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What is cannabis oil? How can I use it?

By Bjorn Dawson October 23, 2019

What is Cannabis Oil? How can I use it?

There are many cannabis products on the market today, one of which is called CBD, or cannabis oil. You have probably heard the term “cannabis oil” but maybe you’ve pictured a glass jar of cooking oil and you’re unsure of how to use it. You’re not alone.


The use of cannabis oils is becoming more popular, so there are still plenty of people who don’t quite understand it yet.


Cannabis oil is concentrated liquid which is extracted from the cannabis plant. Inside this oil, there are different things, the same as any other herbal extract. Some manufacturers use varying methods to make the extract and others add chemicals to the oils after production (usually things for smell or taste, even terpenes).


Cannabis plants (and subsequently, the oils derived from them) contain thousands of compounds, all classified as cannabinoids. The two most popular are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). 


THC is a psychoactive compound, one that produces the quintessential high you get when you smoke. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t give that high but still gives medical treatment. So, if you want healing benefits without the high, CBD is the way to go, and the most common way to get CBD alone is through cannabis oil. 


One of the many benefits associated with the use of CBD, particularly in America, is the fact that it does not contain THC and therefore is not considered a controlled substance, as defined by the DEA. This, effectively, means that CBD products can be sold and consumed legally, so long as they don’t have THC. In fact, cannabis is so popular that it is expected to reach $2.2 billion industry-wide as of 2020. 


Now, again, some manufacturers add THC back into their products, so if you live someplace where cannabis consumption is illegal or not approved for recreational use and you don’t have a medical prescription, be sure to evaluate the products that have not had THC added back. Most don’t, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

How to Consume Cannabis Oils

The effects you feel when you consume cannabis might differ from the effects your friend feels. This is because it differs from one person to the next. In large part, the effects you feel are contingent upon how you consume the cannabis. With cannabis oil, for example, you can mix the oil into baked goods. So, if you are making brownies, you might just mix the oil into the melted butter and get baked after you bake (only joking, if your oils are THC-free). How long it takes for you to feel the effects after eating that brownie or how long the effects last will vary too. To that end, if you plan to consume your cannabis oil in food form, and you are making the food yourself, it might take a few tries to find the dosage that works well for your intended purpose. Obviously, you might want to find reliable recipes from a shop rather than experiment on your own. The requirements would therefore be whatever oil you want, and the food you want. 


If you are using cannabis oil for topical purposes, say, to treat a headache, inflammation, or other issues directly on the skin, you can rub the oil onto the skin, which requires no additional tools. Here, though, as with any oil, avoid the sun directly after the application or you will end up with a severe burn. 


Things become a bit more uniform when you smoke or vape the oil. Smoking cannabis oil brings with it the inherent health risks of smoking anything whereas vaping is slightly less risky. Vaping, for example, uses a vaping device to heat the oil until it turns to vapor, which you then inhale. The vapor has fewer chemicals added to it, does not produce the same byproducts as regular smoking, and as such, has fewer health risks. To do this, you will need a vaping device, which most commonly is a vape pen into which you put the oils. These pens can be charged ahead of time and taken with you as you see fit. Alternatively, you can use a larger device that is less mobile, but achieves the same outcome. 

Benefits of Cannabis Oil

Cannabis oils can be used to treat many conditions and the evidence behind that is growing each year. One newer study from 2017 found that CBD can protect the hippocampus, which is an area of the brain that handles learning, memory, and navigation. The hippocampus, when under stress, runs the risk of destroying brain cells in those with serious conditions like schizophrenia, and CBD could be used to prevent this. CBD oil, with or without THC, can help manage chronic pain. More recently, the U.S. FDA approved a CBD oral prescription for two rare forms of epilepsy.

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If you want to use cannabis oil, remember that not every product is the same. Each manufacturer uses their methods for producing and purifying products. Some oils, for example, have terpenes added into them at the end of production to give a certain smell or taste. Not all oils are as pure as one another. Basically, this just means you have to know what you are buying. If you want to buy olive oil at the store, you know that not all brands are alike; some have additives, some have higher purity levels, some have better taste. The same is true of cannabis oil. Do your homework, figure out what you want, and then buy the product that best fits your situation.


Side Effects

Most people don’t experience side effects, but if you are on any other prescription medications, you should talk to your doctor about any interference between the two. Sometimes you might just need to get off the prescription, other times you might just need to keep your eyes peeled for specific symptoms. But most of the time, there are no changes.



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