What CBD tinctures do, who should consider taking them, what you should know before buying one, and more. CBD tinctures are easily absorbed and can be used in many ways. Learn how to get the most out of your tincture, how not to use it, and the many benefits it offers. How to use CBD tincture, its benefits, dosing, bioavailability, and more information on CBD oil.
Answers to All of Your Biggest Questions About CBD Tinctures, the Latest Health Trend
What they are, what they do, and what you should know before buying one.
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If it seems like cannabidiol (CBD) products are everywhere these days, you’re definitely not wrong. CBD has been gaining in popularity over the past few years, but it really peaked in September 2018 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, an anti-seizure drug made with cannabis-sourced CBD.
While Epidiolex is a Schedule V drug (meaning it can be used to treat health issues), regular cannabis is a Schedule I substance. This means it doesn’t have any accepted medical use. Despite this (not so) tiny detail, countless companies chose to ride on Epidiolex’s coattails to bring a slew of CBD products to the marketplace.
By now you’ve probably seen thousands of them, whether on specialty store shelves or while scrolling through your Instagram feed. Most are self-explanatory—like CBD lotion, which is obviously something you just rub on your skin, and gummies and cookies. Just pop them in your mouth and enjoy.
However, CBD tinctures, which are sold in those pretty glass bottles sealed with a dropper, are more ambiguous. What the heck do you do with those? And why would someone want to buy them? Read on to learn more about CBD tinctures, and what you need to know before trying this trendy health product.
First things first, what is CBD?
CBD is one of many chemical compounds found within the cannabis plant. It’s a close relative of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical found in cannabis. However, unlike THC, CBD cannot get you high—no matter how much you take.
While there’s not a ton of research out there yet, what CBD could give you is possible relief from stress, joint pain due to inflammation, or a better night’s rest.
Got it. So, what’s a tincture?
In very simplified terms, a tincture is a concentrated herbal extract that’s made by soaking herbs in a liquid. Over several weeks, the fluid becomes infused with herbal extracts, and when the herbs are strained out, you get a potent, ingestible tincture.
Over time, the solvent used to make tinctures has changed, but the basic method has remained the same. “In traditional herbal remedies, tinctures were most often made with alcohol,” says Jessie Kater, senior vice president of manufacturing at Curaleaf, a cannabis company lead by practitioners, pharmacists, and medical experts. “Today most cannabinoid tinctures use food grade plant-based oils and flavors as a solvent.”
Should I use tinctures instead of other CBD products?
Compared to other popular products like CBD chocolates and lotions, tinctures have extremely high bioavailability, so they’re very easy for the body to absorb. According to a National Center for Biotechnology Information study, CBD edibles, like gummies or cookies, have less bioavailability because the body has to process both the CBD and the ingredients used to make the treat.
According to researchers, a person will absorb a great deal more CBD if he or she ingests it in a pure tincture. You may also feel the effects sooner. “Due to the way you take tinctures versus other forms of administration, you get a high rate of absorption often starting as soon as the tincture is dropped onto the oral mucosa lining your mouth,” Kater explains.
How do I take a tincture?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, just a quick reminder: Like any new supplement, it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting a CBD regime. CBD isn’t ideal for everyone, and it can interact with certain medications, such as Warfarin. Make sure a medical professional knows exactly what you’re taking and in what combination before you start experimenting with CBD in any form.
Assuming you’re given the go-ahead to try CBD, there are two ways to consume a tincture. After squeezing the liquid into the dropper, you can either place it under your tongue (this is known as taking something sublingually) or rub it on your skin. People trying to remedy arthritis, tendonitis, joint pain, and muscle soreness tend to use the latter method, whereas those using CBD for other reasons might take it orally.
These days, there are plenty of tasty CBD tinctures on the market. Curaleaf, for example, sells vanilla, lavender-orange, and ginger-cinnamon flavored drops. However, if you aren’t a huge fan of the taste, you can always mix your tincture into a drink, a smoothie, or your favorite food to make it more palatable.
Wondering how much should you take? This is a bit of a tricky question, as there are no official dosing guidelines for CBD. Dr. Steve Patierno, Chair of CuraLeaf’s Medical Advisory Board and the Deputy Director of the Duke Cancer Institute, suggests starting with a lower strength product and taking just 1 milliliter. (For a 30-milliliter bottle that’s likely a full dropper, but check the bottle to be sure.) You can always take a bit more next time if you don’t feel the effects.
