CBD Tinctures are the most common, popular, and effective way of using CBD. These are pure and concentrated and have an almost-immediate effect on the body.
In this article, we understand what CBD tinctures are, how they’re made, how to use them, how to administer dosage, and where to buy CBD tinctures in India.
What are tinctures?
A tincture is typically any plant or animal extract dissolved in ethyl alcohol. Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts made by soaking berries, leaves, bark, or roots of one or more plants in a solvent such as alcohol or vinegar.
The solvent pulls out the active ingredients from the parts of the plant(s) and concentrates them as a liquid. Some common solvents, apart from ethanol, for producing tinctures are vinegar, diethyl ether, and propylene glycol. However, not all these solvents are good for internal consumption.
The concentration of solvents in tinctures is typically 20% but may range from 25% to 60% going as high as 90% in some cases.
What are CBD tinctures?
CBD tinctures are alcohol-based tinctures where the plant preserved is a high-CBD strain of cannabis (usually hemp). They are a simple and smokeless way to dose CBD. These are produced by steeping high-CBD source plant in high-proof grain alcohol followed by the application of low heat for a significant period of time.
The active compounds in cannabis infuse into the neutral solvent, the majority of which boils off. This results in a potent liquid capable of delivering the effects of the cannabinoid molecules without the need to smoke them.
Fun Fact: Cannabis tinctures are also known as green dragon.
Making CBD tinctures is quite a simple process which is why it is also a famous DIY project. Usually, one can differentiate between commercial and homemade CBD tinctures.
- Commercial CBD tincture: a herbal cannabis preparation carried out by a commercial producer for public sale. These commonly contain CBD oil extracted from the hemp or marijuana plant through commercial extraction methods. Commercial tinctures must comply with strict standards for quality, efficiency, purity, and labelling.
- Homemade CBD tincture: a herbal cannabis preparation that can easily be made at home by dissolving plant material (i.e. flower, leaves, and stem of the hemp plant) in a liquid solvent such as high-proof alcohol or a non-alcoholic carrier liquid such as coconut oil.
CBD Oil vs. CBD Tinctures
One thing CBD consumers must absolutely know is that CBD tincture is not CBD oil. CBD oil results from an extraction procedure that pulls out the oil from the seeds, stalks, and flowers of the plant. In the case of CBD tinctures, we soak the plant in alcohol to create a concentrated form.
To put it simply, a tincture is a result of soaking the cannabis plant in an alcohol and water solution whereas CBD oil refers to plant extracts infused in a carrier oil such as olive or hemp seed oil.
The CBD tinctures we buy in India mostly stick to alcohol base whereas the oil has MCT or hemp seed oil as the base.
CBD oil contains some other oil as the base or carrier which are responsible for the dilution of CBD. It, therefore, contains coconut oil, MCT oil, Vegetable glycerine base, or hemp seed oil.
CBD tinctures have an alcohol base. And they might also contain other substances enhance the flavour and other properties. These include essential oils like lavender or basil, herbs, water, essential vitamins like B12, D, and C.
The two most common ways to use CBD oil is topically (by direct application on the skin) or by vaping. The ingestion of CBD tinctures, on the other hand, can occur directly by placing it under the skin or mixing it with food.
Typically, CBD oil has an unpleasant taste. It leaves an oily aftertaste when consumed orally. Tinctures, however, come in different flavours vanilla and lemon being the most common.
Types of CBD Tinctures
Like all other CBD products, CBD tinctures can come from any of the three distinct types of CBD:
- Full-spectrum CBD tincture: a tincture that will contain all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and molecular compounds within the source plant. In case of hemp and cannabis, full-spectrum tinctures will contain the same amount of THC (the high-causing cannabinoid) as present in the source plant.
- Broad-spectrum CBD tincture: a tincture that will contain all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and molecular compounds within the source plant except THC. After extracting a full-spectrum extract, it is subject to different chemical processes to specifically remove only and only THC.
- CBD isolate tincture: a tincture that will contain only and only CBD. No other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, or molecular compounds except CBD are present in this type of tincture.
It is important to know these distinctions before you buy CBD tinctures. In India, mostly isolates and some options of full-spectrum extracts are available.
How to make CBD Tinctures?
