CBD oil tincture and graphic of molecular structure

May 12, 2020

CBD Tincture vs. Oil: What’s the Difference?

Probably two of the most common terms/products that are mistakenly used interchangeably are CBD oil and CBD tincture. Though they are derived from the hemp plant, their respective makeups differ. 

If you've ever been curious about the health and wellness potential of CBD, you've probably heard of CBD oils and tinctures. The terms “CBD oil” and “CBD tincture” are often used interchangeably, though they don't necessarily mean the same thing. They are both derived from the hemp plant, but their respective makeups can differ.

In today's post, we're going to help clear up any lingering confusion. You'll know how to tell tinctures from oils, understand the different formulations commonly available, along with how they are typically consumed to deliver their effects. Let's dig in!

The “CBD” in CBD Oils and Tinctures

CBD has become quite a health and wellness star in recent years, especially since the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill made it far easier for U.S. farmers to grow and market hemp.

CBD—short for cannabidiol—is a cannabinoid, one of a group of roughly 150 compounds found in cannabis and hemp. These cannabinoids are responsible for imparting many of these plants' most profound effects on our bodies, including the cannabis plant's most recognizable hallmark: That intoxicating “high.” It's important to note, however, that CBD doesn't make you feel high. Instead it might actually make you feel more alert, and some consumers find it imparts a gentle cerebral “buzzing” sensation that's not too different from a very mild dose of caffeine.

Like all cannabinoids, CBD interacts with a network inside our body called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. It helps control such functions as sleep, memory, immune health, and more. If you're curious, you can learn more about how the ECS works here.

A large and growing body of evidence suggests that CBD can play an important role in supporting the healthy function of physiological processes. From helping us manage stress to accessing deeper, more restorative sleep to tackling minor aches and strains, CBD works with the ECS in a number of impactful ways.

What Is CBD Oil?

You've probably seen the term “CBD oil” before, and for good reason: CBD oils are easy to use, convenient and widely available.

They are made by extracting the active ingredients in hemp from the plant material, resulting in a potent extract that is then used to infuse a carrier oil. Depending on the product, the carrier might be a pure hemp oil tincture or MCT oil, a neutral oil often derived from coconut that may provide its own health benefits over and above CBD.

What Is CBD Tincture?

Traditionally, tinctures were made by using alcohol as a base for extraction. This process draws out the cannabinoids and other active compounds into a high-proof alcohol base, resulting in a potent CBD liquid. Today, pure alcohol tinctures aren't terribly common since they tend to have a bitter taste and potent mouth feel.

Different CBD oil containers

If you inspect the product labels, you will find many products labeled tinctures are actually oils, and the terms “CBD tincture” and “CBD oil” are used interchangeably. This has lead to a lot of confusion amongst consumers!

CBD Tincture vs CBD Oil: Key Differences

True tinctures and oils differ two main ways:

  1. Ingredients: True tinctures use alcohol or glycerin as a base liquid, whereas CBD oils use hemp, MCT or another oil base for the infusion of an extract. Check the ingredients label, you may find that products labeled CBD tinctures are actually CBD oils, and these labels are often used interchangeably.
  2. Extraction Method: For tinctures, alcohol or glycerin extraction are the usual methods, while for oils many manufacturers use other extraction methods, such as supercritical CO2 extraction to derive an extract that is then infused into an oil.

Because these terms are often used interchangeably, always be sure to check product ingredients to verify what's being used as the base carrier liquid.

CBD Tincture vs CBD Oil: Ingestion and Duration

While there may be important differences between CBD tinctures and oils as far as extraction and ingredients are concerned, both tinctures and oils can be consumed in much the same way.

Both oils and tinctured are designed to be used sublingually, or under the tongue, where the CBD enters the bloodstream more quickly thanks to our mucosal membranes. Both types of products provide a quick onset of about 30 minutes and a long-lasting duration of effects, in most cases from two to six hours.

Additionally, either can be mixed with other foods and drinks and swallowed, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream through the process of digestion. When swallowed it takes longer to start to feel the effects of a CBD tincture or oil, typically an hour or two. But the effects tend to last longer, in most cases from 8-12 hours.

Oils and Tinctures: Isolate, Broad-Spectrum and Full-Spectrum

CBD oils and tinctures may include terpenes, secondary cannabinoids, and other phytonutrients, depending on the extraction and refinement methods. These products may vary depending on the the specific types of cannabinoids and terpenes that are included, or left out, and fall into three main categories:

  • Broad-spectrum CBD contains CBD as well as secondary compounds, including any terpenes originally present in the hemp plant, and minor cannabinoids such as CBG or CBN. From a functional standpoint, broad-spectrum CBD has been refined to remove all but very trace amounts of THC.
  • Full-spectrum CBD is a hemp-derived extract that contains the complete chemical profile—or “full spectrum”—of cannabinoids present in the plant, including the traces of THC (less than 0.3%) naturally present in hemp plants. Full-psectrum products provide the full and complete synergistic benefits of the hemp plant.

Explore HempLucid's CBD Oils and Tinctures

At HempLucid, we're committed to creating the purest, highest quality products on the market. The medicinal hemp strain we use in products is grown to organic standards from clones cultivated and proven over the past decade, and we're incredibly proud to have maintained USDA Organic Handler's certification since 2020.

That means that when you use products like our Organic Full-Spectrum CBD in Hemp Seed Oil or our Organic Full-Spectrum CBD in MCT Oil, you can rest easy knowing you're using the purest, most carefully handled CBD products available anywhere.

Because we know that some of our customers prefer to avoid alcohol, when making out tinctures we use glycerin—a colorless, odorless, and chemically simple compound that is slightly sweet-tasting—instead. It serves as an excellent base for our signature water-soluble formulations.

Using a water-soluble glycerin tincture has several advantages. For one thing, the proprietary nano electrolyte blend we use embeds nanoclusters of water into the formulation to maximize absorption rates. You'll find our water-soluble formulation in products such as our Organic Full-Spectrum Water Soluble CBD).

If you have any questions about how to purchase or use our CBD tinctures and oils, don't hesitate to reach out to our team. We're here to keep it real and talk about CBD honestly and effectively to help you make educated decisions.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is presented purely for educational purposes and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any condition. As always, consult your doctor before introducing a new supplement to your routine.

. We're here to keep it real and talk about CBD honestly and effectively to help you make educated decisions.