Your first visit to Beehive Farmacy, in either Salt Lake City or Brigham City, would introduce you to a full range of medical cannabis products. Some of those products are THC dominant and some are CBD dominant. For example, you would find both raw flower and cannabis oil. Do you know the difference?
You know enough to tell the difference between a plant and an oil on sight. But how much do you know beyond that? If you are new to the whole medical cannabis scene, you might not know all of the finer details. No worries, as we explain all in the following paragraphs.
Flower Is Straight from the Ground
Raw flower is essentially harvested cannabis that is cut up and packaged by weight. There are different strains produced by growers to meet a variety of patient preferences. In flower form, medical cannabis can be heated via a dry herb vaporizer or ground-up and used to make your own edibles at home. It cannot be legally smoked in Utah.
The most important thing to remember about flower is that it is largely unprocessed. It goes from ground to packaging with only minimal manipulation by the processor. Along with the THC or CBD (depending on which one you are after) raw flower also contains additional cannabinoids along with terpenes, flavinoids, and other compounds.
Cannabis Oil Is an Extract
A fair portion of the flower that growers produce is not packaged in flower form. Instead, it goes to processors for extraction. Those processors use a variety of means to extract the cannabis plant’s thick, viscous oil. Extracted oil is then used to create the medical products pharmacies sell.
Nearly all flowering plants produce compounds that can be extracted. Cannabis plants contain more than a hundred known cannabinoids, many of which you have probably never heard of. They also offer fatty acids, flavonoids, terpenes, and a whole host of other medicinal compounds.
Why does this matter? Because processors can mix and match all of these compounds to create customized medical cannabis products.
Edibles, Tinctures, and More
Processors often take extracted cannabis oil and break it down further to make a variety of products. Below are just a few of the many possibilities:
- Edibles – Edible products, like gummies, capsules or tablets, combine cannabis oil extracts with other ingredients. They can be produced with a variety of cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
- Tinctures – Tinctures are cannabis oils you consume by placing a drop under the tongue. The active ingredients are absorbed through the gums and into the bloodstream. This translates to a quicker effect campared to edibles.
- Vape Cartridges – Because smoking marijuana is still illegal in Utah, many patients prefer vaping their medicine instead. This is possible by way of vape cartridges made from cannabis oil.
- Topicals – Some medical cannabis patients benefit from topical ointments and creams that they rub into the skin. The active ingredients in those products are derived from cannabis oil.
There are those patients who enjoy experimenting with their own edibles at home. They might buy CBD oil and add it to a favorite beverage. They might also use it as a supplement to butter or margarine when baking. The fact is that cannabis oil is rather versatile. Its useful applications are really too numerous to cover in a single post.
If it is Not Flower
Perhaps the best way to distinguish how cannabis oil differs from flower is to say this: if you have a product that is not flower, it was in some way derived from cannabis oil. Everything that’s not flower is either straight up oil or oil derived.