The cannabis market has really grown in the last few years. Long gone are the days when the only method of using weed was smoking, and the overwhelming variety of cannabis products you can find in an average dispensary can attest to that.
Not only that, but the potency of the average cannabis plant is way higher. Compared to the 1970s when the highest THC content was 10-15% at best, today, these THC levels are considered incredibly low. In comparison, the most potent cannabis flowers nowadays measure up to 30% THC.
On top of that, there are now numerous ways to utilize the chemical profile of the cannabis plant by extracting the active ingredients into concentrates and distillates to consume them in various ways. Dab rigs, bongs, vape pens, and desktop vaporizers are some of the devices that can be used.
Whatever the method, some forms of cannabis have a specific purpose and some can be used in several ways – for example, you can’t dab dry herb, but you can make magic brownies with both dry herb and cannabis oil.
Many cannabis concentrates can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the potency of your dry herb – you can add a few drops of CBD oil to your favorite Sativa strain before rolling a joint, or you can sprinkle some kief on top. The possibilities are indeed numerous.
One of the more popular ways of consuming cannabis concentrates is vaping THC oil, and for many reasons other than the potency. THC cartridges are portable and discreet, but they are pricey and you’ll need to be careful with them, especially if you’re out and about all day and carry one with you. The reason for this is that it can easily get damaged.
If you’ve ever wondered if you can use THC oil in other ways than vaping, read on. But first, we need to cover the basics of weed concentrates just so you know what you’ll be ingesting.
Cannabis Concentrates Basics
Cannabis concentrates are exactly what they sound like – concentrated forms of the active ingredients present in the cannabis plant. The plant matter is processed in such a way that only the desirable compounds, like cannabinoids (CBD and THC) and terpenes, are kept, while the rest of the impurities are discarded. The process used is called solvent extraction where different types of solvents (isopropyl alcohol, butane, carbon dioxide, dry ice, and others) are used to soak the plant matter in order to make the extraction.
Overall, cannabis concentrates are more abundant in cannabinoids and terpenes than the original plant they were extracted from due to the advanced form of processing. They can later be further processed into various textures and consistencies – they can be hardened to shatter or crumble, or be made into wax for dabbing, or be kept in their original liquid form as an oil or tincture, for vaping or sublingual consumption.
Concentrates are crazy powerful – the psychoactive effects will be much more pronounced, and if you go overboard, the side effects will be much stronger, too. First-time users should be very cautious or stay away until they’ve gained some cannabis experience.
What Kind of Concentrate Is THC Vape Oil?
Vaping is preferred by many when using cannabis concentrates due to the portability of vaporizers. Also, it’s easier to dose and take puffs throughout the day if you need to.
Most commonly, THC vape oils come in vape pens that consist of a pre-filled cartridge attached to a battery that heats up the oil and vaporizes it. These vape cartridges are designed for one use only, meaning they can’t be refilled, but you get to keep the battery and replace the cartridge many times.
Another common way of vaping THC oil is with a handheld vaporizer. This type of vape comes with a chamber that you can refill over and over again and you can put any type of cannabis concentrate to vape, including THC oil. The vaporizer contains a heating coil that heats up the concentrate and turns it into vapor.
THC vape oil can contain various additives such as propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin to thin out the oil and make it easier for the battery to vaporize it.
The Effects of THC Oil
THC oil, as you may have guessed, is quite powerful because it’s a concentrated product (and doesn’t contain any CBD to counter the effects of THC). Therefore, this means that a little can go a long way. Vaping, in general, is much smoother than smoking and much easier on the throat and lungs, which is why so many people prefer it. But this also means that it’s easier to go overboard because it will feel too light compared to smoking a joint.
My Vape Cart Broke! Can I Eat the THC Oil?
A question we often get is “can you eat distillate”, and, technically, yes, you can ingest the oil, but whether it will get you high depends on the oil. Let us explain.
Some THC carts come with a distillate oil that has already been decarboxylated, meaning that the THC in it has been activated beforehand and is able to produce the psychoactive effects. This type of oil is vaped at lower temperatures. However, most vape carts come with an oil that has not been decarboxylated and only gets activated when exposed to the temperature of the vaporizer. For reference, decarboxylation is the process where the cannabinoids get activated when exposed to heat.
