Thanks to its lasting effects and discreet application, cannabis oil is fast becoming a favoured way of consuming. If you’re not in the know about infused liquid, let us break it down:
What is cannabis oil?
It’s a concentrated version of cannabis, and those who use it feel the effects of the cannabinoids much more intensely. Most commonly, cannabis oil falls under the name CBD oil or THC oil, because it is a highly concentrated substance full of those types of cannabinoids. But the truth is, cannabis oil can be derived from any strain, providing the cannabinoids present in that plant in their most potent and intense form.
How is cannabis oil made?
Rick Simpson, a cancer patient who experimented with cannabis as part of his treatment, popularized the creation of cannabinoid oils and the method of creating them after he began making his own cannabis extracts to treat his skin cancer symptoms. Referred to as ‘alcohol extraction,’ the method requires a plant to be soaked in a solvent such as grain alcohol (the alcohol will be cooked off in the heating process). Once the two have soaked together, all solids are strained and the remaining liquid is full of cannabinoids. The liquid is then heated to evaporate the alcohol and activate the cannabinoids, leaving behind a sticky, infused oil ready for consumption.
Because the oil is so highly concentrated with cannabinoids, its potency is very high. About 6 mL of cannabis oil will provide the same effects as 1g of dried flower.
How is it consumed?
Cannabis oil’s versatility allows it to be consumed orally and to be applied topically. It can be infused into edibles, or mixed into juices and smoothies, combined into lotions and balms, or consumed directly by using a dropper and putting it under the tongue (sublingually, as it’s also known).
Consuming cannabis oil does not necessarily mean you cannot inhale it. Some vaporizers offer the option to consume either dried flower or cannabis extracts.
When consumed orally, the body and mind effects of cannabis will be felt similarly to when it is inhaled. However, it is important to remember the onset time and the duration of effects is different with oils. A peak will typically occur around three hours and effects can be felt for up to eight hours. (Compared to smoking dried flower, where the peak is felt at the hour mark and begins to taper off after a few hours).
Why is cannabis oil consumed?
When consumed orally, the experience is said to produce the same effects as when consuming cannabis in other forms, only more intensely and for longer; therefore, the reasons behind orally consuming oils are along the same lines as any other consumption method. THC – the cannabinoid that is primarily responsible for any psychoactive effects – is known to alleviate pain, act as a muscle relaxant, increase appetite, and address insomnia. CBD – the most popular non-psychoactive cannabinoid – can regulate mood, alleviating anxiety and depression.
Cannabis oil really gets its claim to fame, however, for its use as a topical. Applying cannabis oil topically allows people to experience cannabis’ reputed benefits – from reducing inflammation to pain relief – without experiencing the ‘high’ associated with consuming. Because human skin has a low absorption rate for cannabinoids, the cannabinoids don’t make their way to the bloodstream, and simply absorb enough to reach CB2 receptors near the skin’s surface.
It’s important to remember the onset time for topicals is a bit different than the onset time of consuming the oil orally. The onset time for topical application is quite fast, however, if it is being used to reduce redness or inflammation of the skin, it will need to be consistently applied to notice any changes over time.
If you are new to using cannabis or cannabis oils, remember to start low and go slow as you try out different strains. And try tracking how you feel in a cannabis journal; this will help you remember what strain/ dosage works best for you.
Story by Sophie Naprawa
The preceding is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to condone the use or consumption of cannabis. For more information, please refer to our disclaimer.