Tincture high vs. flower high: What's the difference?

Cannabis flower and hemp extract tinctures offer unique delivery methods and effects. Here are the basics of each product and how highs compare.
Tincture High vs. Flower High: What's the Difference?
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The more we explore advanced hemp extract formats like tinctures, concentrates, and edibles, we can’t overlook the fact that flower is still the most common way people enjoy this plant worldwide.

This gives us a chance to get back to basics and ask foundational questions. For example, what is the real difference between the effects of taking a hemp tincture and smoking flower in its standard form? New users and cannabis connoisseurs may want to know, and will be intrigued to discover that each product type has something unique to offer with its experience.

Let’s take a detailed approach in comparing these two formats and the highs that they induce. We’ll find that active ingredients work differently depending on the delivery method, giving us a glimpse into how cannabis affects the body and mind with each form.

What is hemp extract tincture?

Hemp extract tinctures are liquid cannabis products that contain active cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and more. Depending on the strain used to create the extract, tinctures can vary widely in chemical composition and compound ratios. 

While many tinctures are CBD-heavy, others have higher volumes of THC, inducing a high more similar to smoking standard cannabis flower.*

How is tincture produced?

Tinctures are produced by stripping the cannabis plant of its active compounds, including CBD, THC, and various terpenes and flavonoids. Extraction methods for CBD are diverse, ranging from C02 pressure to solvents like ethanol. Like any cannabis product, the quality of the plant material is the key determinant of the overall efficacy of a tincture, and the best products use clean extraction methods to minimize impurities.

While some tinctures are alcohol-based, others use carrier oils like MCT, coconut, or olive oil to improve absorption and palatability. At Sunmed, our products use only the highest-quality hemp extracts, along with pure MCT oil and other powerful plant terpenes, to deliver precise effects with a clean delivery method.

How is a CBD tincture consumed?

Depending on user preferences and desired effects, tinctures can be consumed sublingually or ingested like other edibles. 

With sublingual administration, a serving of tincture is placed on the surface area underneath the tongue, allowing for absorption into sensitive mucous membranes. This tends to include more potent and rapid effects, though the duration of these effects may not be as long compared to digestion.*

Alternatively, hemp tinctures can be mixed in with drinks or recipes and digested like a standard edible or capsule product. While this might be more convenient or approachable for some users, some of the effects of the tincture are lost through digestion, and the effects may not be as potent. 

What types of tinctures are available?

Today’s tinctures range from basic CBD isolates to broad spectrum, full spectrum, and THC-focused products. CBD isolates contain only pure CBD, leaving out other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes, while broad spectrum tinctures include a wider variety of compounds from the cannabis plant. 

Full spectrum tinctures include trace amounts of THC, up to 0.3% in volume, tapping into the entourage effect of cannabinoids working in synergy.

What is cannabis flower?

Cannabis flower is the dried and cured flower or “buds” of the cannabis plant, containing the highest concentrations of active compounds that produce psychoactive effects. Despite the rise of tinctures and edibles, cannabis flower is still one of the most popular cannabis product in the world, staying true to the fundamentals of cannabis culture and delivering consistent, familiar effects for users. 

How is flower produced?

The cannabis flower production process begins with strain selection, which will determine the chemical profile of the final product and its applications. Growers either germinate seeds or use clones (cuttings from a mature plant) to grow new cannabis plants, depending on their goals and limitations. 

From there, the cannabis plant begins to grow rapidly, soon entering a vegetative state which can last up to two months. At this stage, the plant’s resources are allocated to the growth of stems and leaves, creating a strong foundation for the flowering stage to take place. 

Once the plant begins to flower, trichome-rich buds emerge and develop, which are then harvested, dried, and cured. 

How is flower consumed?

The cannabinoids of dried flower require decarboxylation (heating) to unlock the effects of their active ingredients. This can take the form of smoking or vaping, and today’s users employ countless methods to heat and inhale vapors or smoke. 

While advanced vaporizers and pipes are popular nowadays, many users still prefer old-school styles like joints, blunts, or one-hitters. Smoking or vaping flower is a matter of pure personal preference, and each method delivers a slightly different experience and effects on the body and mind.*

What types of flower are available?

