CBD Tinctures
An introduction to CBD consumption methods

Tinctures and oral sprays are increasingly popular ways of consuming your daily dose of CBD. Approachable and easy to use, tinctures and sprays are primarily formulated with an alcohol, oil, or vegetable glycerin base, usually depending on potency levels. They’re sold in small bottles with a dropper or a spray nozzle to allow for more accurate dosing. These applications can be sprayed directly into the mouth, administered under the tongue, or even added to your morning coffee or tea, making them an ideal choice for those seeking a smoke-free alternative.

Tinctures and oral sprays are commonly made with CBD extracted from the plant using a solvent such as ethanol, which is then removed in a vacuum environment, or else by pressurized carbon dioxide gas. Many brands mix the extracted cannabidiol into a medium such as sesame or coconut oil, to help preserve the CBD and to add a bit of pleasing flavor.

A Fast-acting Option for Those Who Don’t Smoke

Tinctures enter the bloodstream faster than edibles, due to how they are consumed. A few drops or a dropperful under the tongue will absorb directly into the mucus membranes and capillaries of the mouth. Unlike edibles, they avoid first-pass metabolism in the liver. In other words, they bypass the digestive system, which can filter out some of the beneficial CBD molecules. Because they hit the bloodstream more quickly, CBD tinctures can provide fast, effective relief.

Using a tincture or oral spray, you can begin to experience the effects within 15-20 minutes, especially if you are seeking relief from pain, anxiety, or sleeplessness. Because CBD does not induce the “buzz” associated with taking THC and smoking marijuana, users sometimes describe the effect as an absence of pain or anxiety, rather than the onset of a particular other feeling. You won’t find health claims on the bottles of CBD tinctures (and if you do, avoid that brand), but as CBD is both more studied and more widely used, the health benefits will become more officially established and promoted.

The only way to get CBD into the bloodstream more quickly is by smoking cannabis or consuming CBD directly into the lungs by vaporizer. The effect of inhaling CBD is nearly instantaneous but, for one reason or another, many users prefer not to smoke or inhale.

Easy to Use and Discreet

Even as the acceptance and legalization of cannabis spread across the nation and the stigma associated with it disappears, many people are still shy around cannabis use. Another benefit of tinctures is that they are discrete and easy to ingest, so you can take your CBD without drawing attention to yourself. Tinctures are fairly odorless, and only a few seconds are needed to administer a dropperful.

Most experts recommend taking a tincture by putting drops under your tongue and letting the oil sit there for 30-90 seconds, to allow it time to absorb before swallowing or taking a drink.

Responsible Dosing

The dosing of CBD is far from standardized. The formulations and potency of tinctures will vary from brand to brand, with bottles containing anywhere from 100 to 2,000 mg of CBD. The strength and character of the CBD also varies between extractions from cannabis and from hemp. So it’s important to follow the directions on the bottle and ask the manufacturer or your doctor if you have questions about the dosage.

"Everyone’s body chemistry is unique, and CBD reacts with the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) differently in each person."

Regardless, it’s also prudent to follow the age-old rule of starting small and building up to a dose that is right for you and relieves your symptoms. Many first-time users will begin with a single drop of CBD oil on day one, and then add drops on subsequent days. Or, because the effects of tinctures can be felt quickly, you might take a single drop, wait half an hour or so, and take another drop or drops if you want more relief.

Everyone’s body chemistry is unique, and CBD reacts with the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) differently in each person. Some users will require a full dropperful or more to achieve the desired effect. CBD that is free of THC will have a mild onset that will not negatively affect your physical or mental functioning, reaction time, or sensory awareness. Many users describe feeling more relaxed after taking CBD, while others note an energy boost. A typical dosage recommendation looks like this:

•  General health: 2.5-15 mg.
•  Chronic pain: 2.5-20 mg.
•  Sleep disorders: 40-160 mg.

Potential Side Effects

Potential unwanted side effects of taking CBD are generally mild, especially when compared to pharmaceutical alternatives. They include dry mouth, drowsiness, lightheadedness or dizziness (usually from a drop in blood pressure, which can be reversed by drinking a cup of tea or coffee). Researchers are also looking into whether, in high doses, CBD could inhibit liver enzymes that metabolize drugs, in the same way that eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can.

Since CBD will interact with your body in an individualized way, you might consider keeping a journal of your doses and reactions, especially if you experiment with different brands, potencies, and delivery methods.

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