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Cannabis oils 101: What Canadians need to know

Published on February 8, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
cannabis oils
Photo by Jesse Milns for Leafly

Now that recreational cannabis is legal, Canadian retailers are carrying a wide range of products, and along with dried flower, stores are selling cannabis oils.

In addition to providing a cleaner alternative to smoking cannabis, a process that releases toxins and carcinogens, taking oils is more convenient and discreet because no special equipment is required to consume them and they are packaged in small bottles.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cannabis oils:

What Are Cannabis Oils?

Cannabis oils are extracts from cannabis plants that have been dissolved in a base (usually coconut oil or olive oil) to create a liquid. Some are higher in the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) while others contain more cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that contributes to a sense of wellness while counteracting the psychoactive effects of THC.

Getting a particular THC:CBD ratio is challenging with dried bud because each strain has a different mix of compounds, and usually contain very little CBD. But that is not the case with oils. Through the production process, producers are able to manipulate the compounds to create a specific THC:CBD ratio. That is why it is possible to find a much higher concentration of CBD in oil than in dried bud, a definite benefit over bud and a reason to have both on hand for all your cannabis needs.

Canadian Cannabis Oils

Here are some examples of cannabis oils currently available in Canada.
Broken Coast Cannabis Oil (CBD)Broken Coast Cannabis Oil 1:1Broken Coast Cannabis Oil (THC)
CanniMed Oil 1:20CanniMed Oil 10:10CanniMed Oil 18:0
Irisa Sun OilIrisa Stars OilIrisa Moon Oil
Tilray 5:20 CBD OilTilray 10:10 Balance OilTilray 25:0 THC Oil

Find Cannabis Oils Near You

How are Cannabis Oils Consumed?

Cannabis oils can be used in many ways. Most oils on the market come with droppers, which can be used to place the liquid under or over your tongue. Under the tongue is called a “sublingual” application and this method enables the oil’s active ingredients to be absorbed by the mucous membrane in your mouth. Blood vessels under your tongue deliver the active ingredients straight to your bloodstream, bypassing your digestive system.

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Some consumers prefer to put the cannabis oil directly into food or drinks while others use it to make cannabis-infused butter or oil, which they then use for cooking. In this delivery method, the active ingredients pass through the GI tract, taking a longer route to the blood brain barrier than is the case with the tongue or sublingual application.

How Much Should I Take?

The ideal dosage varies from one consumer to the next but, because oils are a concentrated version of bud, experts suggest you “start low and go slow.” Try a very low amount of oil and increase your dose incrementally until you achieve the result you’re looking for. Generally, one milliliter (mL) is considered one dose but it’s fine to start with less.

Keep in mind that the ratio of compounds in a particular oil is based on one mL—so, for example, if an oil has a 5:1 ratio of THC:CBD, it has five mg of THC and one mg of CBD.

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How Soon Will I Feel The Effects and How Long Will They Last?

Your body processes ingested and inhaled cannabis differently. It takes longer to feel the desired effect of the cannabis when you take oil, but the effect lasts longer. When you inhale cannabis you feel the effect within a few minutes and it lasts about two hours. When you ingest cannabis oil, however, it can take as long as one or two hours to take effect, but that effect can last as long as six hours.

How Should I Store Cannabis Oil?

Store your cannabis oil in a neutral environment to boost longevity. It’s best to store it in a cool, dry place just as you would non-infused olive or coconut oil. Remember, heat and light contribute to the degradation of the cannabis compounds.

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Leafly Canada Staff
Leafly Canada Staff
Leafly Canada is based in Toronto, with correspondents and contributors stretching from Newfoundland to BC. To reach our editorial staff please contact us at info@leafly.com.
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