How to use cannabis oil – there are so many ways to consume cannabis nowadays, and this variety is great for consumers like you. Each carries positive and negative characteristics. Depending on your intent, goals, and state-of-health, certain delivery methods may be better suited for you.
Today, we’re going to focus on one of the options, Cannabis Oil. With this guide, you’ll understand what cannabis oil is, how it works, and most importantly – how to use cannabis oil. Many recreational and medical cannabis users love how discrete, convenient, and versatile cannabis oil is for them. Here’s how you can reap the full benefits.
What is Cannabis Oil?
All cannabis oils share one thing in common, they contain cannabinoids. These oils generally contain THC and CBD in their active form, meaning that no heat is needed before consumption.
Put simply, an extraction process is used to remove cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis flowers. These compounds are added to a carrier oil so that they can be packaged and consumed. What is inside your cannabis oil will depend on various factors, and the label should provide the information you need.
First, the product depends on the starting material, what cannabis plant, and the buds used. These oils can be made from all cannabis plants, whatever the strain. You can see oils made from industrial hemp, which we’ll discuss later. More often, cannabis oils refer to products made from the drug-type varieties of cannabis plants. This would include any Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid strain. The cannabis flower itself may have high or low levels of THC CBD. Each flower will also have its unique composition of terpenes.
Second, it depends on the way you are extracting the compounds. The extraction process impacts which compounds are collected. Some oils are made from distillate, which only contains THC or CBD compounds. Other methods draw out the cannabinoids along with the terpenes. The chemical extraction techniques use a solvent to draw out the compounds from the plant matter. The most commonly used solvents are ethanol, butane, and CO2. Each has pros and cons, that is outside the scope of this article. Generally speaking, they are all safe if made correctly.
Third, the next factor is what other substances are added to the cannabis-derived compounds. Most Cannabis Oils use medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) as the carrier oil. Others are made with using Hemp, avocado, or virgin olive oil.
For those wanting to make simple cannabis oil at home, these carrier oils like coconut oil can be used as the solvent. This process requires heating the plant matter inside of the coconut oil at a low temperature over a long period.
There you have it, all you basically need to know to read your cannabis oil label. You’ll be able to find out what carrier oil is used, and the composition of the cannabis extracts inside of your Cannabis Oil. The levels of THC and CBD, along with the presence of terpenes play a role.
How does Cannabis Oil Work?
Put simply, cannabis oil works by shifting the absorption of cannabinoids from your airways to your digestive tract. Absorption can start somewhat quickly if placed under your tongue, called sublingual administration.
This absorption occurs through the mucous membrane in your mouth. The reason why people place the oil under the tongue is that this is where the blood vessels are closest to the surface of the mucous membrane. The effects may be as fast as 15-30 minutes
Once swallowed, THC is absorbed as it goes along your digestive system, largely in the intestines. At this point, Cannabis oil is no different than consuming an infused edible or cannabis capsule. The effects of this process can require 30-90 minutes or more. Keep this timing in mind around your cannabis consumption.
Since Cannabis Oil takes some time to move through this, this is one of the reasons why the impacts are delayed compared to inhalation.
When you inhale weed smoke, you absorb THC directly into your bloodstream. THC from cannabis oil largely enters the bloodstream only after reading the intestines. This is why the effects can take over an hour to kick in.
This delay in impacts, which can sometimes require several hours, is the one major thing you need to understand. In terms of how Cannabis oil works, it works slowly but the effects last for longer. This is one of the reasons why medical patients love using cannabis oil for an evenly distributed daytime dose. It is also why those looking to get high right now, may want to stick to smoking or vaping weed.
There is unfortunately one major downside of this absorption method, called ‘first-pass metabolism‘. This term describes how compounds absorbed through the intestines are processed as they go into the bloodstream and through the liver. The result of this metabolism is the destruction of some compounds before they can have an effect.
This is unavoidable when swallowing cannabinoids, and one reason why placing the oil under your tongue is more efficient. Nonetheless, enough THC molecules will get into your bloodstream and start having major effects. It is unclear whether eating alongside consuming cannabis oil increases or decreases absorption, but there is some evidence to suggest beneficial impacts. Specifically, high-fat food is known to be good for CBD absorption.
If you are adding Cannabis oil to food, ensure it is after the use of any high heat. This heat is not helpful and may end up wasting cannabinoids as they are burned off. Otherwise, go ahead and add cannabis oil to any food you like or consume it simultaneously.
The Impacts of Cannabis Oil
The impacts of your Cannabis oil will depend on what is inside it. If you have a high dose of THC, you’re more likely to have psychoactive effects. Luckily, you can also adjust your dose to get the right level of effects. Having terpenes and other cannabinoids inside can lead to various other impacts. The inclusion of terpenes is said to have a synergistic effect on cannabinoids, called the entourage effect.
If the Cannabis oil contains the compounds THCA or CBDA, this means that they were made without high heat. These products are intended for those who want no impairment or psychoactivity. The compound THCA requires heat to become THC, which activates the psychoactive properties. If you require a high dose of cannabinoids for medical reasons and want to avoid getting high, consider looking into these oils.
What about CBD Oil?
We have been talking about cannabis oil broadly, and mostly in terms of THC. Right now, we’ll shift the focus to Cannabidiol (CBD). Notably, you can buy balanced oils or those with basically only CBD. If the oil is made from isolated CBD, it will contain no THC. If the CBD oil is full-spectrum, it likely has some THC and other cannabinoids.
If the CBD oil is made from Industrial Hemp, it will contain under 0.3% THC. You’ll often see these labeled as Hemp Oil or CBD Oil. These Hemp Oils can also be made from full-spectrum extracts or distillate. As opposed to Industrial Hemp, oil made from drug-type marijuana plants will likely contain more THC and minor cannabinoids. These Hemp Oils may use coconut oil or alternative carrier oils.
DO NOT mistake Hemp seed oil with Hemp oil. Hemp seed oil is basically oil made with compounds extracted only from seed. These mixtures likely have zero cannabinoids but do have healthy fats. This product is an alternative oil for use in your kitchen.
How to Use Cannabis Oil – Concluding Thoughts
Avoiding the sugar and sometimes increased potency of conventional cannabis edibles, cannabis oil is more versatile, easier to dose and easier to administer.
You can place some under your tongue and hold it there for up to 15-minutes for the best absorption before swallowing. Or you can just swallow it immediately, on its own or with food. To avoid any negative symptoms in your belly, you may want to consume your cannabis oil alongside some food. No matter your consumption method, we hope this guide has given you some insight into the benefits of cannabis oil and whether or not you should be using it!