It seems like there are about a million different CBD products for a consumer to choose from in today’s market. One common source of confusion is the difference between CBD Tinctures vs Oil.
It would be really easy to think the two are the same thing. Afterall, they both commonly come in a little brown bottle with a dropper tops and both are placed under the tongue when taken.
Tinctures and oils are just two of the common ways to administer CBD, with edibles, creams and lotions, and smokable products all being used regularly as well.
In this article we’ll look at the difference and benefits of both CBD Oil and CBD tinctures so you’ll be able to make an education decision when buying!
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of over a hundred compound that is found in the cannabis plant. Along with other cannabinoids such as THC, you will also find terpenes, phytochemicals and plant matter.
The plant that you use to extract the CBD is very important. Most cannabis has a high level of THC in it, the cannabinoid responsible for causing the high that is often associated with smoking weed. This also makes CBD products made from such plant’s illegal without a medical card in many states.
For CBD that is low in THC, you’ll want to make sure it was extracted from the hemp plant. Hemp is a special strain of the cannabis plant that is legally required to have less than 0.3% THC. Products made from these plants you get the benefits of CBD without the high from THC.
This is one of the most important reasons to go with a well-known, reputable CBD brand. Many companies are mislabeling or misrepresenting what is in their products to save a buck or two.
Regardless of the cannabis plant you use, unless you choose to smoke it, you need to extract the CBD from the plant in order to consume it. The method of extraction is one of the major distinctions between oils and tinctures.
CBD Oils vs Tinctures – The Difference
In advertising the terms CBD Oil and CBD tincture are often used interchangeably, and while the two products are similar, they aren’t the same. As we mentioned above, the biggest difference is the extraction process.
The difference between CBD Oil vs Tinctures is in the extraction process. CBD oil is extracted via a CO2 Extraction method, while CBD tinctures use an alcohol solvent extraction method. Both are used for the same therapeutic reasons, but their benefits are slightly different.
CBD Oils come from a supercritical CO2 extraction process that has become the most advanced, cleanest and preferred method of extraction. This process allows the manufacturer to separate the CBD from other cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes and plant matter.
The result is that you are left with pure CBD Isolate. With just the CBD pulled out you can combine it with a carrier oil like MCT to make CBD Oil. This is also the best way to start if you’d like to make edibles, gel-caps, topical solutions, or the base for a vaping product.
Another popular method of extraction is an alcohol based soaking method. The full cannabis plant is submerged in a mixture of alcohol and water and left to soak for up to 3 months. During this time the chemicals in the cannabis separate from the plant matter and mix into the alcohol solution.
This alcohol-based method is how tinctures are made. After an evaporation process the manufacturer is left with a waxy substance that holds all of the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids from the plant. Often, when you are buying a Full Spectrum CBD Oil, you are actually buying a tincture.
Another way to know you’re likely buying a tincture is the addition of vegetable glycerin and a flavoring oil like peppermint, cinnamon or orange. These are used not only to flavor the product but to dilute it enough so that it’s an oil, rather than a wax.
Benefits of CBD Oil
The major benefit of using CBD Oil products is they are the cleanest, most refined way to take the CBD. After extraction you are left with a CBD in its purest form, and when combined with other high-quality substances can be a very healthy, clean, and beneficial end product.
Because you are left with just CBD at the end of the extraction, you can also control the quantity of CBD in the final product this way as well. One of our favorite brands of CBD, Charlotte’s Web, uses this method to separate it’s products.
Their lineup of oils consists of products that contain 7, 17, and 60mg of CBD per milliliter. Someone new to CBD, or treating a lesser condition, could opt for the 7mg bottle, while an experienced user treating a serious condition could opt for the 60mg option. We use the 17mg nightly to help us sleep!
This is also the most versatile product as it can be made into gel caps, thinned to make vape juice, or taken in its oil form sublingually.
Lastly, this is the only “Good” way to make pure CBD Isolate.
Benefits of CBD tincture
There are a few benefits of tinctures that you can’t always get if using an oil. The first is the entourage effect.
While not decisively proven, many experts and early research points to CBD being more effective if combined with the other naturally occurring substances in cannabis.
Most of the compounds in cannabis are still found in the wax substance at the end of the alcohol extraction process, end users will benefit from the entourage effect. As we mentioned before, Full Spectrum CBD “oils” (actually tinctures in most cases) will result in this effect.
Most people will also prefer the taste of a tincture over that of an oil. The flavored oils that are used to dilute the CBD wax after extraction are much more pleasant than the bitter taste of the oil resultant from CO2 extraction.
The next benefit is that it is possible to make CBD tinctures at home, while it is a long, time consuming process in most cases, it is possible to take a cannabis or hemp plant and create a CBD tincture product in the comfort of your own home.
This is a great way to control the ingredients and quality, although it makes it nearly impossible to measure the amount of CBD, THC, and specific compounds in the end product.
Finally, cost. The biggest drawback of CO2 extraction is the expensive equipment that you need to make the process work. The alcohol based method is much less equipment intensive, and so most tinctures can be sold for significantly less simply due to the lower cost of manufacture.
Are CBD tinctures better than CBD Oil?
Better, no. Different, yes. As we outlined above, the benefits of the two substances mean that one will be better than the other for different users.
A person who wants 0% THC in their product will want an oil, since the THC is taken out of the product during the CO2 extraction. Likewise, an oil would be better for a person who wants a very concentrated CBD product for something like pain relief.
On the flip side, a cost sensitive customer would likely look to tinctures rather than oils. Tinctures might also be preferred by a consumer looking to benefit from the entourage effect, or one that can’t stand the bitter taste of an oil product.
Buying CBD Tinctures and Oils
Buying CBD tinctures and oils can be a little difficult since they are often mislabeled and not correctly distinguished. That being said, there are some key things to look for that can help you in your shopping.
0% THC is generally a giveaway the product is an oil that was made by the CO2 extraction process to eliminate all THC content, there is no way to do this with the alcohol-based method. Likewise, most full spectrum products are tinctures.
Flavored oils such as peppermint and cinnamon used to be a clear sign of a tincture, but manufacturers are adding flavors to oils to combat taste issues more often now.
The last thing is price. While tinctures should be cheaper, make sure you do your due diligence when buying any CBD product. The company should be very transparent with their manufacturing methods and have third party lab testing results available.
If you have any questions about which company to go with, we’ve got a vetted list of our favorite CBD brands.
Final Thoughts on CBD oil vs tinctures
While very similar, these two products are different and knowing the differences will make shopping for the right CBD product for you easier.
We use products from both categories depending on what we are treating, so there is definitely not a right or wrong answer to which is better. Similar but different, but both beneficial to your overall health!