Cannabis flower is found in three main categories: sativa, indica, and hybrid. Sativa strains are known for producing a cerebral, creative high, while indica strains are associated with a more mellow, “body-high” experience.

Hybrid strains combine these two strains in varying ratios, while some use a 50/50 split to draw a precise balance between indica and sativa. Additionally, cannabis strains vary widely in cannabinoid volume and ratios, with some strains containing up to 30% THC and higher. 

What are the characteristics of a tincture high?

Tinctures are incredibly diverse in their cannabinoid profiles and potency, so every product will deliver a different high and varied effect. However, there are a few distinguishing features that set apart the tincture experience across the board.

For starters, a tincture high tends to take effect relatively quickly. With sublingual delivery, you may feel the effects of tincture in under 30 minutes. These effects tend to last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours depending on serving size and your metabolism.*

Consistency and precision are another notable advantage of tinctures. Users can determine the exact amount of hemp they wish to consume, measuring down to the milliliter thanks to droppers and label details.

As noted, most tinctures are relatively low in THC, or contain no THC whatsoever. This means that the typical tincture will not produce psychoactive effects, instead offering the soothing, balancing benefits of CBD and other minor cannabinoids. Meanwhile, THC tincture users often report that the high is more aligned with physical relaxation as opposed to mental stimulation or heightened senses.*

Still, a THC-rich tincture may produce more familiar psychoactive results depending on the concentration and strain.* These may manifest as sensory alteration, time perception shifts, increased sensitivity to stimulus, creative inspiration, or deep relaxation. The exact effects remain strain-dependent, which is why we distinguish between our indica and Beyond Sativa CBD water soluble products.* 

Remember, every tincture is different, so take note of the active ingredient types and amounts so you know exactly what to expect. 

What are the characteristics of a flower high?

A cannabis flower high, like via smoking or vaping, tends to be more rapid and acute compared to a tincture high due to direct contact with the lungs and quick bloodstream uptake. Smoking or vaping cannabis unlocks a higher bioavailability of the compounds, meaning you experience a more potent high in a shorter timeframe. 

From a user perspective, smoking or vaping causes a high almost immediately, with effects being felt in a matter of minutes. On the flip side, these effects don’t last as long and may wear off in two to three hours. Depending on the strain you choose, the high can be cerebral and stimulating (sativa) or more relaxed and sedating (indica). As always, the amount you consume will dictate the potency of the effects and shape your experience overall.*

Keep in mind that smoking or vaping is a less precise delivery method, even if you weigh your flower and pay close attention to your consumption rate. Even experienced smokers and vapers might not know exactly how much THC or CBD they intake in a single session, making it harder to track and evaluate the experience accordingly.

Overall, cannabis flower is known for producing quicker, more potent effects than tincture, but there are many variables at play to consider. Always be mindful of factors like strain type, cannabinoid profiles, and other considerations like heat, time, setting, and activity levels.

When should you use tincture or flower?

Because tincture is a more subtle and discreet hemp extract delivery method, many users will find it more appropriate to take in the morning or during the day. Tinctures are fast and easy to use and don’t require additional setup beyond basic administration. Tinctures also tend to be lower in THC and feature ingredients conducive to activity and productivity, such as our Broad Spectrum Rise CBD Tincture.*

Cannabis flower, on the other hand, is generally reserved for more relaxed, private social settings, where an individual can allow themselves to fully experience a mind-altering high. We suggest using tinctures as your daily go-to source of hemp extract, and saving flower for the evenings or weekends when you can unwind and relax to the fullest. 

The bottom line

Tincture and flower go hand-in-hand in today’s cannabis world, and they each play a role in a balanced lifestyle approach. Tinctures allow you to precisely control your servings and incorporate hemp extracts in a strategic way, while flower is the tried-and-true way to enjoy a traditional high with friends or a solo session.*

Find the sweet spot for each product type and enjoy all that the plant has to offer, from discreet, versatile tinctures to the old-school approach of dried cannabis flower. For premium CBD products, shop here with Sunmed. 


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