The most popular way to take CBD oil is by using a dropper to place drops under your tongue. You may have noticed that some companies selling these products call them CBD tinctures while others just call them CBD oil drops. The different terminology understandably leads many users to wonder if there’s a difference between CBD tincture and CBD oil.
The answer is that the terms “CBD tincture” and “CBD oil drops” are the same in today’s consumer world. Both terms are referencing a bottle of CBD oil drops that are taken sublingually. While the type of carrier oil used and other ingredients do vary by brand, the terms CBD tincture and CBD oil drops are routinely used interchangeably by companies and users.
What is a CBD Tincture?
The technical definition of a “tincture” is an herbal extract dissolved in an alcohol base. A traditional cannabis tincture typically includes the cannabis extract and food-grade ethyl alcohol (ethanol).
Conversely, CBD oil technically consists of the cannabis extract diluted in an oil base. Carrier oils are commonly used because CBD is fat soluble and they help increase bioavailability. Common carrier oils include MCT coconut oil, hemp seed oil, olive oil and grape seed oil. MCT coconut oil is one of the most popular carrier oils because of its high rate of absorption and lack of taste.
Despite the traditional definition of “tincture”, the CBD industry has adopted this term to be used interchangeably with “CBD oil.” As a result, you’ll find that most of the most popular CBD brands use the word “tincture” to describe their CBD oil drops even though they use a carrier oil instead of ethanol.
Are There Any “True” Alcohol-Based Tinctures?
There are some alcohol-based CBD tinctures on the market but they are much less common than those with carrier oils. Burning and sensitivity is a common complaint when alcohol-based tinctures are used under the tongue, making them less popular. Additionally, solvent-less CBD products are rising in popularity and alcohol-based tinctures go directly against that idea. When they are used, they’re commonly added to drinks and often contain other emulsifiers.
The easiest way to tell whether the product you have is alcohol-based or oil-based is by checking the ingredients list on the label. Over time, we expect more consistent labeling standards across the CBD industry. This will help eliminate some of the confusion that is created today by the different terminology used by different companies.