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May 12, 2023

CBD Tincture Vs CBD Oil

Estimated Read Time: 12 min

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By Valerie Orta on May 12, 2023

CBD tincture and CBD oil are two popular options for enjoying CBD and its benefits. While similar, there are a few key differences that set them apart.

Ah, CBD tinctures and CBD oil – the age-old debate. Comparing the two can be confusing. They're both liquid CBD products and come in similar packaging, but a closer look reveals their contents are quite different.

Key takeaways:

  • For all practical purposes, you can consider CBD tinctures and CBD oil the same. The terms are often used interchangeably.
  • However, technically they're two different liquid CBD products. The difference lies in how they're made.

CBD tinctures and CBD oil effectively get CBD and hemp's other beneficial compounds into your system. But here's the kicker: the components of each product are different. That means picking the right one depends on understanding those differences and choosing the one that fits your needs.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the choices out there, don't worry. This guide will help you cut through the confusion and decide which liquid CBD product is right for you.

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It's one of the nearly 100 compounds found in the cannabis plant belonging to a chemical family known as cannabinoids. These chemicals have potential benefits and work with the cannabinoid receptors in the body to produce these pharmacological benefits. However, not all cannabinoids are the same.

Although the medical benefits of CBD are unclear and the research is still ongoing, one thing is clear, CBD doesn't produce the intoxicating effects that other cannabinoids like THC produce.

Although most of the studies on CBD are on animals, they are proving some of the benefits of CBD, further fanning the popularity of the cannabinoid.

What Does CBD Do?

CBD: the three letters on everyone's lips. But what does it stand for? Cannabidiol! And it's one of nearly 100 compounds in the cannabis plant known as cannabinoids.

These unique compounds have potential benefits because they can interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) to support the regulation of many bodily functions, including sleep, mood, memory, and appetite.

Although research on CBD's benefits is ongoing, we know CBD interacts with the ECS to produce different effects. One theory is that it prevents the breakdown of molecules known as endocannabinoids (which are cannabinoids produced in your body).

It's also possible that CBD interacts with other receptors in your body to control the production of hormones and regulate various body functions. So, yeah, CBD has the potential to make a powerfully positive impact on your health.

What are CBD Tinctures?

Now that you know something about CBD, you can start looking into the different CBD products you can use. First up: CBD tinctures.

CBD tinctures are commonly confused with CBD oils. The terms are regularly used interchangeably. Even here at Koi, we call our CBD oil products CBD tinctures. In reality, besides both being liquid CBD products that come in a bottle with a dropper, that's where the similarities end.

Technically, tinctures are unique to oils because they are alcohol-based CBD products. High-proof alcohol is used as a solvent to extract the natural compounds from hemp, and that same solvent is used in the final product.

But why use alcohol, you ask? This method helps preserve the valuable cannabinoids in the hemp extract and prevents oxidation. The downside? The remaining solvent can give tinctures a bitter flavor. As a result, tinctures are often mixed with additives like sweeteners, vegetable glycerin, or flavorings to make them more palatable.

The ideal way to take a CBD tincture is to place your serving of liquid under the tongue and hold it there for 30 to 60 seconds. The active compounds will absorb through the mouth, bypassing your body's digestive system for faster effects. But, of course, you can also directly swallow it.

CBD tinctures are not as popular as oils, primarily because of their bitter taste. Plus, many products described as tinctures are oils, making things even more confusing. If you're keen on trying a CBD tincture, make sure you specifically ask for an alcohol-based one.

How are CBD Tinctures Made?

Curious to know how those little droppers of liquid CBD tincture gold are made? Well, let's break it down.

The extraction process is the first step. It involves soaking hemp flowers in high-proof alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin, to extract CBD.

Once the hemp extract is soaked in the alcohol, it undergoes refinement processes to remove most of the alcohol. This purification process helps create a more concentrated form of CBD, so tinctures are often considered one of the most potent CBD products.

