Cannabis Oil

*Note – These recommendations are intended to be used as a general guideline for beginners. Patients should always remember to follow the directions given to them by their Health Care Providers.

What is Cannabis Oil?

Cannabis oil is the result of extracting cannabinoids from the cannabis plant and infusing it with a carrier oil. Cannabis is available in many different strains and varieties, and each strain has its own characteristics, cannabinoids, and terpenes. Cannabis oil can be made up one specific strain, or a combination of many which is believed to influence the overall effects experienced.

The Effects of Cannabis Oil

Cannabis can be consumed in a variety of different ways, each with their own distinct onset time, duration, and therapeutic effects.

Many patients choose to consume cannabis oil for its high concentration of cannabinoids and long-lasting effects. Studies also suggest that cannabis oil is absorbed by the body more efficiently, therefore, patients who take cannabis oil tend to experience greater effects of cannabis.

Patients can typically expect the onset of effects within 60-90 minutes, however it is not uncommon for this process to take up to 2 hours. Effects can then be expected to last for a duration of approx. 6-8 hours.

By contrast, when cannabis is inhaled, effects can be experienced within minutes after inhalation, but the duration of effect is limited to approx. 1-3 hours.

The difference is in how the various methods of consumption interact with the body. When ingested, cannabis oil is processed and metabolized by the liver, leading to a more gradual onset and prolonged duration of effects. When dry cannabis flower is inhaled using a vaporizer, it is absorbed through the lungs, resulting in a quicker onset of effects, but also limited duration.

*Note – Infused cannabis oils are not suitable for vaporization.

How Cannabis Oil is Made

Cannabis oils can be made using several different methods, however before cannabis can be effectively ingested, several things need to happen first:

  1. Decarboxylation

Decarboxylation is the process of activating the cannabinoids through heat to achieve their maximum potency potential. Decarboxylation is achieved by using heat above 120°C to convert THCa and CBDa from the raw cannabis plant, to THC and CBD the two most common cannabinoids currently used in cannabis therapy.

  1. Infusion

For cannabis to be effectively processed and absorbed by the body, it needs to be infused with a fatty oil. Carrier oils typically include cooking oils such as grape seed oil, sunflower seed oil, olive oil, and MCT (medium chain triglycerides). MCT is the most common carrier oil in the market today.

How it’s Used 

It can take time for most patients to find an effective dose for their needs, however, the simplest way to consume a cannabis oil it to just drop some in your mouth and swallow. Using the oral syringe or dropper, measure your doctor-recommended dose, and then release the oil under your tongue or in your mouth.

Patients must be cautious as one can accidentally ingest a larger dose than needed. When taking cannabis oil, you should always start low and go slow. Wait until the onset of effects should take place before taking more.

Titration – ‘Start Low and Go Slow’

Cannabis effects people in different ways, and thus some patients are more sensitive to the effects of THC than others. For this reason, patients need to be careful when using cannabis oils and find their ideal dose.

Patients may try adjusting or titrating their cannabis oil to find an optimal dose that reduces their symptoms to the greatest possible degree while avoiding as many side effects as possible. 

Dosing with THC Oil

When new to cannabis oils, it is important to ‘start low, and go slow’. For those who are unsure of how they will be affected by cannabis oil, it is recommended to begin with a dose as low as 0.1ml to 0.25ml. Then if needed, increase by 0.1ml to 0.25ml once every three days until desired symptom relief is achieved, or if you begin experiencing unwanted side effects such as dizziness or nausea.

Should you be already accustomed to the effects of THC, it may be possible to begin with a higher initial dose, however it is still recommended to only increase your dosage by a maximum of 0.25ml every three days as needed.

Dosing with CBD Oil

The process of finding an effective dose with CBD is a little different. Because CBD does not lead to intoxicating or euphoric effects, patients are less likely to experience dizziness or nausea. For this reason, it is recommended to begin with a starting dose of up to 0.5ml. Then if needed increase by 0.25ml to 0.5ml every three days until desired symptom relief is achieved.

Dosing with Balanced THC:CBD Oil

For the needs of some, it may be necessary to use cannabis oils consisting of both THC and CBD to achieve effective symptom relief. It is still recommended to employ caution with these products, as too high a dose of THC even when combined with CBD can still have the potential to lead to dizziness or nausea. Patients should begin with a dose no greater than 0.25ml, and limit dosage increase to 0.25ml every three days as needed.

Finally, it is also important to remember to wait up to a minimum of 3 hours between doses, even if the current effects being experienced are minimal.

In Summary:

  • Onset of effects typically occurs within 60-90 minutes
  • Duration of effects may last 6-8 hours
  • When cannabis oil is ingested, it is processed and metabolized by the liver
  • When taking cannabis oil, you should start low and go slow
  • Cannabis effects everyone differently and what may work for you may not work for someone else