How to Make Cannabis Tincture. If you’ve ever been to any of our family of dispensaries, you know there’s practically no limit to the variety of cannabis products available. From irresistible edibles to sleek vapes to premium flower, there’s a mind-boggling number of choices at your fingertips. But with that said, today we’d like to offer a very different option for your consideration: Homemade cannabis tincture.
We’ve written about marijuana tincture before, and how this potent and shelf-stable form of cannabis could once be found in pharmacy shelves all across the United States. Now they’re making a comeback as an easy-to-use, sustainable way to access the benefits of cannabis on an ongoing basis. And while we’d love for you to try the many varieties of cannabis tincture we offer here at Mission, the fact is that it’s easy—and rewarding!—to make at home.
In today’s post, we’ll tell you everything we know about marijuana tincture, including:
- What is cannabis tincture?
- How to make cannabis tincture
- Choosing the right strains for homemade marijuana tincture
- Tips for testing, storing, and adjusting the dosage of your homemade marijuana tincture
Ready? Let’s get rolling!
What is Cannabis Tincture? An Introduction
In the simplest terms, a cannabis tincture is a liquid containing extracts of cannabinoids such as THC or CBD in a base liquid of alcohol, a carrier oil, or glycerin. Typically packaged in a small glass bottle, cannabis tinctures come with a dropper for easy and consistent dosing.
The cannabinoids in marijuana tincture impart the same effects as with smoked or vaped cannabis, including helping us fight pain and inflammation, reducing anxiety and stress, and finding deeper, more restorative sleep, among other effects.
That said, there are a few major differences compared with smoking or vaping. When swallowed (as opposed to taken under the tongue, which we’ll cover next), the effects from a tincture will tend to feel stronger than inhaled cannabinoids due to how the liver processes the cannabinoids compared with the lungs. And marijuana tincture takes a little longer to take effect than inhaled cannabinoids, in some cases up to 90 minutes when swallowing or adding tincture to food or drink. You can reduce this delay by trying what’s known as sublingual dosing.
To take a tincture sublingually, use the dropper to place the dose of cannabis tincture under your tongue and hold it there for at least sixty seconds. Because the blood vessels there can readily absorb the cannabinoids, the tincture should take effect within 30 minutes or less.
Still, we advise you to wait at least 90 minutes before taking another dose. Why? We’d hate for you to take too much. While ingesting more cannabis than you planned is very rarely dangerous, it can be unpleasant, and that’s something we’d very much like to help you avoid!
Cannabis Tincture Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide
As we hinted at earlier, it’s actually quite simple to make marijuana tincture at home. The items you’ll need include:
- Fresh cannabis flower (roughly half an ounce), finely ground
- A neutral liquid such as oil or a high-proof alcohol, about 1 cup
- An eight-ounce glass jar
You’ll also need an oven and some patience (more on that in a moment).
While the cannabis tincture recipe is simple, there are some critical steps, including one called decarboxylation. In basic terms, decarboxylation means heating or otherwise altering the cannabinoids in fresh cannabis flower in order to “activate” them. If you didn’t take this step—for instance if you ate raw cannabis flower—you wouldn’t notice any effects. The easiest way to decarboxylate is with your oven, though we’ll explore some alternate approaches in just a moment.
- Start by preheating your oven to anywhere from 220°F – 235°F degrees. If you have an oven-safe thermometer, now’s the time to use it. The internal thermostats in ovens typically aren’t very accurate.
- Put your cannabis flower in an oven proof container such as a baking pan. How much should you use? We recommend at least enough to half-fill an eight-ounce Mason jar (roughly half an ounce, depending on several factors). Prepare it by grinding it to as fine a consistency as you can. You can use a purpose-made grinder, a spice grinder, or even the flat edge of a knife.
- Once the oven’s hot, place the baking pan containing the flower inside. Let it bake for an hour in order to fully decarboxylate it. After the hour has passed, take out the flower, let it cool, and inspect it. It should look lightly toasted and dry.
- Now place it inside the eight-ounce Mason jar and cover it with the neutral liquid of your choice, at least an inch or so above the level of the flower. When using a homemade cannabis tincture recipe, many people opt for a high-proof alcohol. Vodka will work in this case, although many people prefer the neutral potency of Everclear.
- Alternately, you can use an oil called “medium-chain triglyceride,” or “MCT” oil. MCT oil is typically made from coconut oil, so it’s neutral-tasting and carries its own benefits, like being a heart-healthy source of energy. A third choice is food-grade glycerin, also known as “glycerol” or “glycerine.” A clear liquid typically made from soybean, coconut or palm oils, glycerin is odorless and has a mild, sweet taste with a syrup-like consistency.