We know what you're thinking: "But what about the taste?" You're right; CBD tinctures can have a distinctly bitter flavor. But many brands add sweeteners and flavors like peppermint or berry to make it more enjoyable. Just check the label if you're not a fan of artificial ingredients. Some brands prefer keeping their products as natural as possible.

Ingredients in CBD Tinctures

The ingredients in CBD tinctures vary by brand but can include the following:

  • Hemp CBD extract
  • Distilled alcohol
  • Carrier oil
  • Herbs
  • Water
  • Sweeteners and flavorings
  • Essential oils
  • Chlorophyll
  • Essential vitamins

Pros of CBD Tinctures

  • Easy-to-measure servings
  • They can be mixed with beverages and food
  • Provide rapid onset of effects when taken sublingually (under the tongue)

Cons of CBD Tinctures

  • CBD tinctures often have a bitter flavor
  • They are not as readily available as CBD oils
  • They require you to measure out servings

What are CBD Oils?

CBD oils are a liquid product that combines CBD extract with a carrier oil and flavors or sweeteners.

The carrier oils used in CBD oils are often jojoba, olive, coconut, or MCT oil. These healthy fats help more of the CBD and other cannabinoids reach your body's systems to make the CBD extract as effective as possible. They deliver the plant's CBD and many other cannabinoids in a highly absorbable liquid.

CBD oils are usually made from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant, which are then put through a superior extraction process using CO2. This makes CBD oils the most potent and often expensive CBD product out there - like the VIP section of the CBD club.

Like tinctures, CBD oils often have other beneficial elements like proteins, fatty acids, and minerals that promote health.

You take CBD oils the same way you take tinctures. Hold your serving under the tongue for roughly a minute for quick absorption, or swallow the liquid directly.

How are CBD oils Made?

The process of making CBD oils all starts with selecting the best hemp plants to extract CBD. The plants must be high-quality and grown carefully to ensure the final product is top-notch.

Here's where CBD oils differ from tinctures. When it comes to extraction, the most common process used for CBD oils is CO2 extraction. This method is considered the gold standard because it doesn't leave any solvents needing filtering or additional processing.

Once the extract is purified, the CBD is mixed with other ingredients like carrier oil and flavoring to create a tasteful experience. Finally, the CBD oil is tested, packaged, and ready for consumption.

Ingredients in CBD Oil

In most cases, CBD oil's ingredients are limited to:

  • Hemp CBD extract
  • Carrier oils
  • Sweeteners and flavorings

Pros of CBD Oils

  • Easy-to-measure servings
  • Usually flavored for a great taste
  • Multiple options, potencies, and flavors are available
  • Contains minimal ingredients
  • It can be mixed with food and beverages

Cons of CBD Oils

  • Some CBD oils have a strong flavor
  • CBD oils are more costly than other forms of CBD
  • They require you to measure out servings

Differences Between CBD Tinctures and CBD Oils

CBD oils and tinctures may seem like two peas in a pod for a good reason. They are. They have more similarities than differences, but how they differ may make one align better with your CBD routine than the other.

Let's break down the differences between CBD oils and tinctures so you can pick the CBD product that will be your new go-to. Some of the differences include:


Both CBD oil and tinctures have a naturally grass-like hemp flavor. But tinctures are said to pack a stronger punch. Because CBD oils are diluted in carrier oils, they are milder than tinctures.

CBD oils can still have a pungent earthy taste, but this depends on the brand you buy and the additional ingredients it has. Both forms of CBD often come flavored or sweetened, but the bitter flavor in tinctures might still linger.

If you don't like bitterness and want something easy to swallow, CBD oils might be the way to go.


CBD oils have an oil base, usually a carrier oil like coconut oil, hemp seed oil, or MCT oil. CBD tinctures have alcohol as their base. The CBD is generally suspended in 60-70% distilled alcohol to make the tincture.

