There are plenty of ways to consume cannabis but some are more user-friendly than others. Whether you’re a new medical marijuana user or a new recreational user, tinctures are a great place to start your cannabis journey. What is a tincture without the cannabis? They are any medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol. We’ll go over everything you need to know about a cannabis tincture including how they’re made, used and stored.
What is a Tincture?
Tinctures are made with high percentage alcohol and they come in glass bottles with droppers. As a result, the cannabis tincture is one of the best methods of consumption for precise dosing.
Much like extracting cannabis oils, tinctures use a solvent to extract terpenes and cannabinoids like THC or CBD from the rest of the plant material. However, tinctures are different because alcohol is used as the solvent and it is also in the final product. On the other hand, cannabis oils have all solvents purged because the final product will be inhaled instead of consumed orally with a dropper like a tincture would.
Since tinctures are edibles, the cannabis used must be decarboxylated to ensure all the ingredients are active. Otherwise, the effects of the medicine won’t be as strong as they could be.
A tincture can vary in effect depending on if it is used sublingually, orally or used to infuse just about any dish you want. Sublingual is usually the fastest acting but all tinctures are faster acting than your typical edible. So you won’t have to wait two to three hours just to find out your medicine didn’t work. You should be able to tell shortly after a dose of tincture whether or not you’ll need more.
Despite their convenience, cannabis tinctures are rarely talked about. Prior to prohibition, it was the most common form of medical cannabis in the United States.
Today, most attention goes to other methods of consuming cannabis like smoking and the ever-growing cannabis concentrate market. However, interest in alternative forms of consumption has been growing over the past few years. As a result, you can find cannabis tinctures at just about any medical marijuana dispensary in the country.
THC vs. CBD Tinctures
Before you purchase your tincture, you should know what’s available to you and what will work best. The three most common forms of cannabis tincture contain THC, CBD or various combinations of the two in ratios like 1:1.
CBD is said to have many of the same health benefits as THC without any of the mind-altering effects. With research on CBD and hemp illustrating it’s merit, recent laws have made it easier to produce and sell CBD products with less than .3% THC in the United States. As a result, CBD doesn’t face the same legal obstacles as THC and can be sold nationwide.
On the other hand, any tinctures containing more than .3% THC can only be legally purchased in states with legalized cannabis.
How to Make a Cannabis Tincture
To make a cannabis tincture, you’ll want to have the highest percentage of alcohol possible. Not all tinctures are made the same. The potency of the final product will depend on the quality and quantity of the cannabis you use.
Ingredients & Equipment
At a minimum, you’ll want the following ingredients and equipment to make a cannabis tincture:
- A half ounce of cannabis flowers or trim.
- High alcohol by volume liquor.
- Mason jar
- Glass dropper bottles
- Oven-safe pan
- Aluminum Foil
- Glass measuring cup
Before you get started, you’ll need decarboxylated weed or concentrates. According to research from scientists in Holland, the optimal temperature for decarboxylation is 230 degrees Fahrenheit for 110 minutes.
So grind up your cannabis or break it down into smaller pieces and fill the oven-safe pan with them. Cover the pan with aluminum foil so the weed doesn’t get hot enough to burn or vaporize. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 230 degrees Fahrenheit for 110 minutes.
Once you’ve gathered the necessary materials, making a cannabis tincture is easy.
Step 1: Put your decarboxylated cannabis in the mason jar and fill it with the highest a high percentage alcohol like Everclear until the cannabis is completely submerged.
Step 2: Several sources recommend freezing the jar full of alcohol and cannabis for several days to two weeks while taking it out to shake once a day. The cold helps to separate less wanted components of the cannabis plant like chlorophyll from the final product.
Step 3: The next step is to strain the materials through a cheesecloth into a glass measuring cup. Once the liquid is no longer passing through the cheesecloth, use gloves to squeeze the remaining liquid through the cheesecloth and into the measuring cup. You can use another cheesecloth the clean the material further before filling glass dropper bottles with it.
Step 4: The final step is to properly store your tincture. Transfer everything into a glass dropper bottle for easy dosing. For long-term storage, you can leave it in a mason jar. Either way, you’ll want the environment to be cool and dark. Air, light and heat decrease the quality and potency of tinctures.
How To Use Cannabis Tinctures
Once you’ve made or purchased a cannabis tincture, there are three ways for you to use it. Add it to any dish, drop it right into your mouth or ingest it sublingually.
