CBD Oil vs. CBD Tincture: What's the Difference?

CBD Oil vs. CBD Tincture: What's the Difference?

What's the difference between CBD oil and CBD tinctures? Dive in to our latest blog and find out the truth behind this common question.

This is a question that appears often when searching for a CBD oil tincture. The two terms frequently get confused for one another – and there are several instances when companies use each term interchangeably. It’s not hard to see why many consumers mistake the two, as they have striking similarities.

Both CBD oils and CBD tinctures have nearly the same packaging and uses. Each stores its contents in tinted glass bottles, which helps to keep out sunlight and retain freshness. And both make use of the sublingual method – meaning that consumers ingest it orally by placing drops into their mouths.

Still, “what’s the difference between CBD oil vs. a tincture?” is a common question. Even with their comparable appearances and uses, they also have different features that set them apart. And it mainly boils down to the composition and ingredients used in the final product. In this blog, we break down the differences of CBD oil vs. CBD tinctures, including the ingredients in each, the benefits, how to take them, and what to look for when buying CBD oil.

CBD Oil vs. Tincture: What is CBD?

First things first, what is CBD? CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid derived from both marijuana cannabis and industrial hemp – the latter having less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Either way, CBD itself is non-psychoactive, so it doesn’t create any euphoric effects like THC.

CBD has become wildly popular because of its many uses related to maintaining health and wellness. And recently, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growth and manufacturing of industrial hemp – allowing hemp-based products, such as CBD oil, to be more readily available.

What is CBD Oil?

In the debate of CBD oil vs. tincture, CBD oil is typically defined as a CBD isolate pulled from Cannabis sativa through CO2 extraction and diffused into a carrier oil for better human consumption. These carrier oils are usually natural such as MCT oil, a coconut-based oil, and hemp seed oil.

CBD oil might be the most popular CBD product because of its easy application and effectiveness.

CBD Oil 300 MG Tincture


What is a CBD Tincture?

Now that you’ve learned about CBD oil, what is CBD tincture? When distinguishing a CBD tincture vs. oil, there are a few factors to determine. By definition, a tincture is an alcohol-based or alcohol and water-type solution. In the CBD industry, the process of creating a CBD tincture involves saturating hemp material into high-proof alcohol and heating it slowly for some amount of time.

This creation method allows the CBD molecules to infuse with the alcohol, which then is boiled from the solution, leaving a liquid that can deliver CBD compounds through the body. In the consumer CBD market, many manufacturers will substitute the alcohol with a carrier oil and add other ingredients, including natural flavorings, for better taste.

CBD tinctures also use CBD isolates extracted from the flower, stalk, and leaves of Cannabis sativa – similar to regular CBD oil – but through the use of alcohol instead of CO2 extraction. Other tinctures may also use vinegar or glycerin as a stripping agent instead of alcohol. Still, the most significant difference is that a tincture will use a liquid solvent to grab CBD isolates while commercial CBD oil utilizes carbon dioxide.

The benefits of using CO2 extraction over a stripping solvent include:

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Quality concentration
  • Sustainability
  • Bioavailability

Overall health and wellness is another substantial component in choosing a safer extraction method such as CO2 – many consumers may have a sensitivity to alcohol or alcohol-based products.

What Are the Main Ingredients of CBD Oil vs. Tinctures?

CBD oil consists of only two primary ingredients:

  • CBD isolates
  • Carrier oil

When CBD gets extracted from hemp material and dried out, it isn’t in liquid form. It looks more like salt, and in this form, it wouldn’t be absorbed or appropriately metabolized by the human body.

CBD oil manufacturers can fix this by infusing the CBD isolate into a carrier oil. As a fat-soluble molecule rather than water-soluble, CBD is similar to the lipids inside of essential oils. And as such, the isolated form of CBD dissolves and binds effortlessly to the oil molecules.

When it comes to carrier oils, there are several options to choose from:

  • MCT Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Olive Oil

The carrier of choice is MCT oil, which is a high-quality, coconut-based essential oil; however, hemp seed oil and olive oil can work as carriers as well. But MCT, also referred to as medium-chain triglycerides, has a scientific profile that supports max efficiency of absorption and digestion – making it the better choice for human consumption.

