With the explosion of the CBD market, CBD oil tinctures can be found virtually everywhere, recently including big pharmacy retailers such as CVS and Walgreens in certain states. So why the sudden interest in them? Find out below.
What Are CBD Oil Tinctures?
Tinctures are usually chemicals or extracts that are made into a solution, usually by dissolving in some sort of high proof alcohol (such as ethanol). CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a phytocannabinoid (or plant chemical) found in certain plants.
What Are Cannabinoids?
In the case of a CBD oil tincture, the extract is from the Cannabis variety of plants. This includes both industrial hemp and marijuana plants. Generally, hemp plants have a higher concentration of CBD than marijuana plants, so they are used to make CBD products. This is why many CBD products are labeled as “CBD hemp extract” or just plain “hemp extract”.
Typically, they come in a bottle with a dropper and are intended to be taken orally. Usually the CBD hemp extract is put with a carrier oil. Examples of these include coconut oil, MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil (which is sometimes also referred to as fractionated coconut oil even though there are slight differences), hemp oil (usually hemp seed oil), grape seed oil, olive oil, and others. Since hemp plants have high CBD concentrations, sometimes companies who use hemp extracts will use hemp seed oil as their carrier oil to obtain all the benefitsthe hemp plant has to offer.
These carrier oils make it easier to take the CBD oil. They can increase the bioavailability of the CBD. Bioavailability is just a term that describes the amount of drug or active substance that reaches your body’s blood circulation, and therefore is the amount that actually works on whichever part of the body it is intended to work on.
They also help with the palatability of the tincture, because the extract would be hard to take on its own. The carrier oils help dilute the natural taste of the extract and sometimes flavors are added to help with this as well, such as mint or citrus. Depending on the carrier oil and extra flavors added, the tinctures could have a sweet taste, rather than the natural bitter taste.
Now that you know what these are, how do you take them?
How to Use CBD Oil Tinctures?
As I mentioned earlier, CBD oil tinctures are meant to be taken orally. The general recommendation is to take them sublingually. Sublingual means under (sub) the tongue (lingual). Therefore, you place the drops under your tongue and let them to sit there for 30-60 seconds to allow the CBD to absorb into your bloodstream, and then swallow.
Tinctures usually come with a dropper to allow for measurement of the CBD oil tincture. However, if you are taking larger amounts of oil or need help with measuring your dosage, typically pharmacies can offer an oral syringe as well. These oral syringes are usually given with liquid medications for children, for pets, or for patients with difficulty swallowing to make it easier for them to take. Of note, depending on the bottle size and the size of the syringe, it may not work for every brand.
Another way some people like to use CBD oil tinctures is topically. CBD oil has grown in popularity in the skincare markets as well, so a lot of companies have started included hemp oil or CBD oil in creams or lotions. This is largely due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Sometimes, people will take a small amount (such as 1 or 2 drops) and rub it into their face or wherever they have dry skin, such as elbows or knees, to help soften the skin.
The most common reported uses of CBD oil tinctures are for chronic painand pain relief, as well as relaxation or anxiety relief. However, none of these uses have been clinically evaluated to the extent of prescription medications.
The only current accepted use or indication of CBD by the FDA is certain rare forms of epilepsy in children. This medication is known as Epidiolex, and has a much higher dosage of CBD than what you typically see online or in stores.
However, preclinical and anecdotal evidence supports theories that CBD oil can help with pain and inflammation. There is also some evidence behind anxiety relief as well, which actually has some small studies in humans, but not anything large scale.
First off, due to the lack of clinical trial data, there are no valid dosage recommendations for CBD oil. This means that no one can say with certainty that a particular dosage will give you the desired effect.
With that being said, the recommendation for CBD oil is the popular saying – “start low and go slow”. This means to start with small doses and gradually increase the dose until you reach the desired effect.
Dosing may relate to genetics, height, weight, dosage form, and other medications you are taking. Therefore, doses can vary from person to person. So, the dose your friend or family member is taking may be different than what you need.
Unfortunately, finding the right dosefor you will take time and involves some trial and error. You will just have to be patient with the process and stick with it. It may take a few weeks before you start to notice the effects of your CBD oil as well.
Check out our most recent article and learn all there is to know about dosages here.
So, are CBD oil tinctures safe to use?
Are They Safe?
Yes, CBD oil tinctures are generally considered safe to use.
As many articles point out, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report last year after reviewing several studies about CBD stating that CBD is “generally well tolerated, with a good safety profile”.
Also, CBD is not considered to be addictive and is not associated with getting “high” like another cannabinoid, THC.
Additionally, CBD does not have a lot of major side effects, compared to other medications. A report from the National Institute of Health (NIH) that was a comprehensive review of studies stated that the most common reported side effects of CBD included tiredness, stomach upset (diarrhea) and changes in appetite (nausea).
However, some safety concerns can arise with CBD products when you are taking other medications. There are some drug interactions with CBD products, although these interactions are still in the early stages of being determined. The general advice is that if you have been told not to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice with your medications, then you should not take CBD with those medications.
However, there are other drug interactions as well, so please be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any CBD oil products. They will be able to help you figure out if you need to lower a dose, take it at a different time, or just avoid it altogether.
Another important note is regarding allergies or sensitivities. If you are allergic to marijuana, hemp, or cannabinoids, please use caution when using CBD oil products. You should also take a look at the carrier oil in CBD oil tinctures to ensure that you are not allergic or sensitive to any of those. If so, it would be best to try another CBD oil tincture with a different carrier product.
