EducationThe ultimate cannabis oil guide

The ultimate cannabis oil guide

10 min read

Kerry Charron

The ultimate cannabis oil guide


If you are interested in the idea of trying cannabis oil but you are new to the game and would like some tips, this article is for you. Here, we discuss the potential advantages (and potential side effects) of taking cannabis oil, as well as the diverse ways one can go about administering it safely.

Cannabis oil is an overarching term, and as such there is a certain degree of confusion surrounding it. Generally speaking, cannabis oil is an extract from the leaves and buds of the cannabis sativa L. plant and can contain certain cannabinoids like THC and CBD, as well as other chemical compounds like terpenes and flavonoids.

So, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s dive straight into the guts of the topic and discuss the various forms of medical cannabis oil, the ways it can be administered, and how each method may affect your experience.

Cannabis oil explained

Cannabis oil comes in a huge range of options, but there are really two main categories that you should be aware of. Once we separate and explain these two groups, we will get a little more into the nitty-gritty

CBD-based cannabis oil

CBD oil is what most UK consumers think of when they hear the words “cannabis oil”, and for good reason. Since 2018, CBD oil has been legal for the consumer market, and so this is the most common form of cannabis oil available.

But, what is CBD oil, exactly?

Well, in the most basic terms, CBD oil products contain certain cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and very low levels of THC. This means that the oil will not produce any psychoactive effects, no matter how much you take.

Most often extracted from hemp cultivars, a cousin of cannabis with prominent levels of CBD and low levels of THC, CBD is believed to offer a range of potential medical and wellness benefits, including improved mental clarity and focus, increased energy levels, faster recovery time from physical exertion, and even the alleviation of certain types of chronic pain.

THC-based cannabis oil

THC oil is the second main category of medical cannabis oils, but unlike CBD oil, this type can only be sourced legally through a prescription. It’s essential to note that this form is strictly for medical use only, and thanks to the higher levels of THC, its administration will produce a psychoactive effect depending on the dosage size.

THC oil, just like CBD oil, has been shown in clinical settings believed to provide some of the same potential medical benefits as CBD-based options. But, in addition to that, it may also help bring relief from the symptoms of other health issues.

THC oil is usually extracted from cannabis cultivars and comes in a range of forms, including e-liquid, oils, and capsules. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting a medical cannabis oil therapy regimen.

OK, so now that we have that sorted out, let's look at the different types of both THC and CBD oil.

Full-spectrum oil

Full-spectrum oil contains the entire range of chemical compounds produced by the source cannabis or hemp plant, including the cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids, and phytonutrients that naturally occur.

This type of oil is thought to give users the most benefits, as it’s believed to provide a ‘synergistic effect’ – known as the entourage effect – due to all the different compounds working together in harmony and producing a range of benefits that are more than the sum of their parts.

Broad-spectrum oil

Broad-spectrum oil is similar to full-spectrum, but it doesn’t contain any significant levels of THC. This type of oil still contains all the other beneficial compounds from the source plant, so it may also provide a range of potential benefits. But unlike its full-spectrum counterpart, you won’t experience any psychoactive effects. This process allows CBD oil to be made from cannabis cultivars that contain elevated levels of THC.

Isolate oil

Isolate oils are the last main subtype of cannabis oil. They are created from the same source material as other cannabis oils, but instead of containing the full-spectrum of compounds found in the raw plant, they contain highly purified extractions of a single compound, which is usually CBD or THC.

Isolate oils don’t provide any synergistic effects like their full and broad-spectrum counterparts, but many people still find them useful for their precise dosing potential.

Finding the right dosage for your healthcare needs

No matter if you are looking to add either CBD or THC oil to your treatment plan, the need to seek the guidance and advice of a doctor that is both registered to prescribe medicinal cannabis, and has experience doing so for your specific condition is paramount.

Finding the right dosage of cannabis oil for your health needs requires precise measuring and consistent doses over an extended period, so that you can assess how your body responds to the oil and fine tune the putative outcome accordingly.

It’s also important to remember that CBD or THC oil does not always work overnight, so patience and consistency may be the best approach to finding the right dosage. Most prescribing physicians will suggest using the 'titration' process, which is a slow and steady process of increasing the dose size in order to work out the most effective dose for your individual needs.

