If you’re new to the world of medical cannabis, one of the things you may not know is that there are different forms of cannabis. Most people are familiar with the loose leaf variant, but you may be less familiar with cannabis concentrates and cannabis oil.
What’s the difference among the various forms of cannabis?
There are some major differences between loose leaf cannabis and other forms. Your needs, your health concerns, and other factors could play into your decision about which one to use.
What Is Loose Leaf Cannabis?
Loose leaf cannabis is the format most people are familiar with. It is the dried bud of the cannabis plant. The most common methods of administration are smoking (not recommended) and vaporizing.
Many people assume this is the only type of medical cannabis, and many also assume smoking is their only option. This isn’t true. There are other variants of cannabis and other ways of administering it.
What Are Cannabis Concentrates?
Concentrates are usually pressed flower extracts from the cannabis plant, most commonly produced as an oil. They’re called concentrates because they usually contain many times more CBD, THC, or terpenes than you’d find in loose leaf cannabis. Because it is very high in THC, some worry about the potential harms this could cause.
Cannabis concentrates can be found in hundreds of products, from brownies to medicated creams.
Because cannabis concentrates are usually more potent than loose leaf varieties, patient need less to achieve health outcomes, which can be convenient. Concentrates are also delivered in unique forms, such as vaporized pens, creams, and ointments. Since they don’t need to be smoked, they also avoid the issues associated with that method of administration.
However, cannabis concentrates are not currently legal or recommended.
What Is Cannabis Oil?
Cannabis oil is also extracted from the cannabis plant. In oils, the various levels of THC and CBD are well-controlled, enabling patients to more effectively calculate doses. Cannabis oil is typically administered under the tongue, which creates a gradual onset of effects that are longer lasting.
Identical Products, Varying Strength
Whether you choose loose leaf, a concentrated option, or a cannabis oil will likely depend on what condition you’re attempting to treat and what strength you need.
Those who are treating mental health conditions such as anxiety or PTSD may opt for the lower doses found in loose leaf cannabis. Those patients who are treating conditions such as cancer or epilepsy may find these doses insufficient and may benefit most from an oil.
A Word about Accessibility
Another constraint patients often face is whether or not they can afford their medication. There is no provincial support for medical cannabis, and there is limited private insurance coverage.
Cannabis oil is often more expensive than loose leaf varieties, which may be one reason more patients opt for loose leaf. Cannabis concentrates aren’t currently legal, so they are less accessible as well.
Always buy from a licensed medical marijuana producer, and work with your doctor to find an option that will work for you and be affordable.