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There is an increasing interest not just from individuals but from governments and commercial interests about the health benefits of cannabis extracts. Because it has been illegal for so long in most of the world, the amount of good science available about cannabis is sadly very small. This means that making properly informed decisions about using hash oil is basically impossible.
That is not to say that hash oil cannot be experimented with, or that the mountains of anecdotal evidence that shows that hash oil has lots of benefits for lots of people. What is well understood is that small amounts of cannabis is a very safe way of getting anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and neuroprotective effects.
Hash oil, or cannabis oil, is an oil made by extracting the active ingredients (cannabinoids) from the cannabis plant. The extraction process uses a solvent like butane, CO2 or oil to dissolve the cannabinoids, leaving the plant matter behind. The result is a substance with higher concentrations of the beneficial cannabinoids than the cannabis plant itself. This is a more convenient way of getting cannabinoids than having the plant. It is controlled, so you know what dose you are receiving, it also lasts a long time, longer than the plant.
Since the 19th century, people have been making hash oil in the West. Tinctures and oils were made and sold by apothecaries for a long time, being widely available and, according to the patients and doctors, extremely effective. This changed in the 1920’s, when cannabis was grouped with opium, heroin and cocaine as a harmful drug. It was prohibited in law and from then on, it has been very difficult to obtain good hash oil.
Thankfully, in the past 10 years a tide of decriminalization and legalization has taken place across some of the Western world. Cannabis products remain illegal at the federal level in the United States, but dozens of states have now decriminalized cannabis, whether just for medical use or for recreational as well. This has meant that the commercial pressures of this newly liberated industry have driven an increase in quality and consistency.
Now customers can buy hash oil that has been independently tested and verified, ensuring high quality and consistency. This means that customers can monitor their doses and make sure everyone can get their treatment regime properly.
What Can Hash Oil Do?
The effects of hash oil are multiple and fascinatingly powerful. Cannabis contains cannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters. These are the signalling units of the brain and nerves, so when the body receives a higher dose of cannabinoids from taking cannabis, it alters how the neurons talk to each other in the body. This is the reason that delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, gets the user “high”. Other cannabinoids have other effects, for example cannabinol (CBD) is not psychoactive, it does not get the user high, but it does have an effect on some forms of epilepsy, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, acne, and many other conditions.
For this reason, there is some research being conducted on CBD and its effects. It is prescribed in a pure form in many countries but the science is still lacking for long-term effects and safety.
Some of the conditions that hash oil is being used to treat include:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The causes of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, are not well understood. It does look like it responds well to cannabinoids. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from people who have successfully alleviated their IBS with CBD or other cocktails of cannabinoids, including hash oil.
The problem is that anecdotal evidence cannot be trusted in the same way that scientific evidence can. There are people who believe that they were cured of cancer by aliens or that the world is run by lizards in people suits. Just because they say it does not mean that it can be trusted. Currently, there are some small studies that have concluded “it has yet to be determined in human populations whether cannabinoids have therapeutic anti-inflammatory effects in IBD or are simply masking its many debilitating symptoms”. Whether cannabinoids are affecting the condition or masking the condition is almost beside the point: they have a positive effect on IBS and IBD.
The method of using hash oil for acne has been around for a long time but there is little good evidence to prove that it works. However, once again there are lots of anecdotal accounts of it being successful at reducing itching, swelling and the chance of outbreaks, so it is worth investigating.
Cannabinoids have been found to reduce the incidence of cancer in lab tests. It appears to have antitumor and anti-metastasis effects on some forms of cancer which, if proven right, could be an amazing tool for doctors. Many drugs that prevent cancer have severe side effects but cannabinoids are very tolerable to most people, so it presents a viable alternative.
Another effect of cannabinoids is that that they are effective anti-nausea drugs. Cannabis has been used informally to treat the nausea and vomiting that comes with chemotherapy, now it is being prescribed for this. Other conditions that cause nausea are treated effectively with CBD.
When the HIV infection gets out of control, the patient develops AIDS. One of the consequences of AIDS is that the appetite is reduced and keeping food down is difficult. By taking hash oil, one of the effects is that it increases appetite and enjoyment from food. This can help AIDS patients maintain a healthy weight and improve their chances of successful treatment.
Hash oil, even in trace amounts, has a stress relieving effect on the body. Many modern illnesses like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, glaucoma and even cancer are caused by or exacerbated by stress. By reducing the stress levels in the body, cannabis can help to alleviate these conditions or possibly even prevent them.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune condition that is the result of the body perceiving its own tissues as a threat. One of the benefits of taking hash oil is that it reduces the body’s base stress levels and balances its immune responses, so arthritis can be alleviated.
Taking hash oil can be a very effective way of relieving pain without the health risks that paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin can have on the body. It is not as well understood just yet, but cannabis appears to be safer than those drugs.
Taking Hash Oil
Hash oil can be taken in food, drink, vaporized with vape pens or smoked. Food and drink are the healthiest options, followed by vaporizing. They are all effective ways of getting the beneficial cannabinoids into the body.
A small study has shown that butane hash oil, which is cannabis oil made with butane, is associated with physical dependence on the drug, educational and work-related problems, and cannabis related risky behaviour. This is likely due to the higher cannabis concentrations of cannabinoids, how easy it is to take and how it can be taken in food or drink. The evidence is only from a small study, but it is worth taking into account.
Regardless of the mounting evidence that cannabis can be used successfully as a medicine, it remains illegal in many parts of the world. It is therefore recommended that a user only take cannabis or hash oil where it is legal. As hash oil is relatively inexpensive compared to many medicines, and the safety record is well established, it is worth recommending for experimentation for a wide range of conditions, including those mentioned above. Hash oil can be taken in small, safe doses to see whether it has an effect. Of course, cannabis is a medicine, so it should be used only at the recommendation of your doctor.
As hash oil is relatively inexpensive compared to many medicines, and the safety record is well established, it is worth recommending for experimentation for a wide range of conditions, including those mentioned above. Hash oil can be taken in small, safe doses to see whether it has an effect. Of course, cannabis is a medicine, so it should be used only at the recommendation of your doctor.