Cannabis oil is a mixture of cannabis extract and a carrier oil. The cannabis plant is processed to produce an extract that’s then mixed with a neutral oil. It’s all packaged in a bottle with a dropper or dosing syringe, or a spray top. Whether you are consuming CBD oil, high-THC cannabis oil or a balanced product, there are lots of factors to consider when determining how much cannabis oil you should take.
Find out how to use this product, how to determine the right dosage for you, potential effects and more.
How do I use cannabis oil?
To use cannabis oil, always follow the instructions included with the product. The cannabinoids in the oil are meant to be absorbed into your bloodstream through the mucous membranes in your mouth, a process called oral absorption. As it’s taken orally, cannabis oil is a smoke-free option for consuming cannabis (ingestible cannabis oils are not meant to be smoked or vaped).
Here’s a typical way it’s used: Shake well to evenly mix the extract with the oil. Use the dropper or dosing syringe to place the oil under your tongue (called sublingual consumption) or inside your cheek (buccal consumption ). Hold the oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 seconds before swallowing it to allow it to be absorbed.
How much cannabis oil should I take?
The amount you should take depends on the individual — for cannabis oil, as with other cannabis products, there is no recommended number of drops or specific dosage.
If you haven’t consumed cannabis before or trying a new product, start with a low amount of THC, such as 2.5 mg THC or 0.2 ml of oil, and wait until the effects appear before consuming more (it may take 30 minutes to two hours for you to notice any effects).
How do I know how much THC and CBD I’m taking?
To find out how much THC and CBD are in a dose of cannabis oil, you’ll need to calculate the amount per millilitre of oil. Cannabis oil comes with either a dropper or a dosing syringe (like a needle, without the metal end), which will likely be marked to show the amount of oil being dispensed, in millilitres (mL) or cubic centimetres (cc), which are equivalent
First read the product label, which will state the amount of THC and CBD in the entire bottle as a number of milligrams per gram (mg/g) of oil. To get a rough idea of how many milligrams of THC and/or CBD are in a millilitre of oil, do a simple calculation: multiply the number of mg/g by 0.93.
Here’s an example for a bottle of oil that has 15 mg/g THC. Multiply 15 by 0.93, which equals to 13.95 mg THC per millilitre of oil.
You can purchase THC-dominant oil, CBD oil or products with a mix of both major cannabinoids — the potency will vary between different products. Follow all the instructions on the packaging carefully, and make sure you understand the markings on the dropper or syringe to ensure you’re taking the dose you intend to.
Learn more about understanding cannabinoid content on product labels
How long will it take to feel an effect?
When you consume cannabis orally, your body processes the cannabinoids differently than with other methods, such as smoking. One difference is how quickly it works: While smoking or vaporizing cannabis can produce an effect within minutes, it may take half an hour to two hours for the effects of cannabis oil to become apparent, depending on factors such as how much food you've recently eaten and how much THC you consumed.
The effects of THC and CBD in cannabis oil typically peak around two hours and can last up to 24 hours.
The onset of effects from absorbing cannabis orally can be slow and unpredictable.
What are the potential effects of cannabis oil?
While there is no specific data on the potential effects of cannabis oil, consuming a product that contains THC can produce short- and long-term effects on your body and mind.
The potential short-term effects include:
- Feelings of calm, relaxation and/or euphoria
- Fatigue and sleepiness
- Reduced reaction time and loss of coordination
- Time distortion and perception changes
- Impaired memory and ability to pay attention
- Anxiety and panic
- Paranoia, delusions and dissociation
- Chest pain
- Faster, slower or a pounding heartbeat
For some people, regularly consuming cannabis that contains THC can increase the risk of developing long-term conditions and effects, such as cannabis use disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia and impaired concentration and memory.
Learn more about the health effects of cannabis consumption on our evidence-supported information hub, Cannabis Made Clear.
What effects will I experience?
Even if you consume the same product twice, individual factors may influence and vary the effects you experience. These include your:
- sex and age
- weight and metabolism
- personality and current mood
- genetic background
- current mental health conditions and health history
- recent food consumption
- history and frequency of cannabis consumption
Regularly consuming cannabis may lead to your body developing a tolerance — meaning you feel you need to consume more to produce the same effects. Consider taking a tolerance break (or T-break).
Is it possible to consume too much cannabis oil?
It is possible to consume too much cannabis oil, depending on its THC potency: Overconsuming THC is also referred to as cannabis poisoning or “greening out.” There has never been a documented case of death caused by cannabis overconsumption, but consuming too much THC can produce undesired or unpleasant effects. If you think you’ve overconsumed — particularly if you’re experiencing chest pain, seizures, panic attacks or a loss of contact with reality — get immediate medical attention.
Cannabis oil offers a smoke-free way to consume cannabis that’s also portable and convenient. Ensure you read all packaging included with the product and understand the markings on the dropper or syringe to be certain you’re getting the intended dosage.