Even though cannabis oils are becoming a very popular consumption method, there are still many consumers who are unfamiliar with them. For this reason, they tend to stick to using the products they know, like dried flower cannabis and are resistant to expanding their horizons. Here’s are some key differences between cannabis oil and dried flower.
Vaping cannabis has increased in popularity over time, and the difference between vaping whole flower versus vaping oil has become a topic of debate. Both methods are beneficial in different ways and cause different effects, so which is better? Without there being one simple answer to this question, this article will explore each product and some points to consider.
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Why are cannabis oils so important for consumers and medical patients?
Many consumers and medical patients want cannabis products that provide the most ‘bang-for-their-buck’. Alongside other concentrate products like shatters or waxes, cannabis oils are highly potent extracts capable of providing THC levels in the 50-90% range. This means that a little will go a long way and a strong high can be induced if desired. Cannabis oils are also a very pure product because contaminants like plant matter, pesticides, or residual solvents have been removed during the extraction process.
Capsules, tinctures, and oral sprays are often preferred by medical patients or consumers who suffer from respiratory conditions and do not wish to smoke (inhale) their cannabis. Ingesting oils is also a more discreet method and more convenient than smoking dried flower.
Cannabis oils and their derivative products come in a bunch of different formulations including both THC and CBD options of varying potencies. There are oil capsules, oral sprays, tinctures, and vape pens or cartridges that provide a bunch of consumption methods to cover all the bases, from ingestion to inhalation. If preferred, cannabis oils can easily be added to any food or beverage as well.
Oils are also great tools when it comes to the need for accurate dosing because they make it easy to consume a specific quantity of THC or CBD. There is a bit of a learning curve associated with ingesting cannabis oils until you figure out how much is needed for you to reach your preferred level of effects. Always start slow and increase your dosage gradually until you find your ideal balance.
Vaping Vs. Smoking
Consumers of cannabis have varying preferences when it comes to individual needs and wants. Whether vaping flower or oil, there is no wrong way to use cannabis. That said, people tend to prefer vaping to smoking. Survey results taken from TVape show that 86% of 700 people surveyed agree they “felt generally better after vaporizing as opposed to smoking”. The difference between vaping and smoking comes down to some history about the chemistry of the products. The Nixon Administration of the 1970’s classified cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug which led to underground sales of non-regulated marijuana. In the 1990’s medical marijuana arrived in states like California and Washington, making regulation necessary for quality products to be sold. This led to higher THC content, a greater focus on CBD chemical compounds, and greater public consciousness about the availability of various strains. Over time, people began to realize that higher THC content did not necessarily mean a better high, and instead, they developed greater respect for cannabinoids that are rarer. Enter cannabis oils and better chemistry compounds and concentrates. “The chemistry of most cannabis oils resembles nothing of the cannabis plant”.
Cannabis Oils that Resemble Flower
Still, there are some cannabis oils that offer more of a “full-spectrum” like the compounds found in cannabis flower. These oils contain similar terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids. Below are some things to look for in a full-spectrum product:
- On the package is listed “processed with bud,” “native terpenes,” or “cannabis terpenes.”
- Some CBD content – If the package reads 0% CBD content, its profile is narrow.
- Cannabinoids that are rare, such as CBG, CBN, CBC, and THCV.
- A terpene content of 5-20%.
- A darker color – if the oil is clear it isn’t similar to flower.
Vaping Loose Leaf Flower Vs. Oil
There are two main types of vaporizers used to vape flower: conduction or convention. Each heats the flower differently. Conduction vaporizers involve a metal-on-metal, motionless heat transfer, while convection vaporizers move energy via a liquid or gas much like steam. The more efficient of the two are conduction vaporizers which heat with hot air, since convection vaporizers use a metal chamber in which the flower touches the walls and receives uneven heat. This means the flower that touches the chamber walls receives more heat that leads to waste. This is an important distinction to realize when deciding whether vaping flower or oils is best. Overall, vaping oils (concentrates) is better for times when someone prefers one or two quick puffs on-the-go because no heating time is necessary. In addition, vape pens are typically small and inconspicuous.
Vaping flower requires one to prepare it by grinding the flower and refilling the chamber before each use. Flower vaporizers require battery recharging and drain power while turned on, whereas oil vaporizers only use power when a draw is made from the pen. The loose-leaf has a stronger flavor than concentrates, but also a stronger smell. Both methods are cleaner and produce lighter effects, but this is neither positive nor negative depending on the desired outcome. For some people, vaping means clearer effects; for others weaker effects. In the end, the decision to vape flower, oil, or both comes down to a personal preference about the above mentioned facts.
At the end of the day, choosing a cannabis consumption method is very much a personal choice. Just because there are a lot of benefits to using cannabis oils, many users will still prefer to medicate with dry flower. There’s no such thing as too many choices when it comes to cannabis consumption, and we won’t be the first to stand in the way of a particular method if it’s beneficial to someone.
As cannabis extraction continues to advance, we’ll likely see oils and extracts become the largest cannabis consumption method alongside edibles. While nothing will replace the joys of a group session with a joint, bong, or vape pen, there is a lot to be said for the value and versatility provided by cannabis oils and its associated derivatives.