The sublingual method of consumption is one of the best if you want to feel the effects to come on stronger and faster. Drop the appropriate dosage under your tongue. Wait a half a minute and swallow. This allows the medicine into the bloodstream for a faster onset.
The easiest way to use a cannabis tincture is by simply dropping the desired dosage into your mouth and swallowing. The effects won’t come on as quickly as with the sublingual technique. It will take close to as long as it would with edibles to feel the effects.
The final method of consumption is relatively simple. Drop whatever dose you’d like into any food or beverage of your choosing. The onset of the effects should take about as long as edibles. By consuming a meal with the medicine, you can start combatting the munchies before they even start.
Reasons To Try Tinctures
As we’ve illustrated, there are plenty advantages to using tinctures over other methods of consuming cannabis. Here is a list of the benefits of using tinctures over other consumption methods:
- Fewer Calories: You can get the edibles experience from meals that you were already planning to eat instead of sweets like gummies and brownies.
- Discretion: Tinctures don’t smell like cannabis and in a glass bottle with a dropper, they’ll look like any other medicine.
- Faster Onset: Sublingually, the effects last longer.
- Precise Dosing: With edibles, flowers and concentrates it is easier to accidentally take a higher dose than necessary. Tinctures allow you to take a few drops at a time until you feel the desired effects.
- Simpler Than Smoking: People that dislike or have a hard time smoking or vaping cannabis are better off using tinctures.
Final Hit: Cannabis Tincture
Cannabis tinctures offer a simple and discreet way to receive the medical benefits of the plant without having to be a smoker. It only takes a few ingredients to make cannabis tinctures but you’ll want to exercise caution when making them at home because high percentage alcohol is flammable. There are also devices that make it easy to complete the entire process in one place.
How much alcohol is ingested with the final Product? It would probably not be a good option for someone with alcoholic cirrhosis.for example. Correct?
Based on the recipe provided here, yes it would be a problem for alcoholics due to the concentrated alcohol present in the finished product. I have a personal variation that I like to make that takes 4 extra steps. This version has a much lower alcohol percentage and volume in the finished product.
Extra supplies for my steps:
– A large nonpermeable dish(I recommend a glass casserole dish with a large surface area)
– A metal wire splatter screen large enough the cover the entire dish
– A pedestal fan or a tower fan or even a diy(something that will constantly blow air across the top of the dish)
– A rubber spatula(must be a spatula with malleable edges)
– A small 100mL glass amber bottle with a dropper head(The amber provide the container with UV protection, if not amber, ensure the container has UV protection)
– A funnel with a small enough head to fit inside the opening of the amber bottle.
– Before starting step 4 set aside some of the tinctures from step 3 (1/2 cup) and store in an airtight(you don’t want this alcohol evaporating) container for later use at the end.
The 4 extra steps are to be done after step 3 in this article is done.
New step 4: Pore the alcohol onto the large nonpermeable dish(you want as much surface area as possible, you are going to want to use a dish that a rubber spatula can scrape all surfaces easily). Cover with the splatter screen. Place the dish in a room with good ventilation and turn on the ventilation fan.
P.S. If you are using a lot of alcohol, pour no more than 500mL into the dish at a time to reduce the length of time needed for each evaporation session. If doing this, repeat steps 4-6 until all of the fluid(excluding the set-aside tincture) has gone through the process.
Step 5: Then you are going to want to set up a fan (on the lowest setting) to blow air across the top of the dish. Then leave it to sit in the room and check every 8-12 hours. (This step will exponentially increase the speed that the alcohol evaporates due to the air pulling the alcohol vapors away from the tincture. The goal here is to remove all or most of the alcohol leaving a yellowy-amber muddy looking oil/paste coating on the dish. At this point, the “mud” is a nearly pure cannabis extract from the plant including terpenes and cannabinoids)
Step 6: Test to see if it ready. You can do this by lifting one side slightly(just enough to let a thumb be placed between the dish and the surface it is on) and see if the contents are runny or thick. It is ready for the next step once it is a paste that barely moves/flows when tipped, if at all.
Step 7: Once ready measure out 2 tbsp of the set-aside tincture and add it to the dish. Using the spatula, mix the alcohol with what’s left in the dish until the remnants in the dish are fully blended with the alcohol(ensuring there isn’t anything sticking to the dish when done).
P.S. If too thick after mixing the 2 tbsp’s in for 5 minutes, add more of the set-aside tincture at 1 tbsp at a time.
