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As cannabis–based therapeutic products become more widely available and accepted, it’s natural to have questions. After all, a lot of the treatments on the market today weren’t around just a couple of years ago. While cannabinoids like CBD show a lot of promise in treating a host of conditions, it can be hard to know how to introduce them into an existing healthcare routine. Today, we explore the role CBD tinctures can play in your well-being.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is one of the many identified cannabinoid molecules found in Cannabis plants. Like all cannabinoid molecules, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the human body. But because CBD isn’t psychoactive, it doesn’t produce the “high” commonly associated with its more famous cannabinoid cousin, THC. That means that CBD, which is often derived from hemp, or male cannabis plants, doesn’t produce the high that cannabis products are often associated with.
A field of non-psychoactive, industrial hemp, the male variety of the cannabis plant. (torstengrieger/iStock)
Instead, CBD possesses a wide variety of medical applications. While research is ongoing, studies have already demonstrated that CBD is an effective treatment for epilepsy. But this cannabinoid is what’s known as a promiscuous molecule, meaning that it interacts with many different types of neuroreceptors. That suggests that current studies may just be scratching the surface of CBD’s therapeutic potential.
What is CBD good for?
Researchers around the world are investigating CBD’s potential for treating a wide variety of conditions. Near the top of the list is the promise it holds for pain relief. Numerous studies have found that CBD exhibits analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties make it useful in the treatment of both acute pain—like muscle pulls—and chronic conditions such as arthritis.
When taken to relief the symptoms of epilepsy, CBD is typically administered orally. Researchers have found that this same method of dosing may be effective in using CBD to treat social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and related conditions. Evidence also suggests that this cannabinoid could be helpful in treating the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.
When it comes to conditions like insomnia, CBD’s clinical research scorecard is more mixed. Some studies have suggested that the substance can actually increase wakefulness. Others, though, have found that a CBD tincture or oil taken a couple of hours before bedtime can help induce a sense of balance that can help sleep come more easily. A 2016 report, for instance, found that a CBD-rich oil, administered orally, helped to alleviate the symptoms of both anxiety and insomnia in one patient suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
What is a tincture?
CBD can be administered in many forms, from smoking a cannabis strain that produces a lot of the molecule to consuming it in edibles. Among the most popular methods—especially for individuals trying a cannabis-based treatment for the first time—is through a tincture.
(Courtesy of Populum)
Tinctures are produced by steeping cannabis flowers or isolates in a high-proof grain alcohol, then applying low heat for a significant span of time. This allows the active compounds in cannabis to infuse into the neutral spirit, much of which is then boiled off. The result is a potent liquid that delivers the effects of the cannabinoid molecules without any smoking or other form of combustion. In the growing consumer market, producers will often add carrier oils and other complementary ingredients, such as an orange oil to improve the taste of a tincture.
How to take a tincture
Because a CBD tincture is concentrated, it’s designed to be taken in small doses. This is why most tinctures come with a built-in dropper that allows users to take small, carefully measured quantities.
Since the doses are relatively small, tinctures can be administered in a variety of ways. For patients looking to take their CBD with food, a dose of tincture can be mixed into a meal like soup or pasta. It can also be added easily to drinks like coffee and tea; an evening cup of chamomile paired with CBD tincture stands to be even more relaxing than usual.
Tinctures can also be taken sublingually, or by applying them underneath the tongue. This method of delivering CBD tincture is already common in epilepsy treatments. Some research has found that this delivery method makes cannabinoids more easily and consistently available to the body than other oral alternatives.
Where to start
If you’ve still got questions about CBD tinctures, watch Leafly editor Emily Resling discuss the topic a little further in the review below.
Producers like Populum offer several ways to try CBD, including tried and tested tinctures sourced from Colorado-grown cannabis plants and made in the USA. Populum’s signature tincture is available in a variety of strengths, appropriate for dipping a toe into CBD or stepping up a dose to provide more effective relief.
Populum and others also offer further options for CBD administration, such as gels, ointments, and other topical products, all of which can help curious consumers find out if this curative cannabinoid is right for them.