As a Florida medical marijuana patient, there are more options than ever when it comes to cannabis consumption. Aside from smoking cannabis, there are now concentrates, edibles, transdermal patches, topicals and oils. Cannabis oil is one of the approved ways to ingest medical marijuana. Whether you are looking to make baked goods, infused recipes for drinks, or simply taking the oil sublingually (under the tongue), the possibilities are endless.
Under the tongue
Cannabis oil is generally taken sublingually, where it is absorbed by the mucous membrane under the tongue, eventually making its way into the bloodstream. Unlike pills or other forms of drugs, sublingual medications can enter the bloodstream rapidly and in high concentrations, due to the high vascularity of the cheeks and gums. A few benefits of sublingual marijuana include:
What is cannabis oil?
Similar to olive, vegetable, and coconut oil, cannabis oil is made through the same chemical extraction process. Cannabis oil is a concentrate made by extracting cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, from the cannabis plant and putting the extracts into a carrier substance (oil).
There are numerous ways to take cannabis oil that are safe and effective. Here are a few popular ways to help you find relief:
There are so many ways you can use cannabis oil. However, keep in mind the proper dosages for your recipe of choice. The general rule of thumb is to “start low and go slow” so you can find the right dose for you in your meals, drinks or other applications of choice.
Choosing a method of cannabis consumption is about personal preference. While cannabis oil doesn’t work as fast as inhalation methods like vaping or smoking, it can work more quickly than ingesting edibles. It also comes in a variety of potency options, from oils that contain only CBD to those with a wide range of THC concentrations.
Cannabis oils are concentrates that are created by extracting cannabinoids like THC and CBD from cannabis plants. Most oils you find at a dispensary are created by a process called “chemical extraction.” These methods use a solvent to extract cannabinoids along with other beneficial compounds like terpenes and flavonoids and add them to carriers like hemp oil or MCT oil.
What is Cannabis Oil?
The most effective way to take cannabis oil is sublingually, where the oil is placed under the tongue with a dropper and absorbed by the mucous membranes that lead directly to the bloodstream. This method allows it to bypass the stomach, which raises the bioavailability (the number of cannabinoids that make it to your bloodstream when your body absorbs the medicine) and takes about 15 to 30 minutes to kick in.
You can also use cannabis oil like you would an edible or a capsule by adding it to food and drinks. While this method is effective, the bioavailability of anything you ingest is generally lower, meaning you won’t absorb the cannabinoids as thoroughly because they must pass through the stomach and the liver. Ingesting cannabis oil can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to kick in depending on things like what you’ve eaten and the speed of your metabolism.
Just like with any cannabis product, dosing depends on the individual. It will take a bit of experimentation to find the right dose for you, but the general rule of thumb is “start low and go slow.” You want to find the lowest dose that provides the effects you are looking for, and that might be lower than what is recommended on the product label.
Other forms of cannabis are solid and are usually sold either as resin or dried plant material. In commercially-produced medical cannabis oils, the concentrations of CBD and THC tend to be well-controlled, which makes it easy to calculate doses.
Four drugs based on cannabis compounds are already on the market in Europe. Among them are Nabilone, a synthetic compound that mimics THC, is prescribed for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and Sativex, an oil that contains equal parts THC and CBD, is used to treat muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. Both contain too much THC to administer to children. “The only medicines that are approved in the UK would get children stoned,” said David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, London.
Does it work as a medicine?
Cannabis oil can only be sold legally in Britain if it contains less than 0.05% THC. But the nation’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, announced recently that even pure CBD could not be sold as a medicine without first going through the usual clinical testing and safety checks required for all new medicines. This month, the US Food and Drug Administration will consider the approval of Epidiolex, a CBD-based medicine from GW Pharmaceuticals, which has completed such clinical trials. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will rule on the drug early next year. If the EMA approves Epidiolex, it could be available to prescribe to named patients in Britain next year, Brexit notwithstanding.
CBD is an anticonvulsant, and some other compounds in the plant, including THC and cannabidivarin, may be too. There is good evidence from clinical trials in the US and Europe that pharmaceutical preparations of CBD can treat two severe forms of childhood epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Both forms of epilepsy often fail to improve with existing epilepsy drugs. CBD is generally considered safe, but some trials have reported side effects including dry mouth, lightheadedness and altered liver enzyme activity.
Cannabis oils are extracts from cannabis plants. Unprocessed, they contain the same 100 or so active ingredients as the plants, but the balance of compounds depends on the specific plants the oil comes from. The two main active substances in cannabis plants are cannabidiol, or CBD, and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Oil extracted from hemp plants can contain a lot of CBD, while oil from skunk plants will contain far more THC. THC produces the high that recreational cannabis users seek, while oils for medical use contain mostly CBD.