What Is A Tincture?

What Is A Tincture?

We sell tinctures, as do most CBD producers. Many people have never encountered a tincture before, so let’s discuss the history of the tincture, and see how the word does not really apply to CBD formulations in vegetable oils.

Tinctures have a rather long history in medicine. The most famous (for those of a certain age) is iodine tincture. This ethanol-based solution of iodine was a staple in the medicine cabinet of the 1950s and Sixties. It is an effective disinfectant, and was applied to minor cuts and abrasions. Who could forget getting your arm getting painted with the red iodine tincture after a minor injury.

There are other notable tinctures. The most notorious is the opiate tincture of the 19th century. Before the government decided what was illegal to consume (an absurdity for another post), folks were easily able to get tinctures of opium (mainly morphine and codeine) for pain (or pleasure). Of course, opioids are bad for you, and addiction to them was somewhat common in the 19th century.

Vanilla extract is an ethanol tincture, are as many essential oils. 

Of course, there were cannabis tinctures. Made by soaking heat activated cannabis in ethanol, cannabis tinctures have been around for centuries. Until banned by our government, these tinctures provided relief for a myriad of conditions untreatable by the medicines of the time.

The common thread is that these tinctures are made with pure ethanol. They are ethanolic solutions of compounds not soluble in water. That is the common definition of a tincture: a water insoluble compound dissolved in ethanol for human consumption. All the above examples meet this definition.

Now, the definition of tincture seems to have evolved to include vegetable oil solutions of compounds not soluble in water. The most common vegetable oil used is the fractionated coconut oil known as medium chain triglycerides (or MCT). This oil is healthy, colorless, and of lower viscosity than the higher chain triglycerides found in olive and canola oil.  

Our “tinctures” of USDA certified organic CBD are full spectrum, and made up in MCT. Personally, I call the products a CBD solution in MCT, not a tincture. Tincture to me means ethanol…

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