August 18, 2021 0 Comments

CBD Oil vs. Tincture: What’s Better?

You may wonder what this topic is about because you thought a CBD oil is in fact a tincture. Well, we are sorry to inform you that this isn’t the case. A CBD oil and a tincture are different: and its largely due to the way the products are made.

If they are different, how exactly do they differ, and which one is better?

We embarked on a journey to find out the truth about CBD oils and tinctures and found that often they look the same in the shops. This is probably one of the reasons that consumers like you may be thinking that a CBD oil and a tincture are the same thing.

Let’s not blame anything on the euphoria of the popularity of CBD across the world, but it’s to be expected that there has been an explosion of CBD products due to the massive demand that they have experienced. Consumers can be forgiven if they think a tincture is the same as CBD oil, as no FDA rules apply to the industry yet.

On the shelves it’s also easy to confuse CBD oils and tinctures as they are very packaged similarly in small dropper topped bottles and share a lot of common properties. Inside the bottle the contents even look the same: a concentrated liquid, but in fact these liquids are different.

To make matters worse some labels bear the words:” CBD oil tincture”, making the consumer even more confused.

Let’s tell you what these differences are, so that you can make the right choice for yourself.

CBD Oil vs Tincture: Understanding the Differences

Alcohol Based Tinctures

In short, a tincture is a hemp extraction that is made using alcohol as its base. This is quite a different process to making CBD oil.

Making a tincture is not difficult, it just takes a bit of time. We will guide you to making a tincture for yourself later. Tinctures are made from the flowers of hemp, or Cannabis Sativa which are the highest source of CBD in the plant. The use of alcohol gives tinctures an advantage over standard CBD oil in that the alcohol base is a foundation for a longer lasting product on the shelf. 

It is believed that a tincture, through the alcohol extraction process produces a purer product, due to the alcohol’s ability to extract terpenes and the cannabinoids that give the product the character that it displays.

Alcohol, as a solvent, can bring to the tincture the full potential of all the cannabis and components when processed. This gives the tincture a head-start over the other method, CO2 extraction, which is a more commercial process. 

The second important thing to know about tinctures is that they combine well in a mixture like food or something to drink, which is a bonus if you don’t like the thought of swallowing the tincture on its own.

Lastly, the absorption rate into the bloodstream of a tincture is superior to CBD oil. This is an important factor when taking the CBD tincture for relief. These three factors are mainly because of the alcohol base of a tincture.

CO2 Extracted CBD Oil

Most of the larger manufacturers of CBD oil use the CO2 cannabis extraction method. Setting up the equipment to do this is expensive and allows for large scale manufacture of CBD oils. It involves a system whereby pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) is used to extract the CBD oil from the hemp plant.  

There is evidence that the CO2 extraction method is quite complicated and involves having to clean the CBD extracts once they are subjected to pressure and heat treatment in the manufacturing process. This is because the process itself is not as pure as the alcohol extraction process, leaving behind chlorophyll and wax that needs to be cleaned out.

The CO2 method, after all the additional processes give a highly purified CBD isolate. It isn’t sold on its own. Remembering that a tincture has alcohol as its base, CBD oil isolates are infused with a carrier, most often an oil like olive or MCT or hemp seed oil.

Ok, you at this point you are probably thinking that tinctures are better.

Well, there is a strong lobby in favor of tinctures because the alcohol extraction method’s ability to release flavonoids like cannabinoids, terpenes, and amino acids along with several minority good substances in the hemp.

Users like the look of the color and taste of the tincture and feel it’s a whole lot purer than CBD oils.

While its difficult to assess how much more beneficial tinctures are to the body than CBD oils, the bioavailability is higher giving tinctures an immediate head start over CBD oils.

Tinctures DIY

CBD tinctures DIY

You may want to make your own CBD tinctures. That’s fine, its not difficult. The Cannabis Sativa is your go-to plant to use. If its anything more than that, you’d have to face the problem of having a product containing THC.

Seeing its for home use, you make the call. Be aware that the DIY method will not produce an exact replica of the tincture you buy in the shops, but it’s a cheaper version and could be just as effective. It’s satisfying to make your own tincture too, so why not give it a try. Here’s what you need:

First up you need a little patience because what you produce will take a little while, like a couple of weeks.  You are going to need some high-proof alcohol. Make sure the proof is 70% or higher, the higher the proof, the better it performs. You’ll need about 750 ml of this alcohol in a mason jar.

Then be sure to have your cannabis on hand. Flowers work best. As we said, this is your home brand so you may want to use a strain that contains THC. If you do, don’t forget to decarboxylate the cannabis. If it’s a Cannabis Sativa, then you will be safe with a tincture that won’t have that extra high kick in it.

