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What is Hashish Oil?

Brittney Griner was imprisoned for carrying the illegal drug in Russia. But what are its benefits?

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American basketball player Brittney Griner was arrested in February by Russian police after being accused of smuggling hashish oil into the country. Russian authorities claim customs officials at an airport near Moscow found vape cartridges in Griner's carry-on bag.

Hashish oil is illegal in Russia and possession of the substance is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. While Griner remains in a Moscow prison awaiting trial, the U.S. State Department says she is being "wrongfully detained" and is working behind the scenes to secure her release.

Griner plays for the Pheonix Mercury of the WNBA. She won her second gold medal in the 2020 Olympics playing for the U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team. In the offseason, Griner competed in the Russian basketball league until her arrest last winter.

Related: What Sha'Carri Richardson Taught Us About Cannabis and Being Human

What is hashish oil

So what exactly is the substance the Russian Federation says Griner was "caught red-handed" bringing into the country?

Hashish oil is extracted from the cannabis plant and contains high levels of THC (75 to 90 percent), making it more potent than regular marijuana flower. The substance is classified as a concentrate because certain desirable terpenes and cannabinoids have been isolated.

The popular consumption method of "dabbing" includes heating concentrates, such as hashish oil, and using it to smoke or vape. Hashish oil can also be eaten or rubbed onto the skin.

A brief history of hashish oil

Hashish oil may be an unfamiliar term to many, but it has been around since the nineteenth century. The oil was popularized during the Vietnam War when soldiers would extract THC into a liquid concentrate using acetone or petrol. They would then smear the product onto a rolling paper or saturate tobacco with the liquid concentrate.

This was the same methodology used by illicit market operators during the fatal vapegate incidents a few years ago.

But the legal marijuana industry has developed much safer methods of extraction, allowing consumers to enjoy hashish oil in a number of ways with less risk of dangerous side effects.

The benefits of hashish oil

Aside from euphoria associated with being high, hashish oil has been shown to help with pain, nausea, and inflammation. Many cancer patients report using high THC potency concentrates such as hashish oil to manage the symptoms associated with the disease.

Hashish oil has also been shown to help epilepsy patients control their seizures.

Other benefits of hashish oil include cardiovascular health, improved eye health, such as the reduction of symptoms of glaucoma, and enhanced sleep.

It is unclear why Brittney Griner was traveling with vapes containing hashish oil, but one can only surmise that they were helping the elite athlete somehow.