How to Take CBD Tinctures and Dosage

With so many forms of CBD flying around the market it can be difficult for newcomers and experienced CBD users alike to decide on which is the best formulation for them. Today we look at CBD tinctures, perhaps one of the best ways to get introduced to the world of CBD and its benefits.
Written by 
Dr Shane McKeown, Acute Internal Medicine (AIM).
|Last Updated:
CBD dosage

What are CBD tinctures

CBD tinctures are another way you can get your daily level of CBD. Just like gummies or flower buds, they are simply CBD that comes in another form, with a variety of pros and cons that come with that.

Many people will naturally associate vaping or smoking CBD bud with habits like smoking tobacco which have a very different effect on your health.

CBD tinctures deliver the same beneficial CBD molecule but in the form of a liquid that can be consumed directly or mixed with food and drink.

Why take CBD tinctures?

Aside from the benefits mentioned, one of the best things about using tinctures is that the bottle often comes with a pipette dispenser. This allows you to measure out your exact dosing of CBD, something that is almost impossible to do when smoking for example.

How good is CBD bioavailability?

Bioavailability is how much of something is actually available for your body to use once it has been taken in or consumed.

Anything from food to drugs and medicine like CBD can be broken down in various places of the body. This could be enzymes in your mouth, acid in your stomach or further metabolic enzymes in your liver.

This is why eating CBD in the form of edibles or a tincture gives the lowest level of CBD bioavailability. It has to pass through many stages of the digestive tract so not much is left. Current research points at around 5-20% CBD remains after oral ingestion.

Tinctures taken sublingually can increase this up to 35%.

While these numbers are fairly low it needs to be thought of in the context of need. If you are taking tinctures because you have a chronic dental condition for example then what matters is the relief you get in your mouth, not how much CBD is found to eventually be circulating in your bloodstream.

At the end of the day, what matters is treating or preventing your condition of choice. While some methods may decrease dose effectiveness, this can be simply overcome with intaking a higher dose until your needs are met.

This of course is directly correlated with the amount you have to spend on CBD so is not an inconsequential decision.

CBD bioavailability from tinctures may seem relatively low but bear in mind this is exactly how patients with severe epilepsy that has been failed by modern medicine take their CBD.

What dosage of CBD is safe?

This is hard to answer right now, but what we can tell is that CBD is tolerated in very high doses such as 1,500mg per day.

By contrast, a lot of CBD products hover around 5-10mg per dosage. That’s a lot of gummies or tincture drops you would have to take in order to reach that 1,500mg in the study.

When dealing with tinctures, you want to know how to accurately measure your dose as that is one of the great benefits that using a dropper gives.

Keep in mind that we are talking about one drop – not a full dropper’s worth of CBD liquid.

Most CBD tinctures will give their dosage per drop on the bottle – otherwise you might have to do a bit of maths to work it out. For reference a drop is somewhere between 0.05 and 0.10mL.

If you don’t have enough information to hand to work it out or if the company simply haven’t told you that might be a sign that the CBD hasn’t been sourced from a reliable producer.

You can assume that a drop contains around the same dosing as other CBD products – so around 5-10mg. Of course this is just a ballpark figure so you will need to do the maths if you want to know for sure.

Dosing CBD Tinctures

Once you have the amount that is delivered per drop, it is now time for a bit of experimentation.

If you are taking CBD for a particular effect like pain relief it is always a good idea to start at the bottom. That would mean taking around 5mg (or one drop) and see what happens in the minutes and hours afterwards. Don’t be tempted to ‘top up’ if this is your first time.

Leave it for a few hours or the next day and then increase your dose until you begin to reach the desired effect.

If you jump straight in at a higher dosage you are unlikely to experience any negative side effects but you will be definitely wasting your money for no reason. By starting off slow it is easier to get your dosing right in the long run.

How to take CBD tinctures?

As mentioned, CBD can be added to food or drink to add to make a calming mix before bed. But for those who want little more control over their CBD, tinctures can be taken sublingually, i.e. they can be placed under the tongue and absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

Benefits of CBD oil tinctures

The main benefit of this form is the immediate access to the bloodstream along with more accurate dosing.

The actual benefits you may receive are the same as with other CBD formulations. These include but are not limited to:

  • Insomnia reduction
  • Better stress control
  • Lowered anxiety
  • Reduced pain and perceived pain
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Improved gut health
  • Treatment of rare epilepsy

Bear in mind of course that the above are potential and proposed benefits of CBD. While with some conditions like rare forms of epilepsy the evidence is very strong, with other conditions the medical community are still waiting on a large amount of research that has to be completed before we can say for sure how far the benefits of CBD reach.

Can you vape a tincture?

Do not under any circumstance vape a tincture!

Vape liquids are actually oils that are designed specifically to be used in a vape or vape machine.

Tinctures are either in an oil or spray that is supposed to be easily absorbed by the body. This has nothing to do with the ability to vaporise at a certain temperature. At best you could simply end up with a bad tasting vape and inactive CBD.

At worst you may burn the tincture oils, creating nasty chemicals while breaking your vape at the same time. Vape oils contain things like Polyethylene glycol to make sure it doesn’t clog up and break your vape.

Conclusion

CBD tinctures represent the more scientific side of CBD usage. If you are serious about self managing a condition or dosing CBD precisely so that you aren’t’ wasting money, then tinctures are the way to go.

As with all medication it is better to ‘titrate up’. That is, start with a small dose and work your way up until your symptoms are sufficiently treated. This is by far the most reliable method in ensuring you are getting the benefits you are searching for whilst also making your CBD supply last for as long as possible.

References

  1. Larsen C, Shahinas J. Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials. J Clin Med Res. 2020 Mar;12(3):129-141. doi: 10.14740/jocmr4090. Epub 2020 Mar 2. PMID: 32231748; PMCID: PMC7092763.
  2. Millar SA, Stone NL, Yates AS, O’Sullivan SE. A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Front Pharmacol. 2018 Nov 26;9:1365. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01365. PMID: 30534073; PMCID: PMC6275223.
  3. Velayudhan L, McGoohan K, Bhattacharyya S. Safety and tolerability of natural and synthetic cannabinoids in adults aged over 50 years: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Med. 2021 Mar 29;18(3):e1003524. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003524. PMID: 33780450; PMCID: PMC8007034.
  4. VanDolah HJ, Bauer BA, Mauck KF. Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clin Proc. 2019 Sep;94(9):1840-1851. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003. Epub 2019 Aug 22. PMID: 31447137.
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Dr Shane McKeown
Dr Shane McKeown
Acute Internal Medicine (AIM)
Dr Shane McKeown is a UK clinician with experience in both Medicine and Surgery. With a strong background in education, he currently teaches all grades of doctor and sits as examiner for foreign medical staff looking to work in the United Kingdom. Working within rehabilitation and therapy, he utilizes complementary treatments like CBD to provide holistic care where it is most effective. His expertise with CBD continues to be called upon by numerous brands to optimise their product offerings.

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