CBD Tincture vs Oil

Trying to figure out the differences between a CBD tincture vs a CBD oil can often leave consumers feeling frustrated and confused. In the CBD industry, the lines between them have been incredibly blurred. Many companies aren’t aware of the original or traditional ways of distinguishing a tincture vs an oil.

The ways of making them have also undergone some pretty big changes. If we take the time to look back to the original way of making them, we’ll be able to gain some clues as to what the differences between them really are. So let’s dive in.


CBD Tinctures vs Oils

CBD Oils

Before we take a look at tinctures, we first need to understand what an oil is. CBD oils were traditionally made from CBD that had been extracted from industrial Hemp or Marijuana, which was then diluted in a carrier oil.

They were made without the use of ethanol. Similarly to other plant oils, seed, and nut oils, CBD oil was separated from the plant through exposure to heat and pressure. CBD oils should be taken sublingually. This means that they need to be placed under the tongue.

CBD oils are safe to put on the skin, hair, and nails because they only contain CBD and one to two base oils such as hemp oil, MCT oil, or grapeseed oil. CBD oils are fat-soluble which makes them easy to add to cookies, brownies, cakes, and more.

Some companies have decided to add flavoring to their CBD oils in order to disguise the earthy taste of the hemp or marijuana. If a product has additional flavoring however, it’s no longer safe to put on the skin unless it has been otherwise indicated.

Here at shopCBD we’ve chosen to only carry CBD products that are made from hemp because the plant contains a maximum of 0.3% THC. This means that it’s virtually impossible to get high from using any of the products on our website. Now that we’ve gone over all that there is to know about CBD oils, let’s take a look at what makes CBD tinctures so special.

CBD Tinctures

CBD tinctures were traditionally made by steeping CBD rich hemp flowers (and in some cases the stalks and leaves) in high-proof grain alcohol (or a water and alcohol solution), then they were cooked at a low temperature for several hours.

The alcohol base increased the bioavailability of the CBD and also acted as a natural preservative for the product. Some companies choose to follow the traditional way of making CBD tinctures while others are now using ethanol, but at very low temperatures (-5F).

The most popular form of extraction today is CO2. It's considered to be one of the best forms of extraction because it doesn’t require a solvent. Because more and more companies are opting for this method of extraction, it's becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between a CBD tincture vs a CBD oil.

One way of identifying a tincture is by looking at its ingredients. Traditionally and technically tinctures should contain CBD along with one to two base oils, and in some cases additional ingredients such as essential oils, plant extracts, and more. Because tinctures contain more ingredients than CBD oils, you may end up experiencing additional health benefits.

Just like CBD oils, CBD tinctures will have the greatest absorption rate when taken sublingually. It's not recommended to put CBD tinctures on the skin, nails, or hair unless it has been otherwise indicated.

CBD tinctures are a great addition to coffees, teas, and other drinks but are not recommended for cooking or baking. The reason why is because more companies are creating CBD tinctures that are water-soluble instead of fat-soluble like CBD oils.  

The issue of mislabeling

Now that we’ve gone over the differences between them, we need to address the elephant in the room, mislabeled products. With the CBD market boom, many companies rushed in to get their piece of the cake. Although the products that came out were widely varying, something that many of them had in common was the fact that they had been mislabeled and or miscategorized.

There are many CBD oils that have been labeled as tinctures and vice versa. We don’t think that this was done intentionally. It’s much more likely that the companies didn’t know the technical differences between the two when it came time to label their products. Although we would love to be able to change the labels ourselves, we can’t. What we can do, however, is pay attention to the product's ingredients.

Which one is better?

Besides the differences between CBD tinctures vs oils, many people have been asking us which out of the two is better? The answer to that question is quite simple; neither one is better than the other, they’re simply different.

What they have in common:

  • Both contain either a full, broad or isolate CBD extract
  • They contain one to two base oils such as MCT or hemp seed oil
  • They can be added to other things such as food or drinks

What makes them different:

  • Oils can be applied safely to the skin whereas tinctures cannot
  • Tinctures contain additional plant oils and extracts with their own range of health benefits, but CBD oils do not
  • CBD oils are the better choice to add to food whereas tinctures are the better choice to add to drinks and or liquids

Our product recommendations

There are many high quality CBD oils and CBD Tinctures that are available for purchase in the market which is really exciting news! The tricky part is knowing which ones are actually as good as they claim themselves to be. Luckily we here at shopCBD have put a lot of time and effort into researching and finding the best CBD products on the market so that consumers don’t have to.

Some of our favorite CBD oils:

  1. CBD Oil Extract Complete 83.3mg by Bluebird Botanicals
  2. CBD Oil Drops Natural 300mg by cbdMD
  3. CBD Oil Full Spectrum 1000mg by Kanabia

Some of our Favorite CBD Tinctures:

  1. CBD Oil Turmeric Rosemary Extract 500mg by Kanabia
  2. CBD Drops Relief 720mg by Plant People
  3. CBD Tincture Peppermint 1500mg by Moon Mother

There are many other great CBD oils and Tinctures but these are definitely a great place to start.

How to take them

Although there are several ways of using and consuming CBD tinctures and oils there are some ways that have been shown to provide much higher rates of bioavailability than others.

Like many consumers, we love the idea of incorporating CBD oils and tinctures into our food and drinks. Consuming either one of them in this way, however, will provide a bioavailability rate of only about 6%. Simply squeeze the liquid into your mouth and swallowing it right away will provide the same effect.

A much more effective way of consuming them would be to take them sublingually. This simply means that you place the liquid under your tongue and hold it there for about a minute before swallowing it. The reason why most CBD companies recommend doing this is because of the presence of something known as the sublingual gland. The sublingual gland, which lays under the tongue, allows the CBD to enter the bloodstream much more quickly. It also increases the bioavailability rate up to 15% to 35%.  

Because CBD oil can be applied to the skin many people are choosing to either apply directly to their skin or to mix it into their favorite cream or lotion. The topical application of CBD is thought to be one of the most rapid ways of absorbing it. It may also provide consumers with higher bioavailability rates. Although more research needs to be done in regard to the topical application of CBD in humans, it’s estimated that bioavailability rates may be as high as 45%.

Whichever way a consumer chooses to use their CBD oil or tinctures it’s always important to keep these absorption rates in mind.

Key Takeaways

It’s always important to look at the ingredients that are in a product to know whether or not it is safe to put on the skin, nails or hair. CBD oils should only contain CBD along with one to two base oils such as hemp oil, MCT oil, or grapeseed oil.

Tinctures can contain CBD, two base oils or more along with many other plants, essential oils, and more for added health benefits. Although there’s a lot of confusion about the differences between a CBD oil vs CBD tincture the most important thing to keep in mind is that whichever one you choose, you’re still going to be getting CBD.

For any questions feel free to reach out to us by chat, email, or phone. To stay up to date with our weekly sales and more follow us on Instagram @shopcbdusa.


**This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

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