A woman's hand holding a blank labeled tincture bottle over a plate of flowers

What Is the Best (and Worst) Way To Take a CBD Tincture

7 minute read

Tinctures are traditional CBD products that work as an ingestible and as a topical. Many people who have never tried CBD or other cannabinoids often test the waters with tinctures because they are approachable and versatile. But how versatile? While there is plenty of opportunity to get creative with hemp oil, there are mistakes you’ll want to avoid. This blog looks at the best way to take CBD tincture.

Why are CBD Tinctures so Popular?

First, tinctures are widely available. According to an industry analysis, tinctures are the most popular product offered by CBD brands. Over 80 percent of the companies sold tinctures, followed by 70 percent that sold topicals.

Second, CBD companies create tinctures because they are simple to formulate. Our tinctures include two to three ingredients: CBD oil, coconut oil and natural flavors for the lemon and raspberry formulas. 

Finally, most tinctures are oil-based, which makes them conducive for fat-soluble cannabinoids. The coconut oil improves bioavailability, which allows our body to absorb cannabinoids easier than it would if it was just hemp oil alone.

How is CBD Best Absorbed?

Have you ever taken melatonin or a vitamin that requires you to let a capsule dissolve under your tongue? That’s a sublingual application. Sublingual administration is the most effective way to take CBD tincture oil orally. 

People may not know that there are thousands of capillaries under the tongue. The capillaries will transfer an active ingredient directly to the bloodstream. 

The sublingual method bypasses the digestive system, where helpful cannabinoids may be lost. Cannabinoids that pass through the gastrointestinal tract are at risk of degradation by stomach acid, bile, and other enzymes. After that, cannabinoids must then make the first pass through the liver before entering the circulatory system. 

What is the Most Effective Way of Using CBD?

An vertical image of an unlabeled amber tincture bottle standing on a pedestal with shadows from plant leaves in the backgroundSince the sublingual method is more direct, it has a higher bioavailability rate. This refers to the percentage of cannabinoids absorbed by the body. 

Each CBD method offers different degrees of bioavailability.  Vaping has the highest rate, while topicals have the lowest rate.

This doesn’t mean that smokables are better than other products. Each offers its own unique experience that has its pros and cons. For example, concentrates are more potent, but effects are shorter-lived. Edibles disguise cannabinoids as a tasty treat for people who might not like the flavor of tinctures, but the onset is slower. Capsules are also flavorless and travel easily, but have a lower bioavailability than tinctures. All of this is to say that the most effective way to take CBD depends on why you are using it. 

How Do You Use CBD Tinctures?

There are three standard techniques to take a tincture: sublingually, topically, and mixed with other food and drinks. Here’s how to properly use tincture oil each way.

How Do You Take CBD Tincture Orally?

Sublingual
Taking CBD tincture sublingually is a simple process. For dosage, we suggest one full dropper of oil, 33 milligrams of our regular strength tincture. After filling the dropper, squeeze the contents under the tongue and hold it there for 30 to 60 seconds. This gives the capillaries time to absorb cannabinoids. After holding the extract under the tongue, swallow the remaining oil. The body will still utilize the remaining CBD after it passes through the digestive system. 

You can swallow tincture oil immediately and still receive the benefits, but why waste precious cannabinoids when you don’t have to? 

Mixed With Food and Drinks
People often like to incorporate CBD oil into dishes and beverages. But what do you mix CBD tincture with? The sky is the limit with how you can mix cannabidiol into a recipe. Certain ingredients work better with CBD tinctures than others. 

Since tinctures are oil-based, blending them to oil-based salad dressings or sauces, like pesto or teriyaki, seamlessly integrates the extraction into the dish. 

Hemp oil has a mild, earthy taste, so adding it to recipes with a similar flavor profile can enhance the natural taste of all the ingredients. Mushrooms, potatoes, turnips, parsnip, beets, thyme, and rosemary are just a few examples of veggies and herbs that work well with hemp oil. 

This said, CBD oil’s earthiness shouldn’t be a limiting factor when adding tinctures into dishes. Hemp oil is so mild, it shouldn’t affect the overall flavors too much. You won’t likely notice CBD tincture oil blended in a spaghetti sauce. 

Simply drizzling hemp oil on top of a dish works well, too. 

CBD beverages are also a fun way to take cannabidiol. We sell pre-mixed CBD-infused coffee pods and whole beans, but adding tincture to regular drip coffee or latte is equally effective. Many people like to add CBD tincture to teas since the herbs in the drink match the relaxing qualities of cannabidiol. 

Shaken, muddled, and blended drinks guarantee cannabinoids emulsify into the liquid. CBD mocktails are a fun alcohol-free alternative. Tincture oil can be added to traditional cocktails as well. You can also use a CBD tincture as a bitter by letting the oil sit on top of the drink.

an image of a opened tincture bottle sitting on a woodtable and a hemp leaf with the dropper laying perpendicularly to the amber bottle
How Do You Use a CBD Tincture Topically?

