In this article, you will discover the differences between the many types of cannabis oil you can make or buy including hemp oil, CBD, THC, or CBN oil, cannabis cooking oils, and concentrates like full-extract cannabis oil, also known as FECO.
What is Cannabis Oil?
Cannabis oil may seem like a simple term, but members of my Well With Cannabis Community know that there is a lot more to it than that.
The term 'cannabis oil' is an umbrella term used to categorize different oil types extracted from or infused with the cannabis plant.
If you're brand new to cannabis, it may seem confusing or overwhelming at first because it's true, there are many different types of cannabis oils on the market today.
But have no fear!
We will go through them all here so you can have a better understand of what type of oil you may want to make or buy.
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The Different Types of Cannabis Oil
Cannabis oil types can be broken down into different subcategories:
- Hemp Seed Oil: non-intoxicating cooking oil
- Cannabis Oils by Cannabinoid: THC oil, CBD oil, CBN oil, CBG oil
- Cannabis-Infused Cooking Oils: coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil
- Cannabis Oil Extracts or Concentrates: full-extract cannabis oil, distillate or CO2 oil
The active compounds and associated benefits of cannabis
Below we will explore the many different types of cannabis oil that you can either make yourself at home or purchase from a dispensary.
Hemp Seed Oil
You may have heard of hemp seed oil, but it is important to note that
Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are derived from the seeds of the cannabis Sativa plant.
Both the seeds and the oil are cooking products that can be found at the grocery store and are commonly used for cooking and baking.
Hemp seed oil is a nutritive oil and does not contain the same potentially beneficial properties of oil that contains cannabinoids.
Hemp seed oil is made by pressing oil from the seeds (rather than the leaves or the buds) similar to how olive oil is made by pressing whole olives.
Hemp seed oil does not contain cannabinoids like CBD or THC, and studies have shown that there are no cannabinoids present in hemp seeds
While hemp seed and hemp oil do not contain the same beneficial properties as cannabis oil, they are still a nutritious addition to a healthy diet.
Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are often referred to as a 'superfood' due to their high omega-3 fatty acid and nutrient content.
Again, it is important to know that hemp seed oil different than other forms of cannabis oil outlined below and does not contain the same properties.
Cannabis Oils by Cannabinoid
There are various types of cannabis oils on the market today that feature a specific cannabinoid including THC oil, CBD oil, CBN oil, CBG oil, and more.
Cannabinoids are organic compounds found within the cannabis plant that interact with endocannabinoid receptors in the body, triggering various effects.
To date, over 100 cannabinoids have been identified, meaning there can be many different types of cannabis oils by cannabinoid.
Most of these oils can also be made at home by selecting a specific strain that is dominant in the particular cannabinoid you are looking for.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant and is the primary agent responsible for creating the ‘high’ feeling associated with cannabis use.
THC oil is created by infusing the THC from the cannabis plant into a carrier oil.
Cannabis plants can be genetically manipulated to produce higher THC levels than other cannabinoids.
A cannabis plant is classified as 'marijuana' if it contains more than 0.3% THC, and a traditional cannabis plant may contain anywhere from a 5-35% THC.
THC oil is not legal by federal law if it contains more than 0.3% THC by volume.
THC is legal in states that allow for recreational cannabis use or the medicinal use of cannabis in a medical marijuana program.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most abundant of all the cannabinoids next to THC.
This cannabinoid is non-intoxicating, meaning it does not give the feeling of ‘being high’.
CBD oil is commonly derived from the buds, flowers, or leaves of the hemp plant and may also be called CBD hemp oil.
Hemp plants can be bred to naturally produce higher levels of CBD and lower levels THC.
However CBD can come in many different ratios with other cannabinoids, depending on the cannabis strain that is used.
When you purchase CBD oil online, you may notice that there are different terms to describe the oil, including full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate products.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the cannabinoids the whole cannabis plant contains, including any trace amounts of THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the cannabinoids the cannabis plant contains, minus the THC, as it has been removed.
CBD isolate does not contain any THC or any other cannabinoid from the cannabis plant, it is just an isolated compound.
You can get the recipe to make your own CBD oil at home or check out our many cannabis oil recipes below.
Cannabinol (CBN) is a cannabinoid that is often referred to as the sleep cannabinoid or the 'sleepy' cannabinoid.
Many people who have insomnia hope that CBN may replace addictive and potentially dangerous prescription sleep medications.
CBN is created through degradation, where the cannabinoid THC is degraded into the cannabinoid CBN.
CBG often gets confused with its more famous cousin, CBD.
While they are thought to have similar effects, there are some distinct differences.
CBG, in fact, is the precursor to other cannabinoids, like THC, CBD, and CBC.
Unlike THC, which is a psychoactive cannabinoid, both CBD and CBG are non-intoxicating and won't alter your state of mind.
But unlike CBD, which is a major cannabinoid, CBG is traditionally found only in trace amounts in cannabis plants.
Cannabis-Infused Cooking Oils
Cannabis oils can also be defined by the carrier oil they are infused with, like coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and more.
These oils can be made with a variety of different cannabinoid combinations as outline above, thus you could make a CBD olive oil or a MCT CBN oil.