- Now comes the hard part: Waiting. Cap the jar tightly and leave it in a dark pantry or a closet for four to six weeks, remembering to shake it well at least once a day. After those weeks have passed, strain the tincture through a very fine filter or cheesecloth. Congratulations: You now know how to make cannabis tincture!
Different Methods of Decarboxylating Cannabinoids to Activate Them
There are other approaches to decarboxylation besides using your oven. If you’re using an oil such as MCT or glycerin, you could submerge the ground flower in the liquid directly on the stovetop (don’t do this with high-proof alcohol, due to the danger of fire). If you go this route, you’ll want to keep a close eye on temperature using a submersible candy thermometer and keep the temperature between 170 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. After an hour, you can consider the cannabis fully decarboxylated and remove it from the oil using a fine strainer.
Alternatively, you could use a purpose-made sous vide machine. A high-tech (no pun intended) kitchen gadget, sous vide machines provide gentle, controlled heat while removing the oxygen surrounding the cannabis. This results in a higher proportion of the aromatic terpenes that give different strains of cannabis their characteristic flavor profiles. Be sure to be familiar with the use of a sous vide; in addition, you’ll need a freezer-style plastic bag to hold the ground cannabis.
How To Make Cannabis Tincture: Choosing the Right Strains
When it comes to choosing a strain with which to make cannabis tincture, you can’t really go wrong. They’ll all work, provided you follow the simple cannabis tincture recipe above. The real question is: What effects are you going for?
As we’ve written before, the two major classifications of cannabis are sativa and indica. While they may be outdated from a botanical standpoint, we find they’re a useful way to help our customers understand the effects different strains of cannabis impart.
Sativas are often described as being uplifting and energizing, delivering a subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle!) cerebral stimulation. Indicas, on the other hand, are typically categorized as imparting a heavy, relaxing body-centered high.
While these rough guidelines are helpful, it’s important to understand that a given strain’s cannabinoid content is equally significant, if not more so. Because THC is the cannabinoid most known for providing the cannabis plant’s psychoactive “high” (as well as other important effects), strains with a higher percentage of THC will impart a subjectively stronger experience.
CBD, on the other hand, imparts at most a gentle cerebral “buzz” as well as some very useful effects, medically speaking. These include helping us fight anxiety and find deeper rest, as well as helping reduce inflammation and associated discomfort.
Need help choosing the best strain for a homemade tincture? visit any of our family of dispensaries and ask your friendly budtender for tips. We’d love to hook you up!
Cannabis Tincture Best Practices: Storage, Testing, and Dosing
As with all things cannabis, light and heat are the enemies of fresh marijuana tincture. That’s why we recommend you store it in a dark glass container somewhere away from sunlight, such as a medicine cabinet or better yet, your refrigerator. You can even freeze cannabis tincture, though repeatedly thawing oils can be frustratingly time-consuming.
It’s also important to note that not all tinctures are created equal. Glycerin infusions, for instance, tend to degrade more quickly than alcohol-based ones, which can last for years if kept from heat and light.
Want to know how potent your marijuana tincture is? While there are home testing kits available, they tend to be a bit pricey for the average consumer. Depending on local regulations, you may be able to submit a sample to a dedicated third-party testing facility near you.
There’s an alternate method, though it requires a bit of math. If you measured the weight of the flower you used and you know its cannabinoid content from the label, it’s not hard.
For simplicity’s sake, say you used a full ounce (or 28 grams) of cannabis that contained 10% THC. To find the number of milligrams of THC in your tincture, multiply the weight of the cannabis by its THC content. So for this tincture, 28g x 10% = 2.8 g (or 2,800 mg) of THC.
A standard dropper contains 1 ml. Imagining that you used 375 ml of alcohol, divide the total weight of THC (2,800 mg) by 375 to get the total THC per dropper: 2,800/375 comes to around 7.5,mg/ml. This means that every dropper dose contains 7.5 mg of THC.
When it comes to dosing, however, that’s a very personal question. Because everyone reacts to cannabis a bit differently, we suggest you begin with a small amount—say, half a dropperful at a time—and assess the results. It pays to go slow here; as a growing body of evidence suggests, the majority of people actually derive greater benefit from lower dosages of cannabis.
How to Make Cannabis Tincture: Conclusion
Looking for more information on marijuana tincture or ready to try some for yourself? You can shop with us in Michigan, Massachusetts or Illinois—just choose the Mission dispensary closest to you and browse our expansive selection. Better yet, we invite you to visit our homepage and start a chat with us. We’re here to help!