Cannabis tinctures, including CBD tinctures, are rapidly growing in popularity. You can buy CBD tinctures off the shelf at any wellness store in just about every state. In some states, it isn’t unusual to find a CBD tincture or two at your local drugstore or pharmacy.
Tinctures made from whole cannabis, including THC, are sold at medical and recreational dispensaries. People who want to enjoy cannabis without smoking or vaporizing it immediately gravitate toward this delivery method.
There is no shortage of reasonably affordable high-quality cannabis tinctures. If you’d rather make your tincture yourself and you’re free for the afternoon, you can try your hand at whipping up your own tincture in your kitchen.
What is a tincture?
Tincture means something different in the medical sense than it does in the cannabis world. Most cannabis tinctures are cannabis-infused oils, although some are made in the traditional way. Medically, tinctures are active ingredients suspended in alcohol.
Tinctures come in glass bottles with droppers that allow you to control the dosage. You place the drops beneath your tongue, where they’re quickly and efficiently absorbed into your bloodstream through the thin tissue. They begin to work much faster than edibles, tablets, or other forms of THC you need to swallow because they’re able to bypass the lengthy process of digestion.
Cannabis tinctures used to be readily available in the United States before cannabis products were made illegal. You could go to the local drugstore and pick up a bottle of cannabis-infused alcohol to use as a medicine or as “medicine” whenever you pleased.
Things are (thankfully) different now. Medical cannabis and recreational cannabis are legal in many states, with more jumping on the bandwagon. This reignited the interest in cannabis tinctures for people who want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without having to smoke it.
Cannabis companies formulate and sell tinctures in different strengths and cannabinoid balances. They’re very easy to find at most dispensaries, and their popularity often leads to affordable prices for the amount of THC they contain.
What are the benefits of cannabis tinctures?
The benefits of cannabis tinctures will depend upon the cannabinoids they contain. Tinctures made from hemp are usually high in CBD, which naturally induces relaxation without any psychoactive effects. Tinctures that are high in THC will get you high, but also provide the medical benefits that THC provides. They can help to ease pain and stimulate appetite, which is what medical cannabis patients use THC to do.
Many tinctures are made from cannabis with specific cannabinoid balances designed to inspire a certain set of effects. Some may contain more CBD than THC to provide a gentle high with a strongly soothing effect. The label will give you the ratios and explain the role that each cannabinoid plays in creating the intended effect.
How to dose cannabis tinctures
If you’re making cannabis tincture on your own, choose your cannabis carefully. You want a cannabis strain with a well-rounded cannabinoid profile if you’re looking to do more than catch a buzz or take the edge off some aches and pains. Many people prefer to use hemp flower or low THC, high CBD flowers to make tinctures.
Once you’ve chosen your strain of cannabis with the cannabinoid balance that looks appealing to you, you need to work out how many milligrams of THC there are in each gram of that cannabis. To do that, you’ll simply convert the percentage. There is 1,000 mg in one gram. If your cannabis is 25% THC and 8% CBD, that means there are 250 mg of THC and 80 mg of CBD per gram.
Tinctures are intended to be highly concentrated. If you start with a 750 mL bottle of alcohol and you want to make a tincture that contains 30mg of THC per mL, you need to get 22,500 mg of THC into that bottle. That’s 90 grams of cannabis, which is more than 3 ounces. This is expensive, often prohibitively so. So you’ll need to reduce the amount of alcohol.
It’s easiest to make tinctures at 3 ounces of alcohol per an eighth of an ounce of weed. An eighth is 3.5 grams. If your weed is 25% THC, that’s 875 mg of total THC over 3 ounces, which works out to 291 MG THC per ounce. There is about 30 mL in one ounce, so your resulting tincture will be about 10 mg of cannabis per 1 mL drop.
Making your tincture
Before you infuse your weed into your alcohol, you need to decarboxylate it. Decarboxylating your weed will activate the cannabinoids, a process that usually takes place in real-time as you smoke the weed. You need to apply steady and gentle heat to the weed long enough for its cannabinoids to convert to their active form without burning the weed.
Grind up your eighth of weed into pieces similar in size to a grain of rice. Large pieces won’t decarboxylate correctly and small pieces will burn. It’s important to get the size right. Open your grinder and check the texture and size of your grind after every turn.
Crumple up some aluminum foil and uncrumple it to create a texture. Lay the foil gently in the bottom of a glass baking dish. The texture will minimize direct heat contact with your weed, reducing the chance of burning the flower. Sprinkle your weed in a thin and uniform layer over this piece of foil, and loosely set another piece of foil on top.
Put the dish on the center rack of your oven and bake it at 220 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. It’s normal for your entire house to smell dank while this is happening. After 30 minutes, check your weed to see if it’s turning golden brown. If it isn’t, check it again in 5 minutes. Don’t allow your weed to turn dark brown or burn. You’ll want to take it out as soon as it has a toasty hue. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.
The rest of the process of making your tincture is easy. It just involves a little patience.
Do not use rubbing alcohol. Medical alcohol products are not intended to be consumed. Instead, you’ll want to use clear alcohol that’s safe for drinking. Both Everclear and high-proof vodka will work perfectly.
Put your decarboxylated weed into your mason jar and pour 3 ounces of alcohol over it. A standard shot glass holds 1.5 ounces of alcohol. If you don’t have a perfect way to measure your alcohol but you know how to pour a shot, two shots will work. Seal the lid of the mason jar and shake your tincture.
Your tincture needs to sit for a few weeks for the alcohol to fully absorb the alcohol. You’ll want to shake the jar for a minute or two every day to encourage incorporation. After two or three weeks, you can strain your tincture to remove the plant material.
Finishing your tincture
The easiest way to do that is to stuff a coffee filter into the mouth of a mason jar, leaving a few inches sitting above the rim. Fold them down and secure them to the threads of the jar with a rubber band. Slowly pour your tincture into the filter, allowing the infused alcohol to drip down into the jar while the coffee filter captures the ground weed.
You probably don’t want to use your tincture directly from a mason jar. You can use a funnel, syringe, or pipette to transfer the mixture into a dark-colored glass bottle with a dropper top. Label the bottle with your milligrams of THC per milliliter to help you dose your tincture appropriately.
Using your tincture
Tinctures are very versatile. You can use them directly from the bottle with the dropper whenever you want a quick dose of THC. Just put the drops under your tongue and hold them. You’ll feel the effects in a few minutes.
You can also add drops to food or drinks. Tinctures are an alcohol-based extract, just like the high-quality pure vanilla extract you use for baking. They’re easy to toss into recipes, and because you’re only adding a few drops of alcohol, it won’t leave behind a noticeably boozy taste.
Making your own cannabis tincture isn’t difficult, but it is a little time-consuming. You’ll need to be patient because it will be a few weeks before you can actually use it. If you’re patient and willing to do the math, you’ll probably find the process fun.
If you don’t wait to wait a few weeks for your tincture, how does half an hour sound? If you want a tincture you can use right now (and maybe some weed you can use to make your own tincture), Emjay can deliver what you need in about half an hour. Good things are worth waiting for, but why wait when you don’t have to?