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Cannabis Tinctures: Everything You Need To Know

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.
  • Cheesecloth
  • Mason jar
  • Glass dropper bottles
  • Oven-safe pan
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Gloves

Decarboxylation

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.

Directions

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.

22 comments

How much alcohol is ingested with the final Product? It would probably not be a good option for someone with alcoholic cirrhosis.for example. Correct?

Based on the recipe provided here, yes it would be a problem for alcoholics due to the concentrated alcohol present in the finished product. I have a personal variation that I like to make that takes 4 extra steps. This version has a much lower alcohol percentage and volume in the finished product.

Extra supplies for my steps:
– A large nonpermeable dish(I recommend a glass casserole dish with a large surface area)
– A metal wire splatter screen large enough the cover the entire dish
– A pedestal fan or a tower fan or even a diy(something that will constantly blow air across the top of the dish)
– A rubber spatula(must be a spatula with malleable edges)
– A small 100mL glass amber bottle with a dropper head(The amber provide the container with UV protection, if not amber, ensure the container has UV protection)
– A funnel with a small enough head to fit inside the opening of the amber bottle.
– Before starting step 4 set aside some of the tinctures from step 3 (1/2 cup) and store in an airtight(you don’t want this alcohol evaporating) container for later use at the end.

The 4 extra steps are to be done after step 3 in this article is done.

New step 4: Pore the alcohol onto the large nonpermeable dish(you want as much surface area as possible, you are going to want to use a dish that a rubber spatula can scrape all surfaces easily). Cover with the splatter screen. Place the dish in a room with good ventilation and turn on the ventilation fan.

P.S. If you are using a lot of alcohol, pour no more than 500mL into the dish at a time to reduce the length of time needed for each evaporation session. If doing this, repeat steps 4-6 until all of the fluid(excluding the set-aside tincture) has gone through the process.

Step 5: Then you are going to want to set up a fan (on the lowest setting) to blow air across the top of the dish. Then leave it to sit in the room and check every 8-12 hours. (This step will exponentially increase the speed that the alcohol evaporates due to the air pulling the alcohol vapors away from the tincture. The goal here is to remove all or most of the alcohol leaving a yellowy-amber muddy looking oil/paste coating on the dish. At this point, the “mud” is a nearly pure cannabis extract from the plant including terpenes and cannabinoids)

Step 6: Test to see if it ready. You can do this by lifting one side slightly(just enough to let a thumb be placed between the dish and the surface it is on) and see if the contents are runny or thick. It is ready for the next step once it is a paste that barely moves/flows when tipped, if at all.

Step 7: Once ready measure out 2 tbsp of the set-aside tincture and add it to the dish. Using the spatula, mix the alcohol with what’s left in the dish until the remnants in the dish are fully blended with the alcohol(ensuring there isn’t anything sticking to the dish when done).
P.S. If too thick after mixing the 2 tbsp’s in for 5 minutes, add more of the set-aside tincture at 1 tbsp at a time.

Step 8(replaces original final step): Place the funnel into the amber bottle and pour the tincture into the bottle. Use the spatula to get all the liquid to minimize on the waist. Then seal the container with the dropper lid. Strength will vary depending on the strength and quantity of plant matter used in the process, test the strength via micro-dosing until you have determined how many drops you need for the desired effect.

This method drastically cuts down on the alcohol content of the finished product when compared to the one in this article and drastically increases the potency of the cannabis(cannabis extract to alcohol ratio) in the finished product. Personally, I will either use this as a drop or 2 under the tongue or by adding a drop or 2 of this tincture into a mixed drink I am drinking at the time.

An added benefit for medical cannabis users, if you skip the decarboxylation step(i.e. using raw unheated buds for the entire process), due to there being no heating in the process, this method is great for extracting the acid forms of the cannabinoids, if that is what you are looking for.

I do my tinctures with
32 grams if high potency flower.
Decarb by cooking in oven @225F. for 30 minutes. I only use 300 MLS of everclear..
Mason jar for 30 days in a dark cool environment (closet)
My typical dose is 4-8 mls..
Nice ride and good sleeping.

