Cannabis Oil: What is it, Pros & Cons, and How to Take it

Here are the basics of cannabis oil: what it is, its reported benefits and what to consider when using it.



- Cannabis oil is cannabis extract mixed with a neutral oil
- It can be used as an alternative to smoking or vaporizing dried cannabis flowers.
- The pros of cannabis oil include portability, while uncertainty about how much to take is one of the cons.
- There is no specific recommended dosage — you will have to determine the correct amount for you.


What is it?

Cannabis oil is a cannabis extract — a concentrated substance derived from the dried flower — mixed with a neutral oil, such as MCT or sunflower oil. It can be packaged in a bottle with a spray top or a dropper or in pre-measured capsules and is taken orally. It can be used as an alternative to smoking or vaporizing dried cannabis.


How Do I Use It?

You should follow the instructions included with the product, but a drop is typically placed or sprayed under your tongue to allow the oil to absorb sublingually. (Shake the bottle well before using to ensure the extract is evenly mixed with the oil.)

Alternatively, some oils are available in capsule form, a pre-measured soft gel-filled with oil absorbed into your system after it is swallowed and the outside dissolves. The benefit of capsules is that, since they are pre-measured, you always know exactly how much you are taking, though there is less flexibility in dose amounts.


The Pros and Cons of Oil

As with any cannabis product, there are pros and cons to using cannabis oil. Advantages include convenience, as the bottle is portable, and the oil often has no odour or flavour. It's a smoke-free alternative to dried cannabis, and because it's concentrated, only a tiny amount is needed to experience effects.


One downside of using cannabis oil is that the reported effects are not as immediate as they are with inhalation (your body processes ingested cannabis differently). Additionally, when trying any cannabis product for the first time, it can be challenging to determine how many drops or sprays to take.


How Much Should I Take and How Long Until it Takes Effect?

If you are using the cannabis oil for the first time or trying a new product, Health Canada recommends starting with a low dose and increasing it slowly once you determine how it affects you. The product label provides information on how much CBD and THC are in the oil. 

According to Health Canada, while smoking or vaporizing cannabis can produce an effect within minutes, it may take half an hour to four hours for the effects of cannabis oil to become apparent, depending on factors such as how much food is in your stomach the dosage. Health Canada also reports that the impact of oil may last up to 24 hours.

When taking a cannabis product with a longer onset time, such as oils, people often don't wait long enough before taking more and end up taking more than they were prepared for. Be patient and allow even up to a couple of hours before increasing your dosage to lower the chances of experiencing overly strong or other adverse effects.


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