By LeeWEpstein

April 22, 2021


When most people think of CBD, chances are the first thing that will come to mind is smoking or vaping. These are two of the most well-known and popular ways of taking CBD, but there are also many other methods, including tinctures.

CBD tinctures are taken orally rather than smoked or vaped, which can often be a better option for certain people. For example, people with breathing conditions like asthma who don’t cope well with smoking, or even just people who don’t enjoy smoking or vaping, may find it easier to take CBD in liquid form as a tincture.

Want to know more about cannabis tinctures? This guide covers everything you need to know: what exactly a cannabis tincture is, how to use a tincture, how they’re made,  the best ways to use them, and what the benefits are of tinctures compared to other ways of taking CBD.

What is Cannabis tincture?

Tinctures are a traditional form of herbal medicine where herbs and medicinal compounds are dissolved in a solvent, usually alcohol.

Tinctures have been used around the world for centuries, and cannabis tinctures were originally the most common way of taking cannabis before it was banned in the United States in the early 20th century.

Are Tinctures Making a Comeback?

In the modern world, tinctures are beginning to make a comeback. Laws on medicinal cannabis usage are beginning to relax, and tinctures offer a good starting point for people interested in CBD who aren’t keen on smoking or vaping.

The Process behind Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures are made by soaking cannabis flowers in alcohol. The flowers used are usually either hemp or marijuana – the former contains higher CBD content, while the latter is used more for its high THC concentration (the psychoactive compound which gets you high when you take weed).

Whichever cannabis plant is used, the general process for making the tincture remains the same. The flower first needs to be decarboxylated, which basically means activating cannabinoids like CBD and THC.

The main catalyst for this process is heat, so the flower is finely ground and then baked at high temperatures. Once the flower has been decarboxylated, it’s then mixed into a solvent.

Usually, a high-proof alcohol is used, although some tinctures use other solvents like glycerin instead to avoid any potential intoxication when consuming them.

The mixture is then left for a while to give the cannabis compounds time to dissolve and properly mix into the solvent. Finally, the resulting cannabis tincture is strained in order to remove any remaining solid plant matter.

How is sublingual CBD taken?

How To Use Tincture

The preferred method of taking cannabis tinctures by cannabis consumers is to apply them sublingually. Sublingual application means letting the tincture rest below the tongue to allow it to be absorbed by the sublingual veins situated there.

Applying tinctures in this manner helps them enter the bloodstream rapidly – most medicines applied in this manner reach peak blood levels within 10-15 minutes. This means cannabis tinctures taken sublingually allow you to feel the effects within a very short timeframe.

Sublingual application vs other methods of taking CBD

The sublingual application can have several benefits in comparison to other ways of taking CBD and other cannabis consumption methods.

Unlike smoking and vaping, you can use a tincture sublingually that won’t irritate your lungs, making it more suitable for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

On top of this, it’s more discrete – smoking and vaping may leave a lingering smell, whereas it’s much harder for other people to tell when you’ve taken a tincture.

Against other discrete consumption methods like nasal sprays, it also has the benefit of precise dosing. While you can regulate the dose delivered by a nasal spray by the number of times you spray it, it’s far from an exact science.

The same goes for smoking – the absorption rate of CBD when smoking cannabis can be anywhere between 2% and 56%, giving wildly varying results.

With sublingual tinctures, however, you can tell precisely how much you’re taking, as they are usually supplied with droppers or syringes which can measure out the precise amount you want to take.

Why use CBD tinctures?

As with other CBD products, cannabis tinctures are taken for their potential health benefits. CBD is believed to be able to treat a number of ailments – it may help to alleviate chronic pain, reduce anxiety and facilitate better sleep, for example.

It’s important to note that research into the exact benefits of CBD usage is still fairly limited, but there have been several promising (albeit limited) trials. For example, one study found that 6 out of 7 patients with chronic pain reported less pain after taking CBD for three weeks.

The potential health benefits of CBD are one of the main reasons it’s fast becoming a major trend in the wellness industry. On top of this, CBD tinctures have their own distinct benefits among different CBD products.

Benefits of cannabis tinctures

  • Easy to consume – it’s easy to use a tincture; all you need to do is apply some underneath your tongue and let it rest there. You can even add them to food or drink instead if you’d prefer.
  • The quick onset of CBD effects – you’ll usually begin to feel the effects of a tincture within 10-15 minutes – much faster than other CBD products like edibles which take longer to reach the bloodstream.
  • Low calorie – if you’re put off by the high sugar or high-calorie content in CBD edibles like gummies or brownies, then tinctures are ideal. Since they largely only consist of cannabis extracts and alcohol and normally aren’t taken in doses larger than a few milliliters, their calorie count is minimal.
  • Shelf-life – there’s little risk of tinctures going off, since the high-proof alcohol they’re made with acts as a powerful preservative. CBD tinctures can easily last months or even years without deteriorating as long as you store the bottle properly.

How To Use Tincture

How to use CBD tincture

It is easy to use a tincture and can be a great starting point if you want to begin experimenting with CBD as part of a wellness routine. The preferred method of taking a CBD tincture is to apply it sublingually.

To take a CBD tincture sublingually, measure out your intended dose with an eyedropper or small syringe. If you’re just starting out with CBD, begin with a small dose – 1ml is ideal. Use the dropper to drip the tincture under your tongue, then hold it there for up to a minute for the best results.

Doing this allows the CBD to enter your bloodstream via the veins under your tongue. Afterward, swallow the tincture and wait for the effects to begin – you might want to drink some water if there’s an aftertaste.

Other ways to use tincture

Tinctures are highly adaptable in that they don’t have to just be used sublingually – they can also be added to a wide variety of food and drink if you prefer.

Simply measure out your intended dose and add it to your meal or beverage before you eat/drink it. This will have a much slower, more prolonged effect than taking it sublingually, as the tincture will need to be processed in your digestive system instead of entering your bloodstream directly.

Some popular options for tincture-boosted edibles include brownies, dips and sauces (eg. guacamole, salsa, and hot sauce), coffee, iced tea, and even gummies if you have some gelatine at hand.

Conclusion: why you should try cannabis tinctures

CBD tinctures are a great entry point for anyone interested in CBD, offering precise dosage, quick effects, and discrete usage. They’re easy to take, and can also be used to create homemade cannabis edibles with minimal effort.

If you’re interested in the potential wellness benefits of CBD, then consider trying a tincture – just make sure to start with small doses and gradually increase them until you get the result you want. 

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