Have a ton of trouble sleeping even with a few dabs and a nice cone of my fav indica. I’m going to try the tincture and your process sounds super easy

An indica tincture is good for sleeping or FECO in capsules.

You can evaporate the alcohol off and the end result will be very potent.

Cosmic View Tinctures (20:1, 3:1, and 1:1)

Cosmic View has a line of three masterfully formulated tinctures. Photo: Marcia Gagliardi. © mymilligram. Styling: Christian Jusinski/Surfacehaus. Props: Jay Jeffers/The Store.

A fundamental part of any microdoser’s toolkit is to have a variety of tinctures in it, which you can use to explore cannabis through different ratios, and make micro-adjustments to your day and state of being. While we’re seeing many cannabis brands presenting themselves as a luxury product, the mother-and-daughter duo behind Cosmic View want to honor its deep medicinal and hippie/back-to-the-land roots.

Daughter Nicole Skibola is a cancer survivor (she had a rare endometrial cancer), and after treatment, she made some diet and lifestyle changes and started integrating cannabis into her day-to-day as a therapeutic aid. Instead of unwinding with a glass or two of wine, she started using cannabis instead, which has the added benefit of anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative qualities. Nicole also mentioned to me that a recent study has shown how CBD can help kill endometrial cancer cells.

Nicole would definitely be up on all the latest research, because her mother, Christine Skibola, is an international cancer researcher, PhD, and scientist, and a recently retired U.C. Berkeley professor (you can read more about her extensive background here). Christine helped formulate tinctures for her daughter with the highest levels of cannabinoids to help with her ongoing wellness and serve as medicine. They moved from private use to getting licensed and manufacturing in 2017. Christine also formulated three different topicals to help her own auto-immune skin disorder (Psori-Assist), as well as one for vaginal health (Viva la V!), and another for pain relief (Deep Down).

Their tincture line has three different ratios (20:1 CBD to THC, 3:1, and 1:1) and uses sun-grown cannabis sourced from growers in Trinity County who farm with intention, and dedication to the land and the use of cannabis as medicine. Cosmic View is committed to supporting craft cannabis, and having a relationship with their cultivator. They also work with their extractors to provide them crude/minimally refined cannabis in order to preserve as many of the beneficial compounds, cannabinoids, and terpenes as possible after extraction (both rosin and unwinterized CO2 supercritical extraction). They formulate their tinctures to be as close to the plant’s natural integrity as possible.

Another component to their tinctures is the olive oil they sourced for the formulations. They use a high-quality, cold-pressed, unfiltered Tuscan blend from Sonoma, and the farm is the same one that mills their family olives for their own olive oil at home. Not only is olive oil prized for its many healthful qualities that contribute to longevity, but it’s also linked to having anti-cancer properties. Some people have a sensitivity to MCT/coconut oil, which is used in many cannabis tinctures, so this olive oil–based version is a great option.

Let’s take a look at the three different tinctures:

Cosmic View’s 20:1 tincture. Photo: Marcia Gagliardi. © mymilligram. Styling: Christian Jusinski/Surfacehaus. Props: Jay Jeffers/The Store.

The 20:1 tincture

The ratio of 20:1 means there are 20 parts CBD to one part THC (i.e. very little to no psychoactivity). You shouldn’t notice any psychoactive effects, but a little bit of THC present is beneficial for boosting the efficacy of the CBD. 20:1 is not only a great ratio for beginners, but for anyone who wants to explore a regimen of adding CBD to their day to day.

In time, as you get more comfortable, you can try other ratios, like 3:1 or 1:1. Different ratios have different effects and potential benefits, especially for more serious ailments or chronic issues. If there’s something specific you’re trying to alleviate, it’s good to try a product consistently for at least a couple weeks, ideally longer. You may not notice anything for a while, and then suddenly, on day ten, something may shift.

The 20:1 CBD-rich tincture may help with anxiety and mood stabilization, sleep, minimize pain (like from arthritis, cramps, headaches, and migraines), and CBD is known for being anti-inflammatory. It’s also known for helping with neurological disorders and conditions, like epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and cerebral palsy.

