Updated October 2019
The complete guide to buying and using a CBD tincture properly.
CBD tinctures or droppers are the most common way to take cannabidiol (CBD). They allow exact amounts of CBD to be measured out, and if used correctly, they are one of the most effective ways to take CBD.
This complete guide to buying and using a CBD tincture covers:
- Introduction into CBD tinctures and their advantages
- What to look for in a high quality CBD tincture and how to get good value for money
- Understanding concentrations and CBD labels – know how much CBD you’re really getting
- How to properly use and store a CBD tincture / dropper so you get the most out of your product
Once you understand more about using a CBD tincture, check out our review of these 1000mg CBD tinctures
CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant as a highly concentrated (and sometimes thick) oil. Mixing this concentrated oil with a strong alcohol or carrying oils allows smaller doses of CBD to be precisely measured out and easily taken as drops – the CBD tincture.
Before starting a CBD supplement program it’s recommended to consult your healthcare professional, especially if you take other medications as CBD drug interactions can occur.
What is a CBD tincture?
The word tincture means to dissolve or store a drug in alcohol. This both preserves the medicine and allows it to be dosed with a dropper.
CBD is an abbreviation of cannabidiol, a cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant with significant therapeutic potential without the mind-altering ‘high’ associated with THC, a different cannabinoid.
CBD tinctures contain a mixture of CBD oil and 60-70% proof alcohol or a fat-based carrier oil. The carrier – the alcohol or oil – has a number of important functions:
- Allows more manageable doses of CBD to be precisely measured out and easily taken as drops.
- Fat-based CBD carriers improve absorption rates. This is because CBD is highly lipophilic, tending to combine with or dissolve in fats or lipids.
- Carrier oils preserve the CBD oil, reducing degradation and increasing shelf life.
- Can provide additional benefits to the CBD oil. For example, black cumin seed oil is also an anti-bacterial and has anti-fungal properties.
Reading CBD labels and understanding concentrations
There are many CBD tincture products on the market, all with varying characteristics and differing concentrations. Even single CBD suppliers offer a number of different CBD tincture products in their ranges.
The most important factor in comparing CBD products is the total amount of CBD they contain. Total CBD is the biggest influencing factor on product price and how many doses you will get out of the tincture, and therefore, how long it will last.
The total amount of CBD should be clearly expressed as a weight in mg. It can vary hugely from product to product. For instance, some products on the market contain 250mg, while others can contain over 3000mg.
Here’s a comparison of two tincture products with different concentrations of CBD:
CBDistillery 1000mg tincture – $59.00
For a 10mg dosage:
- 6 drops required
- $0.59 for 10mg
- 100 serving of 10mg per bottle
CBDistillery 250mg isolate – $19.00
For a 10mg dosage:
- 24 drops required
- $0.76 for 10mg
- 25 serving of 10mg per bottle
Apart from total CBD, tincture products vary based on the following aspects:
Full spectrum products:
Full spectrum products contain a range of cannabinoids other than just CBD. It’s believed that these products work more effectively as they widen the therapeutic range, meaning a less exact dosage needs to be taken for the same benefit.
CBD isolate products:
Isolate products are the alternative to full spectrum offerings. They are produced using only the CBD in isolation. For more information read our article How to use CBD isolate.
Total product volume:
Most tinctures have a total product volume of 30ml. However, some tinctures may have a smaller volume and have a higher concentration or a larger volume and have a weaker concentration.
CBD oil in tinctures is always mixed with a carrier oil. The additional oils contain saturated fats which improve CBD absorption. coconut oil (MCT) is often used, olive oil and hemp seed oil are also common.
Natural, unflavored CBD oil can have a pungent aroma and strong taste that many dislike. Many companies offer flavoured oils as an alternative
Select CBD lemon ginger tincture 1000mg – $59
Ingredients: CBD isolate, fractionated coconut oil (MCT), lemon essential oil, ginger, turmeric herbs, and stevia.
How to use a CBD tincture
1) Know your Desired dose of CBD in mg
The first step is to work out your desired dose of CBD in milligrams (mg). This will differ from person to person depending on many factors. Read our article how to take CBD oil for a deeper look.
