Alright, so last week, we went over how to make cannabis-infused butter, which is a great way to start your journey into using cannabis, especially if you prefer not to smoke it. Today, we’re going to cover another great smokeless alternative; cannabis tinctures.
What are tinctures?
To start, tinctures aren’t just for cannabis. In all actuality, tinctures have been made for centuries. Typically, when cannabis isn’t used, you will find a plethora of medicinal herbs within the tinctures. Who knows, maybe you’ll prefer the ones with no cannabis in them at all – after all, they do have some pretty amazing health benefits!
But, what makes the tincture? Okay, so in short, a tincture is simply a medicine, which is dissolved in alcohol. After it is done dissolving in the alcohol, you then use a dropper bottle to administer a dose. There’s more to it than that, so keep scrolling to learn more!
What do you use tinctures for?
When it comes to what you can use a tincture for, the options truly are limitless. Many mix up batches of tinctures for:
- Pain Relief
- Relieve Flu Symptoms
- Stomach Aches
If you’re familiar with the medicinal properties of herbs, you can literally replace your entire medicine cabinet with these handy little tinctures!
Stepping into the World of Cannabis Tinctures
It may surprise you to find out that cannabis tinctures were in fact used in the United States prior to prohibition. Actually, they were the primary way people alleviated pain. Moreover, they were even listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia as a form of treatment until 1936. Some of the ailments listed included tetanus, gout, menstrual cramps, arthritis and many more!
There were even patented cannabis tinctures sold during this time.
What medium do you use to make tinctures?
There are actually quite a few ways that you can make tinctures depending on your personal preferences. Most commonly, a high-proof vodka is used to make tinctures. However, if you prefer not to use alcohol, you may use USP vegetable glycerin instead.
Below, we have outlined three different mediums that you can use to make your cannabis tincture.
Option #1: The Original “Green Dragon” Tincture
This method is what was originally used back in the 1800s and continues to be the primary method people gravitate towards to mix up their tinctures at home. It is made with Everclear or Pure Grain Alcohol (100-proof). We buy ours here: https://organicalcohol.com/
Due to the high content of alcohol in PGA, it makes a create medium to infuse your cannabis and herbs in. Also, you can definitely expect a pretty strong alcohol taste in these tinctures. To lessen this, think about adding honey or agave to sweeten it up a little bit. Another option is mixing it into a drink (obviously not water) or even a meal to decrease the overall alcohol taste!
Of course, if you enjoy the taste of strong alcohol, then just put a dropper full right under your tongue and enjoy!
Option #2: Using Alcohol
Similar to the first option, this one also uses alcohol. However, you use alcohol that is around 50 to 80-proof instead. By doing this, you can create a sweeter and milder tasting tincture.
With Everclear being illegal in some states, such as Florida, this is a great option to use instead. Just be sure to find a high-quality organic alcohol to use, otherwise you’re end product won’t come out quite a good as it could have.
Option #3: Using Vegetable Glycerin
For those of you that prefer not to use alcohol to make your tinctures have no fear because vegetable glycerin is an awesome alternative to use! Of course, these tinctures won’t come out quite as strong as the other two, but they are equally delicious.
The biggest struggle with using this medium for your tinctures is finding a food-safe organic product. There are many not made in food-safe facilities, so be sure to do your homework! Personally, we love SkyOrganic’s products and you can get their vegetable glycerin here.
How to Make a Cannabis Tincture:
Now that we all understand how people use tinctures and the various mediums you can use to mix these bad boys up, let’s jump into the actual process of making cannabis tinctures!
The first and most common method is commonly referred to as the long steep process. This is our preferred way to make tinctures, as we feel it gets a better full spectrum of THC molecules infused into the mixture.
To start, you will need:
- A glass quart-sized jar
- One ounce of decarboxylated cannabis OR 0.5-1 gram of decarboxylated concentrates/bubble hash
- Pure grain alcohol, vodka, or vegetable glycerin
Now that you have all of your materials ready, simply add the cannabis flower or concentrate to the glass jar, fill the jar to about an inch below the top, shake it up and seal it. Once everything is combined and shaken up, go ahead and stick it in a cabinet and let it steep for 2 weeks up to a year! Personally, we find about three to six months is the sweet spot for our tinctures.
Don’t forget to shake the jar every few days. Additionally, you will want to taste it to see if the tincture is ready.
After it has steeped for the desired amount of time and you feel it has reached perfection, it’s ready to strain the mixture. To do this, you will need some cheesecloth or strainer.
Usually, we use a large measuring cup, funnel, and cheesecloth. Then, take the mixture and pour through the cheesecloth into the measuring cup. Once all of the plant material is sitting in the cheesecloth, be sure to squeeze it to ensure all the liquid is extracted from the plant matter.
Now that the liquid is separated from the plant matter, go ahead and divide it into dropper bottles. Store whichever ones you aren’t going to use right away in a cool, dark location.
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Can you use heat to speed up the process?
The short answer is yes, you can. However, we don’t really recommend this method for making tinctures. Typically, this is done either using the Magic Butter Machine or over the stovetop. On the Magic Butter Machine, there is actually a tincture button, making the process pretty straightforward. For the stovetop, you’ll just want to be sure it doesn’t get too hot. If it does, you will cook all of the THC right out of your tincture.
The reason we really don’t use this method or recommend it is that a lot of the flavor and potency of the tincture is lost this way. Therefore, we strongly recommend you dig down deep for some patience and use the method previously described.
Dosage Amounts of Cannabis Tinctures
Alright, so you’ve got your tincture all ready to go, but you’re not sure how much you should take daily. That’s okay! To start, simply try 1mL and see if the effects are what you’re looking for. If you don’t feel it was enough, simply double the dosage the next day. You can continue doing this until you determine exactly how much your body needs.
Remember: Everyone’s body is different and will react differently to the tincture. Therefore, one person could do well with 1mL, while others may need upwards of 3mL-5mL to obtain the same effects.
Additionally, you may find you enjoy taking your tincture mixed into your favorite drink or food. I really enjoy dropping some in my morning coffee to start the day. Some other options include adding it to:
- Salad dressings
- Stocks or sauces
But, really, you can add your tincture to anything you would like.
Although, if you’d prefer not to add it to your food or drinks, you can simply take it sublingually. This means simply putting the desired amount of tincture under your tongue and letting it absorb and is the most effective way to administer your tincture.
Earlier, we mentioned that you could add medicinal herbs into your tincture alongside the cannabis for even more benefits! Using the same methods as above, you’ll simply add the other herbs you’d like into your tincture mixture.
Since I know how curious I am, I pulled some of our favorite tincture recipes and resources from across the internet to share with you here. Use these to start your journey into tincture making and enjoy!
Cannabis Tincture Recipes & Resources:
- Wake & Bake’s Chill Rx: An Anti-Anxiety Tincture
- Understanding Medicinal Herbs to Combine with Cannabis
- More Medicinal Herbs to Pair with Cannabis
Non-Cannabis Tincture Recipes: