A tincture is a medical solution made from dissolving cannabis in alcohol. Most cannabis tincture products usually come in a half ounce bottle along with a dropper for easy dosing. Most cannabidiol tinctures contain 10% to 25% CBD, a much stronger concentration than you’ll find in any marijuana strain (with a few exceptions).
Cannabis tinctures have been around for more than a hundred years. In fact, it was prominently featured in the United States Pharmacopoeia as a painkiller and sedative until 1942 when it was declared a menace to society by Reefer Madness-fueled U.S. lawmakers who feared recreational marijuana would destroy America.
What Is a CBD Tincture?
Fundamentally, marijuana and hemp are both cannabis plants containing the same cannabinoids, just in different ratios and quantities. Hemp contains only negligible amounts of THC, while some marijuana has upwards of 30% THC.
There aren’t many cannabis CBD tinctures on the market (although more spring up seemingly every month), but here are some brands that make very powerful, effective products:
Best of all, CBD seems to counter the negative effects of THC. In clinical research trials CBD has proven to increase relaxation, thereby reducing the paranoia sometimes associated with large doses of THC; its effect on the lungs can counter the ill-effects of smoking; and CBD also suppresses appetite, counterbalancing the “munchies” brought on by THC.
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.
As a result, many commercial CBD products labelled as “tinctures” are actually oils. While these oil-based products don’t meet the technical definition of tincture, the term gets used to market any highly concentrated CBD extraction that comes in a dropper bottle and can be taken sublingually. It also distinguishes oil-based “tinctures” from other CBD oil products that are meant to be used differently.
Can You Use Oral CBD Oil or Tincture Topically?
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.
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.
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.
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.
CBD can be administered in many forms, from smoking a cannabis strain that produces a lot of the molecule to consuming it in edibles. Among the most popular methods—especially for individuals trying a cannabis-based treatment for the first time—is through a tincture.
If you’ve still got questions about CBD tinctures, watch Leafly editor Emily Resling discuss the topic a little further in the review below.
How to take a tincture
(Courtesy of Populum)
Since the doses are relatively small, tinctures can be administered in a variety of ways. For patients looking to take their CBD with food, a dose of tincture can be mixed into a meal like soup or pasta. It can also be added easily to drinks like coffee and tea; an evening cup of chamomile paired with CBD tincture stands to be even more relaxing than usual.
Researchers around the world are investigating CBD’s potential for treating a wide variety of conditions. Near the top of the list is the promise it holds for pain relief. Numerous studies have found that CBD exhibits analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties make it useful in the treatment of both acute pain—like muscle pulls—and chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Producers like Populum offer several ways to try CBD, including tried and tested tinctures sourced from Colorado-grown cannabis plants and made in the USA. Populum’s signature tincture is available in a variety of strengths, appropriate for dipping a toe into CBD or stepping up a dose to provide more effective relief.