Cannabis tinctures were once as common as aspirin. Prior to 1937, rather than taking a pain-relieving pill, many people used a cannabis tincture to alleviate daily pain and discomfort. Now legal in 24 states, patients are once again finding tinctures to be a portable, discreet and effective way to relieve pain.
What Is a Cannabis Tincture?
A cannabis tincture is simply alcohol or food-grade glycerin that has been infused with cannabis leaf trim and/or whole buds. After steeping and straining the plant matter from the alcohol or glycerin, you are left with a concentrated liquid medicine that can be taken sublingually or added to water, hot tea, etc. If the cannabis is heated before or after soaking, the plant’s THC-A will convert to THC and the tincture will provide euphoric psychoactive effects. If the plant matter is not heated, THC will not be activated, but the tincture will still provide relief for many conditions including pain, nausea, spasms and seizures.
Types of Cannabis Tinctures
There are various types of cannabis tinctures that can be made with hard work, time and patience. And, for those that don’t want to go the DIY (do-it-yourself) route, there are plenty of tinctures available at The Source+ to purchase!
If you’d prefer to make your own, here are instructions for concocting the most common types of cannabis tinctures:
Alcohol-Based Cannabis Tinctures
The most common cannabis tinctures are alcohol-based. Although a grain alcohol such as Everclear is ideal, it’s perfectly fine to make your tincture with any high-proof alcohol.
Ingredients for Cannabis Tinctures With Alcohol
- 1 ounce of cannabis flower, trim or a combination
- 1 quart of high-proof alcohol
- Device to grind the cannabis: coffee grinder, blender or food processor
- Cookie sheet
- Quart-sized glass mason jar with tight-fitting lid (or two pint-sized glass mason jars with tight-fitting lids)
- Bowl large enough to hold alcohol and cannabis
- Mesh strainer
- Small funnel (optional)
- Dark-colored glass dropper bottles (optional)
Instructions Needed to Make Alcohol-Based Cannabis Tinctures
- 1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees.
- 2. Finely grind your cannabis in a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor.
- 3. Spread the cannabis on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes to activate the THC. Let cool.
- 4. Add cannabis mixture to mason jar(s).
- 5. Pour alcohol into mason jar(s) and stir.
- 6. Tightly cover jar(s) and shake before setting in a cool, dark spot.
- 7. The longer the cannabis-alcohol mixture steeps, the stronger it will get. Mixture should steep for a minimum of 4 hours though some people prefer to leave it for weeks or a month to increase potency. If leaving the mixture for longer than 4 hours, shake the jar(s) at least once a day.
- 8. When you feel your tincture is potent enough, line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth. Place the lined strainer over a bowl big enough to hold the tincture. Slowly pour the alcohol and cannabis mixture through the cheesecloth. Gather, twist and squeeze the cheesecloth to release as much liquid as possible. Discard the plant material.
- 9. Line the strainer with a fresh piece of cheesecloth and strain again, this time into the clean mason jar(s). Wring cheesecloth to release remaining liquid.
- 10. Store your cannabis tincture in a cool, dark place.
- 11. If desired, use a funnel to pour the tincture into dark glass dropper bottles for easy storage and dosing.
Glycerin-Based Cannabis Tinctures
For those of you who prefer a non-alcoholic option, replace the alcohol with food-based glycerin and follow the instructions above.
Non-THC Cannabis Tinctures
For those of you who prefer a non-psychoactive tincture, just omit steps 1 and 3 in the above recipe (don’t heat the cannabis) and follow the rest of the instructions. Non-THC cannabis tinctures can be made with either alcohol or glycerin, depending on your preference.
About Cannabis Tincture Potency and Dosage
The strain and quality of the cannabis used to make your tincture, combined with the length of time the tincture steeps, will determine the potency of your medicine. Use your best judgment as to proper dosage. If in doubt, start with a few drops, increasing as appropriate.