If you’re someone who’s been thinking of trying CBD for yourself, all of the industry jargon can be a bit bewildering. CBD has taken off as a wellness trend in recent years, and while most people have heard of it, not many know all the ins and outs.

What is CBD tincture vs. CBD oil? Is one better to use than another, or safer to use? In this article, we’ll take a look at CBD and how it’s used in both of these mixtures. We’ll also discuss the difference and whether there’s a superior way to take CBD.

The Lowdown on CBD

CBD is cannabidiol, an extract of the hemp or cannabis plant. It is one of over a hundred plant compounds called cannabinoids. Others include the well-known THC, CBN, and CBG. Of these cannabinoids, only THC creates a psychoactive effect. CBD cannot get you high.

However, it does share some excellent potential health benefits. Studies are still being conducted to determine the efficacy, but preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence are strong. Some of these benefits include the following:

  • Neuroprotective properties (this is well-documented, with a CBD-based, FDA-approved anti-seizure already on the market.)
  • Anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects.
  • Mood regulation
  • Promoting healthy sleep
  • Heart protective properties
  • Improving skin with acne

CBD taken internally works by interacting with CB1 receptors in the central nervous system. The anti-inflammatory effects work to bring the body into a place of homeostasis (balance) across a variety of systems.

Important to Note:

CBD can be purchased in either isolate form, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum. Full-spectrum offers the best variety of beneficial plant compounds including other cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, and trace amounts of THC (less than 0.03% by law). They also contain a range of terpenes and fatty acids.

However, if taken in large amounts full-spectrum CBD can trip a false positive for THC on a drug test. If you are someone who must take regular drug tests for employment, it would be best to choose a broad-spectrum or isolate tincture or oil.

What’s in a CBD Tincture?

A CBD tincture is different from a CBD oil in that it is extracted with alcohol, and also diluted in an alcohol base. Often additives are used to mask the bitter taste. These include things like flavoring, sweeteners, or even vegetable glycerine. A CBD tincture will contain on average around 60 to 70% alcohol.

What’s in CBD Oil?

CBD oil is when the cannabidiol is mixed with a carrier oil like MCT or hemp seed oil. The extracts are often CO2 or ethanol extracted before being mixed with the chosen carrier oil. Some flavored brands will also add natural sweeteners and other essential oils to mask the earthy taste of the hemp extract.

Which CBD Carrier is Right for Me?

Both CBD tincture and CBD oil can be effective, so it really comes down to a matter of preference. Here are some of the pros and cons of each.

CBD tincture


  • Has a longer shelf life (a matter of 3-5 years, vs around a year)
  • Can be easier to digest than oil for some people.


  • Has more additives due to bitter flavor
  • May not be good for those who are avoiding alcohol, or don’t tolerate it well.



  • Generally has fewer additives (typically only mixed with a carrier oil and natural flavors like stevia and essential oils).
  • Can be used topically (although formulations designed for topical use are more effective).


  • Doesn’t have a long shelf life.
  • Unflavored has a bit of an earthy taste profile.

Sourcing Counts

The most important thing to take into account before starting a CBD regimen is the source. It doesn’t matter too much whether you take a tincture or oil, but where you purchase your CBD from DOES matter.

The FDA doesn’t monitor the sale of CBD. This means that the marketplace is flooded with a wide variety of sub-par products. These tinctures or oils don’t have the amount of CBD advertised, or they may not have CBD in their formulations at all. There’s always also the risk that they are adulterated with goodness knows what.

If you decide to give CBD a try, follow these guidelines:

  • Only buy from a known name in the industry. You can find these in third-party health or wellness publications or may be recommended by a trusted health professional.
  • Make sure that the company you decide to buy from offers COAs (certificates of analysis) from independent third-party labs. These should be prominently displayed on the website, preferably right on the product page. Third-party lab tests are the only way to ensure both potency and purity. A transparent and legitimate company will always offer them.
  • Buy from a company that offers a money-back guarantee. Not only does this assure that you are happy with your tincture or oil, but it also demonstrates that the brand really stands behind its product’s efficacy.

How to Take a CBD Oil or Tincture

A CBD oil or tincture can be taken directly – most come with a graduated dropper that pulls up the appropriate dose. Most often it’s taken sublingually (under the tongue). Squirt the dose under the tongue, wait 30 seconds to one minute and then swallow.

You can also take your tincture in a hot or cold drink, or mix it into a smoothie. When using CBD oil you can even use it as a substitute oil in baked goods. Get creative!

Dosing can vary wildly from one person to the next. Everyone reacts to CBD differently. Start with a smaller dose (around 30 mg) and then dose up over time as needed. Depending on weight, metabolism, and condition, you may require up to 100 or more mg per day.

If you have a chronic illness or take medications, it’s best practice to talk to your doctor before starting a CBD regimen. It can react with certain medicines, and it’s always smart to keep your healthcare professional in the loop.

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