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  • by Nicola Boulton August 10, 2022 5 min read


    CBD oil and tinctures differ in the production manner and the taste. They both work great when the right method of administering is used. The common method is sublingual for both and inhalation for CBD oil; other methods are ingestion and topical.

    CBD is extracted from a cannabis plant, and it is made more bioavailable by processing it into products like CDB oil, tinctures, and edibles like gummies. CBD oils and CBD tinctures can be confused because they are both oils and are available in the three CBD bases. They can both have the same range of usages like alleviating pain and inflammation, aiding sleep, or for anxiety and depression. CBD oil and tinctures are the most common CBD products in the market. Knowing how to differentiate CBD oil from tinctures can help you save time when shopping for CBD oil or CBD tinctures. This article will help you differentiate them and save you time.

    Extraction of CBD

    Consumers should know how CBD is extracted to understand the difference between CBD oil and tinctures.

    The extraction method determines whether one gets CBD oil or CBD tincture. CBD is extracted by solvent extraction and the CO2 extraction method. In solvent extraction, alcohol is used as a solvent to extract CBD. The most common alcohol used is ethanol which is later removed by evaporation. In the CO2 extraction method, supercritical CO2 is used in the extraction process. CBD from these methods is used to make CBD oil. CBD for tinctures is extracted using high-proof alcohol, also used in the final product.

    Differences between CBD oil and Tinctures

    The main difference between CBD oil and CBD tinctures is the production process. The solvent is completely removed from the final product in CBD oil by distillation, but in tinctures, Brygadyrenko et al. (2019) discovered that the alcohol used is retained or sometimes added. Tinctures have a long self-life and a bitter taste due to the alcohol. Some companies may add sweeteners to mask the taste. Tinctures are not very common like CBD oils, and mostly what is labeled as tinctures might be CBD oil.

    Tinctures' bottle usually has a calibrated dropper used for administering, but CBD oils can be packed in bottles without droppers or in other forms like CBD vape oils and CBD topicals. The small tincture bottle makes it easier to carry around, and it is easier to measure and administer your dose.

    Ways to take CBD oil and Tinctures

    Sublingual Method

    This is the common method for taking CBD oil and tinctures. It involves placing the oil or tincture under your tongue and holding it for 60 seconds for absorption to take place. The capillaries and tissues in the sublingual layer will absorb the CBD into the bloodstream. Users have to be comfortable with the taste of CBD tinctures, or they can buy the flavored ones. Alternatively, one can also take the CBD oil right after eating when the mouth has the food flavors. This method can also be used for CBD oil sprays. The effect of CBD can be felt after 30 minutes.

    Inhalation Method

    The inhalation method involves inhaling CBD oil through vapes or CBD oil concentrates. This method is limited to CBD oils only. CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream in the lung together with oxygen. The effect of CBD is felt after 15 minutes. This is the fastest method of taking CBD. Inhalation is an effective method when looking for a quick fix. However, the long-run effect of vaping is yet to be known. Christiani (2020) showed that smoking could cause lung diseases.

    Ingestion Method

    CBD has to undergo the metabolism process before it is absorbed into the bloodstream in the ingestion method. Metabolism makes this method slow. Even if a user has a faster metabolism process, it will take at least 2 hours for you to feel the CBD effect. Consumers can ingest CBD oil and tinctures by adding them to meals and drinks like coffee, smoothies, and cocktails.

    Topical Method

    CBD companies have developed products for skincare and other creams for pain and inflammation. One can also use CBD oil or tincture directly on their skin. Apply a few drops of CBD oil or tincture to the affected area and massage it for the CBD to be absorbed. Baswan et al.  (2020) reported that the ECS receptors in the skin will bind with the CBD. Topical and ingestion are the slowest methods of taking CBD.

    What to Consider When Buying CBD Oil or Tincture

    Buying high-quality products will ensure you benefit fully from the CBD. Hemp plants are very delicate plants that absorb anything from the soil; this, in turn, affects the quality of the CBD. Before buying CBD oil or tincture, ensure that the company gives information on the source of their hemp plants. Some companies have their field while others depend on farmers. Check if the hemp is organically grown and is non-GMO.

    Third-party lab testing is also important. BLEBEA¹ et al.  (2019) emphasized that it checks for chemicals and heavy metals and assigns levels of compounds like THC in CBD. If chemists come across a foreign compound, they will separate it and do more testing on it. Third-party labs can be trusted because they don't have any interest in making profits. Consumers get this information on the company’s website by matching it with the batch numbers of the product. 

    Finally, check the price. Fake and low-quality products are processed in the low-quality process. When buying a tincture, ensure that it’s produced by an alcohol extraction method. Quality products tend to be highly-priced. Users can buy CBD oil or tincture directly from a trusted manufacturer to avoid all this hustle.


    CBD oil and tincture do not have any huge difference except for the production method, taste, and packaging. CBD tinctures are not common because of their unpalatable taste and the production process. What is mostly labeled as CBD tincture is CBD oil. When shopping for CBD tincture, consumers should be keen on the production process; they should also check if there is any alcohol in the product. This can be found in the Certificate of Analysis provided by the third-party lab. CBD oil and CBD tinctures can be taken using the same method except for inhalation, which is limited to CBD oils.


    Baswan, S. M., Klosner, A. E., Glynn, K., Rajgopal, A., Malik, K., Yim, S., & Stern, N. (2020). Therapeutic Potential Of Cannabidiol (CBD) For Skin Health And Disorders. Clinical, Cosmetic And Investigational Dermatology, 13, 927.

    BLEBEA¹, N. M., COSTACHE, T., & NEGREȘ, S. (2019). The Qualitative And Quantitative Analysis Of CBD In Hemp Oils By UHPLC With PDA And Applications.

    Brygadyrenko, V. V., Lieshchova, M. A., Bilan, M. V., Tishkina, N. M., & Horchanok, A. V. (2019). Effect Of Alcohol Tincture Of Aralia Elata On The Organism Of Rats And Their Gut Microbiota Against The Background Of Excessive Fat Diet. Regulatory Mechanisms In Biosystems, 10(4), 497-506.

    Christiani, D. C. (2020). Vaping-Induced Acute Lung Injury. New England Journal Of Medicine, 382(10), 960-962.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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