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CBD tinctures VS oils: Is there a difference?


CBD may potentially offer several health benefits, such as relief from pain, acne, seizures and anxiety, without creating a ‘high’. Consumers, who are still green to the cannabis industry, might accept that CBD oils and tinctures are the same thing; however, they are two very different products.

Check this out to find out more about the differences between THC and CBD. Even though both originate from the hemp plant, there are several differences between them – from processing to pricing. The main difference is that the one is oil-based, and the other is alcohol-based.


The Extraction Process
CBD oils mainly consist of 2 ingredients, namely CBD and a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), such as coconut oil. Sometimes, other compounds, such as terpenes (the natural compounds of the hemp plant), are also extracted by a high-pressured method called supercritical CO², which means the CO² is simultaneously like a gas and a liquid. This helps to preserve the quality and bioavailability of the plant.

After the desired compounds are extracted, they are mixed with the MCT, and certain essential oils may be added to improve the flavor. The general rule of thumb is that the fewer ingredients it has, the better the quality of the oil will be.

CBD tinctures are alcohol-based extracts, with a high-proof alcohol also being used as solvent to extract the necessary compounds of the hemp plants. This means that the hemp is soaked in the alcohol (for example, sugarcane ethanol), after which all plant material is removed through an evaporation process. It is a challenging process, as ethanol tends to ‘split’ and mix with water. This causes the plants’ chlorophyll to dissolve and producing a bitter taste.

This chemical process is usually performed at atmospheric pressure, and the temperature is meticulously controlled – especially during the evaporation stage. It is quite a time-consuming process, with the risk of being highly combustible, but it removes all toxic chemicals from the extract and allows for the co-extraction of terpenes. The end-result is a liquid comprising 60-70% alcohol, with a relatively long shelf-life of 3-5 years.
Learn more about the different extraction methods used for cannabis here:


The Taste
Since CBD oils usually have a bitter taste, they are sold in the form of capsules or as vaping oil for smokers. This makes it easier to ingest. However, users who have sensitive stomachs may find the oil tough to digest. Higher quality oils tend to have a better, more natural taste and will not need as many sweeteners or additives to make it palatable.

CBD tinctures also have an unpleasant taste, due to its high alcohol content; hence sweeteners, vegetable glycerin, vitamins, melatonin or herbal extracts are added to enhance the flavor. This is important, as tinctures are usually ingested by administering a few drops under the tongue. The specific additives may also target additional ailments.


Methods Of Ingestion
CBD oils can be taken orally by swallowing a capsule, which may take 1-2 hours to fully digest and take effect on the entire body. Some oils can also be added to food, sweets or drinks for easier ingestion, or applied directly onto the skin for targeted relief. Oils usually result in a more relaxed state and improved sleeping patterns.

CBD tinctures are usually taken sublingually – which means ‘under the tongue’ – where it is immediately absorbed by the mucus membranes, bypasses the digestive system and takes effect within 15 minutes. Users, who don’t like the taste of the alcohol, simply add it to their food or mix it in with their drinks. The result is usually an almost immediate relief from pain and anxiety.

It is important to note that it is impossible to note that, regardless of the specific product or the way in which users ingest it, it is virtually impossible to overdose on CBD.

The Cost
Since the equipment cost for CO² extraction is much higher than alcohol extraction methods, the oil is much more expensive than the tincture. Another reason is also because the oil is much more concentrated than the alcohol-based tinctures. However, tinctures have a longer shelf-life (around 3-5 years) and won’t turn cloudy like oils.

Since the legalization of CBD products, you can find it at most pharmacies and health shops, but prices vary significantly. As it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like other drugs or health supplements, it is important to ensure that you buy products from a reputable manufacturer and supplier, such as Cheef Botanicals.


Labels should provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA), listing the potency or amount of CBD, cannabinoid profile, contaminants (heavy metals or pesticides) and the expiry date. Generally, the best products are manufactured from organic, USA-grown hemp, and will also be more expensive.

It is evident that CBD tinctures and oils refer to different hemp products, go through different extraction and manufacturing processes and contain different ingredients. Even though both CBD tinctures and oils are legally and freely available, it is vital that users should do their own research about the purposes of the different brands and products. It might not necessarily be the right supplement for a specific condition and may even have some side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea or fatigue.

A medical practitioner might advise you on which product will supplement your current medication, and which one will negatively interact with them. Being aware of its differences, users may just find their perfect product out there!


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