Once you have a prescription for medical cannabis, you’ll have some choices on how to consume your medicine. The more known method of consumption is smoking, but you can also vaporize or ingest cannabis.
When you inhale cannabis, either by smoking or vaporizing, it can take about 10 minutes to take effect and usually lasts 1-2 hours. Ingesting cannabis, on the other hand, can take 1-2 hours to take effect and last 6 to 8 hours. So depending on your condition, one method might be more beneficial than the other for you, or you might find success with a combination of the two.
Some patients gravitate towards oils because they offer a more discreet, odourless and consistent delivery. Oil can also make dosing more practical for children, those in palliative care, or those with severe disabilities.
The oils that you would purchase from your LP are only for ingesting, not for smoking. Each bottle comes with its own dropper marked with dose amounts in milliliters. Squeeze the measured amount under your tongue and let it rest there for 60-90 seconds to absorb into your blood stream. Then swallow. An empty stomach can minimize the effects so try to have it with a small snack.
Oils are made with different strains of cannabis plant according to the desired outcome of high CBD, high THC or a balanced blend. The method of extraction is typically solvent-less supercritical CO2 extraction. The resulting product preserves the terpene profile (to learn more about Terpenes check out Introduction to Terpenes).
The medical cannabinoids and terpenes are then combined with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil or grape seed oil. The finished product range in size from 25ml to 100 ml, with each ml containing anywhere from 0-30 mg of CBD and/or THC. The cost is anywhere from $65 a bottle to $200 depending on producer, size and strength. One bottle of oil is considered equivalent to 5-10 grams of your prescription.
Not every Health Canada Licensed Producer (LP) has a license to produce and sell ingestible oils. But as of the date of this article, the following do:
7 Ontario LPs: Aphria, Canntrust, MariCann, MedReleaf, Mettrum, Peace Naturals Project, Tweed
4 British Columbia LPs: Cannafarms, Emerald, Tilray, Whistler
1 Saskatchewan LP: CanniMed
1 New Brunswick LP: Organigram
Aurora (Alberta), Broken Coast (British Columbia), Emblem (Ontario), Hydropothecary (Quebec).
LP information is updated on the Health Canada site hc-sc.gc.ca
If you want to consider oil as an option or have any questions, please contact us!