Imagine walking by a shop that sells CBD products and you wonder what fine goods this establishment sells. You muster up the courage to enter and are instantly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of products that line the shelves. Bottles of sugar-covered gummies, luxurious-looking creams, softgel packs, and others seem somewhat familiar, but what is this darkly tinted glass bottle filled with liquid? And what in the world is a sublingual?
In this article, we’ll be exploring what exactly sublinguals are and how this product type of oils and tinctures can be useful. The decision of picking the best CBD tincture can be stressful, particularly if you’re not quite sure what you need. Instead of thinking, “How do I choose the right one? They all look so good!” and picking a product at random, let’s explain some unfamiliar terminology and hone in on what to look for in premium CBD sublinguals.
What Are Sublinguals?
The term sublingual refers to a category of CBD products known as oils or tinctures The prefix “sub” means “under” and “lingual” has Latin origins that refers to the tongue. This particular product type is designed to be released “under the tongue” and held for a minute or two before being swallowed. Tinctures and oils differ from traditional edibles in that they bypass the digestion system completely and enter the bloodstream via your mucous membrane. Sublinguals can be flavored naturally or artificially, are available in different strengths, and are extremely useful for precise dosing. We’ll go over more of what to look for in a CBD sublingual in the next few paragraphs, but it’s important to understand the distinction between “oils” and “tinctures”
Aren’t CBD Oils & Tinctures The Same Thing?
While both are considered sublinguals, the name differentiates how they were made. CBD oils typically have an oil base, such as coconut oil, while CBD tinctures use alcohol-based extracts. Some sublinguals also use a water-soluble base for easier digestion, so be sure to check the ingredient list when considering a CBD sublingual purchase. The name “CBD tincture” is often used interchangeably with “CBD oils” in the hemp marketplace, but most sublinguals are actually oils. We’ll explain in greater detail the difference between oils and tinctures in a separate article, but for now, just know that most CBD tinctures are actually oils due to their unique ingredient base.
Can I Use CBD Sublinguals In Other Ways?
Many CBD users advocate sprinkling CBD tinctures and oils onto their foods, swirled into beverages, or mixed in with other oily foods like sauces and salad dressings. If this method works for you, great! Just keep in mind that as the CBD is consumed with food, much of the CBD content is lost in the digestion process.
CBD’s bioavailability (amount available for use by the body) varies greatly depending on the consumption method. Inhalables like pre-rolls, vape juice, and flower can be absorbed into your bloodstream via your lungs, making them the highest on the bioavailability chart. Unfortunately, inhalables require a bit of a learning curve to use properly and not all users are comfortable (or familiar) with smoking/vaping. Edible products like gummies and softgels are great for beginners, but since they must pass through the digestive system, their bioavailability plummets as it is digested.
Sublinguals are considered the middle ground of both edibles and inhalables and can offer a higher amount of CBD for your body to use when used as directed. The market is inundated with a sprawling selection of sublingual products from established and new brands alike. Since no two sublingual products are identical, you should be aware of what to look for when selecting your final purchases. Let’s take a look at what makes (or breaks!) a premium CBD sublingual product.
Straight To The Source: How Was The CBD Grown?
The hemp plant has incredible absorption properties, allowing them to soak up any and all substances within their environment. Many hemp farms will avoid the use of pesticides/herbicides, heavy metals, and toxins to ensure the hemp is pure and organic from soil to final product. The resulting flower is rich in CBD and can be used to create high-quality products that will be beneficial to those who use it.
What Extraction Method Was Used?
CBD extraction is available in a variety of ways, some of which you may have read/heard about but aren’t completely sure what it means. Ethanol (alcohol), hydrocarbon solvents, cooking oils, and CO2, and hydrocarbon solvents are all methods of extraction, but that last one is becoming the most frequently used.
The CO2 extraction method involves transforming CO2 into both a liquid and gaseous state, known as its supercritical state. This process helps to strip the hemp from natural chemicals while instantly dissipating once the process has completed. While this method is much more expensive than using alcohol and cooking oils, it is traditionally the safest and most reliable form of CBD extraction currently known.
The method of using hydrocarbon solvents to extract the CBD is by far the least expensive, but it’s also the most dangerous. These solvents are extremely flammable and often leave toxic residue that is difficult to completely remove from the extract. You may see some CBD products with questionably low prices from brands you may not be familiar with, which is typically an indicator that this extraction method was used. The expression “you get what you pay for” isn’t always right, but it may very well be an indicator of a low-quality product.
Falling Somewhere On The Spectrum
CBD sublinguals are categorized as either full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD Isolate. Full spectrum makes “full use” of all the plants natural cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. This specific category also features something called the “entourage effect.” While not actually scientifically proven, the entourage effect is a belief strongly embraced by the hemp community as a way to enjoy all the benefits of the hemp plant in a single product.
Broad spectrum CBD differs from full spectrum in that it offers a “broad” selection of CBD without all the naturally occurring compounds. Broad spectrum CBD has been stripped of as much THC as possible, though stubborn traces of the cannabinoid may still remain. Broad spectrum products are typically consumed by those looking to avoid THC for employment or sensitivity purposes and do not offer the “entourage effect” in its consumption.
