Make Your Own Cannabis Tincture
In the years before prohibition, cannabis tinctures were a common sight in your drugstore around the corner. At a time when the US pharmaceutical industries annually grew a combined 30 tonnes of weed, Cannabis Sativa L. tinctures were the treatment of choice for corns, irritable bladder and coming off opium addiction. Well, fast forward a few decades and although much less known, tinctures are slowly reclaiming their faded glory. Indeed, for many weed connoisseurs, tinctures have become an alternative to smoking, vaporising, or eating.
What‘s a tincture exactly?
So what is a cannabis tincture? Well, essentially it‘s just cannabis soaked in high proof alcohol. This magical elixir can be administered by placing a few drops under the tongue for a fast absorption and effects, or ingested with food or drink for the slower, more powerful onset usually associated with cannabis ingestion. The effects are somewhat similar to edibles, but more clear and - that‘s a major plus - easier to dose. Once you get to know your tincture, it becomes a handy tool in your pot arsenal.
If tinctures are so awesome, why don‘t we see more of them? One reason might be because they‘re just not as sensual as rolling a fatty. True, while tinctures don‘t give that ritual of passing a joint, they offer a ritual of their own; the alchemical transformation from bud to liquid. It‘s a charm all of its own.
Making a tincture is something well worth considering, especially when it comes to using cannabis medically. It is an extremely discreet way to medicate. Once it is made, you can easily transport it around in a little glass bottle; it doesn’t smell the same way weed does, and leaves no odor. It‘s a handy and quick medication for when you are on the go.
Also, should you ever find yourself in the privileged and rare situation of having to much bud at hand, then tinctures are thing worth considering. Once transferred to alcohol, cannabinoids store a long time without going bad.
Make your own tincture in 6 steps
If you want to give the tinctures a shot, here‘s how you do it.
Supplies - that‘s what you need:
• Pure grain alcohol (90% or higher ABV). If you can't get hold of this, then the strongest spirit you can find – any alcohol above 40% will do, but the stronger the better.
• Cheese cloth
• Measuring jug
• Jar with lid
• Colored glass medicine bottles with droppers
You can make cannabis tinctures from various bits of the cannabis plant, as most of it contains THC - even if it is only in small amounts. For every 500ml of tincture you intend to make, either one part of the following will be sufficient:
Bud : 30-40 grams
Leaf: 80 – 100 grams
Kief or hash: 5-10 grams
Trim: 50 grams
One of the beauties of tinctures is the liberty it gives you to experiment with it. Play around with the quantities above, starting off small, until you hit a strength that is right for you.
1. Grind you your cannabis using a regular grinder. You want to get the consistency that you would use in a joint – do not make it so fine that it becomes a powder. This will maximize surface area for the active ingredients to transfer into the alcohol. Too fine of a powder will make it difficult to filter it out after.
2. Next you need to decarboxylate your cannabis. That‘s a fancy word which essentially means you should heat it. This is extremely important. If you do not, then the tincture will not have any active effects.
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction caused by heat. It converts THCA within your cannabis into THC. THCA is the raw form of THC found in fresh cannabis, but it needs to be converted for it to have any psychoactive effect. This normally occurs naturally when you cook with cannabis, or combust it during smoking.
To perform decarboxylation, you will need to heat up your cannabis to around 115 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. This is a high enough temperature to cause the reaction within your cannabis, but not hot enough to cause it to combust or loose any of its medicinal value. An easy way to do this is to evenly spread out your ground up cannabis on a baking tray, or stone pizza dish, and place it in the oven. Every oven varies in accuracy and power, so it can come handy to use an oven proof thermometer in there, just to be on the safe side.
3. Next, place you cannabis in a jar and pour in 500ml of spirits. Close the jar with the lid and shake vigorously.
4. Place the jar in a freezer and come back twice a day to shake up the jar for a few seconds.
5. The whole process should take about 5 days depending on the alcohol you used. After this, most of the cannabinoids from the cannabis will have transferred to the alcohol. Place the cheesecloth in your sieve, over the measuring jug, and strain your tincture through the cheesecloth into the jug. This will remove the now unneeded plant matter. If you ground up your cannabis so finely that it passes through cheesecloth, then possibly try using coffee filter paper to remove the plant matter.
6. Using your funnel, pour your tincture out into your medicine bottles for easy storage and transport. Keep them in a cool, dark place.
That’s it, you have now made your own tincture!
You will find you only require a few drops under the tongue to induce a moderate effect. Start out with a small dosage, and work your way up. Bear in mind it can take about 15 minutes to take effect when placed under the tongue, and when ingesting, it can take quiet a bit longer. If you‘ve followed the 6 steps correctly, you‘ll hold some potent medicine in your hands.