Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most sought-after compounds from the cannabis plant because of its potential therapeutic value. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is not intoxicating and does not make you high. It is considered legal and comes in various product forms. What are they, and how are they made?
CBD tincture is one of the most popular forms of the compound. A tincture is a concentrated extraction of an herb, such as cannabis. In this case, the main ingredient is CBD. It is stored in a dropper bottle to make it easy to administer.
Although it takes a lot of time to make it on your own, the process is relatively simple. CBD tinctures are made by soaking hemp (Cannabis Sativa plant containing less than 0.3% THC) in high-proof grain alcohol. Some people use glycerine or vinegar, but alcohol produces better quality tinctures.
CBD tinctures are potent because they contain high levels of CBD but should contain only trace amounts of THC. Having less than 0.3% THC makes CBD legal based on the 2018 Farm Bill. CBD-rich hemp flowers and all hemp-derived CBD products should follow this rule.
Based on preliminary studies on CBD, the compound seems to offer favorable health benefits. Many users take it as a pain and inflammation treatment. While the science is still not yet conclusive, many first-hand experiences show positive results. Therefore, before you start using nonprescription CBD products, you may want to consult your healthcare professional for advice.
What are CBD Tinctures?
The technical definition of a CBD tincture is an alcohol-based cannabis extract high on CBD. A solvent, such as high-proof grain alcohol, is used to dissolve the natural compounds from hemp and separate it from the plant material. Tinctures often contain around 60-70% alcohol, which gives them a long shelf life of three to five years. However, they have a bitter taste due to the high concentration of alcohol.
Many manufacturers mask the bitter taste of alcohol with flavorings, sweeteners, or vegetable glycerin. Some manufacturers add other ingredients, such as herbal extracts, melatonin, and vitamins, to enhance the product’s potential health benefits.
Today, not all tinctures are made with alcohol. Potent CBD oils placed in dropper bottles are often labeled as CBD tinctures. They are not technically tinctures by definition but are CBD infusions nonetheless. Hence, the purpose of CBD tincture has been expanded to include CBD oil infusions packaged in tincture bottles.
A CBD oil tincture is an extract infused in a carrier oil, usually MCT oil. MCT oil is the most common because it is relatively affordable and less likely to go rancid. However, olive oil, hemp seed oil, and avocado oil are also used.
CBD oil or tincture can be taken sublingually or under the tongue. Taking cannabis tincture under the tongue, like smoking cannabis, can deliver the potent compounds quickly into the bloodstream. However, you can apply CBD tincture topically or infuse it to food and drinks.
How CBD Tinctures Are Made
CBD tinctures are made from high-quality industrial hemp, a cannabis strain that contains less than 0.3% THC. There are two common ways to make commercial CBD tinctures: the ethanol extraction method and the CO2 extraction method.
Ethanol Extraction Method
The solvent extraction method uses a solvent, such as alcohol, vinegar, or glycerine. Using high-proof grain alcohol or ethanol produces better quality extract, though. Keep in mind that isopropyl alcohol should never be used for extraction because it is not fit for consumption.
The hemp flowers are soaked in grain alcohol. The solvent dissolves the potent compounds in the flowers and allows them to be separated from the plant matter. As soon as the plant matter is removed, what is left are the natural plant compounds infused in alcohol.
When all the natural compounds in the extraction are left intact, including THC, the resulting product is called a full-spectrum CBD tincture. However, it becomes a broad-spectrum CBD tincture when the extract is processed further to remove the THC content.
CO2 Extraction Method
The supercritical carbon dioxide extraction method, or simply the CO2 extraction method, uses carbon dioxide in a supercritical state to separate CBD from the hemp plant matter. The CO2 extraction method produces a purified CBD isolate, which can then be infused in a carrier oil, such as MCT oil.
CBD isolate contains very high CBD content, which is around 99%. Hence, all the terpenes and other cannabinoids have been separated from it. This highly purified CBD isolate can then be infused in MCT oil to create a CBD oil tincture.
