What is raw vs heated marijuana?
Simply put, raw marijuana is marijuana that has not been heated. Raw marijuana will not make you high. Here’s why. Marijuana (also called cannabis) contains two powerful ingredients, THCA and CBDA. Technically, they are ineffective alkaloids, meaning, being in a raw form, they do not produce a psychoactive “high”.
When heated, THCa and CBDa then become their heated versions, called THC and CBD respectively. Of these two, THC is the one that will produce a “high.” Smoking or vaporizing (vaping) are two popular ways to heat up marijuana. By smoking or vaping, the marijuana is heated and converts the raw THCa into THC, which then produces the “high”. Baking edibles is another popular to heat up marijuana in order to produce THC, which gives a psychoactive high.
So by ingesting raw cannabis in its natural state, there is no “high”. And ingesting pure raw oil (unheated) extracted from the marijuana plant is the best way to go about getting the necessary medicinal ingredients, which are the cannabinoids. More about cannabinoids further down.
Medical marijuana oil is sometimes also known as hemp oil, cannabis oil or hash oil. True medical marijuana oil, is made from the buds of the female marijuana plant. THC and other cannabinoids like CBD (short for Cannabidiol) in the plant allows it to impact our body’s cells and offer medicinal benefits.
The Benefits of Cannabis Oil
Cannabis Oil Benefits
Cannabis (also called marijuana) contains a bunch of ingredients including a well-known component called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. It also contains as many as one hundred related components called cannabinoids, or CBDs for short. Most cannabinoids have no psychoactive effects at all.
Of the wide range of products becoming available for taking marijuana, cannabis oil extracts are the cleanest, most accurate and purest way to take marijuana. They come in both raw & heated (also called decarboxylated) form.
Pure cannabis oil extracts are a primary choice for medical marijuana usage because of their purity, concentration, precision and accurate dosage.
Raw oil extracts, which appear to hold the most promise and are most pleasing are RARELY AVAILABLE thus far. Keeping marijuana raw (in carboxylic acid form) through low heat, is key to keeping the THC from degrading to more sedative CBN, & retaining other important components called terpenes. Keeping as many of the plant’s natural components in RAW FORM is also the key to the best psychotropic high.
Cold-processed essential oil extraction is arduous and time consuming. Volumes of pure marijuana plant material is slowly fed into high pressure processors, all while maintaining a temperature of -60 degrees. This is highly specialized equipment operated by expert scientist in lab conditions which is not the case with industrial hemp and cannabis oil producers.
Raw is best
Whereas smoking marijuana actually scorches and burns the plant material, essential marijuana oil extracts preserve the plant components in mostly raw form and only heat some, so the “high” is very smooth and enjoyable and accurate.
Why Vaping is Better than Smoking
Extracts for Vaporizing or Smoking
The truth is, FRESH RAW cannabis oil smells, smokes, and tastes better! This is because it retains the floral essences of the flowers; it is essential oil, perfume oil. It retains the terpenes, which have health benefits. So the mental, physical, and health effects are simply – better.
Be leery of oil products and companies, there are a lot of them, where their oil extracts are heated during production. When heated, the oil constituents are lost and the oil becomes flat and unhealthy. It would be like boiling your favorite fruit juice and then cooling it down again. Or fine wine where boiling it would destroy the subtle qualities.
So to appreciate and enjoy terpenes, they must be eaten raw, or vaporized. Smoking is less desirable. To vape, begin at low temperatures, then progressively heat the oil as you vaporize the higher temperature constituents, and finally the THC & other cannabinoids.
You cannot get all the beneficial & tasty terpenes by burning cannabis (in a joint or pipe). Similarly, they cannot be smoked in a nail or dab pipe AND keep the terpenes in tact, since the high temperature instantly incinerates them. Although smoking oil this way does produce a rush, you lose terpene benefits. They get scorched. High temperatures also produce toxic by-products, another reason for the trend toward oil, & vaporizing.
For oral medication, unheated oil has benefits that cannot be obtained any other way.
How to shop for marijuana oil
1. Know thy source
The best way to judge oil is to know the chemist or extraction company, their process, experience, & the source cannabis.
