There is much to be confused about in “CBD World”. There’s lots of hype, lots of promises and sometimes, misleading and confusing use of terminology.
CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabinoid derived from hemp, is not water soluble– but it IS fat soluble. CBD oils dissolve the CBD in a number of different carrier oils, either as pure oils or a mixture. The most commonly used oils to produce CBD oil are:
The taste of CBD oil can be an acquired one. It can also leave a taste residue that some don’t appreciate. It tends to have a shorter shelf life compared to tinctures.
CBD oils can be extracted from the hemp plant, but often, CBD isolate is added to the carrier oil. In either case, the concentration (potency) of CBD oil tends to be higher than that found in most CBD tinctures.
A tincture, as defined by classical herbalists, is an extract produced by soaking herb material in ethanol (Usually 90% ethanol). This is the main difference between CBD oils and CBD tinctures. Ethanol is an “amphipathic” solvent– it can dissolve both water- and fat-soluble substances so an alcohol extract can produce a product with more cannabinoids and plant terpenes in it. CBD tinctures also generally contain other cannabinoids and terpenes. CBD oils may also contain other cannabinoids and terpenes if it is extracted from the hemp plant and not made by using a CBD isolate.
CBD tinctures generally contain less CBD per mL– in other words, they tend to be less concentrated or potent than CBD oils.
CBD tinctures may also contain some additional ingredients such as flavorings, essential oils and sometimes sweeteners, vitamins or other supplements like melatonin, l-theanine or other herbs. The taste–because of the flavorings– is often more popular with consumers.
Both forms of CBD can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) and by swallowing without leaving the liquid under the tongue.
Sublingual ingestion has some advantages because it avoids first pass metabolism by the liver and allows more CBD to enter your system. In this respect, CBD oils may be better because the oil is more easily absorbed when taken sublingually than is the ethanol-based tincture. The taste (and aftertaste) of the oil can be a drawback, however. If you take either a CBD oil or tincture under the tongue, you should keep it under the tongue for at least 30 seconds, though longer is likely to allow for more absorption.
There is likely little difference in the bioavailability between the oil or tincture form if it is swallowed.
High quality CBD oil is usually a bit more expensive than a CBD tincture, but lesser quality CBD oils are about the same cost as the tinctures.
CBD oil can be delivered orally, sublingually or by vaping. It can also be used topically (on the skin).
Tinctures are usually only used orally or sublingually– the alcohol in the tincture is usually too drying for skin applications.
There is no definitive answer for this because it depends on the individual and what that individual is trying to achieve. CBD oil has a small advantage in its bioavailability, but that requires sublingual use and keeping it under your tongue for at least 30-60 seconds. If you are someone that can’t deal with the taste, then the bioavailability advantage may be a moot point and you may prefer the flavored tincture form.
If you are using a CBD oil made from an isolate, an important consideration may be that you are losing out on the potential benefit of other cannabinoids and terpenes. We are just beginning to learn what those benefits may be.
CBD oil has some advantages in bioavailability especially if it is taken sublingually. The major drawback for many is the taste and aftertaste. It also can be more expensive than the tinctures but generally contains a higher potency of CBD per mL. It can also be used as a vape or for topical application. CBD oil tends to be less stable than CBD tinctures and has a shorter shelf life. Depending on how it is made, it may contain other cannabinoids and terpenes from the hemp plant.
CBD tinctures can come in a variety of flavors and can be taken orally or sublingually. It tends to be less concentrated and less expensive than CBD oils and may contain other cannabinoids and terpenes from the hemp plant. It tends to be more stable and have a longer shelf life.
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