Consistency and texture

CBD tinctures are thinner and runnier than CBD oils, which are thicker and greasier because of the MCT oil. In this case, none is better than the other. It's all about preference. If you're averse to thicker textures, tinctures might be more your speed. But if you like something substantial, CBD oils might be your jam.

Rate or absorption and onset time

How fast CBD's effects kick in is an essential factor to consider, mainly if you rely on CBD for wellness. Both products are speedy when they're taken under the tongue. But CBD oils take the slight lead when swallowing the liquids because of their carrier liquid.

MCT oil stabilizes the CBD and helps prevent it from being broken down during digestion, which allows for more efficient and effective absorption of CBD. If time is of the essence and you want something whose effects will kick in faster, CBD oils may be best.


CBD oils have a shelf-life of about 18 months, while tinctures can last up to 5 years. Tinctures have a longer shelf life because the high-grade alcohol acts as a preservative, keeping things fresh and tasty.

Of course, this assumes the products are stored correctly with their lids on and kept in a cool and dry location away from direct sunlight or heat. Without proper storage, the effectiveness of CBD can diminish significantly quicker.

The strength, potency, and flavor decline if the CBD oil or tincture is past its sell-by date. You likely won't experience adverse side effects, but CBD will be less effective. So it's better to buy a new bottle to be on the safe side.

CBD Tinctures Vs. Oil – Which is Better?

CBD oils and tinctures are like siblings - they have the same parents (CBD), but each has unique personalities and characteristics. So, which one should you choose? There's no wrong answer. It's really up to you and your preference.

You might choose an alcohol-based tincture if you're allergic to the carrier oil used in the CBD oil. In the same breadth, someone looking to avoid alcohol may prefer CBD oil.

Factors to Consider When Buying CBD Oils or Tinctures

Whether you choose CBD oil or tinctures, it's more important to ensure you get quality products that deliver the expected results and effects. With low-quality products, it won't matter the type of product you choose. Here are the most critical factors you should consider when buying CBD oils or tinctures to ensure you get the best quality.

Hemp source

It is essential to know the sources of hemp plants used to source the CBD in the oils and tinctures. The hemp has to be of good quality to produce quality CBD. Go for transparent manufacturers about the sources of the hemp plants they use. US-grown hemp plants are preferable because the farms are highly advanced, use organic growing methods, and have fertile soils.

Third-party testing

The hemp market is not regulated by any government agency. Instead, responsible manufacturers work with ISO-certified third-party labs that test their products for various components, including the THC concentration in each product.

Third-party lab testing is crucial because it looks out for your interests and well-being. But unfortunately, not all brands get their products tested.

Once the products are tested, the lab provides a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for all the products.

The COA should list the following:

  • Potency – It should highlight the amount of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids in the product you purchase. These should match what is listed on the label. The batches can vary, so each batch's concentration might differ. However, the difference shouldn't be more than 10-20 percent.
  • Cannabinoid profile – Many CBD tinctures and oils feature full-spectrum CBD which contains small amounts of THC. The COA should list all the cannabinoids in the tincture or oil, including CBG, CBN, terpenes, the type of CBD used, and the concentration of delta-9 THC.
  • Contaminants – The contaminants tested will vary by brand. But on a minimum, heavy metals, pesticides, and molds should be checked. See if the COA lists the product as having these contaminants before purchasing.
  • The date – Ensure you're looking at COAs that are not more than one year old. Some brands even provide COAs for every batch of products, so you can easily find COAs that are only a couple of weeks or months old.
  • Customer reviews – Finally, check if you can find customer reviews on the products you want to purchase. These CBD reviews give you a good idea of what to expect and the experience other consumers have with the same product. When sourcing for customer reviews, check third-party review websites to be sure.

Time to Pick Your CBD Liquid

Ultimately, choosing between CBD tinctures and CBD oils is a matter of personal preference and what works best for your wellness goals. So try both, and see which one you like best. Who knows, you might end up liking them both equally.

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