Unfortunately, this is often not possible, and the field is not yet regulated. Buying oil from an unknown lab can be risky. Currently many labs do not have an experienced chemist, or the right equipment (which is expensive and complicated to run), or the time and inclination to do it right.
If you have a reputable dispensary, or dealer, ask them questions, and tell them to ask the right questions of the supplier. Make sure your supplier knows what those questions are. This integrity of the chain of supply is critical. Know your supplier!
2. Aroma & taste
These are two of the “fallback” ways to judge oil quality. This method of judgment is not perfect.
- Quality oil (if not winterized) will usually have the fragrant, perfume aroma of the fresh plant, from the terpenes. It will not have ANY chemical smell, taste or flavor.
- Medium quality oils & heated oils will have little or no aroma.
- Bad oil may or may not smell like chemicals. (Many toxic substances have no smell.)
Many people want oil that is hard (shatter), believing it means the extract was “properly purged” to get rid of solvent. While a hard purge is necessary if the solvent is naptha pentane/hexane, alcohol, etc, it is not necessary for quality Butane extractions.
Color can sometimes give some indication of quality, but it is overrated, & not the most important indicator.
First, if the oil has any tint of green whatsoever, then the chlorophyll was extracted along with the oil, which is not good.
Thus it has a lower content of THC and other cannabinoids. It tastes and smokes bad.
Oil that does not have chlorophyll will range from very dark brown to almost clear gold.
The source cannabis, its age and drying time, and other factors can dramatically affect color, completely independent of the quality of the final product.
Generally a lighter color is good if all else is equal; unfortunately all else is not usually equal.
There are many dark brown oils, which are properly extracted, aromatic, with wonderful effects. Conversely, there are plenty of lighter gold oils which are actually improperly extracted with bad solvent, and which do not produce the best psychotrophic or other effects. Don’t take color as the best indicator.
A darker color doesn’t necessarily mean that the concentrate is bad or not potent. A dark color only indicates that the starting material was harvested late or stored for a longer period of time.
5. Quality of psychotropic & health effects
Obviously these are two of the most important properties, but unfortunately they are not a good (immediate) indicator of impurities. The quality of the original source cannabis is a major factor which determines the psychotropic effects via smoking. This depends not just on the % of THC, but also on the terpenes and other compounds. They amplify the effects of THC in interesting ways. This is not well understood, though it is easy to experience.
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List of HEALTH BENEFITS of marijuana oils.
Marijuana Plant Main Constituents
THC Acid (THC-A), which is not psychoactive & only found in the raw plant. It has significant health benefits, and in fact may be the most healing of all the cannabinoids for many conditions & diseases. When heated, it turns into Delta 9 THC.
However, all oils for consumption are generally healthier in the raw form (for example, olive, sesame, coconut oil, etc, are all better raw). Humans have been eating raw food and oils for millions of years, including cannabis, which is prevalent in nature worldwide.
Delta-9 THC Only after raw cannabis (which contains THC acid) is heated does it become psychoactive. Heat drives away a CO2 molecule/radical (actually boils it off), which turns THC Acid into Delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive component that everyone is mostly familiar with. However, most extracts are made using heat during the process. This makes it impossible to also get the therapeutic health benefits of THC Acid, as found in the natural plant. Unheated cannabis, hash, or truly raw oil is mostly THC-A, and contains little Delta-9 THC. That is why eating the raw plant will not get you high unless you eat large quantities. Ideally you want both raw & heated (decarboxylated) cannabis for different situations, & to see which has the best effects specifically for you.
Terpenes, esters, & keytones are aromatic volatile floral compounds, which give various strains their distinctive wonderful aroma. Terpenes have a wide range of biological effects; they are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, analgesic, & more. They regulate or change the effects of THC & other cannabinoids, & they contribute to the psychoactive effects. However, terpines are destroyed during high temp smoking (& most extraction processes), since they are volatile, and dissipate at relatively low temperatures, some as low as 100° F. To preserve them, the extracts must be cold- processed.
CBG, CBND, and 75 – 100 other less well-studied compounds.