Tinctures have been used for application of concentrated herbs since the dawn of medicine. A tincture is a liquid extract made by extracting the important compounds from the plant using alcohol.
Vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar can also be used as solvent. For our purposes, our tinctures will be made using alcohol with cannabis as the plant substance.
Cannabis tinctures are often referred to as green dragon or golden dragon. And before cannabis was outlawed under political pressure in the United States, cannabis tinctures were a common form of medication for treating things like headaches, low appetite, and sleep.
How to Make Cannabis Tinctures
A tincture of any sort is made by soaking herbs in a solvent, usually alcohol, for an extended period of time. The process is surprisingly easy and the end product can be very satisfying when it comes to cannabis.
The alcohol serves two purposes. First it extracts the alkaloids, glycosides, minerals and oils of the plant into 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).
With this 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.
Here’s what you will need to make your cannabis tincture:
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 the fashion converts the cannabis from just a nice smelling plant to a potent material that can get you high.
Some people prefer to heat the cannabis for longer at lower temperatures in order to preserve terpenes. It’s purely personal preference. Either way, your weed will be decarbed.
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.
After a few weeks filter the alcohol using a coffee filter or a piece of cheesecloth. Test 1mL of the tincture to determine potency before consuming large amounts. You now have your own mix of Green Dragon to use in all kinds of applications.
How to Use Tinctures
If you can imagine it, you can probably do it with cannabis tinctures. The most popular application method is sublingually (under the tongue) using a dropper.
How many drops you 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. When in doubt, conduct more research.
If you find you have used all your cannabis tincture in the process of conducting your research then simply prepare another batch for further research.
When you apply the tincture under your tongue it enters the bloodstream fairly quickly and you feel the effects in 15 to 45 minutes.
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. It’s versatile and easy to make.