As cannabis–based therapeutic products become more widely available and accepted, it’s natural to have questions. After all, a lot of the treatments on the market today weren’t around just a couple of years ago. While cannabinoids like CBD show a lot of promise in treating a host of conditions, it can be hard to know how to introduce them into an existing healthcare routine. Today, we explore the role CBD tinctures can play in your well-being.
Because a CBD tincture is concentrated, it’s designed to be taken in small doses. This is why most tinctures come with a built-in dropper that allows users to take small, carefully measured quantities.
What is CBD?
Tinctures can also be taken sublingually, or by applying them underneath the tongue. This method of delivering CBD tincture is already common in epilepsy treatments. Some research has found that this delivery method makes cannabinoids more easily and consistently available to the body than other oral alternatives.
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is one of the many identified cannabinoid molecules found in Cannabis plants. Like all cannabinoid molecules, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the human body. But because CBD isn’t psychoactive, it doesn’t produce the “high” commonly associated with its more famous cannabinoid cousin, THC. That means that CBD, which is often derived from hemp, or male cannabis plants, doesn’t produce the high that cannabis products are often associated with.
(Courtesy of Populum)
At a plant level, the two chemicals operate as opposites, with CBD acting as a buffer of sorts to the effects of THC. “It’s sort of a ying and yang. THC is responsible for the high and CBD doesn’t do that,” Hill explains.
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.
What are tinctures specifically?
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.
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.”
Homemade CBD tinctures are made by soaking hemp or cannabis plant material in alcohol. The alcohol may or may not be heated to encourage extraction. Vinegar or vegetable glycerine can be used instead of alcohol. However, alcohol will give a more potent result.
So, how exactly do you make a CBD tincture at home? And how are homemade tinctures different from what you would buy commercially?
A few simple ingredients and some patience are all you need to make a CBD tincture at home. Here’s an easy recipe to get you started.
Ingredients and Hardware
Understanding CBD tinctures.
When dosing a CBD tincture, hold it under your tongue for at least a minute. This will allow it to enter your bloodstream. You should start to feel the effects in around 15 minutes.
CBD tinctures are meant to be taken orally, but some people use them topically. While there’s nothing really wrong with this practice, it’s not the most effective use of your product. Topical CBD products usually contain other ingredients that are beneficial for your skin. They are also formulated for absorption through the skin. If you need a topical, it’s best to search for an oil, gel, or cream that’s designed for this type of application.
When using CBD tinctures, many people report relaxing or rejuvenating effects. Tinctures offer all the benefits of CBD in a discreet, easy-to-consume format. They don’t need to be smoked or vaporized, and they can be easily added to food or administered under the tongue. The dropper bottles themselves are very small, making them easy to conceal in a purse or pocket. Because tinctures are taken a few drops at a time, it is easy to adjust your dose with precision.