Now, if you ingest the distillate oil, it will likely get you very high because it’s highly concentrated and the THC is already activated. Some users add it to weed butter and then make edibles with it. But, if you ingest THC oil that has not been decarboxylated, you’re unlikely to feel any significant effects and it would be a waste of product. If your cart broke and you want to use your THC vape oil in some way, you can dab it or smear it on some flower and smoke it. That way, the THC can get activated and you won’t waste the sweet juice (as THC carts are pricey).
Is THC Oil Safe to Consume?
When it comes to consuming THC oil, the issue of safety would, of course, come first. Let us preface this by saying that you should always buy THC carts and THC oil from legitimate manufacturers and dispensaries. Shady vaping products are not safe and shouldn’t be consumed in any way, whether eaten or vaped. Therefore, you always want to make sure that you’re buying high-quality THC oil and nothing less than.
Other than that, THC oil isn’t particularly unsafe to consume, but it depends on how you consume it. The safest way would, of course, be to inhale it, as it’s intended to be used. Other than that, you can consume THC oil in edibles, but you’ll have to make sure to decarboxylate it if it isn’t already. Like we said, distillate THC oil is already activated, so you don’t need to do anything, but if dealing with any other type of THC oil, you’ll definitely need to decarboxylate it, otherwise you’ll be wasting it.
You should also keep in mind that some THC oils are diluted with additives such as vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. Both of these substances have been recognized by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) as generally safe to use in food, but their toxicity levels regarding inhalation have not been widely studied. Either way, we wouldn’t recommend ingesting THC oil with any additives.
Finally, remember that this vaping product has a high THC concentration and that however you consume it, a little can go a long way. If you ingest it, use the smallest amount and wait for 1-2 hours before taking more so you don’t get yourself higher than a kite and experience side effects.
How NOT to Eat THC Oil
The obvious way to not eat THC oil is to not eat it raw. We’re not going to sugarcoat it – many users have reported that it tastes disgusting and that they could feel it on their tongue for long afterward. Not to mention that dosing it is incredibly tricky since eating a tiny amount can get you very high, whereas if you use it in edibles or in any other way, it’s easier to gauge how much you need. And again, if ingesting THC oil that has not been decarboxylated, your efforts will be wasted.
For reference, decarboxylation is a process where the inactive form of THC, called THCA, gets converted into THC, and this all happens with heat. When you vape, the THC oil gets exposed to a certain temperature which decarboxylates the oil on the spot, so when you inhale it, the THC is already activated. That’s why ingesting THC oil that hasn’t been decarboxylated won’t get you high. And that’s why you’ll need to decarboxylate it yourself by putting it in the oven at 200-220 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes.
Other Ways to Enjoy THC Oil
Luckily, there are other ways to enjoy THC oil besides eating it:
- Dab it. If you own a dab rig, you can easily dab the THC oil. All you’ll need to do is get a syringe so you can extract it from the cart and put it onto the dab nail. If you don’t have a syringe on hand, you can just let it drip onto parchment or wax paper, or even silicone.
- T-wax it. In case you’re not familiar with the term, t-waxing refers to coating the outside of a joint with a weed concentrate. It adds a punch to the joint, plus you’ll get to use up your THC oil.
- Add it to a bowl. Similarly, you can add a drop or two of the THC oil on top of a bowl. Just pack a bowl as you normally would and drop some of the oil over the nugs.
- Make cannabis-infused tea. By adding a couple of drops into any tea, you can make a cannabis-infused tea. However, you’ll also need to add a fatty substance, such as milk, coconut oil, half-and-half, etc, because fats make THC more bioavailable to the body (since cannabinoids are fat-soluble and attach to fat molecules).
- Make a THC tincture. You can also make a THC tincture by adding the THC oil in a carrier oil, such as olive oil, coconut oil, or MCT oil.
Can You Use THC Vape Oil For Cooking?
You can’t use THC vape oil for cooking on its own since it’s not that type of oil, but you can use it to make THC butter (you can find our awesome THC butter recipe here), and use the THC butter to cook or bake. THC butter is a versatile product that can be incorporated into any type of sweet or savory recipe, so you’ll have a lot of cannabis-infused food options. Just remember that you should cook with THC butter at medium temperatures as high temperatures may destroy the cannabinoids and defeat the purpose of the product.