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Finding the Best CBD:THC Ratios and Products for Pain

How Different CBD:THC Ratios and Types of Products Can Help with Pain

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

When it comes to treating pain with cannabis, both the type of product and the ratio of cannabinoids matter. The two primary cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), though the cannabis plant contains many other cannabinoids, terpenes, plus other compounds that contribute to its therapeutic effect.

CBD: This cannabinoid is the star player in hemp products which are federally legal. CBD hemp products are required to have below 0.3% THC, which is such a small amount that it’s not intoxicating and won’t get you high. You’ll also find CBD in cannabis products that contain higher levels of THC.

THC: The cannabinoid responsible for the “high,” if used in large enough amounts. Cannabis products containing over 0.3% THC remain illegal at the federal level and can only be legally purchased in states that have legalized recreational or medical marijuana.

Understanding the roles that both CBD and THC play in managing pain can help you find the best product for your needs. If you need a quick refresher on the types of pain that CBD and THC work best on, check out our previous post here.

Timing Your Dose: How Different Cannabis Products Reduce Pain

Whether you’re looking at CBD hemp or cannabis containing higher levels of THC (sold legally in dispensaries), you have several different routes of administration to choose between :

  • Inhalation (smoking, vaping): Takes effect immediately and lasts 2-4 hours. This is a great choice for instant relief and for treating breakthrough pain (a flare-up in pain when you’re already taking longer-acting cannabis products). You can also layer inhaled cannabis with a longer-acting method (more on layering below) to help get you through the night.
  • Transdermal (patches, gels): Extended release option that takes effect quickly, since the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into your bloodstream. The time of onset is rapid, sometimes within 20 minutes. Transdermal products provide a consistent dose of medicine for up to 12 hours. The transdermal patch or gel is used on an area where the veins are near the skin’s surface—like the inside of your wrist or on your ankle.
  • Sublingual (placed under the tongue): Sublingual administration can provide rapid relief, but there are few true oromucosal (sublingual) products on the market. Cannabinoids are fat-soluble and, in their natural state, do not absorb well into the oral mucosa. Moreover, cannabis products are often extracted into oils, and these products are not water-soluble. Patients often expect rapid onset when using tinctures, only to wait 1-3 hours for the dose to take effect. Many products marketed as tinctures will end up being swallowed and absorbed via the digestive system, regardless of how long they are held under the tongue. A true sublingual (a product in which the cannabinoids are formulated to be more water-soluble) absorbs rapidly into the mouth. The effects can be perceived in 15-20 minutes and can last 4-6 hours.
  • Edibles (gummies, capsules): Edibles take effect in between 30 minutes and 2 hours. You’ll feel their effects between 5-8 hours. They provide a discreet, portable long-acting option.
  • Topicals (creams, salves): Topicals provide short-term localized relief. They can take effect within minutes, and may last for up to an hour.

Finding the Best CBD:THC Ratios and Products for Pain How Different CBD:THC Ratios and Types of Products Can Help with Pain Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN Written by Denise

How to use CBD tincture

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Contents

  1. What is a CBD tincture?
  2. How do CBD tinctures work?
  3. Why use a CBD tincture?
  4. What to keep in mind when taking CBD tincture
  5. How to use a CBD tincture

For first time users and more experienced consumers alike, the vast array of available CBD options can be confusing. Every day the US market is saturated with new CBD products, particularly since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The FDA has yet to produce an official serving size for CBD so dosing and consumption method is up to individual preference and need. Tincture is one popular consumption method among those who want a more precise dosing mechanism. Read on to learn more about CBD tinctures, how they work, and how to use them.

What is a CBD tincture?

A tincture is a concentrated plant extract crafted by soaking the plant in a solvent such as alcohol or food-grade oils for several weeks.

CBD and weed

A tincture is a concentrated plant extract crafted by soaking the plant in a solvent such as alcohol or food-grade oils for several weeks. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD and weed

The first official record of cannabis tinctures used in medicine appeared in an 1843 medical journal. The journal featured a tincture recipe, and soon after, apothecaries and medicine producers began to make and sell their versions.

