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Refined Cannabis Oil or Vape Cartridges - What’s the Difference?

Raw vs. Refined Cannabis Oil or Vape Cartridges

When delving into the world of cannabis oil, it’s important to ask yourself: “raw vs cannabis oil: what’s the difference?” This guide delves into the differences between raw and refined, both in how they’re extracted and how they’re used. While raw maintains the natural flavor and cannabinoid levels of the flower, refined cannabis oil makes for more intense effects out of your concentrate. 

What is raw cannabis oil? 

Raw cannabis oil, sometimes called crude cannabis oil, is extracted from the cannabis plant using CO2 extraction. 


The extract that’s left after this extraction contains the terpenes and cannabinoids that came off the flower, as well as natural waxes and water from the plant. This plant water then gets poured off of the extract. The extract is then dehydrated in a vacuum oven. 


Once the water evaporates, it leaves behind an extract with a high concentration of terpenes, highlighting the bud’s flavor profile. 

Benefits of raw cannabis oil 

Raw cannabis oil certainly has its benefits. A preferred oil for many, raw cannabis oil highlights the flavor of the bud while keeping in all the natural cannabinoids. Raw cannabis oil has benefits such as: 


  • Full-spectrum: Because it isn’t modified to highlight any certain cannabinoid, raw cannabis oil operates under something called the Entourage Effect. This effect occurs

when all the natural cannabinoids from the cannabis plant act in conjunction with each other, boosting their effects. Most often associated with raw versus refined CBD oil, for example, full-spectrum CBD oil 

  • Full flavor: Raw cannabis oil maintains all the natural terpenes of the flower: this way, consuming this oil produces a similar flavor profile to smoking flower. Raw oil makes for tastier hits.

  • Raw cannabis oil is used for a number of purposes, but it works best for those who enjoy getting the most flavor out of their vape hits. 

    Drawbacks of raw cannabis oil

    Nevertheless, raw cannabis oil isn’t perfect. It has at least one major drawback:


  • Lower concentration of cannabinoids: Though it is known for remaining full-spectrum with all the cannabinoids of the plant, extracting these cannabinoids from the flower results in lower potency. Therefore, if you’re looking for more intense effects, you will have to consume more cannabis oil than you otherwise might.

  • Raw cannabis oil doesn’t pull the same punches as its refined counterpart: while it has a milder potency, raw cannabis oil carries all the flavor and natural cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. 

    What is refined cannabis oil?

    Refined cannabis oil is also extracted using CO2 extraction. 


    However, the difference in extraction starts after dehydration. After this set, the extract goes through a winterization process: the extract is first dissolved using a high-proof distilled alcohol. The solution is then frozen and filtered to remove any thick compounds from the extract. In the freezing process, the alcohol is evaporated, leaving behind amber-colored, refined cannabis oil. 

    Benefits of refined cannabis oil

    Like its raw counterpart, many prefer refined cannabis oil for specific reasons. With an experience similar to distillate, refined cannabis oil has one major benefit in particular.


  • Higher concentration: Refined cannabis oil is made to highlight the specific effects of one particular cannabinoid, like THC or CBD. Therefore, this type of cannabis oil often produces more intense effects, like a stronger high or heavy relaxation.

  • Though refined cannabis oil has its drawbacks as well, its one major benefit lies in its potency. Vaping refined cartridges makes for a more intense experience all-around, whether you’re looking for head or body high, relaxation, or pain relief. 

    Drawbacks of refined cannabis oil 

    With that being said, refined cannabis oil has a handful of drawbacks. More processed than raw cannabis oil, refined cannabis oil is missing the natural cannabinoids and flavor of the cannabis plant. 


  • No entourage effect: The process of making refined cannabis oil removes some of the natural cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Therefore, the cannabinoids are unable to work in conjunction with each other to produce the most natural effects: the Entourage Effect, in other words, does not take place. 
  • Compromise flavor: Additionally, the extraction method to make refined cannabis oil ultimately means refined oil is more processed than raw cannabis oil. As a result, most of the natural terpenes from the plant are lost, meaning the flavor is often calmer or blander than raw cannabis oil.

  • Refined cannabis oil is more processed than raw cannabis oil. Though this might make for a more intense high, it compromises flavor and strips the natural cannabinoids that the flower carried. 

    Raw vs. refined cannabis oil 

    The main differences between raw and refined cannabis oil lie in flavor and potency. While raw cannabis oil highlights the flavor of the plant, the concentration of cannabinoids in raw cannabis oil is often lower. Meanwhile, refined cannabis oil is processed to emphasize the effects of a certain cannabinoid, like THC and CBD. This may lead to intense effects, but the flavor and natural cannabinoids are compromised. 


    If you’re unsure about what cannabis oil is best for your needs, having a conversation with your local budtender at the dispensary is always a wise choice. Ask questions and learn about their specific products to narrow down a cannabis oil that works best for your needs. 

    To sum it up

    Choosing between raw and refined cannabis oil depends entirely on your smoking preferences. If you are a flavor chaser and a terpene enthusiast, a full-spectrum raw oil may be your best bet. If you’re after that strong high and don’t care about compromising flavor, refined oil could be best for you. Explore, experiment, and figure out which oil works best for your desires! 

    FAQs

    What is a refined cartridge? 


    A refined vape cartridge contains cannabis extract that has been processed to highlight the effects of one certain cannabinoid, such as THC or CBD. Similar to distillate, a refined oil cartridge will have high potency but a milder flavor. 

    What is an ultra-refined vape cartridge? 

    Ultra refined vape cartridges contain refined cannabis oil that has been developed using secondary extraction and refinement techniques. These carts emphasize potency without compromising on flavor, making them the best of both worlds when deciding between raw and refined cannabis oils.