THC and CBD are the most common cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While THC is mainly known to make users high, CBD is widely used for other medical benefits. That being said, THC oil, or oil containing THC, is not without its medical benefits.
This popular yet undervalued concentrate has other effects other than being the one that makes a user high!
What‘s more, it comes in many products that range in potencies and can be used based on your specific weed needs.
Keep reading to understand the differences between various THC oil products, their benefits, and how THC oil differentiates from CBD oil. We have a lot to cover today!
Table of contents
What is THC Oil?
“THC oil” is an umbrella term that covers a few different products. It commonly refers to either butane hash oil (BHO) extracts, vape oils, topical cannabis oils, or tinctures.
Let’s take a closer look at each of those categories.
After the extraction process, BHOs are processed in several different ways depending on the form of concentrate being made.
For instance, heating and pressurizing BHOs at a low, slow temperature creates weed crumble.
Alternatively, shatter is made similarly, using lower temperatures but for a shorter amount of time. To create weed badder or budder, BHOs are processed at a high temperature, then whipped until they reach the desired consistency.
BHO extracts are used with a dab rig, a water pipe similar to a bong but designed for use with concentrates rather than flower.
Some tokers enjoy smoking concentrates by mixing crumble or shatter into ground flower, or spreading a more viscous concentrate, like budder, onto the inside or outside of a joint.
BHO extracts are heavy hitters, delivering a significantly more potent THC dose than smoking cannabis flower. Cannabis flower usually contains 15-25% THC, whereas concentrates like BHOs go up to 90% THC.
If you’re a cannabis rookie and someone offers you a dab, you may want to decline unless you’re prepared to get knocked senseless politely.
We think we’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s never heard of vaping, considering its steep increase in popularity for both tobacco and cannabis consumers.
However, you may not know how vapes work or what’s actually in a THC vape cartridge.
A simple THC vape pen has two components: a battery and a cartridge of THC distillate oil with a mouthpiece. The battery (usually rechargeable and designed for ongoing re-use) heats the oil and powers the atomizer in the cartridge, creating vapour that the user inhales from the mouthpiece.
THC vape cartridges themselves contain THC distillate that has diluted with a thinning agent so that it can be vaporized without clogging the device.
Some pre-filled vape cartridges use BHO concentrates, but usually, THC vapes contain CO2 extraction distillates. The CO2 extraction process is solvent-free and preserves terpenes for a flavourful vaping experience (which can be further enhanced with the range of tasty flavours you’ll find in many vape carts).
Like with smoking, vaped THC enters the bloodstream rapidly through the lungs, and most people feel the onset of effects within 15 minutes.
As vaping doesn’t involve combustion, the vapour produced is gentler on the lungs than smoke, which contains carbon and other lung-irritating particulates.
Cannabis topicals often make use of CBD, THC’s non-psychoactive sibling that’s known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties (more on that below).
Many cannabis topicals also include THC, which provides its own therapeutic properties and boosts the efficacy of CBD.
Topical cannabis oils may be mixed with other essential oils for additional benefits, such as lavender for relaxation and menthol to ease muscle pain. These products are often sold in spray bottles or mixed into a balm, cream, or lotion for easy application.
Tinctures are ingestible cannabis products that can deliver a quicker onset of psychoactive and/or therapeutic effects. Cannabis tinctures can be made with THC oil, CBD oil, or a combination of both, depending on the desired results and effects.
Cannabis tinctures are usually made with THC or CBD distillate, optional flavourings and a carrier oil such as coconut oil to hold everything together. Due to their unique properties, cannabis tinctures are an accessible, discreet and versatile way to medicate. THC oil tinctures can be easily infused with foods, beverages, or eaten as is by being administered under the tongue.
Cannabis tinctures are ideal for both recreational and medicinal users due to their quick onset of effects, mild flavour and accurate dosing. When THC oil is mentioned, tinctures are usually the cannabis product that’s being referred to.
THC Oil vs CBD Oil
CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are used both solo and collectively to address a variety of complaints.
Let’s explore a few of the reasons people use both THC and CBD oil products.
For the purposes of this discussion, “CBD oil” refers to full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate products. Full-spectrum CBD contains up to 0.3% THC. However, this is not enough to cause any psychoactive effects.
Additionally, “THC oil” here refers to any product in which THC is the main component, including pure THC oils and THC-CBD blends, as those cause psychoactive effects.
Anxiety and Depression
As CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t usually cause side effects, it can be used daily to alleviate chronic depression and anxiety symptoms. Though it doesn’t boost serotonin production, CBD does make the receptors in the brain more receptive to the serotonin in one’s system already.
Many people find THC promotes calmness and relaxation and helps them disconnect from depressive thoughts and stress. However, because it does cause psychoactive effects, it may not be an ideal remedy for someone suffering from a panic attack at work, for example.
THC may lead to increased anxiety and paranoia for some folks, so it should be explored with caution.
All in all, CBD and THC are both effective against some symptoms of anxiety and depression.
There has not been enough research into either CBD or THC to tout them as replacements for SSRIs and other mood regulators. Anyone with a severe mood disorder should consult their doctor before using either type of product.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory, antiemetic (lessens vomiting and nausea), and neuroprotective qualities make it effective in combating a range of physical maladies.
CBD alleviates pain and speeds recovery in post-exercise muscle fatigue. It combats nausea that accompanies hangovers, headaches, and even chemo treatments. It’s even shown to ease symptoms of serious neurological conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy.
That being said, many people with chronic pain find that CBD alone is not enough. The powerful sedative effects of THC provide an extra boost of pain relief and can help people disconnect from the mental symptoms that often accompany severe physical pain.
THC and CBD are both effective sleep aids when taken in low doses.
CBD is shown to lower the production of cortisol, the stress hormone that contributes to insomnia. THC’s pain-relieving and relaxing effects help to calm the body and mind in preparation for sleep.
Studies have also shown that THC reduces REM sleep, which is beneficial for individuals who experience night terrors or PTSD. It can also contribute to less restful sleep in those who don’t suffer from those conditions.
Both CBD and THC taken in higher doses before bed may have the opposite outcome you’re looking for. While high doses of THC will provide a sedative effect, it may make it harder to actually get to and stay asleep and can cause grogginess in the morning.
High doses of CBD can be energizing rather than relaxing and will also neutralize the sedative effects of THC.
If you’re looking to use CBD or THC as a sleep aid, try a low dose of pure CBD or 1:1 THC/CBD oil.
How Long Does THC Oil Stay in Your System?
THC stays in most people’s systems for around a month from last consumption. This timeline will vary from person to person, depending on a few factors.
For someone who uses high-THC cannabis products regularly, it may take 3-4 months for all residual THC to be purged. On the flip side, in someone who uses cannabis infrequently, it may be gone in a couple of weeks.
Some people believe that increased exercise and fluid consumption helps flush THC faster, but evidence to this is anecdotal and shouldn’t be considered conclusive by any means.
Please note that THC topicals aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream, so those products are exempt from this particular conversation.
Which Cannabis Oil Should You Try?
THC is widely used to make users high; however, it also has other benefits and can be used to fight anxiety and depression, combat pain and help you fall asleep and get rest during the night.
On the other hand, using CBD oil means experiencing all the benefits cannabis has to offer but without psychoactive effects.
That being said, many users with chronic conditions find that using CBD oil on its own does not supply the same potent effects. Therefore, many start adding both cannabinoids to their treatment plans.
Consult your doctor about whether or not to add cannabinoids to your prescription. Together you can come up with a treatment plan that will work wonders for you.
Stay safe and healthy! And as always, happy trails!