Cannabis Infusion Is Easy, No Complications Necessary (an Ardent FX, Levo II, Instant Pot, and Oven Comparison)

By Troy Ivan

in•fu•sion    /in‘fyooZHən/  (noun)
a drink, remedy, or extract prepared by soaking the leaves of a plant or herb in liquid.

*definition from Oxford Languages


Making an infusion is as simple as the definition states: just soak plant material in a liquid. We work with cannabis soaked in a fat-based carrier like olive oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, butter, and such.  Despite the simplicity of the process, we see more and more devices geared toward the cannabis consumer to make infusions. It’s funny if you think about it; you don’t see reasonable people running out and spending up to $400 on an appliance to infuse olive oil with rosemary, garlic, or whatever herb because they know better.  However, once you mention “cannabis,” people start shucking out hundreds of dollars for unnecessary and silly appliances for the exact same process.

Anyone following me knows I prefer using extracts and concentrates to medicate carrier oils because of the direct control of potency and ability to minimize the carrier oil volume. Not everyone can afford safe extraction equipment, so crafting infusions is very effective and medicinally significant for those in need. Understanding the infusion process is essential to make good decisions and not waste money and valuable resources.

In addition to this process comparison blog, I have prepared a video to show exactly how easy the process is and exactly what’s happening when making an infusion. This blog and video together should provide all you need to know to make the best decisions possible.

Click image for video

To help everyone understand the process and equipment available, I decided to see how the “infusion devices” performed compared to simple techniques using things a person may already have in the kitchen.  Our main question here is, does complicating the simple act of soaking and heating cannabis in a carrier oil with popular infusion devices ensure better results that warrant the price tags?  We are going to see right now!


I focused on making attractive and clean infusions that would typically be used for edibles or topicals.  I used decarbed CBD dominate cannabis (10 g per sample) and extra virgin olive oil (400 ml per sample) to compare the Levo II, Ardent FX, a jar in an Instant Pot, and a jar in the oven.  Several time and temp combinations can be used for infusion, and I don’t have the time or resources to test every combination, so I opted to follow the manufacturer’s recommended settings for the Levo II and Ardent FX, then used what I consider reasonable settings for the Instant Pot and oven.

I’m not including the “magic” butter machine and herbal infuser type of machines because I find them silly.  These are simply soy milk makers re-branded and marketed as cannabis infusion devices.  It’s not a cannabis infusion device; it’s a soy milk maker.  If you’d like to see for yourself, put “soy milk maker” in the Google or Amazon search bar and see what comes up.  Anything that chops cannabis in heated liquid makes green goo that tastes like swamp-ass.  There’s no worse way to complicate and dirty what should be a clean and straightforward infusion process.  Yes, many people are out there using these things that will swear on the bible that “I’m making the best infusions ever!” or “What I make will knock you out!”  They’re not making the best infusions but are making green goop through pulverization. Moreover, while the green goop may knock you out, imagine what would happen if made properly!

These are the clean infusions. The green tint is primarily from the extra virgin olive oil used.


Samples of each infusion were sent for lab testing and found to have the following cannabinoid content potencies.

LEVO II           0.220%  total cannabinoids;  0.190% CBD    

Ardent FX        0.260%  total cannabinoids;  0.230% CBD

Oven                0.252%  total cannabinoids;  0.220% CBD 

Instant Pot       0.341%  total cannabinoids;  0.300% CBD

Results Summary Notes:

Tested Flower: The hemp flower tested at 15.065% total cannabinoids and 12.224% total possible CBD (CBDA 10.89%, CBD 2.67%).  Decarbed testing was 13.783% total cannabinoids, 12.256% total possible CBD (CBDA 0.47%, CBD 11.85%).

Understanding Potency Numbers: The potency information above is confusing since we measure liquid volume by milliliters (ml) and calculate dosing by milligrams (mg).  While cannabis concentrates themselves can be very close to 1 g = 1 ml, olive oil and other carriers are a bit lighter.  Olive oil is about 0.9 g (900 mg) per 1 ml.  That means every 1 ml of the Instant Pot infusion results would contain about 3 mg of total cannabinoids (900 mg x .00341 = 3.069 mg) or 2.7 mg of CBD (900 mg x .003 = 2.700 mg).  

