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The Complete Field Guide to Buying CBD Tinctures Like a Pro

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With more and more US states decriminalizing cannabis use and the federal government loosening enforcement of some other such laws, there has been an explosion of interest in alternative ways to use the versatile hemp plant. Today, the recreational use of cannabis has been eclipsed by its use in treating chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, and PTSD, to name only a few.

Many of these new users are not interested in the hallucinogenic side effects or are unwilling or unable to smoke the product to obtain the results. Thankfully, there are new alternatives.

CBD and THC: The Active Elements of Cannabis

The cannabis plant contains several cannabinoids.  A fascinating group of chemicals, cannabinoids have not been studied extensively because cannabis is still ranked as a Schedule I drug (i.e., it has no known medical uses). Since hemp was removed from the Controlled Substances Act in 2018, related research and commercial sales have increased rapidly. 

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the best-known cannabinoid. It is responsible for giving you the “high.” Over the last 20 years or more, THC has been used to relieve glaucoma, nausea associated with chemotherapy and AIDS, and other disorders. However, the drawbacks associated with THC use are mainly the mood-altering effects — like euphoria, dizziness, loss of concentration, drowsiness, and memory problems. The FDA-approved pill form of THC, Marinol (dronabinol),  is used to treat nausea.

CBD, or cannabidiol, produces effects similar to THC but without the mood-altering or hallucinatory side effects. CBD binds to neuroreceptors in the brain, alleviating pain without causing other THC-like effects. The FDA-approved CBD medication, Epidiolex, is used for treating childhood epilepsy.

Hemp contains other cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBN, but research on these compounds is ongoing. The FDA has also acknowledged that three hemp food products, namely hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed protein, and hemp seed oil, meet the Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS, standard and can be marketed without further federal approval.

It’s thanks to this narrow recognition that cannabis-containing oils, tinctures, and edibles now exist.

CBD Tincture: How It’s Made and Why

A CBD tincture is made by extracting CBD in a liquid, such as alcohol, vinegar, or even water. Here, finely ground pieces of hemp leaves and stems are placed in a solvent, typically alcohol, for a period of time, decided on the basis of the desired strength of the extract. Thereafter, the residue is strained out. This tincture is diluted or mixed with a carrier oil and taken sublingually (i.e., under the tongue).

For CBD oil, the CBD extract is mixed directly with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil, without adding any alcohol. This makes the liquid thicker, and more suitable for cooking or even vaping.

Reasons to Use CBD Tincture

People may dislike smoking, or they may be unable to smoke for other health reasons. Cannabis is still illegal enough that some may not want to risk the undeniable odor of pot smoke wafting through their halls. 

Although edibles are a good option, they are high in calories and they may not be a good choice for those with medical conditions. For instance, people with nausea from chemotherapy may be unable to swallow food or pills.

Tinctures are taken in measured drops under the tongue and held in the mouth for a short time (around 15 minutes). Although its effects are not felt as quickly as smoking or vaping, they are felt much faster than with edibles. There are few or no side effects, but occasional nausea or drowsiness may be seen.

Tinctures are useful for professionals, athletes, and others on the go because the dosage is small — not more than a few drops — and it has no odor or aftertaste. They can be used at any time, without the need to share and perhaps explain what they are (like with edibles) or having to deal with the smell of smoke or restrictions imposed by vaping.

Buying CBD Tincture Online and Off

Tinctures are widely available on the Internet, of course. It’s recommended that the user carefully check the reviews of products in reputable cannabis-related journals before purchasing any CBD product. In general, word of mouth may be a better source for knowing which sellers have good-quality products.

Comparison shopping is the key. You can look for the milligrams of extract per dosage, recommended dosage per kilogram of your body weight, and suggested dose for the desired effect. A 1000 mg of CBD per dose is the standard, but some sellers have tinctures with 500 mg of CBD per dose. Because hemp is a plant, the absolute potency of any extract can be guaranteed.

Read the label of CBD tinctures before buying them as they may contain other cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN or even THC, but within the legal amounts.  These components do not negate the benefits of CBD but could generate unwarranted mood-altering effects or positive drug test results at work.

A reputable producer should also provide, or at least be able to provide, a Certificate of Analysis (COA) of the product. Checking the COA for any product you put in your body is essential. A COA indicates if the product was tested by a third-party lab and if the product passed tests for pesticides, mold, heavy metals, and microbes.

When hemp was removed from the Controlled Substances Act in December 2018, FDA issued a statement providing guidance for sellers regarding what percentage of CBD and THC is legal for sale and provided a link to the FDA’s webpage, where updates to the law are listed. Here, the FDA has specifically banned the publication of any health claims for CBD. If you see a website or ad where CBD is claimed to “cure or treat” specific diseases, do not purchase anything from that source.

Before You Take the Leap

Some final things to consider. If you have any medical conditions, are taking any other medications, or have any psychiatric concerns, you should consult with your doctor before you start taking CBD in any form. CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, so their interactions with other drugs are not fully known yet.

Any plant-derived substance can have variations in strength and potency, and CBD has the potential for so-called “biphasic” effects — where it can have different effects at different dosages or potencies.

‌CBD tinctures can be a great benefit in getting through the day, especially when sitting back and relaxing isn’t an option. Check out CBD Direct Club for our full line of CBD tinctures and other products and for more information on the benefits of CBD and hemp products.

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