Medication made by dissolving cannabis in alcohol. Also known as golden or green dragon tincture. Tinctures contain a range of cannabinoids and are administered orally, sublingually, or in tandem with a beverage. Tinctures are often packaged in small glass bottles with droppers as caps for convenient dosing.They offer patients a method of consumption that doesn't require combustion or inhalation.
I use a CBD tincture oil before flights to help with my flying phobia.
This homemade cannabis tincture has me feeling so relaxed.
What is a tincture?
Tinctures are basically alcohol infused with some sort of medication — in this case, cannabis. They're a simple, smokeless way to dose, and very popular because they are easy to make, store, transport, and use. In addition to the cannabis plant, a tincture may also be made from herbs. Dandelion is one popular herb that may be an ingredient in tinctures.
How are tinctures used?
Tincture drops are often administered sublingually, or under the tongue. They can also be mixed into foods and drinks, such as smoothies, salad dressings, and soups. Some people use tinctures because, unlike edibles such as cookies or brownies, they have very few calories.
Consuming a tincture sublingually is the most straightforward method and allows users to feel the full effects quicker because the medication is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Finding the right dose is relatively simple, but it requires trial and error and a bit of patience. Most, if not all, tinctures come with a dropper that allows consumers to measure how much they consume. Because all consumers are different, its best to start with a 1mL dose. Place the drop under your tongue, hold for 30 seconds, then swallow. Cannabis tinctures are fast-acting and will deliver the desired effects quickly.
When mixing into foods, the onset effects will take longer than consuming sublingually because the medication is absorbed through the digestive process. The onset time is similar to medicating with an edible.
The history of tinctures
The first official account of cannabis tinctures being used in Western medicine was in an 1843 medical journal. The piece included a recipe, so it didn't take long for apothecaries and patent medicine producers to begin making and selling tinctures.
A few years later, in 1851, tinctures first appeared in the United States Pharmacopeia — an almanac with a list of medicinal drugs, their effects, and usage instructions — under the name Extractum Cannabis Purificatum, or “purified extract of Indian hemp.”
Tinctures were such accepted medicine that in the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria's personal physician prescribed a cannabis tincture to help relieve her menstrual cramps. The physician wrote, “When pure and administered carefully, [cannabis] is one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”
In the U.S., the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 taxed the possession and transfer of cannabis so outrageously that it was basically outlawed, and cannabis was removed from the US Pharmacopeia four years later.
How to make cannabis tinctures
Making tinctures isn't difficult, but it can take weeks — so if you're going the homemade route, you can't be in a hurry. Here's a basic cannabis tincture recipe with detailed instructions and tincture dosage.
The ingredients are dried, ground flower or extract and high-proof ethyl alcohol to use as a solvent. The higher the proof, or double the percentage of alcohol by volume, the more cannabinoids will be absorbed. Add a few other household supplies (including a mason jar, some coffee filters, and a measuring cup) and you're off and running.
Note: In order to feel the euphoric, intoxicating effects of cannabis in the tincture, the cannabis flower must be decarboxylated by heat to break down tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) before it's mixed with alcohol.
Mix the cannabis and alcohol in the jar, then seal it and put it in a freezer. It can soak anywhere from a week to six months, but the jar will need to be shaken for one minute each day to keep the cannabinoids evenly distributed.
To complete the process, filter out the cannabis plant matter from the remaining tincture liquid using the coffee filter. The tincture will be usable for years if kept in a cool, dry place out of sunlight or direct light.
How to make CBD tinctures
Here is an easy CBD tincture recipe:
- ⅛ ounce cannabis that contains high levels of CBD, such as Sour Tsunami or Ringo's Gift
- 2 ounces 190 proof grain alcohol
- Mason jar and lid
- Coffee filter
- Eye dropper
- Decarb the cannabis
- Combine cannabis and alcohol in mason jar
- Cover the jar and leave it for 3 weeks, shaking at daily intervals
- After 3 weeks, use the coffee filter to remove the cannabis from the liquid