A Basic Guide To Using CBD Tinctures

Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products seem to be for sale everywhere. Not only are they available in dispensaries and online, but you can also find them in smoke shops, grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and beauty and apparel retailers. There are still no government regulations in place with an official CBD serving size. This leaves many consumers confused about how to find a reliable, safe and beneficial CBD product for their needs. One of the most popular delivery methods is in tincture form. In this article I will define a CBD tincture, describe how to use it, explain its benefits and dosing recommendations and list other considerations for choosing and using a CBD tincture to maximize its benefits.

What is a CBD Tincture?

The definition of a tincture is a concentrated extract produced by soaking plant material in a solvent or in food-grade oils for several weeks. It is typically stored in a glass bottle with a dropper. There are different types of CBD tinctures; full-spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate.


Contains CBD, terpenes and very small amounts of the full range of plant cannabinoids including THC at levels below or at 0.3%


Contains CBD, terpenes and very small amounts of the entire cannabinoid spectrum minus THC


All other cannabinoids and terpenes are removed, leaving a white crystalline powder of pure CBD

For all you history buffs, the first cannabis tinctures used in medicine were recorded in an 1843 medical journal which included a tincture recipe. Shortly afterwards, CBD tinctures were produced and sold by pharmacies and medical companies.

How To Use A CBD Tincture

The recommended method for ingesting CBD is sublingually. It is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the capillaries located in the cheeks, gums and under the tongue. Shake the bottle to make sure that the CBD is fully mixed with the liquid. Measure the dosage using the dropper and make a note of it. This is especially important for those new to using CBD tinctures as you may need to use the trial and error method to find the best dosage.

In order to aid in better bioavailability, the extent to which the drug is absorbed, the tincture should be rubbed into the tissue in your mouth and held under your tongue for as long as three minutes. The remainder is swallowed which is then processed by the digestive system. Be aware that with tinctures, there is a double onset. The first, where CBD is absorbed through the mouth, takes 15-45 minutes to take effect. The second, for the swallowed CBD, takes between 60-90 minutes for the effects to kick in. The effects last for 2-4 hours. If you feel you need more CBD, take an additional dose. Wait 60-90 minutes and re-evaluate.

FYI: CBD is fat soluble. By consuming it with a high-fat snack or meal, the presence of the fat increases CBD’s bioavailability by 4-5 times.

The Benefits of Using A CBD Tincture

Easy To Dose

Using the measurements on the dropper allows you to know exactly how much you are taking and to make adjustments if necessary

High Bioavailability

The higher the bioavailability, the more the cannabinoids in the tincture are absorbed and utilized by the body systems. This translates into the delivery of the desired effects using a lower dose than other methods. This reduces possible adverse side effects and cuts costs.

Safer Delivery Method

Ingesting a tincture is safer than smoking or vaping. It is easy to use with no clean up required. You can purchase it or easily make it yourself. Add it to food and beverages in easily measured amounts.

Little Possibility of Overdosing

Studies where up to 1200 mg/day of CBD were administered found that there were no adverse side effects even when used over the course of many months.

Dosing Recommendations

The conventional wisdom when dosing, especially for those with little or no experience using cannabis, is to start with a small dose and increase it slowly. Project CBD suggests starting out with 2.5mg to 5mg while other sources did not even recommend a starting dose amount. Microdosing, in which several small doses are taken throughout the day, rather than one big dose, is also highly recommended. Use the same dose and concentration for several days. Make a note of the effects and then adjust the dose or the concentration if necessary.

Other Considerations When Taking A CBD Tincture

Decide what objective you want to accomplish by taking CBD; is it for pain relief, for sleep, for anxiety and depression or for general wellness? This will help you narrow down the best product and dosage for your individual needs. Keeping a daily log is very helpful.

Your weight, body chemistry, and genetics all affect how CBD works on your system. Dosing should also depend on the condition you are treating as this is a factor in deciding how much to take. Another consideration is knowing what the concentration of CBD is in the product you are using.

Make sure to drink extra water, and keep in mind that CBD is most effective when used consistently, as it builds up in the body over time.

As CBD often causes drowsiness, for new users it is best to use it before bedtime or when you have time to relax, at least until you know how your body responds to it.

CBD may interact with prescription medications by changing how they are metabolized. It is especially important to discuss your CBD use with your physician if you are taking a medication that restricts you from eating grapefruit such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood thinners and immunosuppressants.

Since there are no regulations for labeling CBD products, there is no standard information required on the label, leading to confusion. Research each product prior to purchasing it.


weedmaps.com, How To Use CBD Tincture

projectcbd.org, CBD Dosing, Martin A. Lee, April 1, 2019

thehealthy.com, Here’s What You should Know About CBD Tinctures, Amanda Gardner, March 4, 2021

standarddose.com, Our Advice For Tincture Use