Quality commercial CBD tinctures and many CBD oil products use CO2 extraction because the method produces clean and potent CBD isolate. As long as this highly concentrated CBD extraction comes in a dropper bottle, it is often labeled a CBD tincture instead of a CBD oil.
How to Make a DIY CBD Tincture
It is not easy to picture how cannabis product manufacturers made CBD products. However, you can learn to make your tinctures at home. Tinctures are some of the best cannabinoid delivery systems because they work fast through sublingual administration. If you do not want to smoke cannabis, consider taking tinctures instead.
The 2018 Farm bill made hemp and CBD legal on a federal level, which means you can buy hemp flowers from local or online dispensaries. Thus, you can make CBD tincture at home without doing anything illegal. However, it would be best if you were careful to buy cannabis flowers that contain less than 0.3% THC unless you live in a state where marijuana is legal.
If you have not made tinctures from hemp before, you need to realize an initial step called decarboxylation. It is a process of heating the hemp flowers at a low temperature to activate the inactive acid called CBDa to a bioavailable active form of CBD. It is the same process used to activate THCa to the potent psychoactive THC in marijuana flowers.
Here are the materials you will need:
- A quarter ounce of your favorite hemp strain
- High-proof alcohol (e.g., Everclear)
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Mason jar
- 1-ounce tincture bottle
The instructions are as follows:
First, you need to decarboxylate or “decarb” the hemp flowers to make the CBD active. To do this:
- Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grind the hemp flowers loosely with a coffee grinder as the oven is heating.
- Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the ground hemp flowers on top.
Bake the hemp flowers for at least 40 minutes to 60 minutes. The green flowers should turn slightly brown afterward. Get the pan out of the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes.
Put the decarbed flowers into the mason jar. It should fill at least a half or two-thirds of the jar. Fill the entire jar with high-proof alcohol. Close the lid, shake it and place it in a cool dark place. Let the mixture sit there for three to four weeks to allow the alcohol to dissolve the potent cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material. You may need to shake the jar a few times a week to keep the flowers submerged in the alcohol solution.
After three to four weeks, pour the contents of the jar through the cheesecloth and strainer into a bowl to separate the plant material from the CBD tincture.
Fill the 1-ounce dropper bottle with tincture and use as necessary. You can store the rest of the tincture in a cool dark place. Be sure to label your tincture correctly before storage. As long as you use high-proof alcohol, the tincture can last for three to five years.
What to Consider When Purchasing CBD Tinctures
Making your tinctures is time-consuming. Hence, it is easier to buy it instead. Remember that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate CBD tinctures and other CBD oil products. The best way to ensure that you are getting quality products is to buy them from a reputable CBD manufacturer.
The first thing you need to find from a reputable manufacturer is the product’s current certificate of analysis (COA). A third-party lab provides the COA, and it provides information about the product’s potency and pertinent data regarding its safety. Remember that each batch of products should have its certificate of analysis.
The COA should provide the cannabinoid profile of the product. The cannabinoid profile should give you a percentage of CBD present in the current batch of the products. If you buy broad-spectrum CBD tinctures, the COA should not list any THC, but it may show CBG, CBN, and some terpenes. If you buy CBD isolate products, the COA should show that it contains only pure CBD.
Safety tests ensure that the product is fit for consumption. The COA should show data regarding contaminants, such as pesticides, molds, heavy metals, etc. The information should not be older than a year.
The quality of the products we sell matters. At CannaClear, we ensure that our products are tested for potency and safety. Hence, they undergo third-party testing before we offer them to our customers.
CBD tinctures are CBD infused in alcohol. However, some tinctures are infused with carrier oil. These are made using either ethanol or CO2 extraction. The process is simple but time-consuming. If you are interested in buying quality products, check out our selection of tinctures or shop from CBD topicals.