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.
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.”
Here, Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., an expert on herbal medicine and women’s health, and Kevin Hill, M.D., Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, get to the bottom of CBD tinctures’ mystique.
How are CBD tinctures made and what are the benefits of using them?
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.
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.
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.
Tinctures, though, remain somewhat shrouded in mystery, in part because of their old-school apothecary-style packaging, but more likely because of how they’re taken: a few drops at a time, under the tongue.
Traditionally, a tincture is an extract that is dissolved in alcohol. For instance, tinctures are utilized for lavender and vanilla extracts. However, hemp extract oil tinctures aren’t the byproduct of an extract being dissolved in alcohol. There is a another method of extraction in the hemp industry, which is using supercritical CO2. This leads to an extract that is better tasting and contains less solvents. The final product is suspended in a carrier oil, like MCT oil or hemp seed oil, instead of alcohol.
Hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds and stalks of the hemp plant, whereas hemp extract oil only comes from hemp extract. Both oils have no more than 0.03% THC. Hence, both oils are legal in each of the 50 states. Hemp extract oil contains all the vital cannabinoids and terpenes that produce the alleviating effects that people seek from tinctures. However, hemp seed oil doesn’t contain THC, CBD, or any of the cannabinoids. Hemp seed oil is primarily utilized for cooking and dietary needs.
What is the difference between hemp seed oil and hemp extract oil?
You should purchase your hemp oil tincture from a reputable, ethical company; one that doesn’t make unsubstantiated health claims, break FDA/FTC rules, grow their products outside of the U.S., mislead consumers about ingredients, forego third-party testing, or sell products containing heavy metals and pesticides. To get the best possible product for your money, do some digging on companies before making your hemp oil tincture purchase.
A hemp oil tincture is the result of dissolving hemp oil in a natural oil. Again, this is legal in every state because the tincture does not contain more than 0.03% THC. When you dissolve hemp oil, which is paste-like in nature, in natural oil, it becomes a liquid. As a reminder, it’s hemp oil extract tincture that has all the vital cannabinoids and terpenes that produce the soothing effects that people seek out when using tinctures.
The three types of oil are full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Full spectrum includes the maximum 0.03% THC. However, broad spectrum has virtually no THC; in other words, it contains a non-detectable amount. Lastly, isolate contains no THC at all; instead, it only contains CBD.