Recipe: Basic Cannabis Tincture
What is a cannabis tincture?
Cannabis tinctures are alcohol-based cannabis extracts—essentially, cannabis-infused alcohol. In fact, tinctures were the main form of cannabis medicine until the United States enacted cannabis prohibition. They’re a great entry point for both recreational and medical consumers looking to ease into smokeless consumption methods.
The alcohol helps extract the cannabinoids, like THC and terpenes, from the rest of the material of the cannabis plant. Cannabis tinctures work best with 90% pure alcohol, such as Everclear. When creating a tincture, you must first decarboxylate the cannabis using time and heat to make sure as many components as possible are activated. If you don’t, you may end up with a less potent tincture.
Just like with edibles, tinctures are consumed orally. They may also be consumed sublingually (under the tongue) and used in preparation of recipes. With sublingual consumption, the blood vessels lining your mouth absorb the cannabinoids, leading to a quicker onset of effects.
You can make a tincture with a jar, alcohol, strainer, and cannabis. That’s all you need!
Using alcohol vs. glycerin for tinctures
When it comes to making tinctures, high-proof, food-grade alcohol is going to be your best friend. If you wish to avoid using alcohol, glycerin, a plant-based oil, is an acceptable replacement. However, glycerin is not as efficient at bonding to cannabis compounds and will produce a less potent tincture.
Some people try to make a more potent glycerin tincture by first using alcohol, carefully evaporating the (very flammable) alcohol off of the tincture, and then introducing glycerin afterward. You get the potency of the alcohol with the glycerin body. Considering the dangers associated with evaporating alcohol with a heat source, we do not recommend this method.
Choosing the right type of alcohol for tinctures
The goal is to find a high-proof alcohol that is safe for consumption. The higher the alcohol content, the better it will dissolve cannabis resin. Everclear is my alcohol of choice when making a tincture, as it is both safe to consume and highly potent.
Products like isopropyl alcohol are not intended to be consumed and should never be used when making a tincture—save that for cleaning your pipes!
How to make cannabis-infused tincture
- 7 grams cannabis decarbed and finely ground
- 4 ounces high-proof alcohol
- Wide mouth jar
- Mix the decarbed cannabis and alcohol together in a mason jar.
- Secure the lid of your mason jar and shake vigorously for a minute.
- Let it sit for 1 hour in a dark place at room temperature.
- Shake jar for another minute, let sit for another hour, and repeat once more for a total of 3 hours.
- Strain through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer and pour into a 4 ounce eye-dropper bottle, preferably with tinted glass. Store in a cool, dark place.