilities with respect to cannabinoids means that the THC can be a more efficient and effective analgesic.
Make Your Own Cannabis Coconut Oil
Ready to make some of this healing nectar for yourself? Try the following recipe from Leafly:
1 cup of ground cannabis flower (or less for milder potency)
1 cup of coconut oil
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.
1. Grind the 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 or slow cooker, 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 three 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, the 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.
Once you’re finished, enjoy your oil in your favorite hot drink, cooked with a delicious meal, or applied topically—the possibilities (and enjoyment) are endless.
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