How Safe Is Cannabis Oil?

Mary Mart

For a majority of Americans, the debate surrounding cannabis’ usefulness as medicine is over and done with (will someone please tell Jeff Sessions?)

In numerous recent surveys, Americans have expressed overwhelming support for legal cannabis; some studies put the percentage of those who support medical marijuana at a whopping 88%. Overall, these numbers are on a strong upwards rise.

That said, when we break that word “cannabis” down into constituent parts, things get interesting. While most Americans now want access to legal, safe cannabis, some of them have expressed concern over edibles, which can be mistakenly consumed by children and have led to an increase in emergency-room visits.

And what about cannabis oils? They’re a wildly popular and fast-growing sector of the industry, but are they safe?

Marijuana Concentrates: A Cutting-Edge Approach to an Age-Old Idea

As regular readers of our blog know, cannabis oils—or extracts, waxes, dabs, or any of its many other names—are produced by subjecting cannabis flower to specific heats, pressures and extractive agents to produce a chemically pure, potent and stable product, typically in a wax- or honey-like form.

Though this process takes place under highly controlled conditions, in many regards, it’s just a refinement of an ancient cannabis product: Hashish.

In hash production, the gland heads from female plants are separated from the marijuana plants and then processed using relatively simple techniques into a potent, brick-like block.

So in one form or another, concentrates have a long history. What’s the danger?

Too Much of a Good Thing? Concerns Over Potency

From a user standpoint, cannabis oils present a problem in that they are potentially too potent, at least for those accustomed to smoking or vaping cannabis flower.

While cannabis flower typically has a THC content between 15 – 25%, many concentrates can top 75% potency. That means it’s astonishingly easy to consume more than you intended; while it’s impossible to actually overdose, the experience can be unpleasant. As a rule, we urge you to go low and go slow when you’re first getting accustomed to concentrates.

Of less concern to cannabis users—but of plenty concern to law-enforcement and other public health and safety officials—is the prevalence of homemade cannabis extraction labs. Labs have been implicated in a number of fires and explosions across the nation. Simply put: We do not recommend you try to produce your own cannabis extracts.

Cannabis Extracts and the Body

Though cannabis research lags behind that of other plant-based medicines due to its legal status, studies on CBD-rich marijuana concentrates date back at least to the 1980s and demonstrated its usefulness for those suffering from muscle tremors and other associated conditions.

The list of conditions  treatable by cannabis—especially the high-CBD strains now gaining popularity—is long and growing. If we had to make a prediction, it’s that this trend is only going to continue. And because of their ability to deliver highly potent, clean and refined cannabinoids, cannabis concentrates are going to be leading the way.

 

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