All about Tinctures & How They're Made
Learn what they are & how to craft your own.
What is a Tincture?
A tincture of any sort is made by soaking herbs in a solvent, usually alcohol, for an extended period of time. However, vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar can also be used. The process is surprisingly easy and the end product can be very satisfying when it comes to cannabis.
We will be explaining how to craft a cannabis tincture using alcohol below.
Cannabis tinctures are often referred to as green dragon or golden dragon. Before cannabis was outlawed under political pressure in the United States, cannabis tinctures were a common form of medication for treating ailments like headaches, low appetite, and inconsistent sleep patterns.
Making A Cannabis Tincture
An alcohol solvent serves two purposes. First it extracts the alkaloids, glycosides, minerals and oils of the plant into it; the solvent. For cannabis this means cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the plant and become part of the liquid.
The second role of the solvent is to preserve the plant material and prevent it from mildewing while it sits in dark, cool storage for an extended period. The ideal alcohol used should be at least 50% alcohol (100 proof).
High-proof alcohol tinctures can have a shelf life of 7 to 10 years. Cannabis tincture certainly wouldn’t be left on the shelf that long but it’s good to know it stands the test of time.
You only need three things to craft a cannabis tincture:
- Cannabis flower
- Mason jar
- 100 proof alcohol – Everclear works great
First, decarboxylate your cannabis by placing it on a baking sheet and heating it in the oven for 30-45 minutes at a temperature of 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Heating the cannabis in this fashion converts the cannabis from just a nice smelling plant to a potent material that can get you high. It transforms THC-A into THC, as well as other cannabinoids like CBD-A into CBD.
Some people prefer to heat the cannabis longer at lower temps in order to preserve terpenes. It’s purely a personal preference because either way, your cannabis will be decarbed. Learn More: Understanding Cannabis Terpenes
Once out of the oven, grind the cannabis to a fine consistency and mix it in a mason jar with the alcohol. Seal the jar and let the mixture sit in a dark, cool place for a few weeks, shaking it once a day. Learn Why a Quality Grinder is Essential.
After a few weeks, filter the alcohol using a coffee filter or a piece of cheesecloth. Test 1mL (by consuming it) of the tincture to determine potency before trying bigger amounts. You now have your own mix of Green Dragon to use in all kinds of applications, especially cooking! Learn How to Properly Cook with Infused Ingredients.
How to Use Tinctures
The most popular application method is sublingually (under the tongue) using a dropper. When you apply the tincture under your tongue it enters the bloodstream fairly quickly and you feel the effects in 15 to 45 minutes.
How many drops you should use depends on the potency of the tincture and how it affects you specifically. You will only know this through experimentation. We encourage you to perform research frequently and thoroughly.
Tinctures can be consumed by adding it to consumables like food and drink. When consumed this way the THC enters the body via the digestive system, which means it has to first be processed by the liver before entering the bloodstream. Going through the digestive process takes a long time, 45 minutes to an hour. For this reason most people prefer to just drop the tincture under the tongue.
Cannabis tinctures are great for many reasons - the liquid is compact and portable, application is easy, they're versatile in their uses, and they're easy to make.
Learn More: 3 Ways to Make a Cannabis Tincture