Cannabis oils are a popular consumption method, but many consumers don’t know much about them and tend to stick with what they already know. Here are the differences between cannabis oil and dried flower.
What are cannabis oils?
Cannabis oils are extracts of the cannabis plant. These ‘full spectrum’ oils will contain compounds and terpenes from the original flower (strain) that they were extracted from in a concentrated, more potent form. If oils are not full spectrum, then they may be composed of isolated cannabinoids or contain pure THC or CBD. You need to become knowledgeable about what type of extract is in an oil product before you consume it.
Compared with other consumption methods such as smoking or vaporizing, cannabis oils offer more precise dosing and deliver effects that last a lot longer. Cannabis oils are available in capsule form, as a tincture or oral spray to ingest, and as a few of the more popular cannabis concentrates on the market.
Why are cannabis oils so important for consumers and medical patients?
For patients, many want cannabis extract that provide some kick for their buck. Shatters or waxes are extracts that are more potent than other concentrates like oils, because they can go as high as 50-90% THC levels. This means that even a small amount can induce an intense high. Cannabis oils are also very pure because contaminants like plant matter, pesticides, or residual solvents have been removed in the extraction process.
Capsules, tinctures, and oral sprays are often preferred by medical patients or consumers who want to avoid smoking (inhaling) their cannabis. Ingesting oils is also more discreet than smoking dried flower. Cannabis oils and their derivatives can be found in a variety of formulations, including both THC and CBD. There are oil capsules, oral sprays, tinctures, and vape pens or cartridges that provide a bunch of consumption methods to cover all the bases, from ingestion to inhalation. If preferred, cannabis oils can easily be added to any food or beverage as well.
Oils are also great tools when it comes to the need for accurate dosing because they make it easy to consume a specific quantity of THC or CBD. There is a bit of a learning curve associated with ingesting cannabis oils until you figure out how much is needed for you to reach your preferred level of effects. Always start slow and increase your dosage gradually until you find your ideal balance.
Dried flower is cannabis in its most familiar form! While it’s commonly rolled in paper or packed into a pipe or a bong to be smoked, it can also be vaped in dedicated devices like a PAX or Volcano, and it can be incorporated into home cooking and DIY topicals.
You’ll find it sold by weight and can purchase a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis in stores.
Pros and cons of dried flower:
Aside from its versatility, dried flower is loved because it offers a unique opportunity to appreciate cannabis in its rawest form. Different varieties, which are better known as “strains” or “cultivars” each offer unique characteristics, flavours, and potential effects, though it can be a little difficult to accurately dose.
What to look for when buying dried flower
Just like how some apples boast green skins and tart flavours while others are deep red and sweet, different cannabis cultivars can have distinct characteristics. Have you ever noticed how some cannabis buds are fluffy and green while others are dense and crystal-coated, some smell of fruit or pine, while others are skunky or floral.
Cannabinoid content and potency can also differ from one cannabis strain to the next.
When purchasing cannabis flower, note that the THC content, the intoxicating cannabinoid will be more potent in higher percentages. Meanwhile the presence of CBD, may as research suggests, play a role in enhancing or conversely taming the effects of THC.
Discovering what makes different cannabis strains unique can help establish personal preferences and inform your next cannabis purchase.
Cannabis oils, in this instance, refer to ingestible concentrates that are sold as sprays, capsules, or tinctures that can be dropped under your tongue or incorporated into food.
These products are cannabis extracts mixed with a neutral oil, like MCT oil or sunflower oil. Being food-safe, these cannabis oils are also safe for use topically but should never be inhaled. Inhalable cannabis oils are considered “vaping products.”
Pros and cons of cannabis oils:
Scent-free, flavour-free, and portable! For consumers, cannabis oils are favoured as a discreet, noncombustible consumption method that allows for precise dosing.
What to look for when buying cannabis oils:
While the cannabinoid content listed will indicate potency in the same way as it does with dried flower, cannabis oils are highly concentrated mediums and a little can go a long way.
Cannabis oils are available in a variety of formulations that offer differing amounts of cannabinoids and varying potency. It is important to read the labels before you make your purchase.
In addition to isolated cannabinoids, some cannabis oils will also contain terpenes from the flower that the oil was extracted from. These oils will be identified as ‘full spectrum,’ and could promote the ‘entourage effect’, which posits that THC and CBD work synergistically with terpenes and contribute to the effects of cannabis.
Vaping Whole Flower vs. Vaping Oil: What’s Better?
Vaping cannabis has increased in popularity over time, and the difference between vaping whole flower versus vaping oil has become a topic of debate. Both methods are beneficial in different ways and cause different effects, so which is better? Without there being one simple answer to this question, this article will explore each product and some points to consider.
For general information about whether medical marijuana (MMJ) is right for you, schedule an exam with one of our Florida MMJ Doctors. You may complete our eligibility survey in just 5 minutes to find out if you pre-qualify for a recommendation.
Cannabis Oils that Resemble Flower
Still, there are some cannabis oils that offer more of a “full-spectrum” like the compounds found in cannabis flower. These oils contain similar terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids. Below are some things to look for in a full-spectrum product:
- On the package is listed “processed with bud,” “native terpenes,” or “cannabis terpenes.”
- Some CBD content – If the package reads 0% CBD content, its profile is narrow.
- Cannabinoids that are rare, such as CBG, CBN, CBC, and THCV.
- A terpene content of 5-20%.
- A darker color – if the oil is clear it isn’t similar to flower.
Vaping Loose Leaf Flower Vs. Oil
There are two main types of vaporizers used to vape flower: conduction or convention. Each heats the flower differently. Conduction vaporizers involve a metal-on-metal, motionless heat transfer, while convection vaporizers move energy via a liquid or gas much like steam. The more efficient of the two are conduction vaporizers which heat with hot air, since convection vaporizers use a metal chamber in which the flower touches the walls and receives uneven heat. This means the flower that touches the chamber walls receives more heat that leads to waste. This is an important distinction to realize when deciding whether vaping flower or oils is best. Overall, vaping oils (concentrates) is better for times when someone prefers one or two quick puffs on-the-go because no heating time is necessary. In addition, vape pens are typically small and inconspicuous. Vaping flower requires one to prepare it by grinding the flower and refilling the chamber before each use. Flower vaporizers require battery recharging and drain power while turned on, whereas oil vaporizers only use power when a draw is made from the pen. The loose-leaf has a stronger flavor than concentrates, but also a stronger smell. Both methods are cleaner and produce lighter effects, but this is neither positive nor negative depending on the desired outcome. For some people, vaping means clearer effects; for others weaker effects. In the end, the decision to vape flower, oil, or both comes down to a personal preference about the above mentioned facts.
People have different opinions when deciding what type of cannabis consumption to use. The bigger choice is whether you want to medicate with dry flower or oil products because there are benefits for both. Choosing between various options will help a person get healthier in their own way, which is the goal we’re after.
As cannabis extraction methods advance, we may see oil and extracts as the largest form of consumption next to edibles. Although nothing can replace the joy of a joint session with friends, cannabis oils and their derivatives are important for many to get high.