Nowadays we can find on the market several cannabis based products under different names, and this variety of choices can lead to confusion. This confusion is mainly focused on the different forms of oil that we are going to present in this post.
Marijuana oil BHO (Butane Honey Oil)
BHO is a concentrate of the aromatic and active principles of the cannabis plant made by using liquid butane as solvent. Of course, butane is later removed – purged – by using different techniques. This form of extraction is very famous in the U.S. and Canada and is also becoming increasingly demanded in Europe, as evidenced by the success of Dab-a-Doo and other cannabis events which gather cannabis extract lovers.
Most BHO samples have a very high level of cannabinoids, easily reaching THC concentrations between 70 and 90%. In most countries, users must make the BHO extraction with cannabis plants grown at home to get this concentrate.
Butane Honey Oil is normally used by dabbing, although many people also use discreet portable vaporizers which look very similar to electronic cigarettes.
Rick Simpson’s marijuana oil
Being one of the most renowned extracts thanks to the eponymous character, Rick Simpson oil is a cannabinoid extraction made with a solvent different from Butane. The original recipe first used naphtha and then isopropyl alcohol, although today using always food grade alcohol like pure ethanol is always recommended, which is much less toxic.
Unlike BHO, Rick Simpson oil needs to be heated for a long time to remove the solvent, which causes decarboxylation of cannabinoids from the acid form (THCA, CBDA …) to the active form (THC, CBD …). This is why this type of oil can be used directly by oral or sublingual administration.
Caution: Rick Simpson oil contains THC, that is why its sale is banned in most countries. There are some scammers who take advantage of the high demand from patients to make money. Do not be fooled! Most online sellers offering Rick Simpson oil are scammers! These persons are especially active in social networks like Facebook.
In most cases, these scammers will simply take the money and won’t ship anything to the customer. Sometimes, the purchaser will receive a bottle of oil, although its composition has nothing to do with the announced level of cannabinoids. Thus, for many people the only way to get this cannabis oil is making a homemade extraction. To take advantage of the synergy of the therapeutic properties of THC and CBD we recommend using cannabis strains containing these two important cannabinoids.
It is interesting to mention that RSO extracted with alcohol is pretty similar to the cannabis oil offered in Dutch coffeeshops until the 90’s, before it was banned for its high concentration of THC. It was normally used by soaking a cigarette with the oil. Ethanol has the disadvantage of also extracting chlorophyll and other undesirable components of marijuana if not handled properly, this is why this type of oil has a very dark color and strong herbal flavor if not made correctly. If made properly, it is similar to BHO “shatter”.
CBD hemp oil
Cannabis/marijuana and hemp are the same plant. Despite this fact, we are used to speak of cannabis when we talk about the THC plant (the main responsible cannabinoid for the euphoric effects of the plant), and call hemp to those varieties grown for fiber and with very low THC content (not inducing any psychoactive effect). Most hemp plants have large proportions of Cannabidiol CBD, a cannabinoid famous for its various therapeutic properties.
Thus, a cannabinoid extraction from hemp flowers can be made to concentrate its active principles, especially CBD. Generally, it is diluted in any vegetable oil (olive, coconut …) to facilitate both dosage and use. Since CBD cannabis oil contains no THC traces (less than 0.2%), its sale and use are legal in most countries. This type of oil is suitable for medicinal use because it has no recreational, psychoactive effect.
Hemp seed oil has excellent nutritional and cosmetic properties. A peculiarity of this vegetable oil is that it contains all the essential fatty acids for humans, and in the correct and optimal proportions; for example, the Omega 3 / Omega 6 ratio found in seeds is close to 1:3, as we can see in this composition:
- 16.5% alpha-linoleic acid (ALA, Omega 3)
- 56.3% linoleic acid (Omega 6)
- 13% oleic acid (omega 9)
Organic hemp seed oil also contains two types of very rare and unusual fatty acids in human food: 3.2% gamma linolenic acid (GLA, Omega 6), with anti-inflammatory properties, and approximately 1% stearidonic acid (SDA, Omega 3), one of the main components of brain and retina cells.
The resulting vegetable oil from hemp seeds is perfect for cold food preparation. It should never be heated to prevent oxidation of the fragile Omega 3, which would cause the oil to become rancid. For this reason, it is important to always keep this oil in the refrigerator, especially after opening. The taste of hemp seed oil reminds of walnut oil, being sweeter and with herbal notes.
Vegetable oil with cannabis
The active ingredients of marijuana are fat soluble so that it is also possible to extract cannabinoids using vegetable oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil. This needs to be heated for some time to decarb the cannabinoids to the active form. After decarboxylation it can be dosed via drops under the tongue (sublingually) or directly mixed in the food, such as salads or juices. This type of oil is mainly used by patients who want to benefit from the medicinal properties of marijuana.
We hope this article helped you to clarify the differences between the diverse oils extracted from cannabis and hemp, each one with very different properties. As BHO oil is not suitable to make a vinaigrette, CBD hemp oil should not be dabbed!