Making a cannabis-infused oil is a fairly straightforward process that uses decarboxylated cannabis flower and oil to infuse the cannabinoids from the plant into oil.
The final product is a cannabis-infused oil that can then be used to make cannabis recipes.
Cannabis Coconut Oil
Cannabis coconut oil is an important staple recipe for any cannabis cook to master.
The coconut oil performs similarly to the butter in extracting the cannabinoids from the plant matter, and it remains solid at room temperature like butter.
Coconut oil is naturally dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, plant-based, and allergen-friendly, and this is the product we use and recommend when making our own at home.
This cannabis-infused coconut oil is a great option for anyone following a specialty diet or just looking for an alternative to traditional cannabutter.
You can get the recipe for cannabis coconut oil here.
Cannabis MCT Oil
Cannabis-infused MCT oil is a popular cannabis infusion made with just cannabis flowers and MCT oil.
MCT oil is a type of saturated fat extracted from coconuts that are rapidly digested and absorbed by the body.
MCT oil remains liquid at room temperature, is completely clear with no color, and has no flavor.
Many people prefer liquid MCT oil for infusions because it is tasteless, although some people find it more difficult to digest than other oils.
You can get the recipe for cannabis-infused MCT oil here.
Cannabis Olive Oil
Cannabis-infused olive oil is a light, delicious, and versatile cannabis infusion.
Cannabis olive can also serve as a vegan cannabutter alternative alongside cannabis coconut oil and cannabis-infused MCT oil.
You can get the recipe for cannabis olive oil here.
Cannabis Oil Concentrates and Extracts
In today’s growing market you can find many products labeled as cannabis oil concentrates and extracts.
Concentrates and extracts deliver a potent product by isolating the best parts of the cannabis plant, the cannabinoids, into a highly concentrated extract.
Some of these concentrates and extracts may be made safely at home, while some come from a dispensary.
Because they are so concentrated, you only need to add a tiny bit to each recipe to get the experience you are looking for.
And because you only need to add a tiny bit, cannabis concentrates will not disrupt your food’s volume, texture, or flavor.
For this reason, cannabis concentrates are very popular among cannabis home cooks.
If you've never used cannabis concentrates before, be sure to check out my guide to making edibles with cannabis concentrates first.
FECO or RSO
Full-extract cannabis oil, also known as FECO, is a concentrated, whole-plant, full-spectrum cannabis extract.
FECO is a powerful concentrated cannabis extract that interacts with our endocannabinoid system.
One important thing to note is that many people confuse FECO with RSO – also known as Rick Simpson Oil.
The main difference between FECO and RSO is the type of alcohol used for the extraction.
FECO utilizes food-grade grain alcohol, a much safer solvent than the isopropyl alcohol or naphtha used in the RSO method.
The final outcomes are similar, but isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol, like the kind you would find in your medicine cabinet) IS NOT SAFE TO INGEST.
I DO NOT recommend the RSO extraction method.
You can make your own FECO, full extract cannabis oil, at home with this recipe.
Distillate or CO2 Oil
Cannabis distillate is a potent oil extract that contains none of the undesired compounds in the cannabis plant.
It can be up to 99% pure, which means it’s one of the most powerful extracts available.
Distillates are made through a process called molecular distillation, however, there are many different methods used to get to the final product.
Distillates also go through many refinement processes to help remove all of the unwanted plant matter, leaving behind a highly refined cannabis oil.
During the refinement process, the distillate is usually decarbed, meaning that it is ready to use in cannabis edible as-is, and does not need to undergo a further decarboxylation process.
In additional to edibles, this type of concentrate is also used when vaping cannabis oil.
This product is not easily or commonly made at home and is best purchased at a dispensary.
We do have CBD distillate available for purchase in our shop.
Recipes to Make Cannabis Oil at Home
One of the best ways to medicate is to make your own cannabis oil at home.
Below you will find all of my guides and recipes designed to help you make your own cannabis oils from the comfort of your own home.
Where to Buy Cannabis Oil Online
When buying cannabis oil online it is important to understand the legal regulations of the state you reside in.
In most cases, it is only legal to purchase CBD or hemp-derived cannabis oils online, unless you participate in a medical marijuana program.
I wanted to make sure I can provide the highest quality hemp-derived CBD products to my readers which is why I have formulated my own product line available for purchase here.
Thanks to the Farm Bill's passage in December of 2018, hemp-derived CBD oil is federally legal, but it is important to check with your local state and city regulations to ensure legality where you live.
With CBD being new to the marketplace, it can be difficult to find the right product for you, and difficult to find the right brand you can trust.
Unfortunately, we cannot simply trust that companies producing cannabis products are acting in 'good faith' and producing safe products for human use and consumption.
I understand it is hard to feel confident picking a safe product, which is why I created my 4 step R.E.A.L. method for choosing a safe CBD product.
The Importance of Third-Party Testing
Ensuring independent, third-party lab testing has been conducted on the products you choose to use is imperative to ensure that what advertised is in the product is really in the product.
Making your own oils at home can certainly help give you peace of mind of knowing what goes into your products as well.
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