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What Is Cannabis Oil? How It Compares to CBD Oil

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Cannabis oil benefits - Dr. Axe

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

Concern about the dangers of marijuana abuse led to the banning of cannabinoids for use in the U.S. and many other countries in the 1930s and 1940s. It took decades until they came to be considered again as compounds of value, and even now their uses are highly restricted.


What Is Cannabis?

Cannabis is a naturally growing herb that has been used for thousands of years to treat health conditions. It’s also used in perfumes, soaps, candles and some foods. Cannabis originated in Central Asia, but today it’s grown worldwide.

The term cannabis (popularly known as marijuana) is used to describe a product of the Cannabis sativa plant that is bred for its potent, sticky glands that are known as trichomes. These trichomes contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (called THC), which is the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive properties.

Cannabis Components

Cannabinoids are a group of 21-carbon–containing terpenophenolic compounds produced uniquely by cannabis species. These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids.

Although delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) is the primary psychoactive ingredient, other known compounds with biologic activity are cannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabivarin and delta-8-THC.

Cannabis vs. Hemp

Hemp oil — obtained by pressing benefit-rich hemp seeds — is slightly different than cannabis oil, although they both come from the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa. The term hemp is used to describe a Cannabis Sativa plant that contains only trace amounts of THC. Hemp is a high-growing plant that’s commonly grown for industrial uses, such as oils and topical ointments, as well as fiber for clothing, construction, paper and more.


Cannabis Oil vs CBD Oil

Cannabis oil and CBD oil are not the same thing. So what is CBD oil? Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has a high concentration of cannabidiol, while cannabis oil contains both CBD and THC. CBD oil is created by extracting CBD from either the cannabis or hemp plant and then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil. CBD does not produce a euphoric “high” or psychoactive effect because it doesn’t affect the same receptors as THC.

CBD cannabis oil or CBD hemp oil are both said to be non-psychoactive. However, it gets confusing because any oil that is CBD-dominant is considered a CBD oil, and it produces different effects from THC-dominant cannabis oils.

Most CBD oil comes from industrial hemp, which typically contains more CBD than marijuana.


Cannabis Oil History and Interesting Facts

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, cannabis use dates back at least 3,000 years. It was introduced into the Western mindset in the 1840s by W.B. O’Shaughnessy, a surgeon who learned of its beneficial properties while working in India for the British East Indies Co.

In 1937, the U.S. Treasury Department introduced the “Marihuana Tax Act,” which imposed a levy of $1 per ounce for “health-focused” use of cannabis and $100 per ounce for recreational use. This was opposed by physicians who were not required to pay a special tax for prescribing cannabis, use special order forms to obtain it and keep records detailing its professional use. The American Medical Association believed that evidence of cannabis’ harmful effects was limited and the act would prevent further research into its worth health-wise.

By 1942, cannabis was removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia because of persistent concerns about its potential to cause harm.


Final Thoughts on Cannabis Oil

  • While studies have certainly shown the benefits of cannabis used for some health purposes, there are many strains of cannabis, and they are not all equal.
  • If you are using cannabis oil, make sure it is purchased through a reputable and lab-tested company. Last but not least, remember that cannabis is a very powerful oil, and only small amounts are needed for it to have a powerful effect on the body and mind.

Read Next: CBD vs. THC: What Are the Differences? Which Is Better for You?

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