How To Make Cannabis Tinctures

by Rae Lland

There are so many ways to enjoy cannabis, and beyond smoking, one of the most well-known ways is edibles. While the most common imagery of edibles may be the ubiquitous pot brownie, you don’t have to chow down on food to enjoy this convenient form of weed. Instead, you may want to consider another form of digestible cannabis — tincture. 

What Is Cannabis Tincture?

Cannabis-based tinctures are one of the oldest forms of medical cannabis — in fact, it wasn’t so long ago that they were sold in pharmacies before prohibition. Today, cannabis tinctures can be found in dispensaries and are often used by medical marijuana patients. 

Tinctures are alcohol-based cannabis extracts made from the cannabis plant by soaking flower in high-proof alcohol until it is cannabis-infused. The alcohol used must be suitable for consumption, such as a grain alcohol like 190 proof Everclear, and should never be made with isopropyl alcohol or similar.

Alternatively, some prefer to forgo the alcohol and make glycerin tincture, however, glycerin is not as successful in bonding to the compounds in cannabis, and thus many do not find it as effective. For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on alcohol-based tinctures, but either way, the result is a tincture that can be taken orally. 

Does Tincture Get You High?

Whether or not cannabis tincture will get you high depends on the strength of your tincture and which cannabinoids are present. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the cannabinoid known for the popular psychoactive effect of cannabis, while cannabidiol (CBD) is well-known for providing the physical benefits without producing a ‘high’ feeling. 

CBD Project explains the different effects cannabis has on the brain by writing that, “CBD and THC have similar molecular structures, but CBD does not directly stimulate CB1 and CB2, the canonical cannabinoid receptors, like THC does.”

Regardless of desired effects, there is a cannabis tincture for everyone. A full-spectrum tincture with THC present can produce psychoactive effects if it is a strong enough concentration, and for those who would rather not get high, a CBD tincture is a great option.

Cannabis Tincture Recipe 

Tinctures are relatively simple to make; all it takes is the necessary materials and some patience!

You’ll need:

  • Cannabis flower
  • Grinder
  • Mason jar
  • Everclear or similar high-proof consumable alcohol 
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter
  • Glass dropper bottle

Directions:

  1. Begin by decarboxylating your cannabis, and then run it through a grinder several times to get it to a fine consistency. 
  2. Next, combine the alcohol and cannabis in your mason jar, and make sure the cannabis is fully covered. The amount of cannabis to alcohol you use will determine the strength of your tincture. While the ratio doesn’t need to be measured precisely, a good starting point is about one gram of cannabis per one fluid ounce of alcohol. It’s a good idea to keep track of the ratio you use so that next time you can tweak it as desired — if your tincture came out too strong, you can use less cannabis, if it came out too weak, you can use more. 
  3. Once the cannabis and alcohol are combined, close the jar tightly, shake, and then wait. Once a day pick it up and give it another good shake, but other than that you’ll want to let your tincture sit for about three weeks.
  4. When ready, strain the liquid from the plant matter in your mason jar by using the cheesecloth, then add the tincture to your glass dropper. Dispose of the plant material.

Your tincture is now ready to be used!

Using Your Cannabis Tincture 

You’ve made your own tincture, now what? Always follow the golden rule — start low, go slow! Begin with a single dropper (about 1mL) of your tincture. You can either take it sublingually (under the tongue), drink it, add it to a drink such as juice or food, like ice cream.

Tinctures are relatively fast-acting and you can expect to feel the effects after around 30 minutes. Depending on how fast your liver processes it, expect it to peak after around an hour and a half. To be safe, avoid taking a second dose for at least five hours the first time you try it to avoid potentially taking too much and experiencing an uncomfortable high. 

Your tincture has a long shelf life, simply store in a cool, dark place in your home, and enjoy as needed. 

All in all, whether a novice to cannabis or an old friend, a tincture is a great, convenient, and discreet way to enjoy cannabis that can be made in the comfort of your own home. 

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