CBD is just as powerful on the outside of the skin as it is under it. Many people report that consistent CBD use results in a more youthful vibrant complexion. The anti-inflammatory properties have shown promise in acne studies, as well as for eczema and psoriasis. 

Adding CBD tincture directly onto the skin works great on its own. The coconut oil carrier serves as a helpful moisturizer that also has anti-bacterial properties. You can also mix a few drops of CBD tincture with your daily moisturizer or body lotion, or you can blend a larger dose with creams and lotions to create topicals to store.

When is the Best Time to Take CBD Tincture?

There is no right or wrong time to take a tincture. Consistent use is more important than the exact timing. However, what you’re using CBD for will determine when the best time you should take it.

For example, many people report smaller doses of CBD promote energy and focus, so the morning time is suitable for these purposes. The mornings are also practical for those who use CBD for daily support. If you’re taking CBD for better rest, try 30 minutes before you lie down. Try after a workout if you’re taking CBD for recovery. 

A tricky aspect of cannabidiol is the same dose and could affect two people in opposite ways. It’s a product that requires some personal experimentation to know what time is suitable for you. Remember that terpenes play a large role in the CBD’s effects, so knowing a tincture’s terpene profile can be helpful in understanding when you should take a tincture.

Do Tinctures Burn Under Your Tongue?

It depends on what type of tincture you buy. Oil-based tinctures are the industry standard, which do not burn. However, there are also alcohol-based tinctures available. The alcohol pulls the desirable cannabinoids out of the plant material. This type of tincture has a pungent, harsh flavor. It will burn similar to a shot of hard liquor.

Does CBD Oil Expire?

According to Weedmaps, CBD tincture oil generally lasts 14 months to two years, depending on how well the product is stored. Heat and direct sunlight can cause CBD oil to expire sooner than it should. 

Other factors contribute to shelf-life as well. If a tincture contains additional flavors, those ingredients may spoil before the oil. CO2 extracted oils often last longer because the method is a less abrasive process that maintains stability. 

You will know that the CBD tincture oil has gone south if the flavors change from a mild earthiness to a rancid flavor. It will smell skunky too. It may also thicken up or lose its smooth consistency. A darkened murky color also indicates that a tincture has lost its freshness. Don’t mistake cloudiness for murkiness. The coconut oil will thicken up a bit when it’s cold. This is completely normal and will go away once the tincture heats up to room temperature. 

Dark-colored glass helps protect cannabinoids from sunlight, but it’s best to store CBD products in a cool, dry place to extend the product’s shelf-life for as long as possible.

A hand coming from the right side giving CBD tincture oil to a ferret

Worst Ways to Take a CBD Tincture

CBD tinctures allow for a lot of creativity and experimentation. Assuming you are ingesting tincture sublingually or applying it as a topical, there are not many wrong ways to take hemp oil. However, there are handling and dosing mistakes you’ll want to be aware of. 

Improper Storage
You can improperly store a tincture, which could contaminate or shorten the shelf-life of your product. Leaving the cap off or not screwing it on completely could allow air and potentially bacteria into the formula. Storing tincture in a humid, hot place in direct sunlight may also cause spoilage. You’ll want to keep tinctures away from windows, radiators, stoves, and other places that drastically alter the temperature or expose the tincture to too much sunlight. 

Contamination
If using the sublingual method, you could contaminate the dropper by touching it with your mouth. You’ll also want to make sure the cap is on your tincture bottle to keep unwanted materials out. Make sure you don’t add any other liquids or items that may ruin tincture oil. 

Over or Underdosing
You also don’t want to take too much or too little. Taking too little could mean you don’t get the results you’re seeking. While it is not possible to overdose on CBD, too much can result in unwanted or more pronounced side effects. Common side effects include drowsiness, low heart rate, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and dry mouth. It can also interact with certain medications, so talk to a doctor before use and do not take more CBD than necessary. 

Inconsistent Use
One of the biggest mistakes people make is stopping CBD too soon or using it inconsistently. Some people who use CBD one time see results right away. Others take a month or so before they start noticing any changes. Taking CBD randomly may not provide the results you need. For best results, take CBD for a month and increase or decrease the dosage depending on you’re desired effects. 

Recap

CBD tinctures have a long shelf-life and provide tons of options for how to take them. Sublingually is the most bioavailable, but adding them to food or topicals offers other great tincture applications. When to take tincture oil should be determined by why you’re using it. There is not really a bad way to consume the oil, assuming you’re using it as an ingestible or topical. However, you can improperly store or under or overdose, which can result in unwanted effects or faster expiration. 

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