Despite its relatively recent place in our collective consciousness, CBD has been at work delivering its calming agents as far back as the ‘80s by some estimates and the ancient world by others. With it, an almost endless menu of formulations has emerged—from capsules and oils to lotions and seltzer—each promising an even more effective dose of CBD than the last.
According to Low Dog, a tincture may offer a broader range of compounds from hemp than an oil extraction. “Consumers who are alcohol-sensitive often prefer hemp oil over tincture. While both can be used topically, hemp oil is generally easier to apply and less irritating,” she says.
What is it?
CBD tinctures are generally made from high CBD strains of hemp, with 60 to 70 percent alcohol, and are primarily used to help relieve anxiety or ease pain. “Tinctures are convenient, have a long shelf life, and are absorbed easily when taken under the tongue. The dose can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the number of drops taken,” notes Low Dog.
“Sometimes, you will find extracts called tinctures that use glycerin, vinegar, or oil as the solvent, instead of alcohol,” Low Dog says. “These offer the advantage of being alcohol-free, but may not always offer the same potency as an alcohol-water extract.”
An herbal tincture is made by using a mixture of alcohol and water to extract compounds from a plant—in this case, the cannabis plant.
Tinctures are extremely concentrated, so it's vital that you take the them in small doses. Although you can’t overdose on a tincture, it’s better to stay safe and restrict yourself. In fact, if you’re taking a tincture for therapeutic purposes, a large dose isn't even necessary. Plus, tinctures typically come with droppers that make it easy to administer and control.
But just because tinctures are gaining popularity doesn’t mean you should rush to the store and get a bottle for yourself. There are some key things you need to know before considering them, starting with these five essentials.
In simple terms, a tincture is dervied by soaking the cannabis plant in an alcohol and water solution, while to concoct CBD oil, plant extracts are are infused in a carrier oil, like coconut, olive or hemp seed.
3. Tinctures need to be taken in small doses.
It’s no longer surprising that CBD is gaining popularity, as its purported health benefits are almost mind-blowing, with some derivatives even thought to help ease cancer-related symptoms. However, with the wide range of CBD products out there, it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed. There's CBD oil, CBD-infused gummy bears and chocolates, and now we have CBD tinctures, which contain all the rich benefits of the cannabis plant in high concentrations and are administered orally.
An interesting study by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that only 30 percent of CBD products are accurately labeled. That means you need to be extra careful when buying your tincture. One of the things to look out for is the Certificate of Analysis, or COA, which indicates the tincture's level of cannabinoid and its overall purity. If you don’t see those two on the tincture, then it's likely that that brand is not being transparent with its consumers. Another thing to look out for is whether food-grade alcohol was used. Since tinctures are ingested, it’s extremely important that they're safe to consume.
Without a doubt, CBD tinctures have powerful benefits, but don’t be seduced by lower price points. Higher-quality CBD tinctures are necessarily expensive. You may see some cheaper CBD tinctures out there, but they likely only contain isolates and not terpenes, and thus won't be as effective.
Many people confuse the two products. Some even reference them interchangeably, but who can blame them? Both are stored in similar bottles, and the processes for cultivating them are virtually the same. However, the primary distinction is in how each extracts the cannabis plant's constituents.
The benefits of terpenes extend beyond aesthetic enjoyment and may include highly effective anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A CBD tincture is a medication made by dissolving cannabis in alcohol. These medications contain about 70% alcohol along with high-CBD hemp strains and are sometimes referred to as green dragon, golden dragon, or cannabis tinctures. An effective CBD tincture will include full-spectrum hemp oil.
Finally, dosages will differ between CBD tinctures and CBD oil. A few drops of a tincture is sufficient and a spoonful would be too much. Discuss the different dosage options with your healthcare provider before beginning any type of CBD regimen, especially if you are currently taking any prescription medications.
Here you’ll learn about how to use cannabis tinctures to experience a range of potential health benefits. We’ll also explore the difference between CBD tinctures and CBD oil, so you can choose which cannabis product is right for you.
The difference between CBD tinctures and CBD oil lies in the ingredients. Tinctures are alcohol-based whereas oils are not. However, many brands market oil-based concoctions as tinctures. Oils typically contain extracted CBD and a carrier oil. Common carrier oils include hemp, olive, and MCT oil. For many users, MCT oil, a type of oil commonly derived from coconuts, is the preferred carrier.
Choosing a CBD tincture is much like choosing any other CBD product. As a consumer, you want to be informed and purchase the best quality product available that meets your needs. Here are some considerations to make before you head to the dispensary:
Tinctures have different cannabinoids for oral consumption or for sublingual (beneath the tongue) administration. The packaging of a tincture often involves a small glass bottle with an eyedropper-type apparatus for precise dosing. Tinctures eliminate the need to smoke cannabis for those who would prefer to receive the potential health benefits through other methods.