• Consumers commonly use tinctures sublingually, infused into beverages, and mixed as an ingredient in edibles.
  • Tinctures come in different strengths and cannabinoid ratios. CBD tinctures may provide health benefits without making users high. However, THC tinctures with significant amounts of THC may induce psychoactive effects. 
  • Most tinctures manufactured using alcohol solvents help preserve plant compounds, keeping them fresh and effective for years when stored correctly in a cool, dark place.

Different Ways to Use Tinctures 

There are various methods to consume tinctures, including: 

1. Sublingually

Cannabis tinctures and CBD tinctures administered sublingually using a medicine dropper create desired effects. The proper way to use a CBD tincture is to keep the tincture under the tongue for two minutes. 

Swallowing the tincture outirght may prove to be ineffective. For effective sublingual use of tinctures, an individual may squirt the tincture under the tongue first. The mucus membranes located under the tongue assist in diffusing the medication into the bloodstream.

An individual may keep the extract under the tongue for 60 to 180 seconds. Afterward, the user may swish the liquid around the mouth before swallowing. 

The onset of tincture is 15 to 30 minutes(1)

The sublingual consumption method of cannabis products like tinctures may be one of the fastest. After smoking, the quick action time of tincture makes tincture a valuable treatment for treating anxiety or pain(2)

2. Infused Into a Beverage

An individual may add CBD tinctures to beverages, a common method of consuming cannabidiol. Mixing CBD tincture into drinks is a straightforward way to add cannabidiol into the routine of daily life. 

3. Mixed with Food or Meal

People commonly use tinctures as ingredients in food, such as brownies, salad, or ice cream. Cooking with tinctures allows for exact measurements of THC or CBD to be included in the meal’s ingredients. 

However, the cannabinoids pass through the digestive tract when eating a meal with CBD or THC tincture added. Therefore, the cannabinoid potency may not be as strong. 

4. Added to Other Edibles 

CBD edibles are food products that contain cannabis extracts like CBD oil. Edibles have also emerged as a popular facet for medicinal and recreational cannabis or marijuana(3)

There are many different formulations of cannabis extracts in edibles. Edibles include brownies, candies, chocolates, and beverages. Individuals may prepare edibles commercially or homemade.

Research shows that ingestion of cannabis differs from other methods of cannabis consumption(4). Drug effects from cannabis extracts may take longer to affect the bloodstream.

Thus, before the drug takes effect, individuals taking edibles may have consumed a greater amount of cannabis than intended.

5. Orally

CBD oil sprays may contain tinctures. A human study used cannabidiol orally administered as a treatment(5). 

How Not to Use Delta-8 THC Tinctures

An exploratory study on delta-8 THC revealed that individuals who took the compound experienced euphoria and relief from pain(6). 

However, some consumers experienced difficulties with short-term memory and an alert sense of time. Still, not much about recreational users’ experiences with delta-8 THC is known.

Although delta-8 THC may be used in tinctures, delta-8 THC should not be used with vape pens. 

The safety of vape pens remains undefined. Studies associate cannabis extract vape pens with the outbreak of severe and acute pulmonary disease(7). Results suggest that using delta-8 THC with vape pens may be fatal.

What Is a Tincture? 

Traditionally, tinctures are liquid herbal extracts made from the roots of plants, where the plant extracts usually have herbal medicinal properties. Extraction is the initial step to separate the natural products from the plant materials.

Meanwhile, cannabis extracts derive medicinal compounds, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, from the flower or “buds” of cannabis plants. Cannabis tinctures can contain CBD only (such as CBD isolate), a blend of THC and CBD, or THC alone (such as THC isolate).

Tinctures from cannabis plants, either hemp or marijuana, can be therapeutic. Studies show that cannabis may help soothe physical and mental disorders, including sleep problems, stress, anxiety, muscle spasticity, inflammation, and seizures(8).

Most cannabis tinctures manufactured using alcohol solvents help preserve plant compounds, keeping them fresh and effective for years when stored correctly in a cool, dark place. 

Alcohol is self-preservative, naturally polar, and may be mixed with water(9). Thus, the alcohol extraction process may preserve the medicinal properties and allow for more prolonged use of tinctures. 

The Difference Between CBD Tinctures and THC Tinctures

CBD tinctures are typically derived from hemp plants, not from marijuana. THC tinctures are mostly derived from marijuana. 

