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How to Use CBD Tinctures & CBD Oil

CBD tinctures are easily absorbed and can be used in many ways. Learn how to get the most out of your tincture, how not to use it, and the many benefits it offers.

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Daily CBD , last updated on January 6, 2022

Tinctures are a popular way to use CBD, but how you use it changes its effects.

You can take them directly, mix them with drinks, cook with them, apply them to the skin, or hold them under the tongue for fast absorption.

Learn how to use CBD tinctures properly, how to figure out the right dose to use, and what to avoid.

CBD Tinctures vs. CBD Oil: What’s the Difference?

Traditionally, a tincture is technically an extract made by soaking herb material in an alcohol solvent. The alcohol pulls the active ingredients out of the plant and into the solution.

CBD oil shares all the same principles, except instead of alcohol, vegetable oil is used as the solvent.

Today, the word tincture and oil is used synonymously — they mean the same thing.

5 Methods of Taking CBD Tinctures

There are a couple of different ways that you can take CBD tinctures. Deciding which is the best option for you depends on what you want to use it for and what type of tincture or oil you purchased.

1. Hold It Under the Tongue (Sublingual)

Sublingual dosing involves placing CBD tincture under your tongue and holding it there for a few minutes.

This is the fastest method of ingestion. The CBD is absorbed into the capillaries and travels straight to your bloodstream, skipping the digestion process it has to go through when you swallow it.

The amount of CBD that’s absorbed depends on how long you hold it there; the rest will be absorbed later through the digestive tract.

Some people only hold their CBD under the tongue for a few seconds, but most of it will only take effect once it’s passed through your digestive tract. This isn’t the most effective way to use CBD tinctures.

2. Swallow It (Oral)

Some people swallow their CBD tinctures immediately. This method works fine but will take longer to kick in and may not be as strong as the sublingual method. Some of the CBD is lost during the process, so the overall potency of effects will be weaker.

Related: The 10 Strongest CBD Oils You Can Buy.

3. Mix It With Food or Drinks

You can also mix CBD tincture into other foods and drinks. A common example here is smoothies.

Some people will cook with CBD oils or tinctures or add them to beverages like coffee (bulletproof coffee works great) or tea.

4. Apply It On The Skin

CBD is excellent for the skin. You can buy pre-made topical CBD products or apply them to the skin directly.

Just make sure the tincture you’re using is oil-based instead of alcohol-based if you intend to use it this way.

Additionally, it’s better to go for an unflavored CBD oil if you plan to use it topically on the skin.

How to Get The Most Out of Using CBD Tinctures

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to maximize the benefits of your CBD tincture.

1. Keep Your Dropper Clean

Make sure you keep your glass dropper clean when dosing CBD tincture to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Furthermore, any impurities on your dropper are vulnerable to mold or decay and could present a risk.

2. Dilute Alcohol-Based Tinctures

If you find that the alcohol in the tincture burns your tongue, consider diluting the mixture in some water before you take it.

3. Combine With Other Supplements & Herbs

Many other natural supplements provide fantastic health benefits. If you want to enhance the CBD benefits, consider combining CBD tinctures with herbs.

For example, if you’re trying to fight anxiety, consider mixing the tincture with valerian root or passionflower. These herbs can also help if you’re using CBD to get to sleep, as can melatonin.

You can find these other herbs and supplements in tincture form as well — so it’s easy to mix them all together when you want to use them.

4. Go Full-Spectrum

Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the active ingredients in hemp, not just CBD. These tinctures have more benefits than CBD alone.

Full-spectrum extracts are generally a bit more expensive. However, proponents usually say that the difference in cost is worth it.

What Are The Benefits of CBD Tinctures?

There are many ways to use CBD, and you might prefer one method over another at different times.

However, here are a few of the benefits of using a tincture:

Sometimes it might be easier to take a gummy, or maybe you need instant relief from vaping. Ultimately, use what suits your needs.

The Health Benefits of CBD

There are many health benefits linked to CBD. The research is still relatively new and ongoing, but here are just a few ways CBD can help:

How you take CBD can alter how it affects you; for example, using it topically only affects that area.

CBD Tinctures & the Endocannabinoid System

Once the CBD enters your bloodstream, CBD begins to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is made up of tiny intracellular receptors that regulate all aspects of homeostasis (balance).

The ECS regulates our mental and physical health in many ways, such as by balancing our mood and anxiety levels. The ECS is also involved in the sensing of pain or hunger and relaxation and energy levels.

CBD works on this system indirectly. It’s different from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary cannabinoid found in marijuana, which directly binds to these receptors.

One theory is that CBD prevents the body from breaking down naturally produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). In contrast, THC binds itself tightly to the receptors.

Thus, the effects of THC are more pronounced, while CBD is more subtle and smooth. This is one of the reasons that CBD tinctures have gained popularity so quickly — they provide many therapeutic benefits without the intense effects.

How Are Tinctures Made?

Tinctures are an ancient art. They have been used for nearly as long as people have been distilling alcohol.

‘Hard’ alcohol is referred to as ‘spirits’ because the alchemists believed it drew the plant’s spirit into the solution.

Modern-day chemistry agrees with this, although it replaces the word ‘spirit’ with ‘constituents.’ Microscopes and UV-spectrography allow us to observe the various phytochemicals, terpenes, minerals, and alkaloids drawn out by the alcohol.

Regardless of whether you use alchemical or scientific terminology, the process and results are the same. To make a tincture, finely chop the plant matter (in this case, hemp).

The standard rule for formulating tinctures is a 1:2 ratio if you’re using dried herbs or a 1:5 ratio if you’re using fresh herbs.

Whether or not CBD companies adhere to these rules depends on the individual brands. High-potency CBD extracts may have less alcohol and more herb, for example. Or, it may simply have CBD isolate added after the initial alcohol extraction.

Suggested Reading: DIY CBD Oil: How to Make Your Own CBD Oils at Home.

How to Dose a CBD Tincture

It’s always wise to start with a small dose — smaller than the lowest recommended dose. For your first time, it’s a good idea to try a sub-threshold microdose just to make sure that you don’t have an adverse reaction to the CBD. This is sometimes referred to as an allergy test.

If the small dose isn’t doing anything after an hour or two, you can gradually increase the amount. Repeat this process until you find relief.

In general, the average dose of CBD is around 20–50 mg. Some people prefer milder doses; others like stronger doses.

Check out our CBD oil dosage calculator to determine the best starting point for CBD oil based on your weight and the potency of the oil you’re using.

Final Thoughts on Using CBD Tinctures

Traditionally, tinctures and oils are not the same things. A tincture is a liquid extract of a herb that uses alcohol as the base, while oils use a vegetable oil base.

However, today, both terms are used synonymously. A CBD tincture can use both alcohol or oil — so make sure you check the label before you buy, so you know what you’re actually getting.

Taking a CBD tincture sublingually is the best way to get the most value out of the product. This ensures that the CBD enters your bloodstream quickly, without being damaged or destroyed by your digestive system.

Remember to start small and work your way up to an effective dose. CBD is a safe supplement, but it’s still wise to use the lowest effective amount.

Further Reading

Further Reading