(Courtesy of Populum)
A field of non-psychoactive, industrial hemp, the male variety of the cannabis plant. (torstengrieger/iStock)
Tinctures are produced by steeping cannabis flowers or isolates in a high-proof grain alcohol, then applying low heat for a significant span of time. This allows the active compounds in cannabis to infuse into the neutral spirit, much of which is then boiled off. The result is a potent liquid that delivers the effects of the cannabinoid molecules without any smoking or other form of combustion. In the growing consumer market, producers will often add carrier oils and other complementary ingredients, such as an orange oil to improve the taste of a tincture.
What is a tincture?
When taken to relief the symptoms of epilepsy, CBD is typically administered orally. Researchers have found that this same method of dosing may be effective in using CBD to treat social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and related conditions. Evidence also suggests that this cannabinoid could be helpful in treating the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.
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.
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.
Instead, CBD possesses a wide variety of medical applications. While research is ongoing, studies have already demonstrated that CBD is an effective treatment for epilepsy. But this cannabinoid is what’s known as a promiscuous molecule, meaning that it interacts with many different types of neuroreceptors. That suggests that current studies may just be scratching the surface of CBD’s therapeutic potential.
“At the end of the day [CBD] is a fairly safe compound,” Hill says. “Although, we still need to know a lot more about it, like how it interacts with other medications people may be taking and what are the long-term effects,” he adds. And perhaps his biggest concern: “Sometimes people want to use it instead of evidence-based treatment and that can be a problem clinically in certain situations.”
But first, a little CBD 101…
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.
So are there side effects?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Proponents of CBD oil tinctures routinely praise its ability to help with the symptoms listed above. Whether you buy online, from a store, or make your own, you’ll understand the effects of CBD tincture when you notice the subtle fading of whatever is troubling you.
Confused? Check out the link below for more detailed information on how to dose CBD tinctures.
All in all, there is an increasing body of research suggesting that CBD (and other cannabis compounds) can provide health benefits. And of course, an enormous array of anecdotal evidence already exists to supplement this newfound data.
Benefits of CBD Tinctures
It would be remiss to suggest that CBD tincture side effects don’t exist. While many consider hemp CBD tinctures safer than pharmaceutical painkillers, there are a handful of adverse effects associated with cannabidiol. According to Harvard Health’s Dr. Peter Grinspoon, these negative effects can include:
There is no distinguishable difference between a CBD oil and a tincture, but the term “CBD oil” can be broader in terms of its scope and application. For instance, there are CBD oils made specifically for vaping.
When using CBD, there are a few things to take into account. First, human beings are all different. This means that 20mg of CBD may not have the same effect on you as it does for someone else.
Some people who don’t like the taste of CBD tinctures will try adding it to food or water. This can work, but understand that your body will absorb less of the compound when you eat or drink it (compared to letting it absorb under your tongue).