Lasty, CBD isolate contains CBD and nothing else. All of the terpenes, THC, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids have been chemically stripped away to leave pure CBD. Isolate is more of a rarity to find in CBD shops and sites, but offers a way for users to consume CBD without fear of THC entering the body at all.
Strength In Numbers
The strength of a CBD product can be determined with a mathematical equation. Simply divide the amount of CBD listed by the bottle’s size (CBD mg ÷ mL size). The result will tell you how strong the CBD sublingual is. For example, 300mg of CBD in a 30mL bottle nets a total strength of 10mg per mL. Most 30mL bottles are designed to be used for at least 30 days, as each dropper typically holds a full milliliter of liquid. You can refer to the below chart for a complete strength definition of varying CBD content.
5mg or lower per mL
15-30mg per mL
30-60mg per mL
Anything higher than 60mg per mL
Low strength CBD sublinguals are great for beginners looking to start a cannabidiol regiment. Medium strength is typically where most users end up. High strengths are ideal for those with severe physical discomfort or mental anguish. Concentrates are usually rare to find and should
The Other Guys
You’ll often find CBD oils that have unique ingredients that set them apart from other brands. Some brands use macadamia nut oil rather than coconut oil for a smoother texture, while others use honey for a natural sweetener. There may be additional terpenes and vitamins blended into the sublingual for enhanced benefits. Be wary of any ingredients that you don’t recognize or approve of, such as artificial flavorings and colorings, preservatives, or stabilizers.
The Taste Test
The natural flavor of full-spectrum CBD is often bitter and unpleasant to new users, as it carries a strong taste of earth and pine. Some companies add varying flavors that are food grade as well as natural terpenes that can enhance the flavor to be more enjoyable. If you spot any verbiage on the label that says “colors” or “flavorings” without being specific, it’s most likely artificial and isn’t advisable to consume. If you’re not overly fond of the flavor of the CBD sublingual you’re consuming, consider looking into natural flavorings like lemon or honey.
The Beauty of Texture
High quality CBD sublinguals can be spotted by a quick glance at the color and consistency of the liquid. Full spectrum CBD sublinguals are quite viscous, especially depending on the advertised strength. The liquid’s color should contain varying levels of gold, brown, or even green in some instances. The thinner and more transparent the liquid, the higher the chance that it’s been crafted with an inferior blend of isolates. When trying a new sublingual for the first time, be sure to check its color and viscosity before consuming.
Lab Test Results: A Must-Have
Believe it or not, CBD is not regulated by the FDA or any other federal agency. This means that literally anyone can create a CBD sublingual and advertise it as being pure and potent while using sub-par ingredients and inferior extraction methods.
To combat this, many companies send out samples of their products to third-party independent labs. These labs are unaffiliated with the CBD companies to ensure no bias or compensation (aside from the cost of the testing) can sway the results more favorably. The lab will test for total CBD content, all cannabinoids present (including THC content), and terpene detection. In addition to all that, labs will confirm the absence of microbial impurities, pesticides, harmful solvents, herbicides, and other toxic ingredients.
All of these tests are time-consuming and expensive, but necessary to confirm the purity and potency of a product. Once a product successfully passes, the lab sends those test results to the brand in the form of a CoA (certificate of analysis). The brand can either publish those lab test results directly on their website, print it on their product packaging as a scannable QR code, or email directly to the purchaser once a sale is complete.
Yet the mere presence of lab test results is not enough; unscrupulous brands have been discovered to publish false test results that have been pirated from actual tests and doctored to look legitimate. It’s always a good idea to call up the lab listed on the test results and verify that the results are for the brand in question.
The process of selecting a premium high-quality CBD sublingual can seem stressful, but it’s crucial that you as the consumer do your due diligence on what you put into your body. CBD sublinguals are a viable option for those looking for maximum bioavailability without resorting to smoking or vaping. That bioavailability is only viable when consumed sublingually as opposed to being consumed on or in foods, as much of the CBD is lost in digestion. CBD comes in three different options: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. While the terms “oil” and “tincture” are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences that set these two CBD sublinguals apart. In order to select the best CBD sublingual, you should take into account the flavor, texture, color, strength, and extraction method used. Brands that are serious about purity and potency will have CoA’s available to current and future consumers, but it’s always a good idea to fact-check these tests by calling up the lab directly.
Here at Erth Wellness, we pride ourselves on having some of the finest CBD sublinguals in the industry. Our sublinguals have been crafted with premium ingredients using CO2 extraction and have been tested thoroughly by third-party labs to ensure purity and potency.We’re confident you’ll love our products in either their full-sized options or our try-before-you-buy sample sizes. If you have questions about anything mentioned in this article, our products, or regarding CBD in general, feel free to reach out to us via email or phone. Our team of CBD experts eagerly await the opportunity to impart years of knowledge of the industry to help you make a safe and informed decision. Be sure to check back soon for this and other in-depth topics regarding the wonderful world of hemp and all it has to offer. We look forward to seeing you again real soon!