Cannabis Oils 101

Learn about concentrated THC products!

After the DEA made cannabis oil a Schedule I drug in a recent, undercover move that has left pot enthusiasts fuming, oils and concentrates are back in the limelight, under public scrutiny. If the government says something is harmful for you, after all, doesn’t that mean you should be wary of it (paying no heed to the chemicals in everything from foods to personal care products to pesticides that foreign governments have outlawed but the United States says are A-OK)? Unfortunately that’s just not always the case. Here is some helpful information about some oils to help you make an informed decision about their use.

Butane Hash Oil

Also known as BHO, Butane Hash Oil is one of the most potent forms of cannabis you can use. When you hear the term dabbing, this is one of the substances it refers to. You use BHO through vaporization, but instead of, say, a vaporizer pen, BHO is received through butane extraction, which is obviously where it gets its name. You’ve heard of waxes? That’s BHO. BHO gets hard when it’s extracted, resulting in a glass-like substance that many refer to as “shatter.” It looks like a honeycomb and is one of the best ways to take in a lot of THC at once. Its strength makes it a popular choice for people who suffer from chronic pain and require strong relief fast.

BHO can often be compromised, however. Be sure to get it from a reputable seller since poorly made shatter can still carry butane in it, which you don’t want to take in.


If you’ve seen a tar-like oil, you were probably checking out RSO. It’s a product that can be taken orally, but you can also apply it directly to your skin. The name RSO makes it sound like there’s going to be some long, scientific description for this oil, but in reality, it stands for a man’s name. Rick Simpson Oil, or Phoenix Tears, was designed by a man who wanted to combat his own disease, skin cancer, with cannabis somehow but couldn’t find a great way to do so.

Keep in mind two things about RSO. One, it may be called something entirely different depending on the business that is selling the substance. Two, not all RSOs have psychoactive elements. Some do have a high level of THC but many don’t, so be sure to check before you buy.

CO2 Oil 

Those vape pens you see everyone carrying around? If there’s cannabis in it, it’s a CO2 oil being used. That’s not to say that vape pens are the only method of delivery, but they are the most common. A combination of carbon dioxide and pressure are used to extract the cannabis from the plant in this method, hence the name. When you go into a shop and look through the various CO2 cartridges available, this is what you are browsing. It’s popular because of its portability as well as the discretion people can use with it, since it looks just like a typical vape pen.