Just like CBD oils, commercial CBD tinctures also make use of a CBD isolate and carrier oil. But unlike CBD oil vs tincture, tinctures will contain a few more ingredients: flavorings, terpenes, other cannabinoids, essential nutrients, or a combination of all that combine to create an all-new proprietary blend.

How Are CBD Oils and CBD Tinctures Taken?

How to Take CBD Oil

CBD oil is most useful when taken sublingually – by placing a few drops or a full dropper underneath the tongue and holding it there for 30 seconds before swallowing. Beneath our tongues lie many capillaries that lead directly to the bloodstream.

The molecules from CBD oil become absorbed through the capillaries and into the blood without having to be metabolized or broken down. This method allows CBD to get into the body faster than other applications because the properties do not have to work their way through various bodily systems – it goes straight to the bloodstream.

Pure CBD oil can also function as a safe and supportive topical that consumers can apply on their skin; however, the CBD molecules will not be able to get into the bloodstream from skin absorption.

Experts suggest that consumers take one or two servings per day – typically in the morning or at night. There is no predetermined amount of CBD that is appropriate for everyone in general; your physical condition and purpose for using CBD will play a role in your decision on how much to take.

It is also best to speak with your primary care physician before incorporating CBD into your daily routine; your doctor may help to figure out how much CBD is right for you.

How to Take a CBD Tincture

Since we’ve established what is CBD tincture, how do you use one? Using a CBD tincture is not much different than using a bottle of CBD oil; it’s also taken sublingually with a couple of drops placed under the tongue and held there for about 30 seconds before swallowing.

But a CBD tincture isn’t the most preferred choice of topical applications – primarily because of the additional elements that make tinctures what they are precisely. With tinctures, you can also place a few drops into your drink or food – you could even use it for cooking.

Similar to CBD oil, one or two servings per day is the best suggestion as well. And there’s also no general amount to take that is designed to work for everyone. It’s best to start with small amounts and gradually increase until you discover how much is needed for you.

You should also consult with your doctor about starting or incorporating CBD into your daily activities; a professional health provider could assist with the right dosage for you.

Beaker in Lab

CBD Oil vs. CBD Tincture: Is There Really a Difference?

The two main differences for CBD oil vs CBD tincture consist of the alcohol-based solution used for CBD tinctures and the additional ingredients that tinctures will always have. These differences become incredibly murky because nearly all commercially labeled CBD tinctures don’t use alcohol in the production process.

And so, by definition, that would make those alcohol-free tinctures into regular CBD oils. But, the extra ingredients added to the CBD-filled solution makes it a tincture once more. Not to mention, most commercially labeled CBD oils can have different flavorings as well.

Which Is Better Between CBD Oils and Tinctures?

In this case, “better” would vary from person to person because both are similar in what they do. Someone may choose one over the other because of the flavor, but the benefits and properties are still the same.

It may also depend on your purpose for using CBD. You may enjoy using CBD oil both orally and as a topical, while another person is satisfied entirely with sublingual uses; it doesn’t change the value of CBD for each person.

And as the CBD industry continues to grow, there may come a change in how we generally characterized CBD products. But until then, you should research as much you can and make the purchase that best fits you.

What Products Are Not CBD Oils or Tinctures?

CBD oil vs. CBD tincture isn’t the only debate when it comes to CBD application. As the industry has continued to grow at a rapid pace, so have the options for adding CBD to your daily wellness routine. Take a look at some of the most popular CBD oil products:

1. CBD capsules

The same great formula as CBD oils, but in an easy-to-use capsule form. Simply take your daily CBD serving with a glass of water, and experience the same great wholesome benefits of a CBD tincture. CBD capsules are different from tinctures; each has its own advantages if you choose between CBD capsules vs tinctures.

Unlike tinctures, there’s no need to measure the amount of CBD oil to use. By picking CBD pills vs oil, you have a predetermined quantity of CBD in every capsule, and you’ll get the same amount with each serving.

CBD capsules are ingestible – meaning the CBD has to go through your digestive tract and become metabolized before it enters the bloodstream. When deciding between CBD tinctures vs capsules, you may find tinctures work faster because the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the capillaries under the tongue.