Age, weight, and medical conditions should be considered when determining the right dosage. Your unique rate of metabolism influences the bioavailability and how your body processes cannabinoids, and ultimately, the intensity of therapeutic effects. Body mass index and specifically body fat levels play a critical role in THC absorption and making healthy choices on a daily basis regarding sleep hygiene, nutritional diet, water intake, and exercise will make a difference in the therapeutic effects of medical cannabis oil.

How well-fed, hydrated, and rested are key factors in cannabis oil absorption. Therefore, patients can optimize bioavailability by getting sufficient sleep, eating nutritiously, and hydrating. Although good wellness practices do not guarantee complete treatment of symptoms, patients can avoid adverse effects such as sedation, irritability, and anxiety.

How to take cannabis oil

There are four main ways to take medical cannabis oil. These are:

  • Sublingual administration
  • Topical application
  • Inhalation
  • Edible ingestion

Depending on the nature of your symptoms, your physician may recommend one or more of these four modes of delivery.

Sublingual administration

This method usually produces effects within 1–15 minutes when taken sublingually. Use the dropper to place the recommended dose amount under your tongue. Hold the oil in place for between 30 and 60 seconds so it can absorb into the gum tissue.

Topical application

Applying cannabis oil to the skin has many potential therapeutic benefits. It hydrates, soothes, and restores dry and damaged skin. Patient anecdotes report reduced muscle soreness, joint stiffness, and inflammation due to cannabis oil use, and there are many clinical studies supporting this anecdotal evidence


Using a vaporizer to inhale cannabis oil is a popular method of administration, due to the effects being felt almost instantaneously. The current wave of medical cannabis has brought with it a whole range of vaporizers, designed specifically for use with medical cannabis oil.

Edible ingestion

Incorporating cannabis oil into food or drink is an easy and discreet method of taking medical cannabis. Edibles are easy to consume and provide an uncomplicated way to measure doses. The labelling will specify the exact amount of cannabinoids, and in some cases also the terpenes included. Carefully follow the recommended doses. Edibles are the slowest method of absorption, with effects being felt usually within 30 – 120 minutes.

No matter which delivery method you choose, it’s important to remember that cannabis oil is a powerful medicine, and only take the recommended dose prescribed by your doctor.

Safety Precautions

Cannabis oil can have a range of negative side effects. These include dry mouth, upset stomach, diarrhoea and drowsiness, lightheadedness, and feelings of panic. It’s essential to remember that the effects of cannabis oil can be more potent than other forms of cannabis due to its concentrated nature and increased bioavailability.

It’s also significant for patients to be aware of any potential interactions between cannabinoids and the medications they are taking. Cannabinoids may interact with different medications, so it’s advisable to consult with your doctor before using cannabis oil as part of a healthcare regime.

When taken in large doses, or when combined with alcohol or other drugs, possible side effects can become more extreme and potentially dangerous. Therefore, always keep track of the amount you take and be aware of any changes in your mood and behaviour.

Additionally, cannabis oil should not be taken if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as the potential for harm to infants is unknown at this time.

Releaf cares about our patient's health and well-being above all else, so please always consult with a medical professional before using cannabis oil as part of your healthcare plan.


Cannabis oil is here to stay, and a potentially powerful ally in the battle against many medical conditions. As with any medication, finding the right dosage can be tricky. Fortunately, with the help of medical professionals and careful self-monitoring, you can ensure that you are receiving the best possible care.

Keep in mind that different methods of taking cannabis oil have different effects, so it is important to find the one that works best for you. With patience, consistency and the right dosages, cannabis oil can be a powerful tool in alleviating symptoms of various medical conditions.

If you have any questions or concerns about using cannabis oil, please don't hesitate to reach out to Releaf’s team of experienced medical professionals for more information and advice.

Releaf understands that medical cannabis can be life-changing for many people. That's why we offer tailored monthly packages based on your cannabis prescription, specialist consultations for medical cannabis, and a unique medical cannabis card for protection. 

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Kerry, with experience as a medicinal cannabis cultivation technician and expertise in business licensing applications, is passionate about developing educational content and advocating for better access to medical cannabis worldwide.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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