CBD oil vs. CBD tincture — what's the difference and which is right for you?

CBD oil vs. CBD tincture — what's the difference and which is right for you?


Ever wondered about the difference between CBD oil and CBD tincture? Both are extracts of cannabidiol, but they use different processes for extraction and result in two distinct products — each with its own strengths.

So, What Exactly Is An Extract?

The extraction process isolates one or more desired plant constituents and draws them out of the plant material. In the case of CBD oil and tincture, an extract allows for quick and consistent dosage.


There are ways to extract CBD from hemp at home, but to ensure quality and potency, commercial operations usually use one of two methods: CO2 extraction or alcohol extraction.

CBD Oil — CO2 Extraction

CO2 extraction, or supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, is the more common of the two methods. The hemp goes into a pressurized chamber called a closed-loop extractor. The chamber is then filled with carbon dioxide gas, which is compressed until it becomes a liquid. At a certain temperature and pressure, carbon dioxide becomes a solvent, so when this liquid comes into contact with the hemp, it extracts chemical constituents including cannabinoids. When the pressure is decreased, the CO2 reverts to gas and the chemical compounds remain. To separate individual constituents like CBD, the solution must be distilled after extraction.

CBD Tincture — Alcohol Extraction

A tincture, by definition, uses alcohol to extract chemical constituents. Still, there are variations made with vegetable glycerin for people who wish to avoid alcohol. To extract CBD, the hemp plant is steeped in alcohol. Then the plant material is removed, leaving the alcohol-based extract, which may be further processed to isolate the CBD.

Alcohol extraction is less selective than CO2 extraction, so the tinctures can be very bitter. They're often flavored to increase palatability.

In the end, CBD oil an tincture are probably more alike than different. They share the same benefits, with people reporting that they take them to relieve pain, inflammation, and anxiety without affecting cognition or perception.


Which is Right for You?

These different extraction methods result in two similar but distinct products. Both can be taken sublingually.


CBD Oil:

  • Generally higher potency, but may be less bioavailable
  • Can use it orally or topically
  • Shorter shelf life, relative to tinctures

CBD Tincture:

  • Generally lower potency, but may be more bioavailable due to quick absorption into the bloodstream
  • Recommended for oral use (not optimal for topical use)
  • Longer shelf life, due to alcohol’s stability as a preservative

In the end, CBD oil an tincture are probably more alike than different. They share the same benefits, with people reporting that they take them to relieve pain, inflammation, and anxiety without affecting cognition or perception. With a little knowledge of the basic differences, most people can probably decide which is a better fit for their individual needs and preferences.