* Here’s a conversion calculator for checking different carrier oil weight to volume conversions:—-ml–of–oil–in–mg

Low Potency: The cannabinoid concentrations in this exercise are relatively low due to a large volume of olive oil used with a small amount of cannabis.  A very oil-heavy weighting was used to provide the Levo II with an even playing field for performance comparison.  I could only fit 10 g of broken-up cannabis comfortably into the Levo II botanical containment, and 400 ml of oil was required to submerge it. The same ratio was used with the Ardent FX, Instant Pot, and oven methods to see relatively low potency numbers across the board.  

The problem with this low-level potency is that a lot of unnecessary carrier oil must be ingested to achieve a “regular” (subjective term, I know) dosage. For example, using the Levo II potency results, for just a 10 mg dose, nearly 6 ml of the medicated oil would have to be ingested. Considering a normal CBD dose is much more than 10 mg, a lot of unnecessary carrier oil must be consumed. The Levo II is stuck with this low dose conundrum due to the mechanizations used, but there’s wiggle room with the Ardent FX, Instant Pot, and oven techniques to increase potency by adjusting the cannabis to oil ratio. This means the Levo II not only performed the worst but also didn’t have the flexibility to increase infusion potency (a little) like the other processes.



0.220%  total cannabinoids;  0.190% CBD     

The LEVO II looks cool and takes on a familiar kitchen appliance look that appeals to an average consumer. Unfortunately, beauty is only skin deep, and it incredibly overcomplicates the simple infusion process. It’s a great example of what happens when marketing and/or engineering puts form before function.  It doesn’t make much sense to put the herbs in a confined container that limits the botanical’s exposure to the liquid it is soaked in when the whole point is to provide as much exposure as possible. They added the magnetic stir that probably helps performance to some extent, but the metal encasement inhibits the flow more than the stirring action helps.

The “recipe calculator” on the Levo website recommends 175°F for 2.5 hours for cannabis flower and olive oil, so that’s what I used.  This setting is similar to the Ardent FX operation but performed about 20% worse than the Ardent FX here. I’m sure the difference in performance resulted from the constriction of the botanical material in the metal containment. 

Using the 10 g of cannabis and 400 ml of olive oil allowed the Levo II to perform to the best of its ability while hampering the performance of the other 3 methods by using too much oil and not having stirring mechanisms.  The other three methods still outperformed the Levo II and would have done even better if the contents were gently mixed part way through the infusion process. The bottom line is this is by far the worst performer in the group, even when provided the best chance to shine.

EDIT NOTE (8/22/21): The Levo II operating instructions have changed since this article was written. I followed the instructions closely when this article was written to get the most accurate results possible. Instead of claiming the pod can hold 14 g of material (I used 10 g because it was understated capacity and appeared to be a good amount for best performance), the instructions state that it has an 8 g capacity. That’s a big difference. I guess they got called out too many times on their egregious capacity claims. However, their current suggestion is for the consumer to BUY an EXTRA power pod to double capacity from 8 g to 16 g if they want to do more. This is just silly, in my opinion. The main problem is the design and the constriction of the oil flow over the material due to the pod itself being in the way, but now they want you to load TWO pods in simultaneously? It’s just the wrong way to do it and a clumsy way to correct their initially aggressive volume claims.


0.260%  total cannabinoids;  0.230% CBD 

The Ardent FX is another slick-looking machine, which I’m sure helps significantly with its target demographic.  The design is really all that’s necessary for simple infusion; it’s a heated tube with a timer that holds the carrier oil and botanical.  The crazy part is it costs nearly $400 and doesn’t do any more than a heated jar, double boiler, sous vide, or Instant Pot.  The marketing is excellent because they’ve convinced people that it’s a benefit to not have the ability to do larger volume or a way to adjust the time or temp and worthy of an extreme pricing premium. Regardless of the dual thermocouples and algorithm claims, it really operates just like a heated tube with a timer; that’s it. There’s a decarb function as well, but again, if you know what you are doing, all you need is a heated tube, like a jar, and you can decarb while containing odors just as well with things you already have in your kitchen for free. The process is not as delicate or complex as they make it out to be. For more information on proper decarbing, check out my post Decarboxylation (decarb) 101: Basic understanding and at home method comparison.

