If you are new to the world of cannabidiol, you may feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of product types. A few years ago, there were few options. Today, you can buy CBD oil, tinctures, edibles, topicals, drinks, bath bombs, and much more. It is an unregulated, multi-billion-dollar industry, which makes things tough for the consumer.
The enormous level of misinformation doesn’t help matters, either. We have lost count of the number of times we have seen the phrase ‘CBD oil is legal in all 50 states’, for example. For the record, individual states make it challenging to purchase cannabidiol. Also, few states have legislation that legalizes CBD explicitly.
Many consumers are also confused by the products themselves. A prime example is when you see a CBD oil tincture and a CBD oil sold as separate products on the same website. Is there a difference? Moreover, if there is, how significant is it? We aim to answer these questions and more in this article.
What Is CBD Oil?
In many cases, we find that the terms ‘CBD oil’ and ‘CBD tincture’ are used interchangeably. There are, in fact, a few subtle differences between the two, which we outline a little later on. The fact that both options are often sold in similar bottles with droppers only adds to the confusion.
Brands craft CBD oil via an extraction process that removes the oil from a hemp plant’s flowers. In states with MMJ programs, you may find that CBD comes from strains such as Charlotte’s Web. There are several methods of extraction. Some brands use a solvent such as butane; this isn’t the best option because it could leave behind harmful residue. Supercritical CO2 extraction is a much safer and cleaner method.
Generally speaking, the oil contains a higher percentage of CBD than most products. There are plenty of products that include a whopping 100mg of CBD per ml. To consume the product, you place the substance beneath your tongue. There, the mucous membrane absorbs it; proponents of this method claim that you benefit from a higher absorption rate.
A significant number of people use this product because they say it promotes a feeling of relaxation within minutes. For others, these effects occur almost immediately. In some cases, oils contain a variety of nutrients, including fatty acids, flavonoids, and vitamins. Full-spectrum products also contain additional cannabinoids and terpenes. Not everyone enjoys the bitter taste of CBD oil taken from organically grown hemp.
What Is a CBD Tincture?
The primary difference between a CBD tincture and oil lies in their respective makeups. Calling a product, a ‘CBD oil tincture’ complicates things, but there may be a slight distinction. A tincture is a liquid extract combined with added ingredients such as cinnamon or peppermint oil and vegetable glycerin (VG).
Manufacturers create CBD tinctures by soaking all of the hemp’s organic matter in an alcohol or water solution. After a period of up to a few weeks, the plant’s natural compounds soak into the solution. Once there are enough cannabinoids, the company strains the liquid through a filter. The idea is to ensure that the bitter, chlorophyll-laden plant matter is left behind.
In general, a ‘tincture’ is any medicine kept in an alcohol solution. Those who use tinctures claim that it offers a more appealing taste than its oil counterpart. It is also a versatile option because you can add it to food or drink yourself. However, we don’t advise you to use a tincture in fat-soluble food such as butter because alcohol doesn’t mix well with fats.
If a tincture contains VG, you may believe it is suitable for vaping. After all, vape juices contain VG and other thinning agents. However, it is hazardous to use a CBD tincture in a vaporizer. There will potentially be residual alcohol, which means it could cause serious issues when exposed to heat. But many users think a CBD tincture for pain is useful.
What Is Better – CBD Oil or Tincture?
There is no definitive ‘winner’ in this battle. They both have distinct benefits. For instance, a CBD tincture often has a more pleasant taste due to the added ingredients. The vast majority of people prefer the taste of peppermint to plant matter! You can use a tincture sublingually, or add it to food or drink. CBD oil is often more potent, albeit more expensive, on average. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both.
CBD Oil – Pros and Cons
- It is usually created via supercritical CO2 extraction. As a result, you get a cleaner and purer product.
- High-quality oil is more potent than its tincture counterpart. Often with no additional ingredients, you get more bang for your buck.
- The CBD is suspended in inert oil and remains unaffected when digested.
- CBD oil is versatile. Manufacturers use it inside capsules, and even add thinning agents to create vape juice.
- It is easier to create CBD isolate during the manufacturing process when oil is involved.
- CBD oil is among the most expensive forms of the product.
- When unflavored, the bitterness of oil is off-putting to some consumers.
- When you add CBD oil to food, it potentially alters its properties.
CBD Tinctures – Pros and Cons
- It is ideal for adding to food or drink because its plant taste isn’t as strong as oil.
- Users often prefer consuming a CBD oil tincture instead of CBD oil beneath the tongue. Once again, this is because of the more pleasant taste.
- You will find it easier to create DIY tinctures at home.
- Its alcohol content means you must not try to vape it.
- It is also less ‘clean’ than CBD oil extracted via supercritical CO2 extraction.
- On average, it is not as potent as CBD oil.
Differences Between CBD Oils and Tinctures
The primary difference, one could argue, lies in the extraction method. Some CBD oil manufacturers use a solvent such as butane when extracting the cannabinoid. However, we don’t recommend purchasing from such providers. There is a risk of some solution remaining in the liquid. Do you want to consume the solvent every time you use ‘natural’ CBD oil?
It is imperative that you only buy oil from brands that use supercritical CO2 extraction. It is the ‘gold standard’ for a reason. Carbon dioxide is far healthier than a solvent, and no residue is left behind. The result is a product containing CBD, terpenes, cannabinoids, and no nasty toxins.
In contrast, a CBD tincture uses alcohol as the solvent. It takes a lot longer to complete the process. You must place the plant matter in alcohol for days, perhaps weeks. If you try to make it at home, there is every chance that unpleasant tasting residue remains. Maybe it is best to let the experts take care of it!
What About Cost?
On average, a CBD oil tincture is less expensive than its CBD oil counterpart. The primary reason is due to the relatively low cost of extraction. Yes, a brand will have specialized equipment, but it doesn’t cost a lot to operate.
In contrast, supercritical CO2 extraction equipment can cost a small fortune. Even a small machine exceeds $20,000. Industrial-scale models typically exceed $400,000! You also need to find people with the skill to use the machinery.
Is There Anything Else?
Another noticeable difference lies in CBD oil’s taste. An increasing number of brands are trying to add ‘flavor’ to their oils. They know that consumers are not wild about the bitter taste of hemp. In contrast, it is common to add flavoring to tinctures. You may also find that some companies add terpenes and cannabinoids to enhance potency. Full-spectrum CBD oils already have these added compounds as a rule.
There is the potential to ‘vape’ CBD oil if you add the right thinning agents. Otherwise, it is too thick and will clog up the vaporizer. It is incredibly unwise to try and vape a CBD tincture. The alcohol content means you are playing with fire when it combusts! You can add both options to food and drink; however, the superior taste of a tincture means most people prefer it to oil for this particular process.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil vs. Tincture
Ultimately, there is no clear ‘winner’ in the CBD oil vs. tincture debate. Each option has specific advantages and disadvantages. CBD oil is arguably a better option if you want a straightforward method of consuming cannabidiol. You place it beneath the tongue, hold it for up to 90 seconds, and swallow. A CBD tincture is potentially more versatile. You can add it to food and drink more readily than oil because it offers a pleasant taste due to added flavoring.
If you are concerned about what you put into your body, CBD oil is the option for you. Make sure the brand in question uses supercritical CO2 extraction during the process. It almost guarantees a pure and clean product. In contrast, the alcohol in CBD tinctures may not appeal to all.
Regardless of which one you choose, make sure you only deal with a reputable brand. Only buy from a company that offers third-party lab reports with their products. Through this process, you can view what is inside each batch. Information should include cannabinoid and terpene content.