Cannabis oil, also known as marijuana oil, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), or pure cannabis oil is a concentrated cannabis extract made using a variety of methods.
What is cannabis oil?
Cannabis oil is one of the most potent forms of cannabis and can be used in many ways, from topical application to ingestion. When it is consumed, the effects of cannabis oil can last for several hours.
Cannabis oil can be consumed by eating it or putting it under the tongue, by vaporizing the liquid, or by orally taking capsules filled with the extract. Ingesting cannabis oil allows the body to absorb cannabinoids more slowly and can last for up to six hours.
How to consume cannabis oil?
Vaping cannabis oil allows the user to feel its effects within 15 minutes and its effects last for about three hours. There are various methods used to create cannabis oil. Some of the most common are outlined below.
- Solvent extraction – This method uses either petroleum ether, naphtha, alcohol or olive oil to dissolve THC from dried herbal cannabis material. Once dissolved, plant material is strained away and the solvent is evaporated. Cannabis oils that have been extracted using this method may smell strongly of solvent and will be fairly thick.
- Supercritical CO2 extraction – This method uses carbon dioxide in a liquid gas state to extract cannabinoids from dried cannabis flowers. The gas is pushed through the flowers under high pressure and cold temperature, breaking down the trichomes and extracting the cannabinoids. The gas leaves behind a pure oil that does not need to be evaporated or agitated in order to separate out the solvent.
- Non-supercritical CO2 extraction – This method uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract cannabinoids from dried cannabis flowers. The pressure and temperature used are lower than in supercritical extraction which allows more plant material to be processed at once but limits the cannabinoids which can be extracted to those that are volatile under low temperature and pressure.
- Ethanol extraction – This method uses grain alcohol to dissolve THC from dried cannabis flowers. The solution is then heated to evaporate the alcohol and leave behind a sticky resinous material that can be ingested or further processed into liquid oil via agitation or evaporation.
- Olive oil extraction – Sometimes called 'dabbing', this method uses an oil like olive oil or canola oil containing cannabinoids from an already extracted hashish or other sticky material. Heat is used to evaporate much of the oil leaving an oily residue that is then dabbed