CBD tinctures are an increasingly popular option among consumers looking for quick and effective ways of getting CBD, but are they right for you? In this guide, you will learn more about CBD oil tincture options, including their safety, how to use them, and how they differ from regular oils.
What Is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound extracted from industrial hemp and related plants. It is one of many active chemical compounds in hemp that are collectively known as cannabinoids, and it’s usually the second most-prevalent chemical behind tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for most of hemp’s psychological effects.
Unlike THC, CMD has no known psychoactive properties on its own. This means it cannot make you “high” or otherwise alter your brain chemistry, which means it is drastically safer to use.
Are All CBD Products Safe, Then?
That’s a complicated question – but this is an ultimate guide, so that’s the kind of question we’re answering here. The short version is: it depends.
There are virtually no products that are 100% CBD, so the safety of products depends mainly on the other ingredients. Some CBD products are known as “full-spectrum” products, which means they include a variety of other chemicals extracted from hemp along with CBD.
These products may have a tiny amount of THC in them, usually under 0.3%. This isn’t enough to get you high unless you consume an awful lot of the oil in rapid succession, but it will still show up on tests.
Other products are known as isolates because they separate the CBD from other chemicals before adding it to products. Most isolates have at least one carrier or a chemical that helps deliver the oil. These chemicals are safe when taken as directed.
Is CBD Tincture Safe?
CBD tinctures are generally safe when used as directed. While some rare exceptions may exist (see “What About Allergies?”, below), most people can use CBD-focused tinctures without risk. Tinctures that also contain THC are potentially risky.
There is one crucial exception to this: other medications. CBD tinctures and oils might interact with other medicines you’re taking, especially those like blood thinners. Talking to a doctor is the best way to ensure CBD tinctures won’t interfere with anything else you’re taking.
We strongly recommend consulting with your doctor even if you’re not taking other medications.
CBD tinctures are generally safe for the vast majority of users. Still, your doctor has a better understanding of your unique medical history, and they’re in a better position to ensure CBD tinctures are safe for you to use. (Spoiler alert: They probably are. But we care about you, and we believe double-checking is always a good idea.)
What About Allergies?
There isn’t much research on CBD and allergies. Some parts of hemp plants can cause allergic reactions, including pollen, but there isn’t much of that in CBD oil. Other substances in full-spectrum oils, including chemicals known as terpenes, could also cause allergic reactions in a small number of people.
This is not a concern for most users. Put simply, people would notice if CBD caused allergic reactions in a large part of the population. Therefore, while allergies are possible, they are typically rare, and people who haven’t had allergic reactions to similar substances probably have nothing to worry about.
What Is CBD Tincture?
CBD tinctures are a specific type of CBD-containing product. As the name “CBD oil” suggests, traditional methods of consuming CBD use some form of plant-based oil as a carrier solvent that holds the CBD. Coconut is the most popular, but some companies use hempseed, flaxseed, grape seed, or even olive oil.
Tinctures, in contrast, suspend the CBD in an alcohol base. This improves how easily the body absorbs the CBD and helps preserve the product, granting it significantly longer shelf life.
Tinctures are usually 10% to 30% CBD by volume. CBD oils are harder to evaluate. Many manufacturers will say something like “99.7% pure CBD” on their labels, but this ignores the amount of carrier oil. Even the best oils usually have well under 50% CBD by volume, so you’ll have to check labels individually to be sure.
What Does Tincture Mean?
Officially, a tincture is any medicine created by dissolving it in alcohol. The name comes from the Latin verb tingere, which means to moisten or dip something. Tincture originally referred to coloring things with dye (and is also the source of the word “tinge” as it relates to color) but has since gained the meaning of “a slight infusion.”
In modern times, most people use this word exclusively in the medicinal sense.
Is Tincture The Same As CBD Oil?
No. Aside from the difference in carriers, oils and tinctures usually have different delivery methods, additives, and even flavors. They are similar products in that they both exist to deliver CBD, but there are enough differences that we consider them different products.
Are Higher Concentrations Better?
Not necessarily. Many people prefer full-spectrum CBD oils and tinctures because they have far more substances and may offer more health benefits. By definition, this means wanting to have lower CBD by volume so all those other substances can exist.
Furthermore, different concentrations make it easier to find dosages that work for your situation. Most experts recommend starting with a low concentration, then moving up to higher doses if you need to. This is easier than starting with a high amount and trying to wean off of it.
In that sense, higher concentrations are closer to a marketing trick than anything else. What matters is the total amount of CBD you take.
You Mentioned Alcohol. Can I Get Drunk From Tinctures?
Only if you have a lot of them. Most people don’t need more than a few drops of tincture at a time, and that’s not a lot of alcohol, even if it’s very high proof. It’s a fraction of what you can expect from even the smallest shot glass.
Alcohol concentrations also vary widely among tinctures. Most are somewhere between 25% and 60% alcohol by volume or roughly the range of strong fortified wine to a mid-range vodka. Most stronger alcoholic drinks stop at around 50% alcohol by volume, though vodka can go up to 95%.
