Cannabis oil

This is a less commonly used form of marijuana compared to hashish and herbal cannabis. However, it is much more potent than these two forms of marijuana and contains a high level of ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’ (THC’s).

THC’s are the chemical responsible for a range of effects on the brain. These include heightened awareness of sounds and colours and euphoria (or ‘high’), or a pleasant drowsy feeling (or ‘stoned’).

This is the strongest form of marijuana available.

Cannabis oil is often known as ‘hash oil’.

What is cannabis oil?

It is a sticky, red or dark caramel coloured substance which contains high levels of THC’s and several other chemicals.

It is produced by using solvents, e.g. butane, to separate resin from the cannabis plant.

High quality oil is dark red or gold coloured with the appearance and texture of honey. As a result of that it is sometimes known as ‘honey oil’.

Producing cannabis oil

Most of this oil is produced without the proper equipment or conditions, e.g. laboratory set up. So, most producers of hash oil use solvents to control the amount and quality of cannabis oil created.

The criteria for a suitable solvent are cost, availability, ease of use and risks/hazards.

The most popular solvents used are butane, naptha and ethanol which can be purchased at many hardware stores and similar outlets.

Some producers use non-traditional solvents such as animal fats, e.g. butter and vegetable oils which are also capable of dissolving cannabinoids and other essential substances within the marijuana plant.

The extraction process is as follows:

  • Raw material (marijuana plant) is put in a glass container with the solvent/s and placed over water.
  • This water is heated: this enables the solvent to distillate the required chemicals, e.g. cannabinoids from the plant.
  • This mixture is then filtered to remove any unwanted sediment.
  • This is allowed to evaporate – with or without using heat, which results in a viscous extract composed of essential oils and the resin.

The aim is to produce cannabis oil which contains these 3 compounds:

  • Cannabinoids
  • Flavonoids
  • Terpenoids

These cause the euphoric state known as a ‘high’ which includes warm, fuzzy feelings, increased sociability, happiness and altered senses. The whole marijuana plant can be used although some producers choose to use only the buds as these contain a greater percentage of THC’s.

There are dangers associated with cannabis oil production which are related to use of solvents. These are highly flammable and likely to cause serious damage if not used in a controlled environment.

Another risk is toxicity. Some types of solvents are toxic and harmful to health if inhaled or contact with the skin.

It is advisable to produce cannabis oil within a laboratory setting, using the correct equipment and following safety precautions.

Using cannabis oil

There are a variety of ways of using cannabis oil which include adding a drop of oil to a cigarette, smearing it inside a ‘bong’, inhaling vapours from an improvised object, e.g. two knives (known as ‘hot knives’) and adding it to food.

Effects of cannabis oil

Only a small amount is needed to produce a range of effects which can be intense and overwhelming for an inexperienced user.

These effects are much the same as those experienced by smoking marijuana resin or herbal cannabis. But they tend to be stronger due to the higher levels of THC’s.

These effects range from intense joy, elation and talkativeness through to drowsiness, paranoia, depression and laziness. Hallucinations are common and frightening for someone who is not used to the effects of cannabis oil or has consumed a large amount.

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