What is cannabis oil? Extracted from the cannabis plant, cannabis oil products created with hemp oil and marijuana concentrates are driving a surge in cannabis use. If you are curious about learning more about cannabis oil, including cannabis oil uses, the different types available, its benefits, and how to best use cannabis oil, below we provide a comprehensive cannabis oil overview.
When most people envision using cannabis, their first thought is likely someone smoking the plant’s dry flowers. However, smoking cannabis is not the only way to experience the benefits of cannabis. It is also possible to extract the cannabis plant’s oil, allowing for incredible innovation in the types of cannabis products that can be created.
Extracted cannabis oil is the raw material that makes it possible to create a wide variety of cannabis products, including cannabis edibles, capsules, vapes, tinctures, dab oils, and more. Cannabis oil is also commonly taken raw and unprocessed as a high concentration way to capture the cannabis plant’s nutrients and cannabinoids.
If you want to learn more about cannabis oil uses, cannabis oil products, and how to use cannabis oil, read our complete cannabis oil guide.
What is Cannabis Oil?
Cannabis oil is a term applied to any type of extract of the cannabis plant, including extracts from both marijuana and hemp. The goal of the cannabis oil extraction process is to remove the plant’s naturally thick, viscous oil from dried or fresh cannabis.
This raw oil contains the plant’s valuable vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, terpenes, flavonoids, cannabinoids, and more. However, the exact chemical makeup of each cannabis oil product will vary due to the individual plant, the extraction method used, and any additional processing or filtration that the oil goes through after extraction.
There are over 100 known cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, and it is the cannabinoids that put cannabis oil in such high demand. The cannabinoids found in cannabis oil are responsible for its effects by promoting interactions with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Out of all of the cannabinoids found in a cannabis plant, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the most prevalent.
Cannabis oil can be sold and consumed as is or processed into a wide range of consumer products. This gives users a lot of choices in terms of how to use cannabis oil. Cannabis oil is restricted to varying degrees by governments around the world, based on a variety of factors including the location, the source of the cannabis oil, the concentration of cannabinoids in the oil, the age or medical condition of the purchaser, and more.
How Are Cannabis Extracts Made?
The active compounds in cannabis can be extracted from the plant’s dry or fresh material. There are a number of different extraction techniques that we will detail below, including some that can be done at home.
Solvent-Based Cannabis Oil Extraction
It is possible to use solvent-based extraction techniques to pull the cannabis plant’s oil from cured or fresh ground cannabis material. Some popular solvents that are commonly used for extraction include butane, hexane, and isopropyl. Some extraction solvents may be toxic if not properly purged from the marijuana oil, making it critical that extraction should only be done by professionals in a licensed facility.
Using a solvent for extraction produces a thick amber-colored cannabis oil that is full of the plant’s active chemical compounds. Next, heat and a vacuum are used to purge the solvent from the oil. The resulting cannabis concentrate is then processed into one of a number of potential cannabis oil forms, including wax, crumble, honeycomb, sap, budder, live resin, and shatter. The resulting cannabis oil product can be consumed by either vaping or dabbing it.
Supercritical CO2 Cannabis Oil Extraction
When making hemp oil, many producers choose to use a non-toxic solvent such as supercritical CO2 to extract the hemp plant’s natural oil.
A supercritical CO2 extraction method produces a dark green oil that is often packaged and sold to promote wellness, due to its nutrient and cannabinoid content. This raw hemp oil can also be combined with other ingredients to be formulated into a range of consumer CBD products, like tinctures, edibles, and capsules.
Cooking Oil Extracting of Cannabis
One of the cannabis oil uses that can be completed at home is cooking oil extracting of cannabis. Cooking oil extracting of cannabis is simple to do with supplies you have at home, including a slow cooker and small gauge wire strainer. Some popular cannabinoid-infused carrier oils include coconut oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, or even butter.
Cannabis-infused carrier oils can be used as massage oils, moisturizers and lip balms, personal lubricants, and more. They can also be used to make your own cannabis edibles at home. If you are interested in making your own cannabis butter, take a look at our guide to making cannabis butter.
What are the Different Types of Cannabis Oil?
When individuals hear terms like cannabis oil, hemp oil, hemp seed oil, marijuana oil, THC oil, or CBD oil, their first instinct is often to conclude that all of these cannabis extracts are essentially the same. However, the truth is that there are significant differences between the different types of cannabis extracts.
Hemp and marijuana are both types of cannabis plants. That means that both hemp oil and marijuana oil are forms of cannabis oil. Despite being members of the same family of plants, marijuana and hemp have some important differences. To best understand the differences between the different types of cannabis oil, it helps to know more about the cannabis family of plants.
Marijuana is grown to emphasize higher levels of THC, which is the compound that gets users intoxicated and produces psychoactive effects. Marijuana can be used either medically or recreationally and can be applied topically, consumed orally, or vaped. Since marijuana oil and other marijuana extracts contain high levels of THC, it can only be used legally in states that have passed medical or recreational laws. We cover the topic of marijuana legality more below.
Some people wrongly refer to marijuana oil as cannabis oil, which is too broad a term since hemp oil is also a form of cannabis oil. Others call marijuana oil Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), named after a vocal advocate for its use medicinally.
Hemp, unlike marijuana, is naturally high in CBD and low in THC. Hemp can be used commercially or industrially for thousands of products. Hemp oil, also known as CBD oil or CBD hemp oil, has exploded in popularity as a way to promote daily wellness in recent years due to its natural balancing benefits.
Hemp oil can then be taken on its own or infused into various different products including tinctures, liquids, capsules, topicals, vape oil, hair and skin care products, and more. CBD oil can also be purified through a filtration process that removes all excess plant material and compounds other than CBD to make a highly-concentrated CBD powder called isolate. Since hemp oil products contain only trace levels of THC, they are federally legal in the U.S. and in over 40 countries internationally.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is also extracted from the hemp plant, but it differs from hemp oil in a few key ways. While it is nutrient-dense like CBD oil, hemp seed oil lacks cannabinoids at a level high enough to be effective as a CBD product. Using hemp seed oil is much more similar to eating hemp-based foods than using CBD oil products.
As the name suggests, hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of the hemp plant. The seeds are packed full of nutrients, and the resulting oil is often described as a “superfood.” Hemp seed oil contains high amounts of amino acids, fiber, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as an array of important vitamins and minerals. This makes hemp seed oil a valuable addition to any diet, especially those that may be nutrient deficient.
Hemp seed oil is made by cold pressing the seeds to produce a green colored oil with a slightly nutty flavor. Hemp seed oil has a variety of uses, making for a great salad dressing or sauce. If you are interested in learning more about the differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, take a look at our article comparing the two cannabis oils.