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What is CBD Tincture Used For? Common Uses

7 minute read

Most people choose CBD tinctures to help with medical-related conditions. Pain, anxiety and depression are the most common reasons. However, others take CBD  to support their overall health. 

This blog is a deep dive into what CBD tincture is used for and how they work.

What do you use CBD tincture for?

In a 2018 survey, 82 percent of 2,409 respondents said they used CBD for medical purposes. That may not be surprising, but what is unexpected is the range of issues CBD applies to. (We’ll get into why that is later on.) Some chose cannabinoids for physical reasons, while others prefer tinctures for anxiety or depression.

Pain
Most CBD users are attracted to cannabinoids to soothe pain, but the type of pain varies. Athletes often use CBD for recovery, muscles and joints. It’s also shown promise to reduce sciatic nerve pain. In some countries, a CBD pharmaceutical, Sativex, is used to treat multiple sclerosis-related pain. Human studies showed promise in
relieving arthritis pain as well.

Anxiety and Depression
Mental health medications often have strong side effects and are addictive. For this reason, many people pursue a natural route to mental health treatment. Research shows cannabidiol helps generalized anxiety disorder, seasonal depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s also safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with PTSD-related sleep issues. Some believe CBD’s ability to engage serotonin receptors, which regulate mood, is the reason for its positive results. 

Neuroprotective Properties
The only FDA-approved CBD drug is Epidiolex for childhood epilepsy. But it may help other neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s neurodegeneration as well. Additionally, some studies revealed improved sleep quality for Parkinson’s disease patients, who often have trouble sleeping due to medications and an inability to get comfortable. 

Cancer-related Side Effects
Chemotherapy causes uncomfortable symptoms like nausea and vomiting, but CBD might help. One study looked at 177 people who could not find relief from traditional chemo symptom medication. Those treated with CBD and THC found a significant reduction in symptoms compared to the placebo group.

Acne and Skin Conditions
 CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, which is why it may have the potential to treat acne and reduce sebaceous gland oil production. CBD’s also been successful in treating other inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. 

Heart Health
Some studies indicate CBD may support the circulatory system and lower blood pressure. It’s theorized that CBD’s ability to reduce stress and anxiety lowers blood pressure for the same reason. 

Addiction
Ironically, hemp was classified schedule one drug until 2018, and today researchers realize its potential to curb addiction. In a 2017 study, 81 percent of 2897 participants reported that cannabis was more effective at treating their condition than opioids. While not everyone becomes addicted to opioids, prescription drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death, making them an undesirable treatment for many pain sufferers.

Another study found that states with medical cannabis reported significantly lower overdoses, and those who used cannabis were able to decrease their opiate dose. Whether or not cannabis can prevent addiction itself, it possesses the potential to reduce over-prescribing prescription drugs that are highly addictive.

CBD for Pets
CBD is also effective in treating pets with anxiety or joint issues. Animals also have endocannabinoid systems, signaling networks in humans that interact with cannabinoids, so it’s theorized that cannabis interacts with dogs and cats similarly to people.

How do you use a CBD tincture?

Now that you know what a CBD tincture is used for, it’s time to learn how to use them. The most common way to take a tincture is sublingual administration, holding the oil under the tongue for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This area is full of capillaries, tiny blood vessels that connect to your arteries and veins. Holding the formula there allows some CBD to bypass the digestive system, thus absorb faster into the bloodstream. Once the formula sits under the tongue for some time, swallowing the rest will allow the digestive system to utilize other cannabinoids.

How does a CBD tincture work?

Once absorbed, cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate a broad range of biological responses. 

It’s thought that the ECS partially controls: 

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Memory
  • Pain
  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Immune function
  • Inflammation, including neuroinflammation
  • Reproduction and fertility
  • Motor control
  • Temperature regulation
  • Pleasure and reward responses

The ECS consists of a series of CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors communicate with our body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoids, as well as phytocannabinoids from plants, most notable cannabis. CBD, CBG and other cannabinoids interact with CB2 receptors in the body, while THC interacts with CB1 receptors in the brain. It’s why THC is intoxicating and CBD is not. 

The multi-functional purpose of the ECS and how cannabis interacts with it reveals why CBD applies to a large diversity of conditions. When any of the functions listed above go out of whack, the ECS helps regulate homeostasis, and cannabinoids support this function. 

In addition to receptors and cannabinoids, the ECS also includes enzymes called FAAH that break down cannabinoids. FAAH enzymes maintain balance in the ECS so it’s not overrun by cannabinoids.

CBD Tinctures Vs. Other Products

Other CBD products interact with the ECS as well. Each form of CBD provides similar medical benefits with slight variations. The chart below explains general differences.

A chart describing the differences between different types of CBD products

Is CBD tincture the same as CBD oil?

Yes and no. The term CBD oil describes both an oil-based tincture and an extraction. But tinctures are also often associated with herbal extracts concentrated in vinegar or alcohol.