The ratio is 30 grams of cannabis to 750 ml alcohol. Keep this mixture in the sealed mason jar in a dark place for a period of two weeks. Best to give the jar a shake every day just to stimulate the process.

If you want to speed up the process, heat works well. However, a word of warning: remember alcohol is flammable, so ensure the heat levels are low.

Now it’s time to bottle your tincture. You can strain the mixture using a stocking or fine strainer. If you are going to use it in drop form, best bottle your mixture in a small jar that takes a dropper. Now you are up and running – you’ve made you first tincture…. well done.

CBD Oil vs Tinctures: How Are They Used?

To some, CBD oil and tinctures all taste the same. Others who don’t favor the tinge of alcohol that tinctures present, find the taste not their style. Either way there is some bitter taste associated with both.

The great thing is that manufacturers have taken note of this, and to help users make the experience of taking CBD easier, they have created a whole variety of ways to make the experience more palatable.

It’s best to take a CBD tincture sublingually-under the tongue, where the absorption into the bloodstream is fastest. Tinctures are not effective – remember they have an alcohol base – in topical products as they don’t work on the skin.

The oral ingestion of CBD oils will take at least an hour to work, but CBD oils – because they have a carrier oil, rather than alcohol – are good in topical mixtures. Of course, topicals are used for localized areas such as the skin and don’t enter the body.

If you are DIY tincture producer this is also very good news, because back in the kitchen you can get creative with your CBD by following their examples. Let’s look at some of them:


One of the fastest ways to feel the effect of CBD is by vaping. Vaping as we know is not the most social activity, but when you need CBD fast it’s the route to go. This is because when you vape the CBD bypasses the traditional ways through the stomach and goes into the bloodstream through the capillaries of the lungs.


The second way is to put some drops of the tincture under your tongue. This area is also full of surface blood vessels, so the CBD can be absorbed quickly and directly into the bloodstream without competition from any foodstuffs.


Have you considered drinking your CBD as a drink mix? Besides getting off the shelf drinks which are available in sachets or jars, you can make your own mix. Rooibos tea fortified as a CBD drink mix, or a coconut water mix are delicious.

Reasons to Apply Tinctures or CBD oils

You may wonder what CBD is most used for. While there has been a lot of research done on CBD and its effectiveness in treating health conditions, there is no official backing, as we know, from the authorities like the FDA. This we hope will be cleared up soon, because in the meantime more and more people are using CBD.

So, while the legal status begins to ease up, the awareness of CBD continues unabated in the media and there is so much information to be found on the internet. Still is CBD a medicine or is it a supplement? That’s where some of the confusion may lie. There are people for and people against CBD. It’s a bit frustrating when those that use it claim it has really helped, and even more frustrating when it doesn’t get official backing.

We looked at the overall reasons for taking CBD, across a lot of research and the overwhelming top three are as follows:

  – To help with sleep patterns
  – For anxiety
  – To help reduce stress

Of course, one would hope that soon we will have conclusive evidence to prove exactly how much CBD will help with these kind of health issues.

Looking Ahead: CBD oil vs Tinctures

With the CBD market growing at over 20% a year, it’s a sign that CBD is fast finding a firm niche in the wellness industry. Clearly the fact that legislation is not keeping up with this growth does not seem to concern manufacturers and consumers alike. 

Legislation and regulation are extremely important, as it will help clear up the confusion about CBD. A simple example is the CBD Oil vs tincture debate. Clarity and facts will help the industry move firmly into medical field rather than the recreational field where it is languishing now.

It becomes vital that you check out the reputation of the CBD manufacturer, read reviews, ensure that all products have third-party testing, and the company has been around a while.

Do your research, ask probing questions, and decide for yourself.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to get confused when it comes to CBD oils vs tinctures. Even on the shelves they are not clearly distinguished. Their packaging looks the same, and the terminology sometimes overlaps. Well, it’s time to clear up the confusion, and we hope we have in this article. A tincture is made of high proof alcohol, while a CBD oil is made using carbon dioxide extraction. The former is a niche kind of product, and a CBD oil is considered a mass-produced product.

From a health point of view, the CO2 extraction method could result in some of the goodness in CBD being extracted in the process, whereas the alcohol method is known to preserve precious terpenes and other beneficial cannabinoids in the hemp plant.

We looked into the CBD oil vs tinctures debate to discover what’s better. And did we? Well in the end, we found they had different applications but no conclusive evidence is available as to which one is better – yet. With further research, the answer is sure to be apparent sometime in the future. 

Perhaps you’d like to try them both for yourself and come up with your own conclusion.

Leave a comment