The world of cannabis possesses a bevy of words with redundant definitions. The multitude of slang terms for marijuana, such as pot, weed, Mary Jane, etc., is just one of many examples. However, many cannabis-related words are seemingly synonyms but actually have subtle differences. One of the most well-known examples is the difference between hemp and cannabis, with the separating factor being the plant’s THC content: hemp’s THC count is almost nonexistent, whereas it is abundant in cannabis. Despite this all-important difference, many use these terms interchangeably, causing significant confusion for those looking for the perfect cannabis product. Another one of these confusing conundrums is our topic today: the difference between oils and tinctures.
The difference between oils and tinctures is essential knowledge since the two are so similar. They are both liquid extracts of cannabis that many people take straight out of a dropper or mix into food and drink. For those who prefer one or the other but do not realize their subtle differences, it makes purchasing cannabis products significantly more difficult. Many have found a cannabis oil or tincture they loved and bought an ostensibly identical product, only to be disappointed with their misinformed purchase. Today, we will elucidate the differences between oils and tinctures and educate you about the specific advantages of each option. First, we must begin with the genesis of the differences between oils and tinctures and cannabis extraction.
Oils and Tinctures: Extraction
If you paid attention to cannabis products in the United States over the past several years, you likely noticed an explosion in the number and variety of products. The reason dates back to 2018, when the federal government passed another iteration of the Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized cannabis in the United States if it contained a THC content of less than 0.3%. For those unaware, THC is the compound in cannabis that gets you “high.” The government classified this low-THC cannabis as hemp and made it legal to grow, sell, and consume throughout the United States. Furthermore, it made the byproducts of hemp de facto legal, leading to cannabis extraction.
Although many enjoy smoking hemp, many more prefer ingesting hemp as a gummy, drink, or gel capsule. These products do not contain ground-up hemp; producers infuse them with hemp extract. Farmers grow all-natural hemp and give the flower, the part of the plant most abundant with cannabinoids, to hemp processors. These processors use safe, cutting-edge techniques to extract cannabinoids from the hemp flower as a liquid substance. Additionally, the extraction techniques typically prioritize a single cannabinoid, such as CBD.
Extraction has a singular goal: to, basically, liquify cannabis. However, there are myriad ways to extract these cannabinoids from hemp. These variations of extraction processes are the critical difference between oils and tinctures.
The Differences Between Extraction Methods
The primary difference between oils and tinctures is how producers extract cannabinoids from cannabis. Oils undergo a carbon dioxide extraction process. First, producers place the hemp flower into a sealed chamber. This chamber is then pumped full of carbon dioxide. Then, the producers increase the pressure inside the chamber, so the carbon dioxide turns from a gas to a liquid. The liquid carbon dioxide strips the cannabis plant of cannabinoids, resulting in a liquid cannabinoid solution. Finally, producers relieve the pressure, turning the carbon dioxide back into a gas, removing it entirely from the liquid cannabinoids. Producers mix the liquid cannabinoids into a stable oil, completing the process of making hemp oil.
Tinctures go through a very similar extraction process. However, instead of using carbon dioxide, tinctures utilize an alcohol-based solvent. Producers soak the hemp flower in these solvents, which strips the cannabinoids from the flower exactly like carbon dioxide. Then, the producers increase the temperature, boiling the solvents into a gas and leaving behind liquid cannabinoids. Due to the extraction method, producers either reintroduce the liquid cannabinoids to a diluted alcohol-based solution or a glycerin solution.
Now we understand the difference between oils and tinctures. These products contain a base of liquid cannabinoids, but the infused solution is oil- or alcohol-based. This subtle difference causes oils and tinctures to taste, look, and behave in distinct fashions. Some may prefer the malleability of oils, but others may love the long shelf-life of tinctures. Since we know what makes oils and tinctures different, we can discover which product better suits your needs.
Oils vs. Tinctures: Which One Is Best?
There is no one superior product between an oil and a tincture. If one were far and away the best option, no one would bother to manufacture the other. Therefore, learning which option is ideal for your personal needs is essential.
Oils contain a higher cannabinoid content than tinctures. For those looking for a far-out experience, this might be all they need to hear to gravitate toward oils. Furthermore, oils are an incredibly malleable form of hemp. One can use these oils in a dab rig, instantly vaporizing the oil and inhaling the smoke for a quick-hitting high. Additionally, one can incorporate oils into recipes, making your favorite foods into delicious hemp edibles. For those seeking a psychoactive experience, oils offer unparalleled diversity, allowing you to consume hemp your way.
On the other hand, tinctures do not possess the malleability of oils. The primary use of tinctures should be as a supplement. Most tinctures one will find consist of the cannabinoid CBD. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning it does not cause a high like marijuana. Many studies show that CBD may positively affect anxiety, sleep, appetite, and pain. For that reason, many people incorporate CBD into their daily routine, and tinctures ideally function as a supplement. Tinctures come with a dropper, ensuring one can parse out the liquid in a repeatable daily dose. A CBD tincture is an ideal way to start or finish your day.
Overall, the difference between oils and tinctures is subtle but extremely important. One can distinguish between oils and tinctures by the method of extraction. Now that you know the essential differences between oils and tinctures, you can make an informed purchase about your next cannabis product.