There’s some skepticism surrounding the use of cannabis oil. Some people believe that the production process contaminates the plant material and can expose the user to unnecessary health risks. While it’s true that in the past production methods were fairly rudimentary and sometimes involved the use of toxic solvents, today’s processes are safe, reliable and allow for the production of medicine that’s often far more effective than smoking raw leaf.
Today, professionals in laboratory environments are able to create cannabis oil comprised of exact, standardized concentrations of cannabinoids, which is critical for safety and reducing undesirable side effects for medicinal users. Even home-based producers have become more savvy over the years and sought out safer materials to use in the creation of cannabis oil.
It should be noted that illegal dispensaries using butane and alcohol extraction and the remnants of those ingredients can cause harm.
Here are two of the most common ways cannabis oil is produced:
While many solvents can be used to produce cannabis oil, the fact that it’s difficult – if not impossible – to remove all traces of solvents from the resulting oil makes some solvents a naturally poor choice. Butane and naphtha, for example, can be used to create cannabis oil but are highly toxic and therefore pose a significant risk to users of medical cannabis oils.
To minimize the risks, ethanol has emerged as an effective and relatively benign solvent that can be used to extract cannabis oil. Ethanol is one of the most common ways to extract cannabis oil. Essentially, this method involves soaking cannabis plant material in ethanol and evaporating the solution, thereby creating cannabis oil. This process can be done both at home in rudimentary setups or on a larger scale in a lab setting using purpose made equipment.
CO2 extraction is the best and cleanest method and is seen only in the regulated licensed producers market. CO2 extraction is far more complex and requires much more specialist equipment than a simple ethanol extraction. While setups can vary between laboratories, a typical CO2 extraction system is comprised of a number of pressurized and temperature controlled chambers that expose the plant material to CO2. During this process, the cannabinoids are extracted from the plant material and separated into individual chambers where they can be collected and processed into a concentrated state.
Flavonoids and terpenoids
Of course, creating cannabis oil doesn’t end with extraction. To create a palatable product that appeals to patients, producers are focusing their efforts on creating cannabis oil that is both effective as a medicine and tasty as a consumable. This involves balancing other compounds found in cannabis such as:
- Terpenoids: Responsible for the unique aroma of cannabis. Terpenoids are typically extracted via steam distillation or vaporization.
- Flavonoids: Known to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoids are also thought to play a key role in creating the vibrant colors of many foods.
To top it all off, producers need to be mindful of the cannabinoid ratios of their cannabis oil. Patient needs are continuing to evolve as we gain a better understanding of how certain cannabinoids interact with the body and what works for one person may simply be ineffective for another.
As a patient, it’s important to know that your cannabis oil is safe for consumption. The industry is still in its infancy and, as a result, many aspects are still unregulated, which can be dangerous when you’re entrusting your health and wellbeing to an unfamiliar product. With this mind, ensure that the cannabis oil you’re consuming is made using safe, proven and standardized processes and that your supplier is a trusted name in the medical cannabis space.
Treat Sleep Issues with Cannabis
Canabo Medical Inc. has identified a few strains of cannabis that work well for treating sleep issues. The company has recently launched an online self-referral program for individuals with sleep issues.
Each patient is unique and should be assessed by one of Canabo’s Cannabinoid Specialists to get the correct strains and amount of cannabis.
By: Jareth Trigwell