It has personally helped me with body soreness (it’s great after a workout or too much exertion, like a day of skiing), the occasional pinched nerve/back pain/kink in the neck, and hangovers. This tincture provides me some calm and relaxation in moments of stress or anxiety, without making me too sleepy—I’ll take a quarter dropper if I’m feeling stressy and go from there. Smooth those feathers.

Go ahead, put a drop or two on your tongue and taste it. (You can do it in front of a mirror to be sure you just release a couple drops.) I find the flavor to be very natural and earthy-floral and quite pleasing. The olive oil gives it a familiar note I love, but it isn’t sharp or hot or prickly—it’s smooth and elegant. You may feel effects in 15–30 minutes, and they can last from 2–6 hours (it depends upon your metabolism).

A recommended starting point is to try a 1/4 dropper (.25ml as noted on the dropper, which is 2.375mg of CBD and a negligible .125mg of THC) and hold it under your tongue for 30–60 seconds before swallowing—I just leave it under my tongue and find it slowly dissipates within a minute. The next day, try it again. See how it feels. Maybe have a little more. The goal is to eventually dial in your MED (minimum effective dose). Since cannabis is biphasic, a lower dose can be more beneficial than a higher one—so more is not necessarily more.

See how you react to CBD at bedtime: some folks can be activated by it, so it may be better for daytime (the 1:1 ratio would work best if you want something at bedtime).

It can take time to build up the effects of daily CBD use and treatment, even a month, so be patient. If you’re looking to explore use for general homeostasis or chronic issues, consider trying a small dose (1/4 dropper) three times a day, before meals, and titrate from there.

Have you had too much THC? Don’t forget, you can use this 20:1 tincture to chill things out. If you ever feel like you’re too high (which is the number one thing I want you to avoid experiencing, but it can happen), you can take some CBD and it can help lessen the euphoric effects of THC. (Another trick is to smell or eat black pepper . Yup, there’s a wonderful reason to keep black pepper salami in your fridge.)

The 3:1 tincture

This ratio can be extra-calming and good for evening time. It has a higher amount of THC (.25ml or a 1/4 dropper is 1.875mg of CBD and .625mg of THC, while a full dropper would be 7.5mg of CBD and 2.5mg of THC), which may help with specific health conditions, pain management, and migraines. It can help combat nausea and stimulate appetite for anyone undergoing cancer treatment. Nicole also mentioned it could be a good protocol for breast cancer survivors to integrate since THC has some cancer-killing properties.

In a less-serious usage scenario, I also find this ratio to be pleasant in the afternoon or over the weekend when I want a little daytime lift in creativity and happy vibes, but nothing too strong or weird. While I was on vacation in Lake Tahoe this summer, I enjoyed taking a dropper before I’d leave our family cabin and hop on my bike to ride to the beach. I’d have a really engaging bike ride, and when I arrived to the lake, that first dip felt extra-delicious (same goes for the daily sandwich I’d bring). The ducks would also be pretty funny. (You quackin’ at me?)

The 1:1 tincture

The 1:1 is good for when you want to tap more into the analgesic effects of THC (it’s great for hangovers), or need quick relief from anxiety or insomnia. The higher presence of THC means you will feel some psychoactive effects, like euphoria and some perception shifts. Similar to the 3:1, the 1:1 can help cancer patients with symptoms like nausea, discomfort, and appetite loss, but may be more ideal at nighttime due to its psychoactive effects (the 1:1 is like the 3:1 on steroids). It can also be helpful for people trying to wean off of opioids. 1/4 dropper (.25ml) is 1.25mg of CBD and 1.25mg of THC (a full dropper would be 5mg of both).

I have enjoyed the 1:1 for fun as well—with the right setting, you can use it as a party tincture. I like it at the end of the day, have taken it before some of my creative brainstorming walks, and certainly for nighttime Netflix (or Netflix and Chill, hubba), unwinding, and pre-bedtime chillaxing.

One thing to keep in mind: keep your tinctures out of the sun and warm places. You can even keep them in the fridge to prolong their shelf life.