The Ardent performed the same as the heated jar in the oven and much better than the LEVO II.  The Ardent FX user manual states that the infusion process tops out at 176°F and only needs to run for 1 hour of the 3-hour cycle as the extra 2 hours provide no additional benefit.  I ran it for 2.5 hours to be consistent with the Levo II settings.

On a side note, since I had the Ardent FX working anyway, I thought I’d use it to decarb the cannabis used in this exercise.  I ran it on the CBD decarb setting. The test results showed that the non-decarbed CBD-A component was still close to 5%.  Considering the starting flower was already about 20% naturally decarbed (CBD-A 10.89%,  CBD 2.67%), I would have thought a full decarb should have been no problem, but not so.  If this material hadn’t already had a decent amount of natural decarb, the conversion achieved by the Ardent FX would have probably been worse.


0.252%  total cannabinoids;  0.220% CBD 

Soaking and heating cannabis in a jar in the oven is the simplest form of infusion.  Since most everyone has a jar and an oven, this process can be performed for free. There are also the added benefits of nearly unlimited capacity, controlling the temp, and being able to visually observe the process.

The cannabis and olive oil were combined in a pint-sized canning jar and placed in an oven preheated to 200°F for 2 hours with the lid not fully tightened.  This program was a little shorter in duration and a little warmer in temp than the Levo II and Ardent FX cycles, but it’s what I consider a reasonable starting point.  In terms of performance, it ended up better than the Levo II and essentially the same as the Ardent FX, with no dollars spent.


0.341%  total cannabinoids;  0.300% CBD

The Instant Pot is basically an advanced version of the Ardent FX with the same ability to set and forget and contain odors, as well as having many more features and a substantially larger capacity at a fraction of the cost.  It’s just a heated tube with the addition of steam-generated pressure, and it’s priced between $60-$90 like a heated tube should be.  

A fully sealed pint jar containing the cannabis and oil was put into the machine using ‘normal’ mode with ‘high’ pressure for 2 hours.  The user manual for my Duo Plus 60 is incomplete and does not correctly note the working temps for this setting. For other comparable models, it appears to be listed around 230°F-240°F, which will probably be about 10°F lower here at 5,000′ elevation. The jar was sealed to keep steam and water from getting into the mixture. I’m unsure if it was the higher temp, added pressure, or both that made a difference. Still, whatever it was, it provided a 30% increase in cannabinoid pickup performance over the Ardent FX and oven methods. My guess is with the same temps, the oven method would perform the same?


We’ve seen here that infusion is, in fact, as simple as it seems.  All that’s required is cannabis, carrier oil, an appropriate container, and heat.  No contraptions, costly ones, or rebranded soy milk makers are necessary to make an excellent quality infusion. 

Low potency is the curse of infusions, but it’s possible to increase the potency of an infusion a little by dialing back the ratio of oil used. There are so many uncontrollable variables there’s no reliable way to formulate a ratio that works with every type of material every time. It’s best to just eyeball it as the carrier oil is added, ensuring the cannabis is well covered, then add at least another half-inch to an inch above it.  I’ve had infusions tested up to 10 mg total cannabinoids per 1 ml and have not heard of anything higher than 15 mg per 1 ml. As a comparison, when I medicated olive oil using concentrates in a 9:1 ratio, it’s around 75-80 mg per 1 ml, and I can still make it much stronger by adjusting the oil component down as far as I choose.

This exercise used CBD dominant flower, but THC dominant flower would behave the same way, and the same results should be expected. The main difference in consideration is that oral dosing of THC is often lower than CBD, so infusions can be more beneficial for THC applications (except for those with high tolerance). Either way, infusion isn’t the best way to prepare meds, but it is a viable way to do so on a narrow budget.

I hope this has been helpful and provided some clarity on what is a simple process that has been unduly complicated by aggressive marketing looking to get your $$$. BE EDUCATED AND STAY LIFTED, MY FRIENDS !!!



22 thoughts on “Cannabis Infusion Is Easy, No Complications Necessary (an Ardent FX, Levo II, Instant Pot, and Oven Comparison)

  1. The FX has two decarb settings. A1 is for ALL cannabis, regardless of THC/CBD ratio. A2 is only for hemp flower. I had to pry this out of Ardent, not very clear in the instructions.

