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CBD tinctures: What they are, and 6 top options

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Cannabidiol (CBD) comes in a wide variety of forms ranging from gummies and capsules to topical creams and balms. However, CBD oils, and now tinctures, are among the most versatile kinds.

CBD is one of over 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD has become a popular alternative treatment for numerous medical conditions, including epilepsy, chronic pain, and anxiety.

In this article, we explain what a CBD tincture is and how it differs from a CBD oil. We also cover six CBD tinctures available on the market today and discuss how consumers can choose a high quality CBD tincture.

Three CDB tinctures with green background.

Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.

The terms “CBD oil” and “CBD tincture” are often used interchangeably. While these products have similar appearances and uses, they are different products.

Both CBD oil and tincture are thick liquids that contain CBD, a naturally occurring compound derived from the Cannabis sativa plant.

Both products come in tinted glass bottles with droppers, so people can use CBD sublingually by dropping it under their tongues.

Traditionally, the main difference between CBD oil and tincture has been their composition. CBD oil contains a CBD suspended in a carrier oil, such as olive, coconut, or hempseed oil.

CBD tinctures, on the other hand, are typically glycerin- or alcohol-based solutions. To make them, manufacturers soak cannabis in high-proof alcohol, such as ethanol. Then, they either dilute or suspend the resulting CBD extract in a carrier oil.

That said, most companies within the CBD industry use the terms “CBD oil” and “CBD tincture” for products interchangeably.

CBD comes in a wide variety of forms, including tinctures. Learn more about them here, including some of the best options available for purchase.

I only use cannabis tinctures and these 5 CBD oils are my favorite

As a cannabis journalist, I’ve tried several tinctures (liquid cannabis extracts), but after being hospitalized last July for an esophagus-related health issue, I started using hemp and cannabis oils exclusively. To be clear: my hospitalization was in no way caused by consuming cannabis, but my recent health issues have required me to switch from inhaling cannabis to ingesting it.

Below are my five favorite hemp and cannabis CBD tinctures , along with their pros, cons, and what health issues and occasions I like to use them for. I’ve found that several of my picks can effectively help treat the same health issues, so the best CBD oil for you will probably boil down to personal preference.

Most of my recommendations are created by companies that are very transparent about having their products tested for safety and potency, and half of the picks below ship all over the United States as well. That said, my personal favorites are the Rosebud CBD oil and Uplift CBD oil by Humboldt Apothecary.

Rosebud CBD oil: 350mg

What I use it for: Reducing anxiety, managing stress, sleeping well, relieving pain, and increasing focus

Pros: Smells deliciously like weed, and the bottle cap design is fantastic—it’s one of the most leak-proof CBD oils in this list. This pick is rigorously tested for safety and potency, and Rosebud makes their test results available to the public. Each Rosebud CBD oil purchase comes with a handy dosing chart as well. Also, Rosebud ships anywhere in the United States.

Cons: The bottles are on the smaller side, but the company might be changing that soon.

While Rosebud CBD oil may be helpful for those treating pain, I’ve found it to be the most effective at reducing anxiety, managing stress, increasing focus, and promoting a good night’s sleep. This is my favorite CBD oil overall; it’s the tincture I reach for when I want to unwind but I also want to remain 100% sober, and it’s also what I take when I’m struggling to focus on an article. (I actually took a dose right before I started writing this piece, because my anxiety was stealing my focus.)

This is my favorite CBD oil overall; it’s the tincture I reach for when I want to unwind but I also want to remain 100% sober.

I love how quickly it reduces my anxiety, and I appreciate that it helps me decompress after a long day. As someone who misses being able to light up, I also thoroughly enjoy that this tincture smells more like weed than any other tincture I’ve used. The dosing chart that comes with every Rosebud CBD oil order ( and lives on the Rosebud website ) is super helpful as well. Plus, Rosebud is a woman-founded company.

Also good to know: this pick contains no additives, preservatives, or fillers, and it only has two ingredients: certified organic MCT (coconut) oil, and organically grown hemp extract. It’s also a full-spectrum hemp extract that’s been third-party lab tested for cannabinoid profile and potency, terpenes profile, bacteria and mold, pesticides and solvents, and heavy metals. Additionally, it’s vegan and gluten-free, containing less than 0.3% THC.

Humboldt Apothecary Uplift CBD oil

What I use it for: Managing pain and boosting mood

Pros: Eases my most severe pain (migraines, menstrual cramps, etc.) relatively quickly, and provides a noticeable mood boost without impairment. Plus, all Humboldt Apothecary products go through third-party lab testing .

Cons: The bottle cap design isn’t great—this oil will leak if you’re not careful. Also, this option is currently only available in California .

All of the tinctures featured in this list are likely to help relieve pain, but Humboldt Apothecary Uplift CBD is hands down the best option for managing pain and boosting mood. When I recently woke up with a migraine, one 0.5ml dose of this stuff took all of my pain away in about 60 to 90 minutes. This is also my go-to pain reliever when I’m suffering from menstrual cramps. Since it’s a 1:1, I also enjoy taking this tincture for fun on some nights and weekends, or when I’m feeling blue.

The only real cons to this tincture are it’s currently not available for purchase outside of California, and the bottle cap’s design could use some work. (If you’re not careful, this pick will definitely leak.) When I take it with me on the go, I always screw the cap on tightly and store the bottle in an upright position, but even that doesn’t guarantee a leak-free experience.

One full dropper of this pick (1ml) contains 4.2mg of CBD and 4.2mg of THC, but since I’m currently in a microdosing phase, I typically stick with 0.5ml doses.

Also good to know: this tincture is made with whole flower, and it’s sugar-free, gluten-free, alcohol-free, and vegan.

Populum full-spectrum hemp CBD oil: 500mg

What I use it for: Reducing anxiety, managing stress, sleeping well, relieving pain, and increasing focus

Pros: Works beautifully for easing anxiety and managing stress, and I’ve used it for pain management and sleep issues as well. It also smells and tastes delicious, and the bottle cap design is one of the most leak-proof on this list. Plus, Populum is packed with antioxidants and ships anywhere in the United States. Populum CBD oil is also third-party lab tested for quality, and the company makes their lab reports available to the public.

Cons: Might not be ideal for people who don’t like added flavoring.

I’ve taken a full dropper (17mg) of Populum before attending festivals, and it significantly helped mitigate the anxiety and overstimulation I typically experience in large crowds.

Although Populum’s CBD oil has absolutely helped me manage pain, I like it best for managing anxiety and stress. I also like to take it for fun on weekends, or anytime when social anxiety might become a problem. On two separate occasions, I’ve taken a full dropper (17mg) before attending my favorite local festivals, and it significantly helped mitigate the anxiety and overstimulation I typically experience in large crowds. I’ve found that a full dropper of this pick feels fantastic, but I usually take a smaller dose if I know I’ll be working on an article.

The cold-pressed orange oil adds a nice citrus flavor that I enjoy, but since I generally prefer to consume CBD oils without added flavors, I usually reach for Rosebud CBD oil over this one. (That’s just my personal preference, however, and shouldn’t deter you from giving Populum a try.)

Also good to know: Populum CBD oil is non-GMO and gluten-free. Because it contains grape seed oil and hempseed oil in addition to full-spectrum hemp extract, coconut oil, and cold-pressed orange oil, it offers omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants.

This cannabis journalist only uses cannabis tinctures. Find out which CBD oils are her favorite alongside a list of pros and cons.