According to researchers, a person will absorb a great deal more CBD if he or she ingests it in a pure tincture. You may also feel the effects sooner. “Due to the way you take tinctures versus other forms of administration, you get a high rate of absorption often starting as soon as the tincture is dropped onto the oral mucosa lining your mouth,” Kater explains.
Assuming you’re given the go-ahead to try CBD, there are two ways to consume a tincture. After squeezing the liquid into the dropper, you can either place it under your tongue (this is known as taking something sublingually) or rub it on your skin. People trying to remedy arthritis, tendonitis, joint pain, and muscle soreness tend to use the latter method, whereas those using CBD for other reasons might take it orally.
What they are, what they do, and what you should know before buying one.
Should I use tinctures instead of other CBD products?
While there’s not a ton of research out there yet, what CBD could give you is possible relief from stress, joint pain due to inflammation, or a better night’s rest.
In very simplified terms, a tincture is a concentrated herbal extract that’s made by soaking herbs in a liquid. Over several weeks, the fluid becomes infused with herbal extracts, and when the herbs are strained out, you get a potent, ingestible tincture.
How do I take a tincture?
Wondering how much should you take? This is a bit of a tricky question, as there are no official dosing guidelines for CBD. Dr. Steve Patierno, Chair of CuraLeaf’s Medical Advisory Board and the Deputy Director of the Duke Cancer Institute, suggests starting with a lower strength product and taking just 1 milliliter. (For a 30-milliliter bottle that’s likely a full dropper, but check the bottle to be sure.) You can always take a bit more next time if you don’t feel the effects.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, just a quick reminder: Like any new supplement, it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting a CBD regime. CBD isn’t ideal for everyone, and it can interact with certain medications, such as Warfarin. Make sure a medical professional knows exactly what you’re taking and in what combination before you start experimenting with CBD in any form.
But if you’re reading this, you are probably not a rat, which means these results aren’t directly applicable to your life. Although we know that rats do share much of our physiology—including CB1 and CB2 receptors—these studies don’t really tell us if humans would have the same results with CBD.
The only thing that comes close is a Phase 2 clinical trial using a proprietary CBD transdermal gel (meaning it’s meant to go through the skin into the bloodstream) in 320 patients with knee osteoarthritis over 12 weeks, which has not been peer-reviewed to date. Unfortunately, in almost all of the study’s measures of pain, those who received CBD didn’t have statistically different scores from those who got placebo. But “they found some reductions in pain and improvements in physical function,” Boehnke says.
“It might be that cannabidiol by itself is helpful for pain, but at this point we don’t know that,” Cooper says.
You don’t need me to tell you that CBD (cannabidiol) is everywhere. You can eat it, you can drink it, you can vape it, you can even bathe in it. And although there’s still plenty to learn about this fascinating little compound, fans of it claim that it has some pretty impressive benefits—particularly when it comes to managing pain.
Here’s what the research says about using CBD for pain.
The most common medical reason for which people report using CBD is to manage chronic pain, followed closely by managing arthritis or joint pain. But does it actually work?
First off, we don’t know much about the correct dose of CBD needed for a pain-relieving effect. The doses in the rat studies that were effective were pretty large (for a rat, obviously). And the human participants in the Phase 2 clinical trial we mentioned received 250 mg of synthetic CBD topically per day—as much as many consumer topical CBD products contain in a single jar.
But that’s not quite as exciting for CBD as it sounds: “We don’t know cannabidiol’s effects on its own,” says Cooper, who was part of the National Academies committee that put together this report. “[The conclusions about cannabis and cannabinoids] were based on what we know about THC or THC plus cannabidiol.”
What is CBD?
Personally, I always keep a few jars of it at my desk to help with the shoulder and neck muscle tension inherent in a job consisting mainly of typing and holding a phone next to my face. But it turns out that the research behind these claims is pretty sparse, to say the least. Here’s what you need to know before you give topical CBD a try.
In fact, the most compelling research they found for using cannabinoids for pain came from a large review and meta-analysis published in JAMA in 2015. For the study, researchers looked at results from 79 previous studies of cannabinoids and various medical conditions, including chronic pain. However, of those studies, only four involved CBD (without THC)—none of which were looking at pain. So although we might assume that CBD is doing something to help address pain—according to the studies involving the whole cannabis plant—we don’t have great evidence to prove it.