After knowing all of this, how do you know which CBD product is the right choice?
How Do I Know Which Tincture is Right for Me?
With the large variety of tinctures available, it is easy to get overwhelmed when trying to buy one. Finding a reputable brand takes some research on your part.
One of the main things to look for when searching for CBD products is to look to see if they are lab tested. Even then, it is best if the product is third party lab tested, meaning that they have a separate lab testing their product. If they are doing the lab testing themselves, they could be misrepresenting the results to make their products seem legitimate. However, having an independent tester helps to reduce this risk.
Sometimes, companies will even do product specific batch testing to test each batch of CBD oil they produce. Doing the testing this way allows you to see the results from your specific batch that you bought to make sure that it is what is represented on the label.
What do you need to look for in these lab results?
Exactly what is being tested depends on the lab doing the testing, but in general they test for CBD content to see if it matches what is on the label, THC content to ensure it is less than the federal limit of 0.3% (or not detected, typically abbreviated as “ND”, if it is a THC free product), and amount of other cannabinoids present. They usually also test for pesticides, heavy metals, or any other harmful ingredients to make sure they are not detected either.
Depending on the type of CBD oil tincture you have, these will have different results. For example, a CBD isolate product would have a higher concentration of CBD and hardly any other cannabinoids. Whereas full spectrum or broad spectrum products would have detectable amounts of the other cannabinoids in addition to CBD.
Some lab tests may include terpene amounts as well. This will help you see the terpene profile of the tincture, in case you are wanting to experiment with the benefits of different terpenes as well.
So, what are the different CBD oil tinctures available?
Full spectrum tinctures are extracts of the whole plant including terpenes, CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids such as CBG or CBN. Generally, people claim this is more effective than isolate products due to the entourage effect.
Broad spectrum tinctures are also extracts of the whole plant, but they typically do not include THC. These products are for those worried about THC content, sensitive to THC, or are hesitant about taking full spectrum products due to drug testing for work or school.
Isolate tinctures are extracts that only contain higher amounts of CBD, and not the other cannabinoids. These products are also for those worried about drug testing, or for those just starting CBD products and concerned that broad or full spectrum products will be too strong for them.
Of course, as with any product you buy it is also smart to look at customer reviews before making your purchase. Sometimes the product might sound great but then reading reviews from customers that have already tried the product tell a different story. They will also tell you about customer service and the ease of shipping the products. Sometimes companies will make you buy a certain amount before they offer free shipping. Other times, they may have odd return policies.
Companies might have great products, but if they have terrible customer service or shipping policies, then it may not be worth your time buying their products.
Now that you have your product, how do you store it?
How Do I Store My CBD Oil Tinctures?
As with most medications and supplements, it is best to store your CBD oil tinctures at room temperature. Changes in temperature can degrade the chemical composition of your tinctures and it may not be effective anymore. Therefore, keeping it at consistent room temperature will help prevent this.
Likewise, you should keep your CBD tinctures away from excessive light and moisture as well due to the same reason. This means not keeping your tinctures next to a window where it would receive direct sunlight and not keeping them in a bathroom cabinet where heat and moisture from showers could affect them.
Storing your CBD oil tinctures in the proper conditions will help keep your products effective for longer, and will help you not waste your money since many CBD products can be a little pricey.
So, what other information do you need to know about CBD oil tinctures?
What Else Do I Need to Know?
One hot topic around CBD is regulation. Currently, there is no regulation of CBD products, meaning that it is the company’s responsibility, not another agency, to ensure that their products are safe and only contain what is represented on their labeling. After the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill,retiring FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb gave a statement that suggested the FDA was working on a regulatory pathway for CBD oil products. This would allow for lawful marketing of CBD products.
Currently, the status of CBD products is still a little unclear since CBD oil is not considered a dietary supplement. According to the FDA, it is considered a drug product since CBD is the active ingredient of an FDA approved prescription medication. However, they have not taken action against companies selling CBD products, unless they are making unsupported claims (such as CBD cures cancer). Many believe this is because they are working to regulate CBD. But, with Gottlieb stepping down and a new commissioner taking place this is all up in the air.
Recently, Ned Sharpless was named as the acting commissioner of the FDA. Sharpless is the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and has shown support for Gottlieb’s push for more regulation of e-cigarette and tobacco products. Therefore, he may try to push for regulation of CBD oil products as well. Additionally, he may try to push for more research involving CBD products with his NCI background and the interest between CBD and cancer. Although, he is not the permanent replacement for the commissioner role and the new one may have a different story. We will just have to wait and see what the future holds for regulation of CBD oil.
Additionally, as mentioned above, please talk with a healthcare professional before starting to take your CBD oil tincture (especially if you take any other medications or supplements). They can help make sure you are taking CBD oil the right way without causing any unintended harm.
CBD oil tinctures have become a popular topic within the medical field. Unfortunately, we have to wait for the clinical evidence to catch up with all the claims being made about CBD.
With more brands entering into the market it is important to educate yourself before buying these CBD products. Be sure to check that your product has been lab tested and check the customer reviews before buying it. Also, make sure there are no interactions with your current medications before taking it.
CBD oil tinctures have many potential benefits and could positively impact the health of countless people, as long as they are using reputable brands.