May 12


The Different Types Of Cannabis Oils Explained

By Great Canadian Herb

May 12, 2021

Cannabis oils are a cannabis extract that is made by extracting cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. These extracts can be used to create many different products, including edibles and beverages. With the legalization of cannabis and CBD in Canada, the possibilities are endless now for consumers

Cannabis oils have been shown to provide relief for individuals who suffer from certain conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, seizures or insomnia.

There are two main types (and several sub-types) of cannabis oil: CBD oil (cannabidiol), THC oil (tetrahydrocannabinol). Different cannabis oils will vary in terms of their effects on the body and what you should use them for – this article discusses what types of cannabis oils are available in Canada and how to use them.

What are cannabis oils?

Cannabis oils are a product made from cannabis that are created by extracting cannabinoids from the plant.

Cannabis oils can be used to make edibles, tinctures, topicals or beverages, and provide relief for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety, depression, seizures or insomnia.

The main types of cannabis oils differ based on potency and which cannabinoids are included in them. There are several cannabis oils, which vary in terms of their chemical composition. Some cannabis oils may be better suited for certain conditions than others.

The main cannabis oil types are grouped into two different categories, those with THC and those that are considered THC free.

Cannabis is a broad term that is used to describe both the hemp plant and the marijuana plant. Hemp grows naturally very low in THC, so it is the most common source for CBD oils. Marijuana is high in THC and is used to make oils with higher levels of THC.

When we talk about cannabis oils, it’s important to know the different terms, as they can mean many types. This includes various oils like hemp seed oil, hemp oil, CBD oil, or formulations like RSO (Rick Simpson Oil).

How are cannabis oils extracted?

Cannabis oils are extracted from cannabis by a number of different methods, including but not limited to:

CO2 Extraction

Manufacturers can extract cannabinoids from the plant by using CO2 extraction. From an extraction standpoint, CO2 is one of the safest ways to extract cannabis as it does not require the use of an additional solvent.

CO2 extraction can be performed in two ways: supercritical or subcritical. Supercritical CO2 is gas that’s been heated and or pressurized until it exists between liquid and gas.

This type of extraction produces a large yield but may result in the loss of some terpenes. Subcritical CO2 extraction uses lower temperatures to preserve the natural compounds of the plant.

Lipid Extraction

Lipid-based extractions dissolve cannabinoids into fatty substances, usually oils of some kind. CO2 extraction may be more precise, but this method is ideal because it retains more of the plant’s cannabinoids.

Ethanol Extraction

Another method to make cannabis oils include extracting the plant’s cannabinoids with ethanol. This technique soaks the cannabis flower in ethanol, a process that removes any cannabinoids from the plant.

Ethanol extraction is often more cost-effective than other types of cannabis extractions. Ethanol, however, tends to bind with water-soluble parts of the plant, which may result in a bitter taste from the chlorophyll. This is commonly removed in another process after.

What are the different types of cannabis oils?

As we mentioned above, there are many different cannabis oils, but they all fall under one of two categories – with THC and THC free.

Cannabis oils from marijuana

Cannabis oils that are made from marijuana will generally be higher in THC and lower in CBD. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis, but it’s mainly found in marijuana plants.

Cannabis oils from hemp

Hemp-derived cannabis oils, such as CBD oil, generally contain minimal THC. The hemp plant is bred to have a low level of THC and high levels of CBD.

There are many benefits to using hemp-derived cannabis oils for medicinal purposes. Hemp-derived cannabis oils are nonpsychoactive and do not produce any intoxicating effects.


One of the primary intoxicating ingredients found in marijuana is THC, produced by a plant’s leaves and buds. Today, the THC concentration in cannabis strains can measure up to 35%.

Unlike CBD, THC is a psychoactive substance with a variety of uses, both recreationally and medically. It can be used as an analgesic, to control epileptic seizures, and combat nausea from chemotherapy treatments.

THC oil is made from cannabis flowers that are rich in THC. There are different methods of making cannabis oil, and it can be infused into a variety of carrier oils. You can buy THC oils at a cannabis dispensary or make them yourself at home.

CBD Oil or Hemp Oil

These two terms are often interchangeable in the industry and mean the same thing. CBD oil and hemp oil are low THC, hemp-based extracts.

Hemp oil is not to be confused with hemp seed oil, though, which contains no actual CBD.

CBD oil is made by extracting cannabis oil from the stems, flowers, and stalks of cannabis plants, most often from hemp. This CBD-rich cannabis oil contains only trace amounts of THC, which means it has no psychoactive properties.

CBD is one of 113 known cannabinoids in marijuana plants and is not intoxicating (unlike THC) or addictive. The body naturally produces endocannabinoids that bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system we have throughout our body.

Endogenous cannabinoids on their own can help regulate things like mood, inflammation and pain response, as well as other functions of your immune system.