    1. Yes. I thought that was pretty clear. It right in the “FX DETAILED MANUAL.” It clearly states “A2 = Activate CBD”

  2. Excellent article.
    I was in the market of buying on of those fancy machines.
    I am glad I stumbled on your blog.
    Thanks for the time and effort you put into this comparison.

    One question:

    When I decarb my flower in the instant pot, is it advisable to go agead and include a closed vessel with the carrier oil? This way it can warm up, and then after the decarb is done just combine them and restart?


    1. I think I will show at some point you can indeed decarb in the carrier oil at relatively the same curves. However, since I don’t have the numbers for sure I’d advise to decarb first then infuse…..for now

  3. I have a question. After decarbing my bud cant i just take that and eat it? is there a reason id have to do further extractions to it?

  4. The levo says 7grams or to buy a second pod to hold another 7grams. I personally use the instant pot. But it seems unfair to judge a product when you don’t follow their instructions. Maybe by jamming in 10 grams you interfered with how it works.

    1. That’s the instructions for the LEVO II?? I believe I followed the directions perfectly. The fact is it’s simply a horrible design meant to impress the eyes of those that are uneducated in the way of infusion. It’s inefficient and silly

    2. I just went to double check the Levo II guidelines and it does look like they have changed the instructions from when I wrote this article. Maybe they realized their mistake of their over promising of performance by claiming it could handle more volume than it actually could? Now they want to sell an EXTRA pod to try to keep up with their original claims and make more $$$, nice way to look after the consumer. More importantly, the problem with the pod itself is that it stifles the flow of oil in the infusion process now they want to compound the problem by adding in a second pod and stifling it even more? It’s just a bad product made by a company just pushing whatever sounds good to the consumer regardless of if it works well or not, basically it’s just the world we live in. In review 1) I followed the instructions that were in place at the time when I wrote the article. 2) Those user guidelines have now been removed from the website. 3) They now suggest to use an additional power pod to support their original volume claims 4) It’s still a silly machine meant for those that don’t understand how incredibly easy infusion actually is. 5) I will make an edit to the article to reflect this change in current user instructions.

      Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention!! Have a great day and stay lifted!

    3. Last thing. They actually say 8 grams (not 7g) and they call it a 1/4 oz. That’s that kind of company it is……. So 8g and 10g aren’t that different, especially when they were saying it could hold 14g and I only loaded 10g.

  5. Can you give me the instructions for decarb-ing cannabis in the instant pot? I read that its best to set the instant pot at high pressure for 40 minutes. When it is done, do a quick release. Would you recommend this? Thanks!

  6. I just received my Levo II and thanks to the research done here and other related websites I know not to use their metal pods. I read it’s more effective to just place the loose material on top of a small silicone baking pad on the bottom of the Levo for activation. The pad is supposed to keep the bottom of the herb from scorching on the bare metal.

    1. The best thing you could possibly do with a Levo after receiving it is return it and get your money back. As mentioned, it over complicates an EXTREMELY easy process. If anyone thinks that is incorrect all you have to do is sit down and think about the process for a minute.

  7. Hi, I have always decarb and infuse in one shot with the Instant Pot at High Pressure for around 70 to 80 minutes. It worked quite well, but I am not sure whether that is the optimal decarb and infusion. Would you be able to do an educated guess as to how many minutes would be optimal?

    If you decarb first (weed in mason jar which is then put in the Instant Pot), what is your parameters? I’ve always use 40 minutes at high pressure.

    1. I have loosely worked with decarbing in a carrier and it does work. I have not done proper testing to confirm the efficiency but every form of decarb I’ve worked with seem to go by a similar time/temp curve. For time temp curve please refer to my decarb posts and/or checkout the FB group “Ichiban’s Extraction Lounge” as there has been previous discussions about it there you can search or post questions if you can’t find the answers.

  8. I reallllllllyyyy appreciate your article as I was considering one of the Levo’s myself. Could you please tell us which insta-pot would be best for cannabis?Many thanks! BTW, I sent a request to join the FB group. cheers!

    1. I’m glad you found it useful. Pretty much whichever you can afford and whichever you might be able to maximize the value by either using or excluding functions. At the end of the day, it’s just a heat source.

      Once you are in the group, maybe post the question to see what others are using and what they like. You should get some good information there.

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