But again, capsules are a lot quicker and easier to use – no measuring. And depending on your personal needs, selecting CBD capsules vs oil offers a more streamlined method of getting CBD into your system.

2. CBD gummies

Yep, you read that right. Infused CBD gummies are quickly becoming the go-to option for people looking for daily CBD support. Easy to eat, with concentrated CBD levels in each gummy, CBD gummies make it simple and easy to enjoy both the benefits and taste of your favorite everyday wellness addition.

Like capsules, CBD gummies are also ingestible. And even though they may taste a great deal better than tincture oil, they will require much more time to work if you elect to use CBD gummies vs oil.

Tinctures also have the same advantage over gummies as they do with capsules – deciding to use CBD oil vs gummies will allow the CBD to enter directly into your bloodstream without having to pass through your metabolism and become broken down or weakened.

3. CBD topicals

The perfect alternative for those seeking topical support for specific areas of discomfort. CBD topical cream, CBD ointments, and even CBD moisturizing lotion are all unique ways to add CBD to your topical regimen. Not to mention the powerful pain-fighting properties of menthol, combined with the proven properties of ingredients like arnica and vitamin B6 – all these plus the added boost of superior broad spectrum CBD.

4. CBD transdermals

One of the newest ways to apply CBD. Simply place a patch (almost) anywhere on your body, and the transdermal application will help release the many properties of CBD.

5. CBD sleep aids

Did you know that according to the CDC, nearly 100 million Americans fail to get the sleep they need on a regular basis. CBD sleep aids with melatonin present a unique option for those struggling, with a full profile of snooze-solution ingredients like chamomile, valerian root extract, lemon balm, and much more. CBD melatonin is one of the newest ways people are experiencing a more restful night’s sleep, helping to complement everyday health and wellness.

CBD PM 500 MG Tincture


What to Look for When Buying CBD Oil

As mentioned above, doing your own research and educating yourself is your greatest tool in determining what to look for when buying CBD oil. When deciding between purchasing CBD oil vs. a CBD tincture, what should you look for in telling the two apart is the use of alcohol.

If alcohol becomes introduced at any point in the manufacturing process, then it’s a traditional tincture regardless of label. To better determine if alcohol is used during the process, check a company’s third-party lab results, also known as a Certificate of Authenticity (CoA). A reputable brand will show these results on their website, or you may have to reach out to customer service.

Checking with the manufacturer and making an educated choice is your best option when deciding what type of CBD oil to buy.

A Review of CBD Oil vs. CBD Tinctures

CBD oil or tincture are two terms often used interchangeably – causing much confusion with consumers because of their common characteristics. Despite their similarities, the two also have distinct features that separate them.

CBD oil is produced when CBD isolates – pulled from industrial hemp using CO2 extraction – are infused with a carrier oil, such as MCT oil. CBD tinctures, by definition, use alcohol as an extraction solvent to pull CBD isolates from raw hemp material.

And while CBD oils typically contain a carrier oil infused with CBD compounds, CBD tinctures would usually contain additional ingredients for better consumption, such as natural flavors. Tinctures may also utilize other solvents to strip CBD from hemp, but CBD oils consistently use CO2 for its isolates.

CBD oil uses two essential ingredients – CBD isolates and carrier oils. But many retail CBD oils may also contain natural flavorings and even other plant terpenes and cannabinoids, which would make them tinctures in some instances.

Conversely, a traditional CBD tincture will contain CBD isolates inside of an alcohol-based solution and several other ingredients. But most retail CBD tinctures are alcohol-free – using CO2 as the extraction method and identifying as CBD oil. The main difference would be the use of alcohol during the extraction period.

Both of them are best taken sublingually by placing a few drops or a dropper full underneath the tongue. However, pure CBD oil – without any additional ingredients – can also serve as a topical application, even though the CBD compounds won’t reach the bloodstream through skin absorption. And both are useful for maintaining wellness.

Think CBD oil tinctures are right for you? Find out more about superior CBD oil today, and discover how everyday wellness is just a drop away.


Disclaimer: The cbdMD blog contains general information about health, diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. Any information provided should not be considered or treated as medical advice and always consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle changes. Products and information mentioned on the cbdMD blog are not intended to be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice or treatment. Any links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience only and cbdMD is not responsible for their content.