Hemp and marijuana plants belong to the same species of cannabis plants, Cannabis sativa(10)

Users of cannabis products, especially those using tinctures for the first time, should be familiar with the uses of medical cannabis (medical marijuana), the benefits of cannabis, and the side effects of cannabis tinctures

CBD Tinctures

Cannabinoid tinctures may also implement plant-based extracts as a solvent. In cannabis, there are two main cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)(11).

However, traditional CBD tinctures did not include cannabinoids, only ethanol. People did not understand cannabinoids until the 1960s(12). 

The method of CBD extraction is what makes CBD tinctures different from cannabis oil. 

CBD oil may be extracted from either of the two types of cannabis: hemp and marijuana(13). Like CBD oil, CBD tinctures are extracts derived from the cannabis plant. 

CBD products may have traces of THC, prevalent in marijuana (also called cannabis). Potent CBD tinctures may contain terpenes, natural plant compounds that may have medicinal properties(14).

CBD in CBD tinctures may help provide health benefits. This nonpsychoactive cannabinoid may help with specific disorders, including chronic pain, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders(15).

THC Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures derived from marijuana have a more significant amount of THC. Consumers usually refer to these tinctures as THC tinctures.

A study examined the cannabinoid profiles of tinctures. The phytocannabinoids included cannabidiol (CBD), Δ9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Δ9 tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN)(16)

The study showed that the use and storage of specific traditional cannabis tinctures are critical as the consistency of the psychoactive properties cannot be guaranteed.

Cannabinoids like THC in THC tinctures interact with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is critical to the functioning of the nervous system(17).

In the ECS, cannabinoids send chemical messages throughout the nervous system. This action influences sensory perception, concentration, thinking, and movement. 

THC’s chemical composition is comparable to anandamide, a brain chemical. 

Research shows that THC can disrupt various brain functions(18). THC tinctures may stimulate a high-dopamine feeling, whereas CBD tinctures do not. 

Tinctures With Both THC and CBD

Tinctures containing CBD and THC may be more effective than taking tinctures that contain only CBD or THC alone. Studies demonstrate that combining cannabinoids with terpenes enhances the stabilizing effects of CBD and THC(19).

Benefits of Tinctures: Why Use Tinctures?

There are several advantages to using tinctures, including:

1. Discreet Use

Individuals may discreetly use topical CBD tinctures. For example, they do not have a strong aroma, unlike cannabis vapes.

Tincture droppers may be hidden in pockets or bags to allow for easy administration in private. 

2. Precise Dosing

Tinctures include a measured dropper that comes inside the bottle. CBD and THC tinctures come in ratios, making it possible to get precise dosing

3. Quicker Effects

Sublinguals like tinctures, sprays, and oils have an onset time of 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, edibles take 30 to 90 minutes to take effect after ingestion(20)

The components in tinctures are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth. When the tinctures enter the bloodstream, fast-acting effects occur throughout the human body.

4. Low-Calorie Composition

Edibles may be high in calories. However, tinctures are an alternative low-calorie way to experience the effects of CBD or THC

Since tinctures are derived from cannabis plants, tinctures are usually low-calorie extracts. On the other hand, edibles such as CBD-infused food and beverages may contain high-calorie ingredients like flour and sugar.

5. Longer Shelf Life 

Most tinctures contain alcohol, which helps preserve the plant compounds. In addition, tinctures contain a concentrated amount of alcohol, making a bottle last for an extended period. 

6. Convenience 

A few drops of tincture may be mixed in drinkable liquids or placed under the tongue. It is a convenient way to experience pain relief.

Tinctures are safer and more sanitary compared to vapes and various smoking devices. Dropper bottles do not come in contact with salivary glands, so tinctures are not prone to contamination.

How to Make Tinctures

Individuals may make simple tinctures at home or buy them from a dispensary. Tinctures consist of alcohol, water, herbal plant extracts, and other medicinal extracts. 

Tinctures can take weeks to months to thoroughly saturate the extracts and should be kept in a cool dark place

CBD tinctures made by combining herbal CBD or various flowers may contain traces of cannabidiol. CBD tinctures may be an efficient way to consume cannabidiols and contribute to body wellness.

