How to make a CBD tincture: the effects, benefits and steps

Recent studies have found that cannabidiol (CBD), the most prominent cannabinoids found in cannabis, has a variety of therapeutic uses

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Recent studies have found that cannabidiol (CBD), the most prominent cannabinoid, has a variety of therapeutic uses. 

What is CBD tincture? 

CBD tinctures contain a high concentration of liquid cannabis that is used to treat an array of symptoms. This concentrated marijuana extract is consumed orally by placing a few small drops on top or under the tongue or by adding drops to food and drinks.

Since tinctures are absorbed under the tongue (or sublingually), it travels through the bloodstream faster. For maximum absorption, let the cannabinoids tincture drops sit under the tongue from 30 seconds to one minute – then swallow. 

The arterial artery beneath the tongue absorbs the cannabinoids instantly and flows into the bloodstream. This way of ingestion takes less time then digestion through edibles. 

Since the extracts are from the whole cannabis plant, other terpenes and cannabinoids might exist in a CBD tincture. Tinctures have a higher level of CBD than THC. However, CBD products also contain THC ratios, too. 

Benefits of CBD tinctures 

There’s a misconception that CBD is a “miracle medicine” due to claims that it treats various conditions with minimal side effects. 

For instance, cancer patients suffring from ongoing debilitating pain that took opioid prescriptions did not find THC-dominant extract effective. 

However, a full cannabis plant extract containing both CBD and THC performed better when two of the elements were present. The main difference was due to the CBD – and its related components – present in the latter plant. 

On the other hand, recent studies claim that THC is more important than CBD in reaping the medical results. This debate between THC and CBD benefits is still being tested. However, CBD might be able to offer relief and treat the following related symptoms: 

  • Acne 
  • Addiction 
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anxiety
  • Breast & prostate cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Neuropathic pain 
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Seizure disorders
  • Sleep disorders 
  • Viral hepatitis 

Based on Dr. Ethan Russo’s findings, taking a product that contains the natural chemical composition from the marijuana plant strengthens its medical effects. Russo suggests the link between terpenoids and cannabinoids can maximize its efficiency compared with any singular component. This combination is dubbed the “entourage effect.” 

The “entourage effect” indicates that no one CBD or THC molecule works. But extracting the whole plant offers desirable benefits. 

When CBD operates on its own it acts in two ways. In one way, small doses of CBD decrease pain until its maximum capacity. That’s called the ceiling effect. Regardless of how much CBD drops you take, it reaches its highest point and doesn’t work any further in reducing pain.

On the other hand, when CBD is combined with THC, the full capacity from the marijuana extract rules out the biphasic phase. Instead, creates a singular dose-response curve getting rid of the ceiling effect. 

Possible side effects of CBD tinctures

A research study conducted in 2017 found that CBD’s short-term side effects are moderate.

Subjects who participated in the study reported:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Changed in weight
  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness 

There have not been many studies that have explored the long-term effects of CBD consumption. 

Possible risks

With cannabis companies cashing in on the CBD craze, there are debates whether the labels on CBD products are accurate. A study conducted in 2017 by JAMA Network claimed 70 per cent of CBD products had inconsistencies on labels. While exclusive CBD-only companies claimed to only sell CBD products some, in fact, contained percentages of THC. 

Inaccurate labels can result in patients consuming not enough or excessive amounts of CBD relative to their treatment schedule. Another risk is the practice of using solvents to extract cannabinoids for making concentrates used in producing non-cannabis products such as tinctures and edibles. Extracting the wrong amount of CBD, could cause respiratory or cardiovascular issues and inflict accidental cases of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome due to the THC content. Too much THC overpowering CBD content could create impairment. 

The effects of THC in tinctures

It’s impossible not to consider THC findings when it comes to CBD studies. A 2018 study in Israel found marijuana strains similar to potent CBD cannabis compounds didn’t generate the same outcomes when it came to producing anticonvulsant effect and regulating seizures. 

So, what is the bottom line when it comes to the focus on cannabidiol (CBD) and phytocannabinoids (-)-Δ9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC)? Refrain from relying on any single treatment no matter what the public says. The best approach is to use the whole plant extract in different applications. A cannabis plant contains more than 100 phytocannabinoids and 545 metabolic constituents. 

Moreover, the endocannabinoid system is actively being studied for identifying receptors. These receptors make identifying specific compounds with specific effects a challenge for clinicians. 

How to make a CBD oil tincture 

The best way to control the CBD content is in a tincture is to make your own. Here’s how to make CBD tincture from an isolate:

Materials needed 

  1. 2 oz of pure grain 190 proof alcohol (this is not over the counter rubbing alcohol) 
  2. ⅛ oz of a high CBD strain such as Charlotte’s Web
  3. 1 mason jar
  4. 2 regular sized coffee filters
  5. An eye dropper that can measure 

How to make a CBD tincture 

  1. Grind marijuana flower and decarboxylate
  2. Put the grounded cannabis in the mason jar and add the alcohol. Cover the mason jar tightly with a lid and let it sit for three weeks. 
  3. Shake the mason jar once a day for three weeks. 
  4. After three weeks, use the coffee filter to filter out the plant matter from the liquid. 
  5. Ideally, try 1 ml of the tincture on your tongue or add 1 ml to drinks or food sparingly. Remember to start slowly! 

For instructions on how to make a CBD tincture without alcohol, follow the steps above but replace the alcohol with food-safe vegetable glycerin. 

Research on the efficacy of CBD tinctures 

Since CBD is new to the medical scene, there isn’t sufficient comparison research on the effectiveness of marijuana consumption solutions. 

But based on recent studies on CBD tinctures, it can be an effective method of cannabinoid consumption. However, there are related risks that will be examined. 

Based on a 2017 study in the Israel Medical Association Journal, CBD-based marijuana oil ingested sublingually increased the general social and physical functioning and minimized pain in the body of girls with dysautonomic syndrome after receiving the HPV vaccine. 

The second study in 2019 in the Journal of Palliative Medicine conducted on cancer patients who visited a New York dispensary claimed these patients preferred sublingual tinctures. 

Based on these two studies, it’s unrealistic to draw factual conclusions. These studies only tested a small pool of participants. More subjects from a diverse background in the marijuana user population are needed to find precise results. 

Secondly, these studies did not compare the symptom relief from CBD tinctures to other cannabis-infused products. 

In 2019 observational conducted by Professor Sarah Stith et.al, published in Scientific Reports, analyzed different weed items including edibles, tinctures, grounded flower and topicals. Stith gathered data from RelleafApp to determine the patient-reported efficacy from the marijuana products consumed that provided relief. 

The study concluded: 

  • Cannabis flower offered more relief on symptoms over other products. 
  • THC with higher potency provided more relief and patients reported positive and negative side effects. 
  • THC levels with higher potency provided stronger effects and higher levels in CBD products didn’t have any profound benefits. 
  • Different CBD levels in plants were not related to differences in improving symptoms. 

Stith concluded the limitations of the study skewed results due to patient self-reporting and lack of non-cannabis users in control groups.

Due to federal restrictions of cannabis, it is improbable scientists will be able to gather accurate data around what products cannabis consumers are using. 

The efficacy of CBD tinctures as a treatment is hard to gauge thanks to skewed and limited evidence. Before ingesting CBD products, consult with a medical marijuana practitioner or research up-to-date medical marijuana research.

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