To make a traditional cannabis tincture, plant material soaks in alcohol, which pulls out chemicals from the hemp plant. With time, the alcohol extracts the desired compounds, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, from the plant. Because this is less labor-intensive than other types of extraction, alcohol-based hemp tinctures are often cheaper. They maintain a bitter, alcoholic taste that is quite harsh, so many people mix alcohol-based tinctures into other food or drinks. 

However, the CBD industry standard for the word “tincture” describes a hemp extraction mixed with a carrier oil like coconut or MCT oil. In our case, we use C02, the cleanest method available, to extract pure hemp extracts void of unwanted plant particles.  For an oil-based tincture, the hemp extraction is mixed with a carrier oil, which helps the body absorb cannabinoids faster than CBD oil alone. (Cannabinoids dissolve in fat, not water.) Oil-based tinctures are much milder than traditional tinctures since they are alcohol-free.

CBD Tincture and CBD Oil Terminology

Since the terms’ meanings crossover, it may be a bit confusing to CBD beginners. The chart below explains what qualifies under what definition. Check out our blog CBD oil vs CBD tincture post for further reading.

A simple chart explaining the terminology of CBD tincture and CBD oil

Types of CBD Tinctures

Consumers will also find that there are different types of tinctures. The three varieties include CBD full spectrum tinctures, CBD broad spectrum tinctures and CBD isolate tinctures. 

Full spectrum refers to an extraction that includes less than 0.3 percent THC, the legal limit in hemp, along with the plant’s other beneficial natural compounds, such as other minor cannabinoids and terpenes. 

The broad spectrum includes everything that is in a full spectrum oil, except for THC. 

And finally, isolate only contains one single cannabinoid, such as CBD, without any other plant compounds or THC.

What do you mix your CBD tincture with?

There are multiple ways you can take tincture CBD oil. We’ve already discussed that sublingual administration is the most effective way to take a tincture, but there are plenty of alternatives to this methodboth edible and topical.

Beverages
A simple way to incorporate CBD into your routine is by adding a few drops into drinks. Coffee is a popular option as the calming effects of CBD can balance out unwanted negative side effects from caffeine. Tea is also a favorite option because CBD oil enhances its soothing effects. They add a healthy boost to smoothies or make for a relaxing CBD cocktail

To make sure the CBD emulsifies in the beverage, muddling the cocktail or blending ensures an even distribution of cannabinoids throughout the drink.

Food
Adding a CBD tincture to food is another simple way to take a tincture. Since it is oil-based, CBD tinctures work well in salad dressings or drizzled on pasta and other dishes. Just make sure not to add a tincture to a hot pan. Too much heat will kill off cannabinoids and render the tincture ineffective, so it’s best to add the tincture oil at the end of the process when cooking hot food.

Topicals
Tinctures also mix well with topicals. Add a few drops to your morning moisturizer or mix with a wax base to make a homemade salve. Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, it’s also possible to rub a drop or two of a tincture directly onto the skin.

How many drops of CBD tincture do I take?

A 30-milliliter bottle is the standard CBD tincture size. However, depending on the brand and strength, tinctures contain varying amounts of CBD. Some may have 500 milligrams, some 800, some 1000 or more. Your weight, body chemistry, and specific purpose for using the tincture determine how much you should use.

The reigning philosophy behind cannabis dosing is “start low, go slow,” meaning build your tolerance gradually and gauge how your body responds. 

Our standard is a 33-milligram dose up to twice per day. For our regular strength tincture, this equals one dropperful. For our extra strength tinctures, 33 milligrams equals 0.5 milliliters. 

an image of a hand with a henna tattoo squeezing a tincture dropper full of CBD oil

Does CBD have Side Effects?

There are very few side effects associated with CBD. While you wouldn’t want to take large amounts of CBD in one setting, humans can tolerate high doses. Common side effects are pretty mild. They include fatigue, diarrhea, dry mouth, weight changes and appetite changes. 

Knowing CBD side effects is important for those taking other medications that could cause drowsiness, weight gain or loss, and other side effects similar to CBD. CBD has the potential to exacerbate those effects. CBD can affect certain medications, such as blood thinners, so people who use other prescriptions should discuss potential interactions with their doctor. 

In addition, CBD users need to purchase from a trusted source. Since the industry is unregulated, many tinctures contain more or less CBD than the label states.

What is CBD Tincture Used for in a Nutshell

  • Tinctures are one of the most popular methods to consume CBD due to their ease of use and high bioavailability. 
  • CBD tinctures are used by people struggling with pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and those who like to incorporate cannabinoids in their natural health routine. 
  • The term “CBD tincture” refers to alcohol-based tinctures and oil-based tinctures. CBD oil refers to both an extraction and an oil-based tincture. 
  • Tinctures are versatile and blend well with food, drinks and topicals. 
  • CBD can have mild side effects but is overall well-tolerated.

We offer a variety of CBD tinctures in both original and extra strength as well as fruity flavors for those who may not like the traditional earthy taste of the natural tincture. Buy CBG oil, too!

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