It seems like CBD is infused into everything now, from cocktails to face serums. But before bringing home a CBD product or ordering some in your morning coffee, it’s important to know that each CBD product type behaves differently once it makes its way through your skin or into your stomach.
Selecting a CBD product is an individualized decision based on your overall wellness goals. Part of the decision-making process involves understanding how each CBD product type works before applying that process to your intended purpose for using CBD. Here, we’ll break down the difference between CBD oil tinctures and CBD capsules, two popular products taken orally but which work very differently once ingested.
What are CBD capsules?
Capsules insert the CBD we’ve come to know well into an easy-to-swallow pill similar to a vitamin, so you don’t need to guess how much to take when measuring from a dropper as you might do with a CBD tincture. Typically, the capsule itself is gelatin-based, but there are vegetarian options available. Some brands, including ours, are vegan.
Some oil-based capsules contain phytocannabinoid hemp extract (which includes CBD) and others use CBD isolate, with some brands adding in ingredients designed to complement and amplify CBD’s effects. At Prima, our “The Daily” CBD capsule contains 15mg of CBD from broad spectrum hemp extract, enhanced by curcumin oil and clove bud oil and enhanced with a Bio-Terpene complex. This blend is designed to help improve CBD absorption and optimize its full body and mind benefits.
What is CBD oil?
The term “CBD oil” and “tincture” are often used interchangeably, as most CBD oils are in a tincture format. However, CBD oil can also be placed into a capsule or softgel as well. A CBD oil tincture is a blend of hemp extract and a carrier oil (though some brands use isolate). Common carrier oils include olive oil, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) from coconut, and hemp seed oil. These tinctures come in small dropper bottles, used to measure the CBD and then place it under your tongue. These bottles are small, typically containing 1 ounce of tincture.
The main differences between CBD oil tinctures and CBD capsules
- Each method has varying bioavailability
The percentage of CBD your body absorbs is called bioavailability, a process impacted by the digestive system and the first pass effect. Ingredients that are water soluble have much better bioavailability than oils - our bodies are made up primarily of water and ingredients with water compatibility are most easily absorbed into our system. When CBD, terpenes, fatty acids, and other cannabinoids are extracted from hemp, the resulting material is an oil. That oil-based extract by itself is not easily absorbed by the body.
Beyond being incompatible with water, oil molecules (in their natural state) are rather large and difficult for your body to absorb. To support maximum bioavailability, Prima uses an innovative and proprietary microencapsulation technology that allows the hemp extract with CBD to be water soluble and optimized for rapid absorption.
First, we micronize our hemp extract, significantly decreasing the size of the particles so they are smaller and have more surface area. Then, we encapsulate it in a water soluble (i.e. water-loving) layer so the body absorbs it like water instead of an oil.
Picture it like making salad dressing (i.e. mixing water and oil). When first poured into a bottle, the two liquids are completely separate with the oil floating on top of the water. Shake it up and the oil turns into droplets dispersed through the water. Then, if you add an emulsifier, it will stay well mixed.
Unless the CBD has been optimized for bioavailability in this way, CBD oils won’t be easily absorbed by the body and all the benefits may not be felt.
It’s harder to measure CBD oil
Let’s face it, oils are a little messy, and measuring out a precise amount from such a small bottle is not an easy task. The droppers are difficult to fill fully and accurately and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to take too little or too much. Plus, tinctures can be leak-prone when not closed all the way or if the cap malfunctions. Last, people often think the oil is meant to be added to a food or beverage, which won’t be absorbed well by the body. Capsules, on the other hand, leave nothing to chance when it comes to precise measurements, they won’t leak, are easier for travel and on-the-go living, and if they are developed with the right ingredient technology, can be more easily absorbed by the body.
How to choose between a CBD oil tincture and CBD capsules
First, begin by assessing why you want to take CBD. Why are you interested in incorporating CBD into your lifestyle? If you’re aiming to incorporate CBD for the long haul in a way that doesn’t require second-guessing or precise measuring or need something portable, a capsule may be an excellent route.
Next, it’s important to decide which type of CBD extract you want. There are three main categories of CBD extracts: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum hemp extract is unaltered directly from the plant, so it includes all the minor cannabinoids, terpenes, lipids, and other plant materials, including trace amounts of THC. Broad-spectrum is the same extract with the THC content further removed. CBD isolate is 99 percent pure CBD, with no other plant materials included. Our products at Prima are made with broad-spectrum phytocannabinoid- hemp extract.
Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum formulations support what has been described as “the entourage effect,” which means that all plant compounds work synergistically for the best outcome. While this process is still being researched by scientists, you may wish to investigate how terpenes and minor cannabinoids may enhance your current wellness routine.
CBD oil vs. CBD capsules: the choice is yours
The smallest difference between CBD products can make a world of difference in your daily routine. Oil tinctures and capsules — as well as other products like face serums, lotions, drink mixes, and even bath products — all take different pathways through the body, determining how long they last and how much CBD your body absorbs. That being said, one product type isn’t necessarily better than the other. What’s best is wholly dependent on your personal goals.
Whether you’re trying to focus*, get some rest*, or just want some peace and relaxation*, our line of hemp CBD wellness products has you covered*. At Prima, our products contain bio-optimized CBD strategically paired complementary herbal extracts, scientifically-proven to improve your state of being*. Each formulation is produced under meticulous quality standards, and tested and verfied over 5 times - after harvest, after extraction, during production, and in the final product using 3rd party ISO/IEC-accredited labs. No matter which of our products you choose, all that matters is that your favorite product supports your own unique wellness journey.