Wakeful Night

Nicole is also an artist, and has just released her first book, Wakeful Night . Here’s more: “This book is an illustrated exploration of cancer-related loss she developed to lead readers through their own stages of identity, fear, and metaphorical thinking associated with a cancer diagnosis. Through art—the book also contains a series of Skibola’s abstract linocut prints and India ink paintings—and some narrative storytelling, Wakeful Night aims to support readers to understand their experience of cancer and develop a creative practice.” This would be a supportive gift for anyone you know who is going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Visit acosmicview.co for more info and the mymilligram page on getsava.com to purchase any of the three tinctures and two of the topicals.

Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

How to Use a Cannabis Tincture

Welcome to the world of cannabis tinctures! They’re one of our favorite ways to enjoy cannabis and are quickly becoming a go-to method of delivery for a reason. Tinctures provide fast and efficient dosage with minimal effort and can be used just about anywhere. If you’ve been wondering how to use this simple yet effective method of cannabis consumption, this article is for you.

What Are Cannabis Tinctures?

Cannabis tinctures are liquid cannabis extracts made by soaking flowers in a solvent. The process separates the terpenes and cannabinoids from the plant material, creating a solution that contains high levels of these beneficial compounds. The solvent also helps to preserve these compounds, giving tinctures a long shelf life.

So, why are tinctures so popular? Herbal tinctures have been used for centuries and are one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. They’re also the original way people used medical cannabis in the early 20th century before prohibition. Tinctures offer one of the easiest ways of enjoying the many benefits of cannabis and is one of the best methods for precise dosing.

The Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures

While tinctures are one of the simplest ways to use cannabis, their benefits go way beyond their ease of use. Here are a few of the greatest benefits when it comes to choosing cannabis tinctures over other consumption methods:

Discreet

Tinctures allow for quick absorption of cannabis without any clouds of smoke or vapor. They come in small bottles that can easily and safely fit into your purse or pocket. Tinctures don’t have a strong aroma and can be used at almost any time and setting without anyone needing to know about it. A few drops under the tongue (i.e., sublingually) and you’re good to go.

Fast Acting

Because tinctures are usually used sublingually, they are absorbed more rapidly than edibles. Tinctures can transmit their active components to the bloodstream quickly through the lining of the mouth, and the effects come on in 15-30 minutes.

Shelf Life

Most tinctures are made with an alcohol solvent, which acts to preserve the plant compounds. They stay fresh and effective for years when they are stored properly in a cool, dark place. Because tinctures are so concentrated, a little can go a long way, and your bottle of tincture will likely last a while.

Precise

It’s easy to go overboard with flowers and edibles accidentally. But tinctures come in a bottle that includes a measured dropper, which allows for very precise dosing to the milliliter. Many also come in precise THC:CBD ratios, so you know exactly what you are getting every time you use them.

Low-Calorie

Tinctures are a great low-calorie alternative to rich and delicious edibles.

How to Use a Tincture

There are many reasons to try tinctures, but one of the best benefits is how easy they are to use.

Sublingual consumption is one of the best ways to use a tincture if you want stronger, faster effects. Put the dose under your tongue and hold it there for 1 minute before swallowing. This method allows cannabis to hit your bloodstream quickly. You can also just drop the tincture into your mouth and swallow right away, but the effects will be more subtle and require more time to take effect.

For those who don’t like the taste or feel of a tincture in their mouth, there is another way to do it. You can simply drop the tincture onto your choice of food or beverage and enjoy it. This method will take the same length of time to kick in as edibles.

How to Choose the Right Tincture

Just like with any cannabis product, choosing the right tincture depends on the experience you want to have. Tinctures come in a variety of strengths and cannabinoid ratios. So, it’s important to always do your research or ask a budtender for help choosing something that will work for your goals. Tinctures that are higher in CBD and lower in THC will give you relaxation benefits with a less intense or no “high.” Varieties with larger amounts of THC will provide similar benefits with stronger psychoactive effects.

The dosage you take will play the biggest role in determining how a tincture will make you feel. So, remember that the right dosage of a tincture will vary from person to person, and depend on your individual goals.

If you are wondering how to choose a tincture that’s right for you, we’d love to help. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can answer all your questions and make recommendations based on the effects you are looking to achieve. Stop by San Diego dispensary and start enjoying all the benefits that cannabis tinctures have to offer!