We are well beyond the old days of knowing a guy who knows a guy who has one kind of grass and no clue where it may be coming from.
The legalization of cannabis created (and is continuing to create) a booming new industry and producers are constantly coming out with new products and formulations. Keeping pace can be a little confusing, so we want to talk about one of the most compelling and convoluted areas of cannabis consumptions: Cannabis Oil.
Most of the active compounds of cannabis are produced and concentrated within hair-like resin glands known as trichomes. These are little chemical factories that create an impressively wide array of cannabinoids, terpenes, and many of the other biologically active compounds found in cannabis.
When it comes to cannabis products, the higher the concentration of these medicinal and psychoactive compounds, the more potent the product.
This takes 3 primary forms, in increasing potency: the flower (bud), the resin (hash), and the oil. The more purified the product, the less extra plant matter it contains and the higher the concentration of active compounds.
The oil is highly refined, very concentrated, and very potent, often up to 10x more potent than the plant itself.
Types of Cannabis Oil
Cannabis oil is created by using a solvent to extract the active components. The solvent is then evaporated, leaving a purified product. There are a number of types of processes companies use and they all create a slightly different product.
Alcohol extractions are the safest, easiest, and were once the most popular. They are typically made using isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol extraction was popularized by Rick Simpson, a pioneer in medical cannabis extracts and the subject of an informative documentary.
Butane Hash Oil or BHO is an extremely potent extraction process but has come under criticism recently because of its dangers. Butane is extremely flammable and toxic, so errors in processing can lead to explosions or toxic products.
C02 Extraction is currently the industry standard. It is safe, fast, and much easier to scale. Compressed C02 liquid was passed over the plant material, which strips out all of the cannabinoids. When uncompressed it returns to a gaseous state, leaving purified oil. The main criticism of this technique is that it strips out many of the terpenes, which impacts both flavor and medicinal effect.
Why and How To Use Cannabis Oil
Clearly many have found medicinal value in cannabis oil. Because the concentration of the active compounds is so much higher, it is a cleaner way to get more bang for your buck without damaging your lungs. The same benefits gained from a few drops of oil could require smoking well over 50g of flower. That’s a lot. It’s also a lot of tar and carcinogens from the burning plant.
Taken topically, often mixed into creams, carrier oils, and even transdermal patches, it can be used to treat skin conditions, arthritis, inflammation, sore muscles and bodily aches. Even if you’re not looking for some specific medicinal relief, it can still be a pleasurable means to relax, unwind, and just feel good. You can even find cannabis massage oils!
Another means of taking cannabis oil is internally, in a dropper, a pill, or an edible treat. This may give your body the greatest medicinal benefit as it gets into your entire system, but depending on the strength and cannabinoid profile it can also be very strong. We suggest only using somewhere you feel safe and comfortable.
Vaporizing is one of the most popular methods of delivery. The concentrate is packaged into a cartridge and heated with a ceramic coil till it becomes a gas you can inhale. This ensures there is no destructive combustion degrading the potency and allows you to sip and dose yourself according to your own sensitivity.
Cannabis oil has many uses and medicinal benefits, with various intake methods. We hope this has helped provide some basic education and shed some light on this very compelling form of cannabis.