Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 02/05/2018 in Consumption
Updated on January 30, 2019.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
As cannabis loses its stigma, the medicinal value of the plant is finally getting the attention it deserves. States across the U.S. are approving its use for medical purposes, and patients are getting the therapeutic benefits they need. As the medical marijuana industry grows, patients have options like never before. Smoking isn’t the only way, anymore — from edibles to oils, the market is filled with high-end cannabis products. So, it’s quite common for patients to feel a little overwhelmed.
If you want the medicinal aspects of medical marijuana without the harmful smoke, chances are you may be looking at some of the incredible selections of cannabis oil. Oils extracted from the marijuana plant have many of the same health benefits as smoking it — some would argue it has more curative value since the healthful cannabinoids and terpenes aren’t burned away in the combustion process.
No two cannabis oils are alike. Depending on your medical condition, you may receive more benefits from one oil than another. So, how do you know if you’re picking the best cannabis oil for you?
What Is Cannabis Oil?
Cannabis oil is the essential oil derived from the marijuana plant. The outside of the plant is covered with resin, which contains many of the plant’s curative benefits. Using a specialized extraction process involving a solvent, these oils are separated from the rest of the plant material. Most extractors use alcohol or CO2, but other innovative solvents have also been employed.
The result is a highly concentrated oil filled with the therapeutic qualities of the marijuana plant.
The Curative Qualities of Cannabis Oil
The most common type of cannabis oil — and the one with the most health benefits — is full extract oil. Extract of this kind is derived using the buds, and often the leaves, of the marijuana plant. This allows the integrity of the cannabis to be maintained, so it has as much of the original compounds as possible, including:
Cannabinoids: Although THC and CBD are the most recognized cannabinoids, there are more than 400 of these healthful compounds that work together to give marijuana its full effect.
Terpenes: These are fragrant oils secreted within the cannabis plant that affect its aroma, taste and medicinal benefits.
In addition to keeping these helpful compounds intact, cannabis oil maintains the integrity of the specific strain being extracted. Each strain is different and falls into one of three main categories: sativa, indica and hybrids. Each has its own type of effects, which are used to treat various types of medical conditions.
Sativas are known for making patients alert and invigorated, while indicas are best known for their sleep-inducing qualities. Hybrids are bred to combine the benefits of both strains.
Different Types of Cannabis Oils
Today, cannabis oils are produced to meet the specific needs of medical marijuana patients. Cannabinoids have different effects, and one compound may treat a medical condition more effectively than another. When purchasing your cannabis oil, be sure to pay attention to how it’s labeled.
Here are the three main types of oils you may encounter at your local medical marijuana dispensary.
Cannabis oil derived from plants known to be high in THC are sometimes called THC oil, or just cannabis oil. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana, but it also has many other health benefits and can be used to treat severe conditions, such as:
Derived from plants with a high CBD ratio, this oil is lauded by many because of its ability to provide incredible benefits without the high associated with marijuana. CBD is used by many who wish to get pain relief and other curative qualities with the psychoactive side effects. It’s known for treating:
Although both CBD and THC have amazing benefits individually, many patients receive the full healthful qualities when both cannabinoids are present — that’s why equal ratio or one-to-one cannabis oil is so beneficial. Although psychoactive side effects are possible, they’re not guaranteed, and they’re usually rather mild.
When working together, the extract can treat many different conditions, such as:
Besides these three types of cannabis oil, you may also encounter:
Specialty Oils: Although most manufacturers focus on THC or CBD, you may be able to find oils with high concentrations of other cannabinoids. THCV and CBG have medicinal benefits in their own rights, but speak to your doctor or a budtender if you would like to try them.
Raw Cannabis Oil: This rarer oil is extracted without using heat. It’s extremely high quality and offers many health benefits, especially as an anti-inflammatory.
Isolates: These contain only one cannabinoid, like THC or CBD. Although useful for some, they don’t have the same benefits of other cannabis oils because the cannabinoids aren’t working together.
Hemp Oil: Often marketed as CBD oil, hemp oil is derived from the hemp plant and offers very few therapeutic benefits, other than as a dietary supplement.
Factors to Consider When Picking a Cannabis Oil
Finding a cannabis oil that works best for you is a decision you should make with the help of a qualified healthcare professional or knowledgeable budtender. Medical marijuana can work differently depending on a patient’s body chemistry and health history.
When trying to decide which oil is right for you, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Your body type
Your medical condition
Your personal preferences about the plant’s effects
The reputation of the cannabis oil manufacturer
The cannabis oil label, which should include all cannabidiol information and percentages
If you’re confused by the plethora of choices available, you’re not alone — that’s why each state’s medical marijuana program includes a system of support to assist patients with these decisions.
The information we provide at MarijuanaDoctors.com should not replace that of a local budtender or medical marijuana doctor. Be sure to contact a qualified professional near you for help with this decision.