In this article, we’ll be discussing tinctures: what they are, what they’re good for, and how they’re made. In short, cannabis tinctures are alcohol-based cannabis extracts, and make for a great introduction to edibles because of how easy they are to dose. If you’re looking for a smokeless method of consuming cannabis, a THC tincture is the way to go! Read on if you want to learn how to easily make your own THC drops.
What Is A Tincture?
A tincture is an extract of plant matter made using high-percentage alcohol as a solvent. Similar to extracting cannabis oils, tinctures extract terpenes and cannabinoids from the plant material, leaving you with a super potent liquid extract. Tinctures are technically edibles, since the weed needs to be decarboxylated before it’s combined with the alcohol. Decarbing your weed (usually by means of heating it up – for example, in the oven) before combining it with alcohol ensures that chemicals like THCa are converted to THC and can be effectively metabolized.
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Benefits Of THC Tinctures
You might be wondering, why even bother with a tincture? Well, there are several benefits that just can’t be ignored! First of all, cannabis tinctures are great for dosing with precision. You can take a few drops at a time until you feel the desired effects, avoiding the unpredictability that comes with other edibles like brownies. Plus, they involve way fewer calories! Tinctures are also super discreet, since they don’t smell like weed and look just like any other medicine in a dropper bottle. For cannabis enthusiasts who don’t really like smoking, a tincture is the perfect solution.
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Different Methods For Making Cannabis Tinctures
There are a few different ways you can go about making your own tincture. You can use different types of alcohol, or even glycerin. We’ll highlight the pros and cons of the different solvents before introducing a cannabis tincture recipe of our own.
Alcohol Or Glycerin?
When making tinctures, alcohol is your best bet. It’s a great solvent and effectively strips cannabinoids from plant matter with little effort. It’s also possible to make a more potent tincture using glycerin, by first using alcohol and then (carefully!) evaporating it before introducing the glycerin. However, this method is not recommended due to the flammability of high-proof alcohol when evaporated using a heat source. Moreover, vegetable glycerin alone does not effectively extract cannabinoids, so it’s best to just stick with alcohol.
Which Type Of Alcohol Should I Use?
What’s the best type of alcohol to use for tinctures? We recommend using Everclear (pure grain alcohol), but brandy and vodka also work! Everclear is ideal because of its extremely high alcohol content, which helps strip the cannabinoids from the plant matter. Using alcohol like vodka or brandy will result in a more palatable but less potent tincture. The higher the alcohol content, the more potent the final product. Whatever you use, make sure that it’s a high-proof alcohol safe for consumption.
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How To Make Your Own Tincture
Now that you’ve got the know-how regarding different solvents, we can get started on how to make a weed tincture! This particular recipe uses Everclear to make a high-THC Green Dragon tincture.
What You’ll Need
Make sure you have the following before getting started:
- Half an ounce (14g) of cannabis flowers or trim
- Everclear/pure grain alcohol (190 proof is ideal)
- Mason jar with a lid
- Glass dropper bottles
- Aluminum foil
- Oven-safe pan
- Glass measuring cup
Step 1: Decarb Your Cannabis
Before you get started, you’re going to need to decarb your cannabis. A tincture without decarboxylation is not going to be nearly as potent. Preheat your oven to 230°F (110°C) and line an oven-safe pan with aluminum foil. Grind up your cannabis and evenly spread it across the pan. Bake for 110 minutes.
Step 2: Combine Alcohol And Cannabis
Once that’s done, move your decarbed flowers to a mason jar and fill it with Everclear so that the cannabis is completely submerged, then seal the jar. A good ratio is 750mL (25 fl.oz) per ounce of flower. If you want your tincture to be even more potent, reduce the amount of alcohol by a third.
Step 3: Let It Sit Before You Strain
It’s recommended to let the mixture sit for several days at least, but two weeks is ideal. Keep the mixture in the freezer; the cold helps separate chlorophyll from the final product. Once a day, take the jar out and give it a good shake for a few minutes to help the alcohol do its job. When it’s time, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth into a glass measuring cup. Then, wearing gloves, squeeze out the remaining liquid from the cheesecloth.
Step 4: Properly Store Your Tincture
Now it’s time to transfer the tincture! Ready your glass dropper bottle(s) and carefully pour the tincture in for easy dosing later. You can also just keep it in a sealed mason jar if that’s more your style. We recommend keeping your tincture in a cool, dark area; heat and light will decrease the quality of your tincture, so keep it safe in your medicine cabinet.
Dosing And Consuming THC Tincture
You can take your tincture under the tongue, put it in your food or drink, or simply swallow it down! Administering a tincture sublingually (under the tongue) is the fastest-acting method, but since tinctures are edibles, you can use them to infuse anything! Once your tincture is ready to go, it’s time to figure out the right dosage. We suggest starting with 1 mL under the tongue. Give it 45 minutes before dosing again if necessary. Up your dose slowly to find what works best for you!
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How Long Do The Effects Last?
Tinctures are different from other edibles because they’re (typically) taken sublingually, so your body absorbs it into the bloodstream much faster than digestion. Unlike other edibles, which can take an hour or two to kick in, a THC tincture will take effect in about 15-30 minutes when taken sublingually. This makes it easy to adjust your dose without having to wait too long. You can expect to ride the high for 4 hours or so, and the effects mellow out more quickly than edibles.
Tinctures Are Almost Too Good To Be True!
Making your own cannabis tincture is a low-effort way to make sure you always have some edibles on hand. They offer a discreet, easy way to experience the medical benefits of cannabis without having to light up. Oh, and before you ask, if your THC tincture burns under the tongue, there’s a simple answer: the alcohol! If you’ve ever taken a shot of high-proof alcohol, you’ve experienced that burn before. It’s nothing to be worried about, but if it really bothers you, you can mix your tincture into a drink instead of taking it sublingually.
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