Not everyone who uses cannabis wants to smoke it. There are plenty of medical marijuana patients and other cannabis fans who want the effects of weed but who don’t like to smoke. Cannabis tinctures are a great way to dose your weed without having to smoke it.
In fact, cannabis tinctures were being legally sold as medicine in the US until 1937. They can be directly dropped into the mouth or added to food. With tinctures, you can turn just about anything into a cannabis-infused food or drink. Best of all? They can be made at home. Here’s how.
What Are Tinctures?
A cannabis tincture is essentially concentrated liquid THC. But when we say concentrated we don’t mean like dabs. This concentrate is completely liquid as opposed to wax, which requires a pen or bong to consume.
You won’t need any consumption devices when you use cannabis tinctures because the THC in the liquid has already been activated through a process called decarboxylation.
You’ll have to go through this step when making tinctures. Otherwise, you’ll have higher amounts of THCA, and you won’t get high. But when you heat your cannabis flowers before adding them to your tincture, it activates the THC, which means you’ll get as high as you want.
Tinctures have a long shelf life which makes them more reliable than many baked edibles. Although baked edibles are the most popular way to consume marijuana without actually smoking it, they can be hard to dose.
Fortunately, using a dropper to apply your cannabis tincture makes it easy to control your dosage. If you’re using cannabis and you need to remain productive you’re far better off taking a drop of tincture than eating a brownie and hoping for the best.
You can administer tinctures “sublingually” which means dropping it under the tongue. Or, you can put drops in food as we mentioned earlier.
There are a few ways to make tinctures at home. Here are some of the best and easiest methods.
Making Tinctures At Home
The OG method of making tinctures involves alcohol, but more recently, food grade glycerin has been used. One thing you should know before beginning this process is that it’s going to take a long time.
There’s going to be about an ounce or more of weed sitting somewhere in your home for months that can’t be used. If you’re okay with this, it’s time to learn how to make tinctures at home.
To get started, here’s what you will need:
- oven-safe dish
- mason jar
- large bowl
- medicine dropper bottle
There will be a few items added to this list, depending on which method you’re using to make your tinctures.
Method 1: Alcohol Tinctures
For an alcohol tincture, you’re going to want the highest alcohol liquor available. We recommend “Everclear” or “Bacardi 151,” two names we’d hoped to never hear again after college.
And of course, don’t forget the weed. You should use at least a half ounce of dried buds, but you can get by on less if necessary.
1. Finely grind your weed.
2. Next, you’ll have to decarboxylate the weed by putting it in the oven. Start by preheating to 225 degrees F before placing the pot on an oven-safe tray and baking for 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t let the oven get any hotter, as this might vaporize the cannabis.
3. Remove the decarboxylated flower from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes.
4. Place the “decarbed” weed in a mason jar and pour in the liquor. Add just enough so that the weed is fully submerged. Now stir the mixture thoroughly.
5. Screw on the cap and shake the jar vigorously at least twice a day, every day for three weeks to three months. This will ensure that all the THC and other cannabinoids are mixed properly mixed into the solution.
6. Line the funnel with a cheesecloth and pour the mixture through. Then squeeze the cloth over the funnel to make sure nothing is left behind.
7. Finally, transfer the tincture to a brown medicine dropper to protect the solution from light.
8. Store the finished product in a cool dark place for extended shelf life.
Method 2: Glycerin Tinctures
For a glycerin tincture, you’ll need food grade glycerin. If you want you can also add flavoring but the one thing every tincture needs is a bunch of weed. One and a half ounces of trim or one ounce of flower should do for this recipe.
1. Grind your weed. Don’t decarboxylate it yet — we’ll do that later.
2. Fill the mason jar with weed until it is about three-quarters of the way full.
3. Pour the glycerin into your jar or jars.
4. Allow the liquid to settle before adding more glycerin.
5. Repeat until the weed is completely submerged.
6. Tightly fit lid to jar and shake for a minute or two.
7. Store jar in a cool, dark place for 60 days.
Note: You may use this tincture sooner than 60 days, but it won’t be as potent. The longer it soaks, the better. A “deep” or long steep leads to the most potent tinctures. This gives all of the most important cannabinoids a chance to soak into the glycerin.
8. Shake the jar thoroughly every day, making sure to keep the plant matter from coagulating in the bottom of the jar. Flip the jars upside down every other day to help keep the plant material well mixed.
9. When the tincture is ready, give it one final shake last time and remove the lid.
10. Place the jar on a cookie sheet. Heat your oven to 170 degrees F or the lowest setting possible and bake for 20 – 30 minutes to fully decarboxylate the tincture. Keep the oven low, so you don’t burn or vaporize the weed.
11. Allow the jar to cool, then strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or strainer into a large bowl. Squeeze the cloth so you get out as much of the glycerin tincture as you can.
12. Strain liquid a second time, funneling the tincture into medicine droppers or another mason jar for storage.
Tinctures are the best solution for cannabis consumers looking to avoid smoking. Even vapor can be irritating to those who prefer to inhale nothing but air. Edibles are one solution, but anyone with experience knows they can be a bit unpredictable
Edibles are one solution, but anyone with experience knows they can be a bit unpredictable, which can sometimes cause some strange problems.
If you don’t want to accidentally get too high or inhale irritants, tinctures are one of the best ways to get small yet powerful doses.
Even though anyone can benefit from this liquid form of THC, we don’t see it becoming a popular recreational method of consumption.
Passing around a dropper bottle just doesn’t seem as cool as sharing a joint in a smoke circle, but it has its merit for medical applications and other personal uses.