CBD tinctures extract the cannabinoid from the plant, though different tinctures can be refined to include only certain aspects of the plant. These result in full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate tincture varieties.

How do CBD tinctures work?

CBD tinctures are usually taken sublingually and absorbed into the bloodstream by capillaries in the cheek, gums, and under the tongue. Tinctures should be rubbed into the tissue inside the mouth to promote absorption. Typically, the tincture is then swallowed, and the remainder is absorbed through the digestive system. CBD from the tincture then interacts with the endocannabinoid system possibly helping the body self-regulate and achieve homeostasis.

CBD tinctures are usually taken sublingually and absorbed into the bloodstream by capillaries in the cheek, gums, and under the tongue. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Why use a CBD tincture?

There are many benefits to using CBD tinctures. First, they are easy to dose, as you can easily figure out and adjust the amount you take to deliver the desired results.

For example, a 30-milliliter bottle of CBD that contains 300 milligrams of CBD has 10 milligrams of CBD in a one-milliliter dropper, the standard size for most bottle droppers. Knowing that, you can choose to use half a dropper (five milligrams) or whatever amount you desire and adjust your dose with each use as needed.

Another benefit of CBD tinctures is their high bioavailability, meaning the body is able to effectively utilize more of the cannabinoids in a tincture administered sublingually. Compared to other consumption methods, tinctures can deliver the same effects with a lower dose, cutting down on possible side effects and saving money.

A tincture is also a smokeless, vapeless alternative that mitigates the potential harms associated with each of those consumption methods. There’s also virtually zero cleanup involved with a tincture, even when taken with morning coffee or an afternoon tea.

There’s also virtually zero cleanup involved with a tincture, even when taken with morning coffee or an afternoon tea. Photo by: (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

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Finally, it’s virtually impossible to overdose on CBD, tincture or otherwise. Studies found that CBD had no adverse side effects at amounts up to 1200 milligrams daily, even when taken for several months.

What to keep in mind when taking CBD tincture

When taking CBD tincture, keep these things in mind to maximize the effects of your cannabis.

Have a specific goal in mind that you want to achieve with CBD, as this will help you determine the best product and dose for your particular needs. Start with a low amount, and slowly work your way up to find the optimal dose. Your weight, body chemistry, and genetics all affect how CBD works on your system, so pay attention to what feels best to you.

Remember that a tincture is likely to have a double onset. One very quickly for the CBD absorbed through the mouth, and one later for the swallowed CBD absorbed via the digestive tract.

Read the label to understand more about the CBD in your tincture. Full-spectrum means the CBD was extracted from the plant and includes cannabis-derived terpenes and trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains the same array of cannabinoids and terpenes as full-spectrum but without any traces of THC. Finally, isolates are made by stripping away all cannabinoids and terpenes, leaving behind only a white crystalline powder that is pure CBD.

If you’re currently taking medication, it’s important to discuss potential CBD use with your doctor to determine any possible interactions.

There are known drug interactions with CBD. For example, CBD and grapefruit inhibit the same enzymes (CYP450). They both have the same effect on boosting blood levels of other medications.

Anyone is taking a medication with a “grapefruit warning label” it’s important to discuss CBD use with your doctor as CBD could alter how other medications are metabolized.

How to use a CBD tincture

Before taking a CBD tincture, shake the bottle to ensure a proper saturation of CBD mixed in with the liquid. Measure out the amount of fluid using the attached dropper and squeeze the tincture under your tongue. Hold the liquid in your mouth for up to three minutes, rubbed into the tissue of the mouth to maximize absorption, and swallow.

Wait approximately 60 to 90 minutes to evaluate the dose’s effects. If you need more, take another dropper-full and repeat the above steps. It’s helpful to consume CBD with a meal or high-fat snack, as CBD is fat-soluble, and the fat increases its absorption by four to five times.

How to use CBD tincture Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is a CBD tincture? How do CBD tinctures work? Why use a CBD tincture?