ˈtiŋ(k)-chər | Noun


Medication made by dissolving cannabis in alcohol. 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 to allow patients a method of consumption that doesn’t require combustion or inhalation.


“I use a CBD tincture before flights to help with my flying phobia.”

More about Tinctures

What are Tinctures?

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.  


How are Tinctures used?

Tincture drops can be placed sublingually, or under the tongue. They can be mixed into foods and drinks, such as smoothies, salad dressings, and soups. Dieters use Tinctures because unlike edibles such as cookies or brownies, they have very few calories.


Consuming a tincture sublingually is the most straightforward method of consumption and allows users to feel the full effects of the tincture quicker. 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. 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, they 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 (4) 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 recipe with detailed instructions.


The ingredients require dried, ground flower or extract, along with high-proof ethyl alcohol to use as a solvent. The higher the proof, or double the percentage of alcohol by volume, the more cannabinoids would be yielded. 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 applying heat to break down tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), before mixing with alcohol.


Mix the cannabis and the 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 (1) minute each day to keep the cannabinoids evenly distributed.


To complete the process, filter out the cannabis plant matter from the remaining Tincture liquid. The Tincture will be usable for years if kept in a cool, dry place out of sunlight or direct light.