Hempsi Live Oil - Why Use a Hemp Tincture?

Andrew Barton


Hemp and Cannabis are rapidly becoming mainstay ingredients in health and wellness supplements all over the world. Hemp/Cannabis products are available in a dizzying array of formats, meant for use in seemingly every situation. Between all the hype, marketing spin, and vague public understanding of what these products actually do, it can be difficult for consumers to decide which products are the best fit for them. While tinctures have emerged as a popular format for cannabis consumption, few understand the purpose or benefit of choosing this type of product. This document will summarize the benefits of oil based tinctures, as well as the things that make Hempsi Live Oil the obvious choice among countless brands.

The first thing to understand is what actually constitutes a tincture. A tincture is a liquid containing a high concentration of some substance, where an entire serving is contained in less than a few milliliters (ml). This is in contrast to a beverage, where a serving of the same substance would be contained in a much larger volume. Cannabis tinctures generally come in 2 forms, ethanol based or oil based. Ethanol based tinctures have their own benefits and drawbacks, but are not as common or popular. This is likely because of the strong, often unpleasant flavor they provide. Ethanol based tinctures also have a very rapid onset of effect, inconsistent potency due to evaporation over time, and may be subject to additional regulation because of the tincture base itself. Oil based tinctures have a slower onset of effect, but can have a much nicer flavor, consistent potency, and are widely available. They also are useful for “targeting” the effects of their ingredients to specific areas of the body.

Among oil based tinctures, there are those based in medium chain length fatty acids like MCT (the liquid fraction of coconut oil) and those based in long chain length fatty acids like Avocado oil. It is fairly simple to tell which type of oil base a tincture uses if you can’t tell from the ingredients list. The thicker an oil is, the longer its fatty acid chain length, generally. While it may seem trivial, the type of oil base used in a tincture actually makes a difference as to how it affects the body. There are different reasons to use either one.

MCT based tinctures absorb faster than those based in other oils. This is because MCT can absorb directly through mucous membranes. If you hold an MCT based tincture under your tongue, it will immediately begin carrying the cannabinoids dissolved into it right into your bloodstream and lymphatic system. These two fluid systems transport the cannabinoids locally (lymphatic system) as well as systemically (bloodstream). After swallowing the MCT based tincture, it continues to absorb through your esophagus, stomach lining, and small intestine. From the small intestine, the material is absorbed into and transported by the lymphatic system around the body and into the bloodstream to a lesser extent. MCT absorbed directly into the bloodstream from the small intestine is brought to the liver. Here it gets partially metabolised and sent to the rest of the body via the bloodstream. MCT absorbed into the lymphatic system is slowly distributed throughout the tissues nearby until it reaches a lymph node where this fluid can mix with the bloodstream. It then is introduced into systemic circulation. Cannabinoid laden MCT circulating in the bloodstream is also brought back to the liver, where it is further metabolized. Some of it becomes incorporated with bile and is reintroduced to the small intestine. Here it is reabsorbed, and the process repeats in a phenomenon called enterohepatic circulation. Eventually, the MCT and its contents are fully distributed and or metabolized, and they are stored in fatty tissues or eliminated in urine and feces.  

Long chain fatty acids are not absorbed through mucous membranes. Instead, they go through the digestive process in the same way as other fats. After entering the small intestine, these tinctures are mixed with bile to emulsify them and allow absorption through the small intestine into the lymphatic fluid. From the lymphatic system, the cannabis infused oil droplets are transported into the bloodstream and around the body. They are either stored in fatty tissues or end up in enterohepatic circulation and are eventually eliminated.

While traveling in the lymphatic system, oil soluble molecules like cannabinoids are held within small droplets suspended in lymph fluid. They are free to interact with cellular targets and to accumulate in fatty tissues. While traveling in the bloodstream oil soluble molecules like cannabinoids are bound to proteins. These proteins are necessary for these kinds of substances to move freely in the bloodstream, but they prevent them from exerting their biological effects. This is why serum (bloodstream) levels of cannabinoids are not a reliable indicator of the level of effect they have, or even the dose that was consumed. Cannabinoids in the bloodstream can still be transported throughout the body though, and once they have been delivered to a suitable environment (like the brain, lymphatic vessels, tissues with rich blood supply, etc.) they can exert their effects there.

The distribution properties of oil based tinctures make them ideal for delivering cannabinoids to the digestive tract, liver and other digestive organs, and general systemic circulation. Oil based tinctures also deliver cannabinoids to the brain, but the process is prolonged and results in slowly rising and falling cannabinoid concentrations there. MCT based oil tinctures result in a faster onset of effect, but can have a slightly reduced perceived “strength” because the absorption is comparatively prolonged. Long chain oil based tinctures have a more pronounced delay before they “kick in”, but tend to give a “stronger” experience because absorption occurs in a shorter time frame. This comparatively sudden absorption results in greater “peak” levels in the brain, giving an experience that can be more pronounced. The difference between the experience of either oil base is small, only noticeable in certain situations (such as low doses of THC), but exists nonetheless.

Hempsi Live Oil tincture is an MCT based oil tincture, suitable for sublingual absorption. The high dose of CBD (approximately 50mg/1ml serving) exhibits an anti-inflammatory effect by down regulating the production of pro-inflammatory molecules (PPAR gamma agonism and Adenosine reuptake inhibition) and increasing the amount of endocannabinoids present in the body by reducing their breakdown (FAAH inhibition). CBD also protects the liver and other digestive organs from damage due to toxins and stress by acting as an antioxidant (radical scavenging through aromatic system and conjugated pi bonds) and preventing fat accumulation in liver tissue (upregulation of cAMP through CB1 negative allosteric modulation). CBD also has pain relieving qualities that are a consequence of reduced inflammation in addition to desensitizing pain sensing nerves (TRPA and TRPV agonism). Trace quantities of THC, CBG and CBC in the tincture help to further reduce discomfort and provide a sense of wellbeing (PPAR gamma agonism, TRPA and TRPV agonism, CB1 and CB2 agonism, increased brain uptake from CBC) without causing intoxication. Being extracted from fresh frozen hemp, Hempsi Live Oil tincture is rich in terpenes. The Myrcene dominant profile also contains significant amounts of Beta Caryophyllene, Alpha Pinene, and Beta Nerolidol. These terpenes work together to contribute to the clear headed (Alpha Pinene via acetylcholinesterase inhibition) soothing (Beta Caryophyllene via CB2 agonism and Myrcene via COX inhibition) quality of the tincture, while giving it an excellent natural flavor unmatched in the hemp market.