Cannabis is an impressively versatile plant, taking on a wide range of forms to offer the ultimate in variety. One such form is a cannabis tincture, a type of cannabis-infused product with a long and storied history that dates back generations. Convenient, user-friendly, and smoke-free, tinctures offer a fuss-free option that appeals to new and seasoned consumers alike.
But what exactly is a cannabis tincture, and is it right for you? We’re taking a deep dive into everything you need to know about this “liquid gold in a bottle,” so you can make an informed decision and venture forward with cannabis confidence.
Cannabis Tinctures 101
Tinctures are commonly used as a convenient delivery system for medicinal herbs because when you use a tincture under the tongue (sublingually), plant compounds are absorbed quickly into the blood stream.
For this reason, taking cannabis in the form of tinctures makes it easier to dose than cannabis coconut oil or cannabutter based edibles that are high in THC.
They provide a faster delivery of all of the compounds in cannabis, so whether you’re using CBD, CBG or THC dominant plant material, you can feel the effects quickly and adjust your dosage as necessary.
The effects of tinctures come on 15-30 minutes after you take a dose and can last for up to 4 hours.
The effects also mellow out a lot faster than edibles, so even if you do take too much of a high THC tincture, it doesn’t linger (and possibly ruin your day) like fat based edibles can.
On that note, tinctures are a lot harder to take too much of since they’re not in the form of something that tastes really good.
Take it from someone who has eaten one too many cookies, pancakes, and a marijuana grilled cheese sandwich. It’s easy to overdo it when you infuse your favorite foods with high THC cannabis.
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.
Does Marijuana Tincture Cause Side Effects?
The short answer is: It depends. If you’re taking a THC tincture, then, yes, you’re going to get the same side effects you would get if you smoked a doobie (paranoia, munchies, etc.).
If you’re taking a CBD tincture, the side effects are less obvious. CBD does cause dry mouth, but many feel that it’s a small price to pay for all the medical benefits that the cannabinoid has to offer.
The only other side effect of note is that CBD decreases your liver’s ability to process other drugs. That’s not a problem if you replace one medication with a CBD medication.
But if you take a CBD medication and something like a heart medication, the CBD will interfere with the effectiveness of the heart medication. That’s bad. Because of the potential interactions, always consult a doctor adding CBD to your daily routine.
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.
Using your cannabis tincture couldn’t be simpler. In fact, the sheer convenience of infused tinctures is why they’re so popular. All you have to do is place 1–3 drops under your tongue, hold for 30–60 seconds, then swallow any remaining liquid.
If you find the technique challenging to master, try doing it in front of a mirror first. Or, if you find the taste off-putting, drop the infusion directly onto food or into a glass of juice.
The Benefits of Cannabis Tincture Over Other Consumption Methods
We’ve covered almost every facet of cannabis tincture, from how it’s made to whether it’s safe to swallow. Now, it’s time to wrap up this definitive guide with the benefits of cannabis tincture versus traditional consumption methods. After all, if you can smoke, vape, or eat cannabis, why should you even consider cannabis tincture?
- Tinctures deliver potent effects that start in minutes.
- Sublingual consumption gives THC and CBD direct access to your bloodstream, improving its bioavailability.
- Store cannabis tincture (alcohol) correctly, and it will last years.
- Discreet and straightforward. You can easily use cannabis tincture at work, home, or while socialising, without drawing attention to yourself.
- A couple of drops can have the same THC concentration as an entire joint.
- Easily added to your favourite drinks and dishes in seconds, without any prior preparation.
- Tinctures offer a precise and accurate way to microdose.
- Cannabis tincture is much friendlier on the waistline. Each drop is only a few calories compared to eating an entire edible.
And there you have it; a complete guide to cannabis tinctures, with everything you need to know to start making your own. All that’s left now is to try our simple recipe for yourself!