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C annabis oils, concentrates, and extracts—these all serve as umbrella terms under which sits a warehouse of different products: vape oil, hash, tinctures, dabs, CBD oil, and every other product dreamed up by cannabis chemists.

(Grant Hindsley for Leafly)

Types of cannabis oil

In this series, we’ll explore the many cannabis concentrate options available to you (depending on your local cannabis laws). Here’s a brief list of broad extract types to familiarize you with what’s to come in this series:

Cannabis concentrates, oils, and extracts offer many unique benefits that you won’t find smoking flower. From easy, precise dosing to clean and refined flavors, concentrates focus on the ingredients in cannabis that matter most. In this 4-part series, you’ll learn the fundamentals of concentrates, explore product options, discover how extracts are made, and more.

An oil, concentrate, or extract is any product derived from cannabis flower that is processed into a concentrated form, but each type of cannabis oil is unique.

Both Bonn-Miller and Ward stress that it’s up to the consumer to be well-educated about the material they’re purchasing and the research that’s out there. “The companies that are creating [cannabis oils] are offering lots of claims about its use that are not necessarily substantiated by any research,” Bonn-Miller said. So “I think there needs to be, from a consumer standpoint, a lot of vigilance,” he added.

Similar to other herbal extracts, the chemicals in cannabis oils vary depending on how the extract is made and what chemicals were in the plant to begin with.

It’s important to know that the research in this area is in its infancy, partly because we haven’t really understood much about CBD until relatively recently,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He pointed out that the classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA makes it difficult to get material to use in laboratory studies. Schedule 1 drugs have a high potential for abuse, according to the DEA, and are illegal under federal law.

Why medical experts are hesitant about CBD

The side effects and risks involved with consuming marijuana-based products aren’t clear, either, Bonn-Miller said. It’s important to “determine cannabinoids that are useful therapeutically while understanding and using cannabinoids that are associated with less risk,” he said. At least with CBD, he said, it doesn’t appear to have the potential for addiction. That’s different from THC, which has been associated with addiction, he said, and negative side effects, including acute anxiety.

The popularity of medical marijuana is soaring, and among the numerous products consumers are seeking are CBD, or cannabis oils.

People claim that cannabis oil can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, though evidence to back up these claims is often lacking. For example, according to Medical News Today, people use cannabis oil for conditions ranging from pain to acne; some even claim the oil can cure diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. (But again, there is no clinical evidence to support these claims.)

Cannabis treatment in people with certain forms of epilepsy has been more promising. The only FDA-approved cannabis-based drug is Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution for treating two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. A recent clinical trial found that Epidiolex reduced convulsive seizures by 50% in children with Dravet syndrome, a type of epilepsy, MedPage Today reported.

As the name suggests, hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of the hemp plant. The seeds are packed full of nutrients, and the resulting oil is often described as a “superfood.” Hemp seed oil contains high amounts of amino acids, fiber, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as an array of important vitamins and minerals. This makes hemp seed oil a valuable addition to any diet, especially those that may be nutrient deficient.

Some people wrongly refer to marijuana oil as cannabis oil, which is too broad a term since hemp oil is also a form of cannabis oil. Others call marijuana oil Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), named after a vocal advocate for its use medicinally.

Hemp seed oil is also extracted from the hemp plant, but it differs from hemp oil in a few key ways. While it is nutrient-dense like CBD oil, hemp seed oil lacks cannabinoids at a level high enough to be effective as a CBD product. Using hemp seed oil is much more similar to eating hemp-based foods than using CBD oil products.

Is it Legal to Buy Cannabis Oil in the U.S.?

Marijuana is grown to emphasize higher levels of THC, which is the compound that gets users intoxicated and produces psychoactive effects. Marijuana can be used either medically or recreationally and can be applied topically, consumed orally, or vaped. Since marijuana oil and other marijuana extracts contain high levels of THC, it can only be used legally in states that have passed medical or recreational laws. We cover the topic of marijuana legality more below.

You can also purchase CBD products from Medical Marijuana, Inc. in our online store. If you’re not sure which hemp oil product to start with, check out our CBD Oil Buyer’s Guide.

As mentioned above, the availability of cannabis oil in the U.S. depends upon whether it was sourced from marijuana or hemp, as well as other factors such as your location, your age, and your medical condition. Below you can learn about the laws surrounding different types of cannabis oil. Stay up-to-date with the latest information on legalization and research in our Cannabis News section.

Hemp oil can then be taken on its own or infused into various different products including tinctures, liquids, capsules, topicals, vape oil, hair and skin care products, and more. CBD oil can also be purified through a filtration process that removes all excess plant material and compounds other than CBD to make a highly-concentrated CBD powder called isolate. Since hemp oil products contain only trace levels of THC, they are federally legal in the U.S. and in over 40 countries internationally.