The cannabis plant has hundreds of chemicals in it, including more than 120 cannabinoids, Hill explains. Of those cannabinoids, two are most familiar: THC, which produces the euphoric effects or “high” people experience from marijuana, and cannabidiol or CBD, which has some anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, anxiety-relieving and analgesic properties, according to Low Dog.
An herbal tincture is made by using a mixture of alcohol and water to extract compounds from a plant—in this case, the cannabis plant.
What are tinctures specifically?
At a plant level, the two chemicals operate as opposites, with CBD acting as a buffer of sorts to the effects of THC. “It’s sort of a ying and yang. THC is responsible for the high and CBD doesn’t do that,” Hill explains.
“Quality is always an issue, especially in a relatively young market, such as the cannabis market,” Low Dog says. And she’s right. A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that out of the commercially available CBD products, only 30 percent were accurately labeled.
“Sometimes, you will find extracts called tinctures that use glycerin, vinegar, or oil as the solvent, instead of alcohol,” Low Dog says. “These offer the advantage of being alcohol-free, but may not always offer the same potency as an alcohol-water extract.”
When it comes to conditions like insomnia, CBD’s clinical research scorecard is more mixed. Some studies have suggested that the substance can actually increase wakefulness. Others, though, have found that a CBD tincture or oil taken a couple of hours before bedtime can help induce a sense of balance that can help sleep come more easily. A 2016 report, for instance, found that a CBD-rich oil, administered orally, helped to alleviate the symptoms of both anxiety and insomnia in one patient suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Producers like Populum offer several ways to try CBD, including tried and tested tinctures sourced from Colorado-grown cannabis plants and made in the USA. Populum’s signature tincture is available in a variety of strengths, appropriate for dipping a toe into CBD or stepping up a dose to provide more effective relief.
What is CBD good for?
Tinctures can also be taken sublingually, or by applying them underneath the tongue. This method of delivering CBD tincture is already common in epilepsy treatments. Some research has found that this delivery method makes cannabinoids more easily and consistently available to the body than other oral alternatives.
Tinctures are produced by steeping cannabis flowers or isolates in a high-proof grain alcohol, then applying low heat for a significant span of time. This allows the active compounds in cannabis to infuse into the neutral spirit, much of which is then boiled off. The result is a potent liquid that delivers the effects of the cannabinoid molecules without any smoking or other form of combustion. In the growing consumer market, producers will often add carrier oils and other complementary ingredients, such as an orange oil to improve the taste of a tincture.
(Courtesy of Populum)