CBD Tinctures are made by soaking a high-CBD source plant into high-proof grain alcohol through the process of steeping. In the case of tinctures, high-proof food-grade alcohol is going to be your best friend. This section understands the choice of solvents and two common methods of preparing tinctures.
Choice of Solvents
Traditionally, tinctures are made with alcohol. The use of alcohol as the solvent results in a potent CBD extract that absorbs highly quickly in the body when taken sublingually.
For people who have a sensitivity to alcohol or want to steer clear of it in all possible manners, there are non-alcoholic solvents as well.
Vegetable glycerine is a clear liquid from soy, palm, and/or coconuts. Its lipid structure makes it a great solvent for tinctures. However, glycerine-based tinctures are less potent than alcohol-based tinctures as glycerine is not as effective as alcohol in bonding with cannabis compounds.
Using vegetable oil as the solvent is a simple, easily accessible, and popular alternative. Edible vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, or coconut can replace alcohol or glycerine as the solvent.
The tinctures with vegetable oil as the solvent make an ideal addition to food and drink items.
The first step in making tinctures is the decarboxylation of the source plant. Decarboxylation is the process of heating a plant (in this case, cannabis or hemp) at a specific temperature to activate the cannabinoids. In our case, this process transforms the inactive CBD-A into active CBD.
Steeping refers to the process of dissolving the plant extract into the solvent. While it sounds complicated, it is the same process we use at our homes while making tea with tea leaves.
There are two typical methods of steeping:
- Maceration: this is the most traditional method of making a tincture. It is the slow and simple method. In Maceration, we simply add the plant extract and solvent to an airtight jar and leave it to steep in a cool and dark place.
This method typically takes at least 6 weeks for the CBD and the other compounds of cannabis to dissolve into the solvent. Once the soaking is complete, the mixture is strained through a cheesecloth or coffee filter.
- Percolation: this is a relatively modern method that speeds up the steeping process. In percolation, we pass the filtered liquid through a porous substance. The plant extract and solvent are first added to an airtight jar. But instead of leaving the jar in a cool, dark place for a long period of time, it is placed into a water bath and brought to a simmer.
After simmering it for a definitive period of time and once cool, the mixture is strained using cheesecloth or coffee filter.
Administering Dosage in CBD Tinctures
CBD tincture is a concentrated form of CBD. Therefore, it is designed to be taken in small doses. Unlike in edibles, where the dosage of CBD in each piece is pre-set, in the case of tinctures, users need to calculate the amount of each dosage.
That said, administering dosage in tinctures is not that difficult. Tinctures typically come in glass bottles with a built-in dropper that allows users to take carefully measured quantities of CBD. More often than not, this dropper indicates 1ml of liquid that can be considered as the baseline serving size.
So, for instance, if you have a 30ml bottle with 1ml as the serving size, your bottle contains 30 servings of CBD.
However, in the case of tinctures, the ml amount alone does not suffice to measure the dosage. The user needs to check the bottle for the amount of mg as well. So, if you have a 30ml bottle of 3000mg, each 1ml serving will have 3000/30 mg of CBD. That is to say, you’re taking 1000mg of CBD with each dosage.
It is interesting to note that this amount changes when the same 30ml bottle with 1ml serving size contains 2500mg of CBD. In that case, each dosage will have 2500/30 i.e. 83.3 mg of CBD with each dosage.
The amount of CBD in mg present in a tincture points to the strength of the tincture.
What does strength mean?
When shopping for CBD tinctures, you will often come across labels such as the following on the products.
Notice how these contain 1000mg, 2000mg, and 3000mg of CBD respectively. This amount of CBD in mg refers to the strength of the tincture.
The number of mg refers to the total absolute amount of CBD in the tincture. This amount determines the amount of CBD you will be consuming in each dosage. Let’s understand with few examples.
- A 30ml bottle of 3000mg: this tincture contains 3000mg of CBD in 30ml. If 1ml is the base serving size, then it contains 30/1=30 servings with 3000/30=1000mg of CBD in each.
- A 30ml bottle of 2000mg: this tincture contains 2000mg of CBD in 30ml. If 1 ml is the base serving size, then it contains 30/1=30 servings with 2000/30=66.6 mg of CBD in each.