Where can I find a quality CBD tincture?
When looking at any CBD product, it’s important to do a bit of research to find out how and where it’s made. A CBD product meant for human consumption should come with third-party independent testing information, to ensure their safety and purity.
Asking where a CBD company’s industrial hemp is grown, processed, and produced, couldn’t hurt either to see just how transparent a CBD company is willing to be with its potential clients.
How to Use CBD Tinctures & CBD Oil
CBD tinctures are easily absorbed and can be used in many ways. Learn how to get the most out of your tincture, how not to use it, and the many benefits it offers.
Tinctures are a popular way to use CBD, but how you use it changes its effects.
You can take them directly, mix them with drinks, cook with them, apply them to the skin, or hold them under the tongue for fast absorption.
Learn how to use CBD tinctures properly, how to figure out the right dose to use, and what to avoid.
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CBD Tinctures vs. CBD Oil: What’s the Difference?
Traditionally, a tincture is technically an extract made by soaking herb material in an alcohol solvent. The alcohol pulls the active ingredients out of the plant and into the solution.
CBD oil shares all the same principles, except instead of alcohol, vegetable oil is used as the solvent.
Today, the word tincture and oil is used synonymously — they mean the same thing.
5 Methods of Taking CBD Tinctures
There are a couple of different ways that you can take CBD tinctures. Deciding which is the best option for you depends on what you want to use it for and what type of tincture or oil you purchased.
1. Hold It Under the Tongue (Sublingual)
Sublingual dosing involves placing CBD tincture under your tongue and holding it there for a few minutes.
This is the fastest method of ingestion. The CBD is absorbed into the capillaries and travels straight to your bloodstream, skipping the digestion process it has to go through when you swallow it.
The amount of CBD that’s absorbed depends on how long you hold it there; the rest will be absorbed later through the digestive tract.
Some people only hold their CBD under the tongue for a few seconds, but most of it will only take effect once it’s passed through your digestive tract. This isn’t the most effective way to use CBD tinctures.
2. Swallow It (Oral)
Some people swallow their CBD tinctures immediately. This method works fine but will take longer to kick in and may not be as strong as the sublingual method. Some of the CBD is lost during the process, so the overall potency of effects will be weaker.
3. Mix It With Food or Drinks
You can also mix CBD tincture into other foods and drinks. A common example here is smoothies.
Some people will cook with CBD oils or tinctures or add them to beverages like coffee (bulletproof coffee works great) or tea.
4. Apply It On The Skin
CBD is excellent for the skin. You can buy pre-made topical CBD products or apply them to the skin directly.
Just make sure the tincture you’re using is oil-based instead of alcohol-based if you intend to use it this way.
Additionally, it’s better to go for an unflavored CBD oil if you plan to use it topically on the skin.
How to Get The Most Out of Using CBD Tinctures
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to maximize the benefits of your CBD tincture.
1. Keep Your Dropper Clean
Make sure you keep your glass dropper clean when dosing CBD tincture to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Furthermore, any impurities on your dropper are vulnerable to mold or decay and could present a risk.
2. Dilute Alcohol-Based Tinctures
If you find that the alcohol in the tincture burns your tongue, consider diluting the mixture in some water before you take it.
3. Combine With Other Supplements & Herbs
Many other natural supplements provide fantastic health benefits. If you want to enhance the CBD benefits, consider combining CBD tinctures with herbs.
For example, if you’re trying to fight anxiety, consider mixing the tincture with valerian root or passionflower. These herbs can also help if you’re using CBD to get to sleep, as can melatonin.
You can find these other herbs and supplements in tincture form as well — so it’s easy to mix them all together when you want to use them.
4. Go Full-Spectrum
Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the active ingredients in hemp, not just CBD. These tinctures have more benefits than CBD alone.
Full-spectrum extracts are generally a bit more expensive. However, proponents usually say that the difference in cost is worth it.
What Are The Benefits of CBD Tinctures?
There are many ways to use CBD, and you might prefer one method over another at different times.
However, here are a few of the benefits of using a tincture:
- Easy to transport
- Easy to hit precise doses
Sometimes it might be easier to take a gummy, or maybe you need instant relief from vaping. Ultimately, use what suits your needs.
