From CBD balms to cannabutter, the weed world is filled with DIY projects that you can create in your kitchen. In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn all about cannabis tinctures, including how tinctures work, the benefits of cannabis tinctures, and how to make a tincture at home.
What is a tincture and how does it work?
A cannabis tincture is a type of cannabis extract that is usually alcohol-based. Tinctures have gained popularity among cannabis consumers since they are a smokeless consumption method and can be easily prepared at home.
Cannabis tinctures can be ingested on their own, usually by placing a few drops under the tongue in what is called sublingual ingestion. Tinctures can also be incorporated into many recipes. Ice cream, gravy, soups, salad dressings, and beverages all gain potential therapeutic benefits with a little cannabis tincture added.
Even though cannabis tinctures constitute an edible form of marijuana, they work much faster than traditional edibles like brownies or gummies. In fact, if taken correctly, the effects of cannabis tinctures can begin in a few seconds, as opposed to the typical hour or more of weed edibles. That’s because the sublingual tissue under the tongue allows the cannabinoids to pass directly into the bloodstream, instead of going through the digestive tract to reach the bloodstream.
To achieve the full effect, tinctures should be held under the tongue for 30 seconds, ideally while rubbing it into the tissue. While the effects of cannabis tinctures taken sublingually begin quicker, they do not last as long as those from edible baked goods. But they do tend to last longer than those of vaping or smoking.
One more distinction of cannabis tinctures is that they are easy to dose. Rather than winging it with a few puffs of a joint or a nibble of a brownie, an eyedropper tells you exactly how much cannabis you are ingesting via tincture. This point is especially important for those who are new or sensitive to the psychoactive effects of THC. While some cannabis consumers report adverse effects from ingesting too much THC through edibles, this issue can be averted by placing a few drops of tincture under the tongue. If getting too high is a concern, cannabis consumers can spit out the tincture after letting it sit under the tongue for at least 30 seconds.
Be aware that you might experience a slight burning sensation in the mouth due to the alcohol content of the tincture. If the burning sensation is uncomfortable, apply the cannabis tincture topically for more subtle effects.
What do you use to make a tincture?
The list of supplies and ingredients to make a cannabis tincture is very short. Here’s what you’ll need to make one in your kitchen:
- 1 baking sheet
- 1 glass jar
- 1 glass tincture bottle with eyedropper
- 1 small funnel
- 1 strainer such as a coffee filter
- Cannabis (an eighth of an ounce suggested)
- Enough high-proof, food-grade alcohol to submerge the cannabis (190 proof grain alcohol suggested)
Tip: High-proof alcohol is recommended because a higher alcohol content, or proof, more easily dissolves the cannabinoids. Do not mistake isopropyl alcohol for something that can be used here. Stick with food-grade alcohol like Everclear or other grain alcohol.
Once you’ve gathered the supplies, follow these four simple steps to make your cannabis tincture:
- Decarb your cannabis by breaking it up and placing it in an oven heated to 230 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius) for 30 minutes.
- Once cooled, put the decarbed cannabis in your glass jar and add just enough alcohol to submerge the cannabis.
- Seal the jar and store in a cool, dark place for three weeks. Shake once daily. The cannabis and alcohol mixture needs to sit for 21 days so the cannabinoids completely dissolve into the alcohol. If you want the tincture right away, you can shake the jar vigorously for several minutes and go to the next step. But be aware you might be leaving valuable cannabinoids behind and you’ll certainly have a less potent tincture.
- After 21 days, strain the cannabis and alcohol mixture through a coffee-filter-lined funnel into the tincture bottle, leaving enough room for the eyedropper.
Golden Cannabis Tincture (Everclear)
Unlike the “Green Dragon”, the Gold Dragon tincture uses pre-cleaned, pre-decarbed cannabis to create a clean, clear tincture that takes half the time to make. This tincture can be used sublingually as well as in recipes like canna-sugar.
Choosing the right type of alcohol for tinctures
When picking alcohol for making tinctures it is important to find high-proof alcohol that is safe for consumption. The higher the alcohol content, the better it will dissolve cannabis resin. When making tinctures, Everclear (In California max of 120 proof available, outside you may be able to get 180 Proof) is my alcohol of choice although I also like using Bicardi 151 Proof, since it is safe to consume and highly potent.
WARNING! Products such as isopropyl alcohol are not intended to be consumed and should never be used when making a tincture! Always check the label to make sure it is safe for consumption!
Let’s make a Tincture
- Prep: 5 minutes + 12 hours
- Infusion: 1 minute 2 X day for 3 days= Total of 6 minuets
- Final Process: 2 minutes
- 2 x Ball Jars (or similar resealable freezer-safe jar) 8oz
- Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- ¼ oz Cleaned and Decarbed Cannabis flower (final weight should be 3.6 grams after cleaning and decarbing)
- 1 cup Everclear
- Place 1 of the Ball jars in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
- Remove immediately prior to steps 2 & 3.
- Break up buds and stems and place all of them into the pre-frozen jar.
- Pour Everclear into the other jar. Seal them up and freeze overnight.
- Pour Freezer Cold Everclear over buds and stems, cover, and shake.
- Put the mixture in the BACK of the freezer.
- Remove and shake 2 X a day for 3 days. (10 days if you only have 120 proof alcohol).
- Strain into a Ball Jar using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to separate the plant matter from the tincture.
- Leave jar, uncovered in a cool dark place for 24 hours. Enjoy!
Now that you have your tincture ready to go let’s discuss dosing. When dosing with a tincture you want to be careful since its a highly concentrated form of cannabinoids. When making my tincture I used a strain of cannabis with 22% THC, which would be approx 50 mg/ tsp or 25 mg/ drop, or simpler would be 20 drops should yield be approx 5 milligrams. Remember to start low and go slow, all dosing is approximated without getting a lab test.