CBD Tincture Vs. Oil
Now that we know more about CBD tincture and CBD oil differences, which one of them is better?
As with other things involving these products, the answer is that it depends. CBD oils and CBD tinctures have different uses and methods of delivery, so in many cases, which product is better comes down to personal preference.
That said, there are a few other details that set these products apart from each other.
First, CBD tinctures may have more additives. These can include flavorings, herbal extracts, essential oils, and similar substances that may benefit the body. Most CBD tinctures are not specifically medicine, but they can contain healthy substances that oils don’t.
(Certain anti-seizure medications are a rare exception to this, but acquiring them typically requires going through Canada’s regulations on access to cannabis for medical purposes.)
Second, CBD tinctures tend to be more potent. This means they have a higher concentration of CBD by volume. As we discussed above, potency is not the only thing that matters, but high-potency products are useful if you want to mix them into drinks or other delivery methods.
Some products even mix these somewhat. Our Calyx CBD tincture, for example, uses grapeseed oil rather than just alcohol.
Benefits Of CBD Tincture Oil
CBD tincture effects can vary by person, and you may have to experiment with different dosages to find one that works for you. If you haven’t used any CBD before, consider talking with your doctor or a similarly qualified expert before you start.
That said, CBD tinctures may offer benefits for issues like insomnia, low appetite, chronic pain, anxiety, muscle spasms, and artery blockage. Most people find CBD relaxing in the most literal sense, so it may help with many conditions affected by tense or tight body parts.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Most people do not experience significant side effects from using CBD tinctures, and even the World Health Organization considers it a generally safe substance. However, like allergies, side effects may occur in a small percentage of users depending on the other chemicals in the tincture. We carefully avoid any such ingredients in our own products.
Here are the most common potential side effects.
This is a common side effect of cannabinoids, which includes CBD. This chemical group can reduce saliva production, which leads to a dry mouth overall. The best way to remedy this is by taking plenty of fluids throughout the day, particularly when you use a CBD tincture.
Dry mouth is rarely threatening unless it lasts for extended periods.
This rare side effect usually occurs when additives in CBD tinctures react poorly with the gastrointestinal tract. CBD itself may help protect the gastrointestinal system, which can help explain why this is a rare effect.
If you experience diarrhea while taking a CBD tincture, try switching to another product. This usually resolves the issue.
CBD tinctures seldom cause dizziness when taken in regular doses. However, in very high doses, it could cause drowsiness or dizziness for short periods. This is part of why you should always start with a small dose and work your way up to find the minimal amount that works for you.
To reiterate, most CBD tinctures are not medicines and should not be treated as such. However, like many medicinal substances, taking more than recommended could trigger side effects that aren’t otherwise a problem. This is why you should always aim to use less of each product, rather than overdosing as part of an attempt to get a better result.
How To Use CBD Tincture
There are several ways to use CBD tinctures, and most products allow several methods. However, the delivery methods are not equal and will have a huge impact on each effect’s overall potency. Here’s what you should know about them.
Method #1: Sublingual
Sublingual delivery, or putting drops of CBD tincture under the tongue, is by far the most effective delivery method. This method is as simple as measuring out your dosage, then dropping it under your tongue and holding it there without swallowing.
Most products require a minimum of 10 seconds to start working, but 1-5 minutes is better if you can manage that.
The sublingual method works because CBD tinctures absorb readily into the blood vessels under your tongue area. This bypasses the entirety of your digestive system and thereby allows for faster delivery throughout the rest of your body.
Method #2: Food
Tinctures are generally potent, which means you can add them to food and drink without much trouble. Many people add CBD tinctures to tea, cocoa, cookies, smoothies, or even salads. This works best with milder tinctures, which won’t seriously disrupt your food’s flavor.
However, this method is not as effective as taking CBD tinctures sublingually. Tinctures that go through food have to get through the digestive system, which may interfere with as much as 95% of the dose. That means you’ll have to take literally 20 times as much tincture to get the same amount of CBD in your bloodstream and benefit from the effects.
That said, adding tinctures to food is a good way to test for allergic reactions. If you’re fine eating the food, you can move on to a regular dose without too many concerns.
Method #3: Topical Delivery
Alternatively, some people apply tinctures topically. This is mostly good for addressing joint pain, arthritis, and other skin-level issues where you want to concentrate the effects instead of relaxing your entire body. Honestly, most people don’t bother with this route.
A similar delivery method is putting CBD into baths. This often involves infusing a CBD oil or tincture into another carrier product, such as our 100mg bath bombs. Our bath bombs include plenty of other beneficial ingredients like essential oils and refreshing mint, all of which can make for a better overall experience.
Bath-based deliveries work best for mild stimulation rather than direct, significant effects. Like food, these types of topical deliveries are also a great way to test for allergic reactions and see how you react to CBD.