The Health Benefits of CBD
There are many health benefits linked to CBD. The research is still relatively new and ongoing, but here are just a few ways CBD can help:
How you take CBD can alter how it affects you; for example, using it topically only affects that area.
CBD Tinctures & the Endocannabinoid System
Once the CBD enters your bloodstream, CBD begins to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is made up of tiny intracellular receptors that regulate all aspects of homeostasis (balance).
The ECS regulates our mental and physical health in many ways, such as by balancing our mood and anxiety levels. The ECS is also involved in the sensing of pain or hunger and relaxation and energy levels.
CBD works on this system indirectly. It’s different from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary cannabinoid found in marijuana, which directly binds to these receptors.
One theory is that CBD prevents the body from breaking down naturally produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). In contrast, THC binds itself tightly to the receptors.
Thus, the effects of THC are more pronounced, while CBD is more subtle and smooth. This is one of the reasons that CBD tinctures have gained popularity so quickly — they provide many therapeutic benefits without the intense effects.
How Are Tinctures Made?
Tinctures are an ancient art. They have been used for nearly as long as people have been distilling alcohol.
‘Hard’ alcohol is referred to as ‘spirits’ because the alchemists believed it drew the plant’s spirit into the solution.
Modern-day chemistry agrees with this, although it replaces the word ‘spirit’ with ‘constituents.’ Microscopes and UV-spectrography allow us to observe the various phytochemicals, terpenes, minerals, and alkaloids drawn out by the alcohol.
Regardless of whether you use alchemical or scientific terminology, the process and results are the same. To make a tincture, finely chop the plant matter (in this case, hemp).
The standard rule for formulating tinctures is a 1:2 ratio if you’re using dried herbs or a 1:5 ratio if you’re using fresh herbs.
Whether or not CBD companies adhere to these rules depends on the individual brands. High-potency CBD extracts may have less alcohol and more herb, for example. Or, it may simply have CBD isolate added after the initial alcohol extraction.
How to Dose a CBD Tincture
It’s always wise to start with a small dose — smaller than the lowest recommended dose. For your first time, it’s a good idea to try a sub-threshold microdose just to make sure that you don’t have an adverse reaction to the CBD. This is sometimes referred to as an allergy test.
If the small dose isn’t doing anything after an hour or two, you can gradually increase the amount. Repeat this process until you find relief.
In general, the average dose of CBD is around 20–50 mg. Some people prefer milder doses; others like stronger doses.
Check out our CBD oil dosage calculator to determine the best starting point for CBD oil based on your weight and the potency of the oil you’re using.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD Tinctures
Traditionally, tinctures and oils are not the same things. A tincture is a liquid extract of a herb that uses alcohol as the base, while oils use a vegetable oil base.
However, today, both terms are used synonymously. A CBD tincture can use both alcohol or oil — so make sure you check the label before you buy, so you know what you’re actually getting.
Taking a CBD tincture sublingually is the best way to get the most value out of the product. This ensures that the CBD enters your bloodstream quickly, without being damaged or destroyed by your digestive system.
Remember to start small and work your way up to an effective dose. CBD is a safe supplement, but it’s still wise to use the lowest effective amount.
CBD Tincture USER GUIDE
CBD tinctures are popular oil-based cannabinoid products that are typically taken sublingually (under the tongue). Tinctures include hemp extract and a carrier oil, which helps the body absorb useful cannabinoids. We mix our cannabidiol-rich oils with organic fractionated coconut oil. We offer isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum CBD tinctures . Find CBG oil too!
Extract Labs Hemp Tincture
How To Use CBD Tincture
The traditional way to take a tincture is by holding the CBD oil under the tongue for 30 to 90 seconds. Cannabinoids travel to the bloodstream faster through the capillaries in the mouth, which is why you don’t want to swallow tincture oil instantly. You can also emulsify tinctures into drinks or drizzle them on food. They also work great as topical treatments, whether on their own or mixed with other skincare products.
How to Take CBD Tincture
- Mixed in food and drinks
CBD Tincture Use and Dosing
To start, we suggest one full dropper of regular strength oil twice per day. That equates to 33 milligrams of CBD per 1 milliliter. Experienced users may want to increase the dosage. Our extra strength tinctures are twice as potent as our original formula. One full milliliter dropper equals 66 milligrams of cannabinoids.