Out of every method of administration, CBD Tincture still stands as one of the best. Here’s why.
There’s a myriad of cannabis products out there, from oils to edibles, and even topicals. CBD has had a special spotlight as a non-intoxicating option and patients can access CBD through gummies, beverages, cigarettes, and even coffee,. In fact, there are so many options, it’s tough to keep up with the growing market! Still, CBD tinctures remain the classic choice and there’s good reason for this. But which is best? And what are the benefits of CBD tincture?
Cannabis tinctures are extracts made with cannabinoids suspended in alcohol. Alcohol extracts these active compounds in cannabis, resulting in a concentrated form of medicine. Patients then consume tinctures orally, either directly under the tongue or added to food.
The process of creating a tincture doesn’t involve heat, so the cannabis needs to first be decarboxylated. Decarboxylation transforms cannabinoids into their most potent form. THC, for example, starts as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa) and CBD is converted through heat from cannabidiolic acid (CBDa).
Benefits of CBD Tincture in Many Forms
Isolate Tinctures: A Pure Concentrate
Most cannabis tinctures simply extract all the active compounds from the cannabis plant. Isolate tinctures, on the other hand, offer a more pure form.
Standard cannabis tinctures contain varying ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes depending on the source plant. Isolate tinctures only contain one active ingredient, such as CBD.
Isolate tinctures might be preferable for patients who are wanting to experience the unique benefits of CBD tincture without other effects. This may be prescribed to children with anxiety, for example.
While tinctures can be made from hemp, these may still have trace levels of THC. Those wanting to avoid THC for work-related drug tests or personal reasons will often stick to the benefits of CBD tincture made from CBD isolate.
Tinctures are incredibly versatile. For instance, alcohol isn’t the only extraction method available. While alcohol solvents are the standard, thanks to effective extraction, there are non-alcoholic options for children or for people who need to abstain.
These tinctures use glycerine, for example, in place of alcohol, to extract cannabis’ active compounds. What’s more, glycerine is a weaker solvent than alcohol, so it may result in a less potent tincture. Tinctures made with glycerine also have a shorter shelf life than alcohol. This is because the alcohol acts as a preservative. Alcohol tincture typically last five years, while glycerine tinctures will expire after two to three years.
Consumers can use CBD (or THC) isolate or flower to make the alcohol-free version.
THC vs CBD Tinctures
One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make regarding tinctures is the THC and CBD concentrations. Both have therapeutic properties, so why wouldn’t you choose both? In fact, many studies indicate that whole plant medicine is superior over isolate due to the Entourage Effect.
THC does have intoxicating properties and may, therefore, be inappropriate for some people to consume. Those whose workplaces perform regular THC tests, for example, may want to stick with the benefits of CBD tincture.
So what results can you expect from different cannabinoid tinctures?
THC Tinctures for Pain and Depression
Scientists continually demonstrate THC’s ability to modulate serotonin release, a neurotransmitter key to maintaining healthy cognition, memory, reward, and learning functions. Basically, THC activates the CB1 receptor and this closes calcium channels, blocking inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters at their synapses. The result is an increase in serotonin. This is similar to the way that Prozac or Celexa work.
THC has also shown efficacy as a pain reliever and anti-nausea medication.
Benefits of CBD Tincture for Insomnia and Depression
Research shows that CBD is a promising sleep inducer, demonstrating an ability to treat REM disorders and preventing excessive daytime sleepiness.
Another main drawcard to CBD is its antidepressant-like qualities. A study published in 2010 in the British Journal of Pharmacology concluded that CBD induces an antidepressant-like effect similar to that of traditional antidepressants.
One potential way that CBD might affect mood and cognitive health is by increasing serotonin levels. CBD can activate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor and initiate serotonin production.
CBD also appears to induce plastic changes, optimizing the brain’s ability to change and create a healthier neural environment. Moreover, researchers believe CBD reduces the decrease of hippocampal neural cell production and reduces the density decrease of the synaptic input-receiving dendrite spines induced by chronic stress. This, in turn, creates a healthier neural environment.
Another reason people might turn to CBD tinctures is its potential as an anti-inflammatory. CBD enhances the expression of ⍺ GlyR receptors, according to one study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine in 2012. Activation of this glycine receptor mediates inflammation through glycinergic cannabinoid-induced suppression.
So Which Tincture is Best For You?
It really all comes down to preferences and need. Epilepsy treatment with cannabinoids, for example, is thought to be more successful with a CBD and THC combination, although the research on ratios is not yet complete. Some patients respond well to CBD alone.
When it comes down to it, research is the most important thing. Speak to your physician, your budtender, and poke around tincture companies to see if the benefits of CBD tincture alone outweigh those of THC. The beauty of cannabis medicine is its unique effects in each individual. Embrace it.