Cannabis oils: 101

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Cannabis oils

When the Cannabis Act came into force on October 17, 2018, cannabis oils were probably the least known among the cannabis forms being legalized.

We have created a quick guide to help you understand what oils are, how they are made, and how they are consumed.

What Are Cannabis Oils?

Cannabis oils are extractions from cannabis plants. The oils are first extracted, then purified, then formulated with different proportions of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, and, lastly, combined with a carrier oil. When used with effective carrier oils, extractions are proving to be smoke-free alternatives to traditional cannabis products.

How Are Cannabis Oils Made?

Extraction is a highly technical process involving scientific expertise. It involves coaxing cannabinoids (THC and CBD being the most utilized ones today) out of the plant through exposure to heat and pressure (CO2 extraction), or using ethanol as a liquid solvent.

Once the cannabinoids are extracted, they must be purified to isolate enough high-purity compound.

The Importance of Carrier Oils

For certain delivery forms, carrier oils are extremely important in cannabis consumption as they can affect the bioavailability of cannabis in your body. Bioavailability refers to the degree to which the cannabinoids or terpenes enter your bloodstream and absorb into your tissues.

Common carrier oils include MCT oil, olive oil, and palm oil. Neptune is working to develop innovative products by using its proprietary MaxSimil® fish oils, abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, and could act as an excellent carrier oil for cannabis products.

Flexibility in Use

One of the best things about oils is that they can be administered in a number of ways to suit the consumer’s needs.

The most common way to dose a cannabis oil is sublingually or under the tongue. That area is high in mucous membranes, allowing the oil to be absorbed quickly and with a rapid onset time.

You may also dose your cannabis oil orally, by swallowing a capsule or by infusing it into foods and beverages. Ingesting drops of your cannabis oil delivers the cannabinoids to your gastrointestinal (GI) system, which may be a bit slower to take effect than ingesting under your tongue.

The use of topicals is becoming more common as people recognize the benefits of placing cannabis directly on affected areas which may reduce inflammation and pain. Topicals are not yet legal within Canada’s adult market but are expected to be a year from now when edible and self-care products become fully regulated. Cannabis-infused topicals enter the endocannabinoid system through the body’s largest organ: the skin.

Finally, those who are interested in inhaling their cannabis oil may use a vaporizer. It’s important to know that not all cannabis oils may be vaporized so be sure to check whether your cannabis oil is the vaporizing kind. Many people find vaping cannabis oils a generally “cleaner” method of ingestion than smoking since it does not involve any combustion and as such is less damaging to the lungs than smoking.

Cannabis is a new, exciting market in Canada. Watch for our next blogs to help you understand and navigate its development.