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.
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.
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.
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.
How do I take a tincture?
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.
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.
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.
First things first, what is CBD?
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.
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.
“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.”
The cannabis plant has hundreds of chemicals in it, including more than 120 cannabinoids, Hill explains. Of those cannabinoids, two are most familiar: THC, which produces the euphoric effects or “high” people experience from marijuana, and cannabidiol or CBD, which has some anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, anxiety-relieving and analgesic properties, according to Low Dog.
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.
CBD tincture vs. CBD oil—which is better?
On that note, Hill cautions to know what you’re getting: “If you’re rubbing a CBD cream onto your skin, it’s not going to be absorbed into your bloodstream,” he says. “It can operate as a local anti-inflammatory, like other over-the-counter products… but CBD may not provide any more relief than those products, and it probably will be considerably more expensive.”
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.
“The rate and scale of the research just hasn’t kept pace with the interest at this point. A lot of the medical uses for cannabidiol are backed by animal studies only or really no studies. So that’s where it can be a problem.”
How are CBD tinctures made and what are the benefits of using them?
But first, a little CBD 101…
And though there’s a lot of promise with CBD preparations of all kinds, Hill says there’s still a lot of research to be done.