A cannabis tincture is a concentrated herbal extract that is typically made from alcohol, although many manufacturers use the term tincture for preparations diluted with medium chain triglycerides, olive oil, hemp oil, etc. Tinctures are popular among novice cannabis consumers who are looking for a way to take advantage of the properties of the plant without having to smoke or vape it. And they’re easy to make at home, too.
Cannabis tinctures can be consumed sublingually by placing a few drops under the tongue or added to food recipes and beverages. Unlike cannabis edibles, however, cannabis tinctures take effect a lot faster.
More specifically, the effects of cannabis tinctures can kick in within a few minutes compared to edibles, which usually take at least a half-hour or more to take effect. This is because applying the ethanol tincture under the tongue allows the phytochemical compounds to directly enter the bloodstream without having to go through the digestive system first. However, the effects of cannabis compounds through a tincture are more short-lived compared to edibles.
How to Make Cannabis Tinctures at Home
To make a cannabis tincture, you’ll need the following items:
- Glass jar, preferably amber
- Baking sheet
- Food-grade alcohol
- Tincture bottle with dropper
Step 1: Decarboxylate the Cannabis
The first step is to decarboxylate the cannabis. This is a process in which the chemical structure of the cannabinoid compounds in the raw plant are physically altered, converting acidic cannabinoids to their neutral counterparts. Put another way, “decarbing” cannabis helps to activate the compounds and create a more potent product.
To decarb the cannabis, grind or break up the buds into pieces and heat them in an oven at about 230°F for about half an hour. Let it cool. Another option is to use a tool like the Ardent Nova Decarboxylator.
Step 2: Jar the Cannabis
Place the decarboxylated cannabis in a glass jar with enough food-grade alcohol (preferably high-proof like Everclear) to fully engulf the cannabis.
Step 3: Seal and Store the Jar
Close the jar with an air-tight lid and store it in a cool, dry, dark place for a few weeks to give the cannabinoids enough time to completely dissolve. Shake the jar once a day. The longer the mixture sits, the more potent your tincture will be.
Step 4: Strain the Cannabis Mixture
After the cannabis mixture has been left to sit for at least three weeks, filter it through a strainer such as a coffee filter, into a tincture bottle. To make this easier, you might want to use a small funnel. Be sure to leave enough room in the bottle for the dropper. (Note: the dropper should not have carbon-based ink graduations as these have been shown to dissolve in cannabis products likely via terpenes. There are vendors who have etched glass droppers.)
Cannabis tinctures have a long shelf life, so you can make a larger quantity and store it so you always have access to its cannabinoids and terpenes when you need them.
Image source: Erin Stone from Pixabay