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.