What is Cannabis Oil?
Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States. With new chemical variations of marijuana constantly being introduced, people often ask, “What is cannabis oil?”
According to a 2009 survey, over 104 million people in the United States have tried marijuana at least once in their lives. In most cases, experimentation with marijuana begins earlier in life, with many reportedly using it during their teenage years. Besides alcohol, marijuana is the first substance tried among adolescent. There are many misconceptions surrounding the safety of marijuana use, but statistics consistently show that the earlier an individual first uses marijuana, the more likely they are to struggle with addiction later in life.
With the legal and social status of marijuana shifting in multiple states, cannabis oil use has grown in popularity, especially among young adults. Cannabis oil is known by many names, including butane hash oil, BHO, wax, honey oil, budder, and shatter. It is concentrated marijuana resin that is formed into a hardened mass. Depending on what parts of the marijuana plant are used, hash oil can be the one of the most potent forms of marijuana available.
What is Cannabis Oil, and How is it Used?
Hash oil is most commonly made by passing liquid butane through a tube filled with cannabis. Once the butane is steeped with the marijuana, the individual will then strain it to remove plant material and separate the THC-infused oil from the butane by heating it. Variations in this process can produce a variety of textures that lend cannabis oil many of its descriptive names, such as crumble, wax, and shatter. Making hash oil with butane can be very dangerous, as there is a high explosive and incendiary potential. Incidents are reported more frequently in states where medical marijuana is permitted. Butane is highly flammable and a single spark could ignite the vapors. There have been several home explosions and cases of individuals receiving third degree burns as a result of this practice.
Cannabis oil can be used in a variety of ways including smoking, ingesting or vaporizing (also known as “dabbing”). Users may use a small pipe, often called an “oil rig”, when vaporizing it. These pipes usually feature a nail or skillet made of materials such as titanium, quartz or ceramic, which are heated with a hand-held blow torch. The individual will then “dab” the heated surface with the hardened cannabis oil, producing fumes which are then inhaled.
What is Cannabis Oil Versus Marijuana
Many people falsely believe that because hash oil is derived from marijuana, it does not pose any additional dangers. Marijuana use is known to cause both short and long term effects including:
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The effects of marijuana vary largely by individual and potency of the drug. The amount of THC in marijuana has increased steadily over the years, making the effects of the drug stronger. But even today’s marijuana is not nearly as potent as cannabis oil.
Is it Stronger?
Hash oil is not a new drug—its methods of derivation have simply been refined. The concentrate made today is extremely potent compared to traditional marijuana. While marijuana may contain anywhere between 15 to 18 percent THC, hash oil can contain up to 80 or 90 percent. Some reports state that one dose of “wax” may be equivalent to approximately 15 to 20 joints. With higher concentrations of THC, casual marijuana users will not be prepared for the potent effects it can cause. Due to the high concentration of THC in hash oil, the drug can have powerful psychoactive effects. A large dose of hash oil can cause paranoia, anxiety, vomiting, and other psychological issues that can last for days. When hash oil is made with butane, users run the risk of inhaling butane fumes since the process of separating the oil from the gas is not 100 percent effective. Butane can impair the brain and nervous system, causing dizziness, increased heart rate, and unconsciousness. In batches that contain large amounts of butane, inhalation can be lethal.
Are the Short and Long Term Side Effects the Same?
Cannabis oil causes many of the same long-term effects as marijuana use. When smoked or inhaled, cannabis oil can cause individuals to develop a daily cough, symptoms of bronchitis, and make them more susceptible to chest colds and infections, including pneumonia. While not everyone who uses marijuana or hash oil becomes addicted, regular use of the drug can encourage dependency. As tolerance builds, individuals may begin to seek out larger doses or stronger substances to produce the same effects. Cannabis oil is much more potent that marijuana and is more likely to influence the development of addictive behaviors.
Cannabis oil can negatively affect learning capabilities and social behavior as well, especially if used during adolescent years in which the brain is undergoing critical developmental changes. Research tells us that, in addition to affecting memory and judgment, frequent use can impair learning and attention skills. Long-term studies indicate that adolescents who use marijuana or hash oil frequently are lower-achieving, are more accepting of deviant behavior, are more likely to have poor relationships with family members, and act more rebelliously than their peers who do not use the drug.
What is Cannabis Oil Abuse Treatment?
So, what is cannabis oil abuse treatment? Treatment for cannabis oil abuse is similar to treatment for marijuana abuse. Prior to entering treatment, it is important to first assess the nature of addiction and identify any co-occurring disorders that may exist concurrently. Treatment for substance abuse must be individualized in order to provide the most effective therapies. Whether the co-occurring disorder exists prior to addiction or develops as a result of substance abuse, treating mental health disorders simultaneously provides individuals with a better outcome. A holistic approach to treatment helps reduce the risk of relapse and allows individuals to develop healthy coping mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of addictive behavior returning.
Addiction and co-occurring disorders may be addressed through a variety of individual and group therapies. These therapies allow clients the opportunity to connect with peers who share similar experiences and to identify the unique influences in their lives that may have influenced the development of addiction. Therapy creates a safe space for individuals to develop emotional intelligence and healthy support networks that reinforce sobriety. Experiential therapies can help bring the skills learned in more traditional therapeutic settings to bear on the real world. This provides individuals with a safe place to practice what they have learned in treatment and is a critical step in their eventual transition back into the rest of society.
Currently, there are no medications used in the treatment of cannabis oil abuse. Depending on the nature of withdrawal symptoms, sleep aids or anti-depressants may be used to assist individuals in managing their symptoms to avoid relapse. Depending on the nature of the addiction, it may be necessary to enroll in an inpatient treatment facility to remove the influences of outside environments, past experiences and other individuals that enable continued substance abuse.