As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on society, many Americans are wondering what they can do to help. One thing people have been doing is consuming cannabis products such as edibles, tinctures, and thc oils online. While it might seem like a quick way to get your fix of the plant, there are plenty of things you should know before you start using these products.
Before you begin, it’s important that you understand the differences between different types of cannabis products so you make an informed decision about which one will work best for you. Here are some helpful tips to consider when selecting a cannabis product to use during this time of uncertainty.
What Is THC? When most people think of cannabis, they think of marijuana or “weed.” But did you know that there’s another type of cannabis called THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) that has been used for thousands of years by indigenous peoples around the world? It is considered by scientists to be the precursor to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient found in cannabis.
THCA is not psychoactive on its own. It must undergo a chemical process in order for it to become THC. This process requires heat and pressure, usually at temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures that exceed 1,000 pounds per square inch. For example, a traditional method of making THCA involves steaming leaves and placing them inside a water tank. The steam then rises through the tank, and the pressure created from the steam causes the THCA to change into THC. After this process occurs, the remaining liquid is filtered out and is ready for consumption.
However, because THCA is not a psychoactive compound on its own, it does not produce any mind-altering effects in humans. However, when combined with THC, the resulting combination is said to cause a high.
The Difference Between Edible Cannabis Products and Other Forms of Cannabis Edibles are cannabis products that are meant to be ingested orally. They come in various forms, including candies, baked goods, sodas, and even alcohol. Although these products contain cannabinoids, they don’t contain THC. Instead, the cannabinoids found in these products are called CBDs — cannabidiols. These cannabinoids have a variety of therapeutic properties, but their focus in terms of medical benefits is primarily focused on helping with anxiety and stress relief.
Some edible products also contain sugar, which makes them more palatable for patients who are suffering from certain health conditions, such as diabetes. Because of the additional ingredients in these products, they also tend to be cheaper than other forms of cannabis products.
In contrast, tinctures are cannabis products made by soaking dried flower buds and/or trim in a solvent such as alcohol. Tinctures generally take longer to ingest than edibles, but they’re also typically safer due to the lower levels of THC present compared to edibles.
Tinctures also allow patients to better control how much THC they consume. When you consume THC through edibles, you often end up overdoing it, since the dosage is determined solely by how potent the product is. With tinctures, however, you can easily calculate doses based on the amount of bud or trim you’ve soaked.
Finally, oils are cannabis products that are derived from either flowers or leaves. Oils are sometimes referred to as extracts, and they are made by extracting cannabinoids from plants. Most oils contain both CBDs and THC. Due to their potent nature, oils are generally only consumed by experienced users.
THC Oil vs. Medical Marijuana It is easy to confuse THC oil with medical marijuana. While both THC oil and medical marijuana are derived from cannabis plants, there are several key differences between the two. First, unlike medical marijuana, THC oil is extracted from whole cannabis plants. In addition, while medical marijuana may contain higher concentrations of THC, THC oil contains CBDs (and occasionally other cannabinoids). Finally, although patients can purchase THC oil online, it’s illegal for patients to smoke marijuana in California.
How Can I Use THC Oil? If you decide to use THC oil, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Always consult your doctor first. If you’re currently taking prescription medications, you’ll want to discuss whether or not you’re able to safely use THC oil. Depending on your condition, you may need to adjust your medication dosage or stop taking your prescribed drugs altogether. You’ll also want to speak with your doctor if you have a history of mental illness, heart disease, liver problems, kidney problems, or blood disorders, as these conditions may complicate your ability to safely use cannabis.
- Read the label. Before purchasing THC oil, read the directions on the bottle carefully. Some companies claim that their products are 100 percent pure THC oil, whereas others simply state that it contains “cannabis extract” or “pure THC.” Make sure to ask the company about the specific extraction process used to create the oil and where the oil came from.
- Be cautious of the quality. Like with anything else you buy, make sure you know what you’re buying. If the oil doesn’t look like it was made in a laboratory, smells bad, or feels oily, avoid it. And if you notice a strong smell or taste, chances are the oil isn’t good.
- Don’t go overboard. When consuming THC oil, it’s important to be mindful of your dosing schedule. This is especially true if you’re new to consuming THC oil. Because THC is known to interact with certain neurotransmitters in our brains, it’s possible to experience negative side effects when overdosing. If you’re having issues sleeping at night, or if you experience frequent episodes of dizziness, nausea, or vomiting, you may want to back off and try again later. As with all things in life, moderation is key.
- Know your limits. Because THC oil is extremely potent, it can be addictive. Even though it’s illegal for you to smoke medical marijuana in California, you can still find THC oil available for sale online and in dispensaries. While you may feel completely fine after smoking a small amount of THC oil, it could potentially send you spiraling down a dangerous rabbit hole. So, remember that while you can legally purchase it, you shouldn’t abuse it.
- Start slow. Once you’ve decided to give THC oil a shot, start low and slow. Try out a small dose for a few days before increasing your intake. Remember, you don’t want to overdo it.
- Talk to someone. Make sure to talk to someone who knows about cannabis and cannabis products. Your family and friends can be great resources for information, and they can be instrumental in helping you navigate through the confusing world of cannabis.