Cannabis tinctures 101

A cannabis tincture is a great way to deliver cannabinoids into the body, avoiding the pitfalls of smoking while still inducing a blissful buzz. Here’s what marijuana tinctures are and how to make them!

Whether you’re totally new to cannabis or if you’re looking for ways to cut down or quit smoking the reefer all together, the choices can seem a little daunting, confusing and overwhelming.

But when it comes to cannabis tinctures, there’s not another cannabis ingestion method that is more simple, easy and clear.

Tinctures are quickly becoming a more popular alternative to smoking (which is fine occasionally, but can irritate the lungs and throat, among other things) or edibles (which can be tricky to dose and unpredictable).

And since it’s 2020 and you can order high CBG and CBD organic cannabis on the internet, you can now make non-intoxicating medicinal tinctures or easily create your own blends to achieve certain effects.

What is a cannabis tincture?

Cannabis tinctures are alcohol-based cannabis extracts—essentially, cannabis-infused alcohol. In fact, tinctures were the main form of cannabis medicine until the United States enacted cannabis prohibition. They’re a great entry point for both recreational and medical consumers looking to ease into smokeless consumption methods.

Tinctures present an alternative avenue for users interested in the effects of cannabis. They’re discreet, convenient, straightforward to consume, and you can make them at home. Tinctures also tend to be a lot stronger than smoking a joint or using a vaporizer. In fact, for most people, a few drops of cannabis tincture is all they need at a time.

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.

Cannabis Tincture vs Cannabis Oil and RSO

It’s common for people to question the difference between cannabis tincture, cannabis oil, and Rick Simpson oil (RSO). After all, each is a concentrated cannabis liquid. However, there is a key difference between these extracts that you should know.

Cannabis oil and RSO both feature an oil base (typically olive oil). Oils bind well with cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBC, etc.), and olive oil provides a few nutritional benefits too. By comparison, cannabis tinctures use alcohol or glycerine (if alcohol isn’t suitable) as a base

Choosing the right type of alcohol for tinctures

The goal is to find a high-proof alcohol that is safe for consumption. The higher the alcohol content, the better it will dissolve cannabis resin. Everclear is my alcohol of choice when making a tincture, as it is both safe to consume and highly potent.

Products like isopropyl alcohol are not intended to be consumed and should never be used when making a tincture—save that for cleaning your pipes!

To keep it simple, I like to use this ratio when making a tincture: For every ounce of cannabis flower, use one 750 mL bottle of alcohol (for an eighth of weed, that’s about 3 fluid oz).

This produces a mild effect, great for microdosing. If you want a more potent tincture, reduce the amount of alcohol by a third until you hit your desired potency.

  • Step 1: Decarboxylate your cannabis flower or concentrate (if you’re using flower, grind it to a fine consistency).
  • Step 2: Mix your flower or concentrate in a mason jar with high-proof alcohol (preferably Everclear).
  • Step 3: Close the jar and let it sit for a few weeks, shaking it once a day.
  • Step 4: After a few weeks, strain it through a coffee filter.

And if you don’t feel like waiting several weeks, you can even get away with shaking it for 3 minutes, straining, and storing.

How to dose and consume cannabis tinctures

It’s important to be consistent when making tinctures. If you make two batches at different strengths, a dose from each won’t be the same. Write down how much alcohol and cannabis you use for each batch so it can be replicated again if it was to your liking.

Once you’ve made the tincture, dosages are easy to self-titrate, or measure. Start with 1 mL of your finished tincture and put it under your tongue. If you’re happy with the effects, you’re done.

Otherwise, ramp up your dosage slowly to avoid getting uncomfortably high—try 2 mL the next day, and so on, until you find the dose you’re happy with.

According to The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook, cannabis tinctures will last for many years when stored in a cool, dark place. Their long shelf life means you can make large quantities of them in one sitting.

Compared to the traditional cannabis-infused brownie, tinctures are a low calorie alternative. If you make a tincture with 190 proof alcohol, you’re looking at about 7 calories per mL.

Cannabis tinctures can be incorporated into all sorts of meals and drinks:

  • Juices
  • Ice creams and sherbets
  • Soups
  • Gelatin
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Salad dressing

I like to add some cannabis oil to my homemade chicken tikka masala for a delicious infused dinner.

1 thought on “Cannabis tinctures 101”

  1. Carrol Bronson

    You did a great job explaining the dosage. The dropper I bought had no measurements and the bottle had no directions. It also didn’t come with any paperwork. For a first timer I had to hunt down the correct dose. Thank you.

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