The solvent alcohol is purified while heating the CBD herbs along with the alcohol. This action allows the herbs to infuse with CBD, resulting in a liquid form. 

For adequate shelf life, tinctures need at least 20% alcohol content(21)

An individual may make cannabis tinctures in different ways. Cannabis may be mixed with alcohol in a jar to allow the cannabinoids to absorb the alcohol. 

Another way to make THC tinctures is to heat the cannabis in the alcohol over a flame. 

Choosing the Right Tincture

The right CBD tinctures depend on an individual’s preference and goals in cannabis consumption. 

Understanding the label on a CBD tincture is essential. The right tinctures should not claim to be miracle cures. 

A study conducted found that people prefer THC and CBD products with higher potency and higher concentration(22).  

Another study found that aroma, visual appeal, product recommendations, and packaging influence purchasing decisions(23)

Dosing and Consuming Cannabis Tinctures

Studies have shown that anxiety levels of cannabidiol users may improve after a single dose of oral CBD(24)

Tincture Ratios

Tinctures may have different ratios of cannabinoids

The ratio of CBD to THC is important to determine the effects of CBD and how it may counteract the negative effects of THC(25). 

Most CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC. However, ratios of CBD and THC may vary(26).

Ratios of CBD: THC may range from > 20:1 to 1:10(27). Products with a ratio higher than the CBD: THC ratio of 10:1 do not elicit a high. This dose may be safe for people who want the beneficial effects of CBD without the undesirable effects of THC

Different types of pain may be managed by changing the CBD to THC ratio to 20:1. However, CBD products with the ratio of CBD: THC > 10:1 may be most beneficial for treating various forms of anxiety(28).

Meanwhile, the use of THC alone may cause increased anxiety and insomnia. Adjusting the CBD: THC ratio may make it possible to block undesirable effects yet maximize the sedating effects(29).

What Amount of Tincture Makes an Individual High?

THC tinctures may cause a euphoric feeling due to their high THC content. In addition, products with concentrated marijuana and high concentration of THC may cause addiction(30). Generally, the stronger a drug is, the higher the possibility of addiction. 

THC products may have a THC concentration upwards of 95%(31). However, no research indicates that this THC level is beneficial. 

While CBD and THC tinctures may appear safe for the human body, discussing possible tincture treatments with a doctor is wise. 

  1. Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoidshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425767
  2. How to Safely Use CBD: Should You Inhale, Spray, Apply, or Eat It? https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/how-to-use-cbd-inhale-spray-apply-eat/
  3. Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260817/
  4. Ibid.
  5. A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6275223/
  6. Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC’s Nicer Younger Sibling? https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-021-00115-8
  7. Ibid.
  8. Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425767/
  9. Preparation of Medicinal Plants: Basic Extraction and Fractionation Procedures for Experimental Purposes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7398001/
  10. Defining Hemp: A Fact Sheet https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R44742.pdf
  11. Supercritical extraction strategies using CO2 and ethanol to obtain cannabinoid compounds from Cannabis hybrid flowers https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2212982018304220#
  12. Quality Control of Traditional Cannabis Tinctures: Pattern, Markers, and Stability https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064247/
  13. Answers to the Top Questions About Cannabis Extract https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/answers-to-the-top-questions-about-cannabis-extract
  14. Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7120914/
  15. Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425767/
  16. Quality Control of Traditional Cannabis Tinctures: Pattern, Markers, and Stability https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064247/
  17. Cannabis (Marijuana) Research Report How does marijuana produce its effects? https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/how-does-marijuana-produce-its-effects
  18. Ibid.
  19. The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled With Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/
  20. Page 191 of Healing With CBD https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  21. Investigation of the long-term stability of various tinctures belonging to the lamiaceae family by HPLC and spectrophotometry method https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11696-021-01755-z
  22. Characteristics that influence purchase choice for cannabis products: a systematic review https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-022-00117-0
  23. Ibid.
  24. Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7092763/
  25. Does Cannabidiol Protect Against Adverse Psychological Effects of THC? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3797438/
  26. CBD:THC ratio explained https://www.cannasouth.co.nz/2021/cbdthc-ratio/
  27. Ibid.
  28. Ibid.
  29. Ibid.
  30. The Problem with the Current High Potency THC Marijuana from the Perspective of an Addiction Psychiatrist https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6312155/
  31. Ibid.
CBD Clinicals is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more