Many people believe CBD oil and CBD tinctures are the same thing. While both forms do have similar properties, there are distinguishing factors that set the two apart including the ingredients involved and the production methods of each.
If you’re looking to become more informed on the oil vs tincture discussion as it relates to CBD, you’ve come to the right place. As with most things in life when looked at by comparison, there are pros and cons to each. The same holds true for CBD tinctures vs. CBD oils.
Whether you are new to CBD altogether, or are looking to make an informed decision on whether an oil or tincture is better for you, we have the answers you’ve been looking for.
First thing’s first: CBD is now available in many different forms to suit a wide range of needs, preferences and lifestyles. You can find topicals, ingestibles, vapes and beauty products which all contain this beneficial cannabinoid. Two of the most popular forms of CBD though, are oils and tinctures, which we will be talking about in this post.
CBD oil is pretty self-explanatory (it’s an oil, in case you didn’t get that from the name “CBD oil”), so we will provide an explanation of a tincture for those unfamiliar before getting into the differences between the two quite similar forms of CBD.
What is a tincture?
A tincture is a liquid form of medicine that has been dissolved in alcohol. CBD tinctures can be taken by dropping the liquid under the tongue, where they are absorbed by tiny blood vessels called capillaries.
Tinctures were originally the most popular and common form of cannabis-derived medicine in the 20th century, where they were used to treat everything from indigestion to menstrual cramps.
Tinctures have a longer shelf life than oils, so long as they are stored in a cool place with low light. CBD tinctures also kick into effect more quickly than ingesting CBD oil. While CBD oil typically takes 45 minutes or longer to take effects, CBD tinctures are said to provide relief in less than 30 minutes.
Below, we lay out the similarities and differences of oils and tinctures. Let’s start with how they are alike:
Similarities of CBD Oils and CBD Tinctures
- One of the reasons why CBD oil and tincture are thought to be the same product is due to their similar packaging and application method. Both often come in a tinted glass bottle that is typically brown in color, but may also be dark green, cobalt blue or amber. The function of the tint is to block out light and keep the contents fresh.
- Additionally, the bottles usually come with a dropper for convenient (and kind of fun) consumption. With identical packaging, it’s difficult to tell them apart at first glance, but once you read their labels, you’ll see they are in fact two different products.
Both can be ingested or applied topically
- For ingestion, users will need to use the dropper to drop the oil or tincture under their tongues, wait a few seconds, and then swallow.
- For topical use, users must apply either the oil or tincture generously to the targeted area.
Important note on oil and tincture: Whether you choose to use CBD oil or tincture, you will benefit from the health effects of CBD. Compared to other forms of CBD, both oils and tinctures contain a higher concentration of the cannabinoid, usually ranging from 10 to 30 percent. It’s worth mentioning that the concentration levels in tinctures are more varied, though, with some products containing less than one to three percent CBD.
Differences Between CBD Oil and CBD Tincture
There are three core differences between oil and tincture – ingredients, production method and use. Here, we take a closer look at each difference.
Ingredients of CBD Oil
A CBD oil product consists mostly or entirely of oil, with CBD oil acting as its main ingredient. The amount of CBD the oil contains can differ significantly depending on the strain of cannabis the oil is extracted from (marijuana or hemp) and the amount of other, remaining ingredients present in the product.
Pure CBD oil is derived completely from the cannabis plant and contains no additives whatsoever. While products containing 100 percent CBD oil are available in today’s market, most CBD oil products are diluted with at least one other base oil to provide different strength level properties.
The most common base oil is hemp seed oil. All in all, due to the somewhat unpleasant nutty flavor of hemp seed oil, some manufacturers prefer to use coconut or grapeseed oil instead.
Ingredients of CBD Tincture
Unlike CBD oil, a CBD tincture product does not consist mostly of oil – It is a solution comprised of CBD along with several other ingredients that serve different purposes. The most common base ingredients used for making tinctures are ethanol, glycerin and vinegar.
Sometimes, the base in tinctures can be a mixture of all of the just-mentioned ingredients. The main purpose of the base ingredients is to dilute the solution as a whole so it can be mixed with other ingredients.
Examples of secondary ingredients found in CBD tinctures:
- Natural and artificial flavoring
- Emulsifiers like polysorbate 80 (a nonionic liquid often used in foods and cosmetics) and lecithin (a fat essential in the cells of the body)
Production Method of CBD Oil
CBD oil is typically produced using one of two methods: alcohol extraction and carbon dioxide extraction.
Alcohol Extraction Method for CBD Oil
- Developed by Rick Simpson, this method involves soaking the cannabis plant material in ethanol, butane and alcohol from grains or other solvents.
- After soaking, the remaining liquid containing CBD is evaporated, leaving behind pure CBD oil.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction Method for CBD Oil
- This method uses different carbon dioxide pressures to extract CBD oil. The cleanest and purest form of CBD oil is obtained using this method.
Production Method of CBD Tincture
Similar to CBD oil, CBD tincture can also be made from the alcohol extraction and carbon dioxide extraction methods. However, the alcohol extraction method for tincture does not require evaporation.
Alcohol Extraction Method for CBD Tincture
- The cannabis is simply soaked in high-proof alcohol or another solvent, which is then strained and stored in an airtight container.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction Method for CBD Tincture
- Follows the same process as the alcohol extraction method, except the plant materials here are decarboxylated (heated) first before being soaked in the solvent.
Use of Oil and Tincture
While both CBD oil and tincture offer the same health benefits, they are used for different purposes. Since CBD oil is generally more concentrated, it is often used for treating more severe conditions. CBD oil is also the preferred option for busy people (so, practically everyone) who don’t have time to take it several times a day, as well as heavier people who need larger servings to feel CBD’s effects.
If you are someone just starting out with taking CBD or wish to take a smaller amount, tincture may be a more suitable option, as each drop contains less CBD than a drop of oil. This difference allows you to control the serving size more accurately. Another benefit of consuming tincture is that it is usually flavored, making it a more pleasant choice for those who are sensitive to unusual tastes.
Why do people use CBD oil and/or CBD tincture?
You now have the rundown on oils and tinctures, but why are people taking these forms of CBD? Well, for one, because of CBD’s numerous therapeutic effects including relieving anxiety and inflammation, lessening pain and depression and improving overall mood and well-being.
While there are many forms CBD can be taken in addition to oil and tincture (vapes, topicals and edibles, to name a few), some users simply prefer oil or tincture due to their higher concentration of CBD. In addition, oil and tincture may suit users’ lifestyles better than capsules, vapes or other forms of taking the healthy cannabinoid.
- The main differences between oil and tincture lie in the products’ ingredients, production method, and use
- Both oil and tincture use the alcohol extraction and carbon dioxide extraction methods
- Manufacturers use hemp seed oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil as base oils for both products