What is CBD Tincture?
In the wide world of cannabidiol, there’s a lot to know. With all the brands, products, and information out there, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Today we’ll be covering one of the fundamental questions that ALL new users need to understand: just what is CBD tincture?
We’ll go beyond the basics of what is CBD tincture and delve into a few more advanced topics related to the question — including how oil tinctures are made, the possible benefits of regular use, and what to look out for when you’re shopping for CBD oil tinctures.
CBD Tinctures, CBD Oils, and CBD Drops: Many Names for One Product
One of the most common questions we hear from new users is whether there’s a difference between tinctures, oils, and drops. In short: no, each of these terms refers to the same type of CBD product, and the differing terms are largely just a matter of branding.
Outside of the CBD industry, "tinctures" and "oils" refer to slightly different products. For instance, traditional (non-CBD) tinctures are often made with alcohol. However, the CBD industry does not often follow that definition, and products branded as "tinctures" might more traditionally be thought of as "oils".
To keep it simple, we’ll only be using the term “tincture” in this article from here on out.
But What IS CBD Tincture?
Tinctures come in many strengths, forms, and flavors, but they all share a few characteristics. Here are the basics:
- CBD tinctures are liquid-based products, intended for oral use, that are made from an oil extraction of industrial hemp.
- They contain a carefully measured amount of cannabidiol (that is, a CBD oil extraction), which is suspended in liquid bases known as “carrier oils”.
- The carrier oils vary by product and manufacturer, but the most common are hemp oil and Medium Chain Triglycerides (“MCT”) oil.
- Tinctures are typically packaged in a dark or opaque glass bottle and most often have a dropper top for measuring and taking one’s dose.
- The dark container is essential because the CBD oil extraction can break down when exposed to sunlight, oxygen, and other environmental factors
CBD tinctures are the most popular and widely-used form of CBD product. That’s primarily due to their rapid absorption time, long-lasting effects, and convenience of use. Other popular products, such as CBD gummies, offer their own benefits — but when it comes to overall performance for the average user, there’s just no beating a CBD tincture.
For What is CBD Tincture Used?
Users take CBD tincture for an extremely wide variety of purposes. Due to its interaction with the human endocannabinoid system, it has an array of potential uses and applications.
Several of the most common reasons for which CBD tinctures are used include:
- Pain management
- Improved mental health, including:
- Reducing anxiety
- Managing stress
- Improving sleep
- Reducing the frequency and severity of seizures and other symptoms of epilepsy
Formal research into CBD’s effects is ongoing, and it will be some time before its effects are understood entirely. However, these uses are largely backed by existing clinical trials and by an ever-growing wealth of users’ anecdotal accounts.
How is CBD Oil Tincture Made?
CBD tinctures can be manufactured through a variety of different processes. The process is somewhat involved, but the basics are as follows:
- Manufacturers harvest industrial hemp, which is grown in compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill.
- The hemp is then dried and treated to extract the CBD it contains, as well as any other desirable compounds (such as other cannabinoids, terpenes, or fatty acids)
- Full spectrum CBD oil extractions take a bit from every part of the industrial hemp plant, while broad spectrum and isolate extractions target only specific compounds.
- The CBD is “activated” by a process known as decarboxylation. This allows your body to interact with the CBD once it is eventually ingested.
- The decarboxylated CBD oil extraction is then combined with carrier oils and other ingredients.
- At this point, reputable manufacturers send the finished product out for independent laboratory testing to verify its purity, potency, and safety.
The process is, of course, far more complicated than that brief description would suggest. If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating topic, please see our in-depth write up covering the ins-and-outs of CBD oil manufacturing.
Are All CBD Tinctures Created Equal?
The CBD industry is booming, and there is a wealth of different CBD oil tinctures available. Most users eventually find a brand or a handful of products that they trust and enjoy, but new users can often feel overwhelmed by the wealth of options available.
Common Tincture Variations
There are many differences between CBD tinctures. The most obvious are these:
- CBD tinctures contain different types of CBD oil extraction.
- Full Spectrum CBD Oil Extraction: contains extracts from the entire industrial hemp plant. Such products will contain all of hemp's cannabinoids, terpenes, and fatty acids — including trace amounts of THC. These are prized for their ability to create the entourage effect, which many users believe is the key to CBD’s full therapeutic potential.
- Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Extraction: identical to full spectrum CBD extractions, except that all traces of THC have been removed. Will also contribute to the entourage effect, but with somewhat reduced impact. These are preferred by users sensitive to THC or who, for other reasons, want to avoid all exposure to it.
- CBD Isolate: contains cannabidiol, but no traces of any other hemp compound. Will not contribute to the entourage effect. These are preferred by users who find that the entourage effect does not assist in their treatment plan.
- CBD tinctures differ in total volume.
- The most common size is 30ml, but 15ml and 60ml are also quite common.
- Tinctures vary in potency.
- Low-strength tinctures tend to contain about 300mg of CBD per 30ml tincture.
- Meanwhile, high-strength tinctures may contain 5000mg or even more in the same volume!
- They come in a wide variety of different flavors.
- Tinctures may be sweet and fruity, salty and savory, or sport virtually any taste you can imagine.
- There are also “unflavored” CBD tinctures, which, despite the name, tend to have a rich, earthy flavor of raw industrial hemp plants.
- They may contain different carrier oils and other supportive ingredients.
- As mentioned above, the most common carrier oils are hemp and MCT oils.
- Some brands, such as Pachamama, often use more imaginative base oils to craft specialized CBD tinctures for particular use cases.
- To further specialize and distinguish their products, many manufacturers use a host of synergistic ingredients.
- For a more detailed overview of common tincture ingredients, their effects, and where they are found, see our detailed write-up on the Oils and Extracts Found in CBD Products.
The Golden Rule: Reputable Vendors with Lab-Proven Products
Most of the differences between CBD tinctures come down to a users’ personal preference and their reasons for treatment. However, there is one thing that users should ALWAYS check before trying any new CBD product.
Whether you’re shopping for tinctures, CBD capsules, or anything else on the market, always remember: The single most important guideline is to only buy from reputable vendors.
Trustworthy brands, such as CBD Choice, should always be able to prove the quality and purity of their products via independent laboratory testing. These tests are vitally important for ensuring that the products you buy will be both safe and effective.
Until more formal industry regulation is put into place, the marketplace is something of a Wild West. Unfortunately, some disreputable vendors have been found selling mislabeled and even dangerous products under the guise of CBD tincture. Laboratory testing is the ONLY way to verify that you will get what you pay for — with no unfortunate surprises.
When you shop at CBD Choice, know that our entire line of products is carefully hand selected based on the industry-leading CBD Choice Criteria. Part of that means that every single product here is regularly sent out for independent testing by America’s most reputable independent laboratories. We stand by each of our products — and we have the Certificates of Analysis to prove that they’re the best of the best.
If you’d like to review the CoA’s for a particular product, please What is