Welcome to the Smoke-free Frontier of Cannabis
Surely you have heard the buzz about cannabis oil, but how much do you know what it is and what it does?
By Mike Green
Cannabis oil: what is it?
The basics of cannabis oil
Cannabis oil is an extract that comes from the cannabis sativa plant. Just as oil is extracted from the plant matter of crops like sunflowers and herbs, oil is also separated from the plant matter of cannabis.
While cannabis oil can be extracted from both the male and female, most major commercial extraction companies use the flowers and leaves from the female plant (as opposed to the stalks and stems). The reason they choose to use the flowers is that they can extract higher-quality oil.
How to make cannabis oil?
Let’s extract some knowledge
There are three distinct methods of extracting cannabis oil. Each one has its own benefits and can be used in specific types of products. The three methods used for extraction are the CO2 method, the oil, and the ethanol method.
Cannabis oil extraction method #1:
The most common commercial method for extracting the good stuff from the cannabis plant is the CO2 method. This is one of the more expensive extraction methods but creates the purest cannabis oil of all the methods. The CO2 method requires you to use condensed and supercooled carbon dioxide which is then run through the cannabis plants to cool and extract the oil while leaving no residue or chemicals. This method is best used to create concentrates for smoking in multiple ways.
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Cannabis oil extraction method #2:
Another method for extraction is the oil method. The oil method is becoming more and more popular by the day for extracting cannabis oil – especially for enthusiasts who are looking for a safe way to extract cannabis oil safely in their own homes. In this method, you use a base oil (most people use olive oil). You then put the oil into a pan, heat it up to 245 degrees Fahrenheit and then cook the flowers and leaves in the oil. This extraction method makes it perfect to cook with or use as a topical.
Cannabis oil extraction method #3:
The final method of extraction is the ethanol method. The ethanol method has you soak the cannabis product in high-grade grain alcohol to extract the cannabis oil. The only issue with this method is it kills some of the oils that are beneficial for the health-conscious consumer. Best suited for a commercial laboratory setting, the ethanol-based extraction creates oil that is best used for filling vape pen cartridges.
How to use cannabis oil?
Vape it, eat it or rub it in
Topical use of cannabis oil
As you can see, depending on the extraction process, cannabis oil can be used in many ways. One of the more common uses for CBD cannabis oil is using it as a topical. The beauty of topicals is that they can not only be used anywhere, but they can be purchased in any state since they contain next to no THC. The main uses of topicals are to help alleviate soreness and as an anti-inflammatory. While there have been claims of it curing some forms of skin cancer, these claims are not 100% verified, so it is recommended that you still see a doctor if you have any medical concerns.
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Vaping cannabis oil
Inhaling cannabis oil has become a popular method of extraction. Both THC and CBD cannabis oils can be used by inhaling, but most people will only use THC based vape pens. The THC based oils will get you baked, but it will give you a different kind of high from your typical joint due to it being a purer form of THC. CBD-based vaping will help you to calm your nerves without incapacitating you for the next few hours. Vaping CBD is a great way for those who can’t get high to relax or help them with any number of medical conditions with the added benefit of getting to choose the flavor you want.
The THC and CBD based oils are used more efficiently at different temperatures – this information can be found easily by looking up how to use a vape pen.
Ingestion of cannabis oil
While smoking is the number one way to use cannabis for relaxation, it has its limitations. For one, the effects only last for a couple of hours at the most. Secondly, you are limited as to where you can use it. Edibles, on the other hand, are a fantastic alternative when vaping is not possible. Edibles have been growing in popularity over the years and the increased popularity has led to an increase in variety.
Most commercial edibles use industrially extracted cannabis oil for THC content. However, if you’re making edibles at home, there’s no need to extract cannabis oil. Simply infuse any lipid ingredient by decarboxylating your weed (activating it by roasting it) and then steeping and straining your butter or other lipid ingredients.
What’s the difference?
You don’t have to get high on the supply
There are two main types of cannabis oil: those that are CBD-based and THC-based. While they are both extracted from the cannabis sativa plant, the oils vary greatly. THC-based cannabis oil comes from your common strains that can be purchased at your local dispensary. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is one of the main compounds in the average cannabis flower. This compound is responsible for the euphoric feeling commonly associated with cannabis when inhaled or ingested.
Unlike other variants of the female plants, the strains used to extract CBD cannabis oil been developed over years of selective breeding to contain only minute amounts of THC while maximizing CBD levels. The reason they had to develop these special CBD-heavy strains is that federal law states that you cannot have a THC level higher than .03% to legally grow cannabis.
While the CBD variant of cannabis oil does not give you the euphoric feeling of its THC counterpart, the two cannabinoids contain very similar molecular structures. Though CBD cannabis oil varieties do contain a much lower dosage of THC, it may be noted that it is not completely THC-free. There have been cases where individuals have tested positive for THC due to using high amounts of CBD oils. The reason for the small amounts of CBD is that there are still trace amounts in the plant and the fact that the human body more efficiently processes CBD when there is THC mixed in with it.
Cannabis Oil: The Final Hit
Cannabis oil is the newest sensation in the cannabis community, thanks to the smoke-free alternatives it provides users in the form of topicals, edibles, and vape oil. One benefit to this rise in popular smoke-free alternatives is the fact that it’s discreet – even if you are on the road you don’t need to worry about finding a 420 Friendly hotel (though it doesn’t hurt if you do).
The best part about this cannabis oil renaissance is that even if you can’t get high due to work or other reasons, you can still enjoy the wellness benefits of cannabis plant from CBD based oil.
A few things to remember about trying cannabis oil:
- Be polite. Even though CBD is not illegal, vaping is still prohibited in many businesses and indoor spaces so be polite.
- Be aware. CBD oil does still contain trace amounts of THC so if you need to take drug tests for any reason, just be conscious of the amount of oil you use.
- Be moderate. Finally, when using edibles, know your limit. Edibles take a while to kick in so wait an hour or two before eating more.