Step 8(replaces original final step): Place the funnel into the amber bottle and pour the tincture into the bottle. Use the spatula to get all the liquid to minimize on the waist. Then seal the container with the dropper lid. Strength will vary depending on the strength and quantity of plant matter used in the process, test the strength via micro-dosing until you have determined how many drops you need for the desired effect.
This method drastically cuts down on the alcohol content of the finished product when compared to the one in this article and drastically increases the potency of the cannabis(cannabis extract to alcohol ratio) in the finished product. Personally, I will either use this as a drop or 2 under the tongue or by adding a drop or 2 of this tincture into a mixed drink I am drinking at the time.
An added benefit for medical cannabis users, if you skip the decarboxylation step(i.e. using raw unheated buds for the entire process), due to there being no heating in the process, this method is great for extracting the acid forms of the cannabinoids, if that is what you are looking for.
I do my tinctures with
32 grams if high potency flower.
Decarb by cooking in oven @225F. for 30 minutes. I only use 300 MLS of everclear..
Mason jar for 30 days in a dark cool environment (closet)
My typical dose is 4-8 mls..
Nice ride and good sleeping.
Have a ton of trouble sleeping even with a few dabs and a nice cone of my fav indica. I’m going to try the tincture and your process sounds super easy
An indica tincture is good for sleeping or FECO in capsules.
You can evaporate the alcohol off and the end result will be very potent.
How do you do that?
Living in Ireland and looking to purchase cannibas tinctures. How do I go about picking the right supplier online. Look forward to your reply.
How much alcohol are you starting with? a 16oz mason jar full?
I’ve been hanging a hard time smoking over the past few months, as it has been making me cough more. Will thx tincture be a viable option for me to get high like weed without the unbearable cough?
Coughing made me switch to the volcano, and edibles. Tincture is great but it def doesn’t last as long as reg edibles. Hits you way faster and harder though. Combustion is out the window, gone.
Tinctures are definitely better for micro-dosing as they work fast, and leave faster than regular edibles. What I do is calculate my tinctures strength, then use an incremented dropper to take desired dose hourly.
I usually just leave it as “green dragon” and keep orange juice handy because OJ cuts the awful taste well. I’ve I have considered evaporating the alcohol off the dissolving the almost pure medicine into some mct oil for sublingual use so it will work faster, but my way is working pretty well so far. A tincture made with 7 grams last me 3 weeks, but for times when I have severe breakthrough pain from bad back, knees, elbows, wrists, I just load up a one hitter bowl and it enhances the effects of the tincture.
I do my tinctures with 250 ml.of 190 proof Clear springs alcohol and 32 grams of high potency flower..my last tincture was with 16 grams Of
“Garlic Breath”, 8 grams of “Terpy slurpy”and 8 grams of “Donnie Burger”.
My typical dose is 5-8 ml and it’s a ride plus I speep real well on that same dose..
You can evaporate the alcohol off and the end result will be very potent.
I’ve been taking about 1ml of high potency tincture about 3x a day. It is possible that the smell is seeping out of my pores?
you know as i read this its an intresting idea but not once on any site have i seen any mention of what to do with the strained out remains i would assume it still be acholol infused and would retain cone thc or cbh.does anyone dry out what is strained and cook with it?
I’ve used the dregs and made a tea from it. It is strong, stronger than I thought it would be.
This really opened my eyes. The writing skill alone kept my interest. Thank you for sharing!
Great piece of content.
I make edibles and use a volcano but tinctures are my go to most of the time. I generally mix a bit with some OJ and drink it. Takes about 30 minutes to kick in. I’ve been tossing the dregs but my roommate asked me to save them last time I made a batch. She has a low tolerance and claimed she got really high from just eating a very small amount. Yesterday afternoon I ate a small ball of it about the size of a marble and got a really nice long lasting high from it. Much higher than I expected actually so now I’ll be saving those dregs!
I did 8ml at once of tincture that was 562.4mgthc:60mgcbd and it didn’t do a thing can you smoke it I’m stuck with this whole other bottle but nothing to do with it cause ingestion doesn’t do anything for me.
With all of the lingo surrounding CBD constantly evolving, we wanted to bring some clarity to those who are confused about the terminology CBD Oil and CBD Tincture. In today’s CBD market, CBD oil and CBD tincture are being used interchangeably to mean the same thing. But going back historically, the two are actually very different from one another. Let’s dive into the details in our latest episode of Dr. Leslie’s Lab: CBD Oil vs CBD Tincture!