Supplementing your body’s own endocannabinoids with phytocannabinoids (plant cannabinoids) can greatly impact the body’s natural endocannabinoid system.

CBD has been shown to have pain-relieving properties and help with seizures, inflammation, anxiety disorders, depression, and more. It is one of the most promising cannabis compounds in terms of therapeutic benefits for a wide range of medical conditions.

There are three main types of CBD oil you can buy in Canada:

Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Full Spectrum CBD oil contains all of the plant’s compounds and extracts, which is what makes it so effective.

It contains a variety of cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG, CBC and THCV, for example. Full Spectrum oil does include small amounts of THC because the hemp plant naturally produces this chemical too but in very low amounts; it isn’t enough to get you high or make you feel “stoned.”

Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

Broad Spectrum CBD oils contain most of the cannabinoids and other compounds that Full Spectrum CBD does, but the THC has been removed.

CBD Isolate Oils

Oils made with CBD Isolate don’t contain any other cannabinoids, including THC. CBD Isolate oils are made with CBD Isolate, a pure, crystalline powder that is highly refined and contains only CBD.

RSO (Rick Simpson Oil)

Another resinous oil type is RSO, which is created when cannabis has been extracted with alcohol. RSO is one of the most concentrated forms of cannabis you can get on the market.

There have been many positive testimonials with this type of oil, and the creator, Rick Simpson, claims to have used it to treat his skin cancer successfully.

Rick Simpson Oil is made by stripping all the terpenes and cannabinoids from cannabis buds via isopropyl alcohol. The plant material is stripped, and the mixture is heated until all that remains are the resinous oils. Most RSO’s you’ll find are very high in THC concentration, but you can also find CBD only RSO, as well as CBD/THC RSO.

One of the best ways to take your RSO is by sublingual application, which maximizes bioavailability. Many people find RSO too bitter to handle it sublingually, and choose to take it only orally instead, mixing it into food or drink. Because of the high THC, it is a powerful extract.

Hemp Seed Oil

Many people often confuse hemp seed oil and CBD oil and believe they are the same thing. Hemp seed oil actually does not contain any CBD or other cannabinoids but is rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamins and nutrients.

Hemp seed oil is a cold-pressed, unrefined product that comes from the seeds of the hemp plant.

Hemp seed oil has been used for centuries as an ingredient in cooking and making soaps and lotions because of its moisturizing properties.

The hemp seeds are pressed to release their oils which can be absorbed by the skin or mixed with other ingredients. People have also historically consumed it orally as well – often added to salad dressings, smoothies or sauces.

This type of oil can be great for some things but does not have the same medicinal properties as CBD oil, or medical marijuana.

Beware that some CBD companies are selling hemp seed oil as CBD oil. It is common practice for scam CBD companies to use this practice when marketing their products. These tactics may dupe consumers into purchasing oils that contain no CBD at all, unaware they are not the correct product.

What are cannabis oils used for?

You can use cannabis oils to treat various conditions, including chronic pain, skin conditions like eczema and acne, neurological disorders including epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, depression, and much more.

Cannabis oils like CBD are also used for anti-aging purposes because they have antioxidant properties that can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and aging.

Many medical marijuana patients use cannabis oil with THC for a variety of reasons, including stimulating their appetites, treating various aches and pains, relaxing muscles, reducing nausea from cancer treatment, etc.

Nowadays, people who don’t want any psychoactive effects will opt for CBD oils instead of THC oils. This is a great way to get the benefits of cannabis with none of the high.

How to use cannabis oils

There are a variety of ways that you can use cannabis oils.

The type of cannabis oil that you use will determine how you use it. If you’re using a high THC cannabis oil, you’ll want to take it easy until you know how it’s going to affect you.

If you’re using CBD oil, it isn’t going to have the same psychoactive effects as THC, so you’ve got a bit more leeway there.

One popular way to consume cannabis oils is by using a sublingual application, which allows the oil to be absorbed quickly into your bloodstream.

You can also consume cannabis oil that has been mixed in with food, candy, or gummies (an edible).

While edible cannabis oils only have a bioavailability rate of 4-12%, edibles are known to last longer (6-8 hours) than sublingual oils.

Final thoughts on cannabis oils

Cannabis oils are, by definition, any oil derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabis oils are easily accessible and can be made from either hemp or marijuana plants, with or without THC.

With a wide variety of benefits for your health, it’s hard not to consider cannabis oil when you want something more natural than traditional medications.

If you’ve used cannabis oils before, we want to hear about your experience. Share your thoughts in the comments below!

About the author

As consumers ourselves, we know how important it is to know exactly what it is we are putting in our bodies. Here at Great Canadian Herb you'll find cannabis and CBD education, reviews, buying advice, and much more. As cannabis enthusiasts, we have dedicated our time and resources to relay accurate, easy to understand information on everything in the Canadian cannabis industry.

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