- A 20ml bottle of 3000mg: this tincture contains 3000mg of CBD in 20ml. If 1 ml is the base serving size, then it contains 20/1=20 servings with 3000/20=150mg of CBD in each.
In this way, the users can calculate the amount of CBD in each dosage depending on the strength and quantity of the tincture. The strength of the tincture primarily determines the amount of CBD you will be taking with each dosage. That is why, for beginners it is always recommended to start with small strengths such as 500mg which in a 30ml bottle with 1ml base serving size will contain 30 doses with 500/30=16.6mg of CBD in each.
How to take CBD tinctures?
Because CBD tinctures come with a built-in dropper, their consumption is fairly easy. Since the doses are small, tinctures can be administered in a number of ways.
The most common way to take tinctures is sublingually i.e. by placing the tincture under the tongue and letting it absorb for 1-2 minutes. This method is also one of the quickest to show effect since the CBD directly enters the bloodstream and starts interacting with the endocannabinoids.
The next way is to add a dose of tincture to your food or beverage with the help of the dropper. You can easily add them to your pasta, soup, juice, tea, ice creams, salads, and cereal. This method, in comparison to sublingual consumption, takes a little more time to show effect since the CBD first passes through the digestive tract before reaching the bloodstream.
Pros and Cons of CBD Tinctures
Like all CBD products, tinctures bring with themselves some pros and cons. This section analyses the benefits and downsides of CBD tinctures.
- Discrete: Tinctures are the most straightforward and discreet way of consuming CBD. They allow you to enjoy the benefits of CBD (or cannabis in the case of cannabis tinctures) without having to bear with the smell and smoke.
- Convenient: Tinctures come in pocket-sized glass bottles with a built-in dropper. This makes them really convenient for use and travel. You can easily carry them around in your purse and take whenever necessary.
- Fast onset of effects: Tinctures are typically consumed sublingually which allows CBD to quickly enter the bloodstream and interact with the endocannabinoids. Moreover, tinctures are a concentrated form of CBD which provides great effect in a small period of time.
- Easy to dose: The built-in dropper makes it really easy to measure the dose and thus administer careful intake.
- Alcohol content cannot always be accounted for: CBD tinctures are produced by soaking the source plant in alcohol. While product labels provide the relevant information about the content of alcohol present, mislabelling happens and no one can truly account for the content. For those who vary of alcohol or have an insensitivity, this creates inhibitions.
- Dosage administration can get messy: As we saw above, different amount of CBD in the same quantity, the same amount of CBD in different quantities, and different amount of CBD in different quantities all contain dissimilar dosages. While the dropper often provides the baseline serving, keeping a count on the amount of CBD in each dosage can get messy for some users.
Side-effects of CBD Tinctures
CBD is generally safe for people of all ages. According to studies, one cannot overdose on CBD and so there is not much to worry about. It is, however, possible to witness some side-effects with any kind of CBD product.
Some known side-effects of CBD are nausea, headache, diarrhoea, fatigue, dry mouth, and dizziness. More often than not, these side effects imply the intake of a high dose. But if you continue to experience adverse effect, we recommend you stop taking CBD and consult your medical professional.
What to look for in a CBD Tincture?
While buying CBD tinctures, especially online, you should consider the following factors:
- Type of CBD: is your tincture a full-spectrum, a broad-spectrum, or a CBD isolate?
- Strength: how much mg of CBD is present in how much quantity? This will help you calculate the amount of CBD you will be taking with each dosage.
- Solvent concentration: In case of alcohol-based tinctures, be sure to look for the concentration of alcohol in the entire bottle. The same goes for non-alcoholic tinctures.
We have a comprehensive list of things to consider before you buy CBD tinctures, and other products, online in India here.
CBD Tinctures are the most popular and fastest way of consuming CBD. They have a direct effect on the body and can be pretty effective in relatively smaller doses as well.
They are discrete and convenient but might get a little troublesome for beginners. However, with consistent use, you can develop the eye to administer your dosage and enjoy the benefits of CBD.
Where to buy CBD Tinctures in India?
In India, you can buy CBD tinctures online through dedicated platforms. The facility of purchasing CBD products in dispensaries and retail shops is not widely available in the country yet. However, we are collating an extensive list of the few stores in India where you can buy CBD tinctures offline and will have it ready for you soon!