If you’re a CBD user or are thinking of giving it a go, you may have seen products referred to as ‘CBD tincture’ and ‘CBD oil’.
There are a wealth of different CBD products available. Sometimes, the terminology can get a little confusing.
In this article, we’ll explore the differences and similarities between CBD oil and CBD tincture to help you figure out which one is right for you.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is commonly known as CBD. It’s one of more than 60 chemical compounds called cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plant.
CBD is extracted from industrial hemp. This is a strain of cannabis with little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the cannabinoid that makes you feel ‘high’.
Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychotropic or intoxicating effects. However, research suggests that it may have a variety of therapeutic benefits.
A 2017 report by the World Health Organization suggested that CBD could have potential benefits in treating a number of symptoms and conditions.
CBD products are available in a huge range of formats.
CBD oil and CBD tincture are two of the most common – and because of their similar appearance, they can be easily confused.
But the different manufacturing processes mean they’re two very different products – each with unique benefits.
What is CBD oil?
To make CBD oil, CBD is first extracted from hemp plants. This is typically done via supercritical CO2 extraction, or sometimes through ethanol extraction.
The extracted CBD is then diffused into a carrier oil to make it suitable for human consumption. Common carrier oils include hemp seed oil and olive oil. Another common oil is MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride), derived from coconuts. To find out more, read our blog on the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil.
Higher-quality CBD oil tends to have fewer ingredients. Some CBD oils contain only hemp extract and a carrier oil, while some may also have a flavouring added. Be wary of products that contain lots of additives.
You can ingest CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue) as drops or in capsules. It can also be added to edibles and used topically.
For more information, check out our guide on how to use CBD oil.
What is CBD tincture?
First of all, let’s define tincture. A tincture is an extract of a plant dissolved in alcohol. Other solvents can also be used in place of alcohol, including vinegar and glycerine. Tinctures have been used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years.
To make CBD tincture, hemp plant material is saturated in alcohol and left to steep. It’s also sometimes gently heated. This enables the CBD and other compounds to infuse into the alcohol. The plant matter is then strained out and the whole solution bottled.
CBD tinctures generally have extra ingredients added, like flavourings or sweeteners. They can be taken sublingually or used as a food additive.
CBD oil vs CBD tincture: What are the differences?
The primary difference between CBD oil and CBD tincture is the production method and manufacturing process. CBD oil is extracted from hemp using CO2 (or sometimes ethanol), while CBD tincture is made by soaking hemp in alcohol.
The extraction process used for CBD oil results in a high-quality substance made up of virtually pure hemp compounds, without any residual solvent. This substance is then added to a carrier oil.
The more traditional extraction method used to make CBD tincture, however, results in a solution with an alcohol base. The alcohol content means that tinctures usually have a longer shelf life. CBD tinctures are also more likely to contain added ingredients.
Confusingly, some companies use the terms ‘oil’ and ‘tincture’ interchangeably. Some products labelled ‘CBD tincture’ are in fact what we’ve defined as CBD oil.
Companies also may use the term ‘tincture’ to describe CBD oil that has flavourings or other ingredients added. Some products are even labelled ‘CBD oil tincture’.
The best way to know what sort of product you’re buying is to read the label carefully. This should tell you the composition of the product and its CBD content. If this information isn’t clearly stated on the label, steer clear.
What are the similarities between CBD tincture and oil?
Both CBD oil and tincture are often packaged in similar dropper bottles, making it even more difficult to tell them apart.
They are often applied the same way, too – sublingually, using a dropper. A user places the desired number of drops under their tongue. They keep them there for between 30 seconds and two minutes, before swallowing.
This method enables the CBD to enter the bloodstream quickly, as the tissue under the tongue is particularly high in capillaries. Both CBD tincture and oil can also be added to food and drinks.
There are no official clinical guidelines on dosage for either product, as it’s illegal in the UK to market CBD products as medicines.
It’s advisable to talk to your doctor before taking CBD and follow their recommendation on dosage, if they give one. If not, it’s best to start with a low dose and gradually increase it, monitoring the effects as you go.
For more information on dosing, read our article answering the question “How much CBD should I take?“.
Which one is right for me?
CBD tincture and CBD oil are similar products in their application method and effects. As we discussed previously, in some instances they may be the same!
The product you choose will ultimately come down to personal preference, and may take a bit of experimentation.
If you don’t like the taste of unflavoured CBD oil, you can opt for a tincture with flavouring added. If you want a product for topical use, CBD oil could be your best bet. Or if you’re sensitive to alcohol, you’ll probably want to avoid alcohol-based tinctures.
Remember, always read the label carefully – make sure you know exactly what’s in your product and what the CBD content is. Different people respond to CBD in different ways, so try a few products and see which ones work for you.
Conclusion: What are the differences and similarities between CBD tincture and CBD oil?
CBD oil and CBD tincture are two of the most common CBD products found on the market today. Due to their similar appearances they are often mixed up between each other.
In summary, the main difference between CBD tincture and CBD oil is the production method and manufacturing process. While CBD oil is extracted from hemp using CO2 or occasionally ethanol, CBD tincture is produced by soaking hemp in alcohol.
However, they do share some similarities though. CBD tincture and CBD oil are often packaged in similar dropper bottles, whilst they are both typically applied sublingually, using a dropper.