If you’re new to CBD and don’t know your correct dosage yet, begin with a small dose (for many this is as low as 10mg) to see how your body responds to the CBD, as well as the carrier oil used. From here you can slowly increase the dosage over time until desired effects are felt.
2) Know how many drops for your desired dose
The amount of CBD in tincture products varies dramatically. One drop of one oil is not equal to one drop of another. Some oils being over 10 times stronger than others.
To work out how much CBD is in each drop of a certain product, put the details into our CBD oil dosage calculator . The output from the calculator is also useful in comparing the price of products and gives you an idea of how long they will last given your dosage.
3) Shake the CBD tincture well
It’s normal for the ingredients within a tincture to separate over time, making it important to shake them well before using. Some products are quite thick and require warming up. This can be done in one’s hands or you can gently warm the tincture using a warm water bath.
4) Drop the number of desired drops under your tongue
Squeeze the top of the tincture to draw the oil. In front of a mirror, count desired drops under your tongue and hold them there without swallowing.
5) Hold the oil under your tongue for 90 seconds
In order to take CBD most effectively, rather than swallowing the CBD straight away, hold the oil under your tongue for 90 seconds if possible. This is referred to as sublingual administration – the CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream directly through tissues under the tongue and gums. This method is more effective than swallowing it immediately.
6) Swallow the remaining oil
After holding under tongue, swallow the remaining oil. Many dislike the taste of CBD oil, we recommend chasing it with a juice to mask the flavor. Another option is to look into flavored CBD oils.
Advantages of using a CBD tincture
Holding CBD oil under ones tongue (called sublingual administration) instead of ingesting a CBD product like a CBD candy results in more CBD being available to the body. This means less CBD needs to be taken to feel the same effects.
Flexible dosage amounts:
Each drop of oil contains a certain amount of CBD depending on the concentration of the liquid. Being able to take one or many drops allows users to be more precise and flexible with their dosage compared to other methods. For instance, you cannot take half a CBD gel capsule.
Easily calculated dosage:
Once you have worked out how much CBD is in each drop of oil, you’re able to accurately measure and keep track of how much CBD you’re taking. This is not the case with vaping CBD or smoking CBD bud where dosage is much more difficult to measure.
Choosing a CBD supplier
The first step in buying a CBD tincture is deciding which supplier to choose from. The newness of the CBD industry in combination with the complexity of the product make this a difficult task. There are many low-quality and low-strength CBD products on the market one must be cautious of. Check out this article written entirely about identifying high quality CBD oil.
In summary, when looking for a reputable company consider the following:
How long the company has been around and how well known it is can be an initial indicator of quality. This isn’t to say newly founded suppliers aren’t legitimate, but purchasing from companies that have existed in the space longer is less risky.
Watch out for fake online reviews. In this day and age it’s very easy to purchase fake reviews and difficult to identify illegitimate ones.
CBD source – are they making their own or just on-selling?
Look for suppliers who are producing their own CBD oil, ideally owning the whole production process from the farm through to extraction and sale.
Look into where suppliers are getting their hemp from. Are they growing their own? Which parts of the production process do they manage? Suppliers who manage the entire process are able to guarantee quality rather than relying on others.
Watch out for marketing companies simply rebranding and selling oil. Take extra caution of companies using questionable sales tactics like multi-level marketing or pyramid schemes.
There are a number of ways CBD oil can be extracted from the hemp plant. The most common and safest in terms of product contamination is CO2 extraction, sometimes referred to as supercritical CO2 extraction.
CO2 extraction utilises carbon dioxide under extreme pressures as a safe solvent for industrial extractions. This process does not damage delicate cannabinoids and there is no risk of chemical contamination in the final product.
The most important thing when vetting a potential supplier is checking up on their product testing. Product testing is the process of getting a third-party laboratory to test for contamination. It’s essential to only purchase CBD oil from suppliers who properly test their oil. Some companies publish their test results, others require you to reach out to them requesting the test report.