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How to Make Cannabis Tinctures at Home? 

Added 8 July 2022

Would you like to partake in the ancient culture of using herbal extracts for medicinal (or recreational) use? 

If yes, you're in for a treat with cannabis tinctures. 

The history of cannabis tinctures dates back to Ancient Egypt, where they preserved the medicinal properties of herbs by letting them sit in alcohol for weeks. And around the world, tinctures were a common form of herbal medicine. 

Of course, tinctures fell out of popularity in the mid-20th century, but thanks to legalization, it has become a popular method of consuming cannabis without the added risks of smoking or getting “baked”.

Many companies sell tinctures today. It's one of the best methods to consume cannabis. Compared to other methods (smoking, vaping), it takes a bit of time for tinctures to work; however, the effects last for a long time. 

If you're a grower or have access to lots of cannabis, you're in luck because you can make tinctures easily at home. 

Whether you want to use CBD or THC, you can follow this guide to prepare a tincture at home. 

What is a Cannabis Tincture?

cannabis tincture

Cannabis tincture is an easy, discreet way to enjoy your favorite herb. Plus, it’s not as harmful as smoking or vaping and offers a more controlled dosage. Tinctures are also quite easy to make, as you will see, and you can store them for a long time. This makes them ideal for those who are using cannabis for medicinal use. 

Essentially, a tincture is a highly concentrated liquid extract made by soaking cannabis buds in alcohol — this is called the Green Dragon — but some prefer using oil instead of alcohol. Here, the oil or alcohol helps extract the medicinal compounds, like THC and CBD, from the buds.

You can consume tinctures either by adding a drop to your food or drink or placing it under your tongue for a few minutes. This method of placing the tincture under your tongue is known as the sublingual method of absorption. 

When consumed with food or drinks, the extract travels through the liver to reach the bloodstream, causing a delayed onset of effects.

And when you place it under your tongue, the effects are quicker as the extracts are absorbed into the blood directly.

Types of Cannabis Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures can be classified into two types: CBD tinctures and THC tinctures. So, you can choose the one that fits your preferences, whether you simply want a light buzz or reap the medicinal benefits of cannabis for treating various ailments like sleep disorders, ADHD, anxiety, muscle tension or pain, migraine, etc. 

CBD tinctures are the ones that contain mostly CBD and less than 0.3% THC. They don’t produce a high and are legal in the US and most European states. On the other hand, THC tinctures contain a lot of THC, providing a psychoactive effect. But these are not legal in many areas yet. 

Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures

Tinctures have been popular for centuries because they offer some terrific advantages over other forms of consuming cannabis, such as the following.

Free of Sensitive Ingredients or Allergens

Tinctures only contain pure cannabis extracts and base (alcohol or oil), so you don’t have to worry about consuming gluten, sugar, gelatin, or food coloring, which may be unsuitable for your health or lifestyle.

Precise Dosing

For those consuming cannabis for its medicinal properties, dosing is essential. And tinctures let you control that. You can measure the dosage easily, down to a drop, thanks to their small packaging.

Discreet Consumption 

Take a look at a tincture and you may confuse it for a bottle of hair serum. That’s because they are discreet, don’t smell like cannabis, and don’t produce any smoke when consumed. The perfect way to consume cannabis discreetly!

Almost Instant Effects

Unlike edibles, which take around an hour to produce any effects, tinctures when placed under the tongue give a fast-acting effect on your mind and body. Although it is slower than smoking, it is still fast enough for most users.

Healthier on Your Body

While smoking cannabis may not be as unhealthy as cigarettes, it can still cause some health issues. Smoking a lot of cannabis can cause some health issues like lung infections, COPD, or bronchitis. On the other hand, tinctures are completely safe.

Long Shelf Life

Tinctures are also known to last for months. If you follow the right steps to make and store your tincture well, it can even last you for years. Although you will be finishing up your small dropper bottle of tincture a lot quicker!

Small Capital Investment

Lastly, cannabis tinctures are a cheaper alternative to many other forms of cannabis. A small bottle in a dispensary would cost around $20 containing around 100 drops, which brings down the per-dose cost to $0.50! A regular joint costs around $3-$5.

And making tinctures at home is even cheaper! With some cannabis buds, alcohol or oil, and basic supplies, you can make enough tincture to fill many dropper bottles without breaking your bank.

How to Make Cannabis Tincture at Home?

Before you get started, you should first check your local laws to see which type of tincture is legal to consume. In most places, CBD is completely legal to consume, but THC may be a problem in some places.

Once you are clear with the law, you can proceed with the next step: gathering the supplies for making tinctures.

Gather the Supplies

  1. 8 grams of cannabis flower
  2. A herb grinder to grind the buds
  3. An oven for decarb the buds
  4. 6 ounces of food-grade alcohol (more on this below)
  5. Unbleached coffee filter or a cheesecloth
  6. Digital scale
  7. 2 airtight jars that are freezer-safe
  8. Medicine dropper bottles

With these supplies, you can expect the tincture to be around two ounces. 

Steps to Make the Tincture

Once you have gathered everything, follow these steps to make tincture at home.

Step 1: Grind the Cannabis Buds

grind the buds

Grind the buds until they are fairly small. If you don’t have a grinder, you can simply use your hands to break the buds down into small pieces.

Step 2: Decarb the Bud Pieces

decarb the buds

Raw cannabis contains THCA and CBDA, which won’t produce any effect. You must activate these compounds to turn them into CBD and THC, which produce the desired effects. The process of activating them is called decarboxylation, wherein the cannabis is heated to a certain degree. 

To decarb your cannabis buds, spread out the ground pieces on a baking sheet and place them in your oven. If you are using a THC-dominant strain, set the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour, and for a CBD-dominant strain, set the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. 

When you are decarbing, the cannabis will decrease in volume, so ensure you add enough ground-up cannabis to get 8 grams of decarbed cannabis. And don’t worry if you decarb extra, you can always use it to make tropicals or cannabis oil!

Step 3: Freeze Cannabis and Alcohol

freeze cannabis and alcohol

Next, weigh 8 grams of decarbed cannabis and add it to the airtight jar and place it in the freezer. You also need to freeze the alcohol, so add six ounces of it to another jar and place it in the freezer.

You must freeze both for at least 24 hours.

Why do you need to freeze cannabis and alcohol? This is because this method is known as the cold ethanol extraction method. The basic premise is that frozen trichomes detach easily from the plant matter, and the cannabinoids and terpenes combine easily with cold alcohol. The result is a more potent tincture. 

Freezing cannabis also affects the polarity of chlorophyll and lipids, making them stay bound to the plant matter. So the resulting tincture will not contain chlorophyll or lipids, which may affect the flavor or color — the tincture will have a clear or golden color, not green and cloudy.

Step 4: Soak the Cannabis in Alcohol

soak cannabis in alcohol

After 24 hours, take out the frozen buds and alcohol. And add three ounces of the frozen alcohol to the container containing cannabis and shake the jar vigorously for a few minutes. This will extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from the buds.

If the jar is too cold to hold, you can use a towel or baking gloves to hold it.

And return the cannabis + alcohol container and the remaining 3 ounces of alcohol to the freezer for a few hours. 

Step 5: Shake and Strain the Cannabis

shake and strain the cannabis

After at least two hours, take out the cannabis + alcohol container and give it another vigorous shake for five minutes. 

After shaking it well, you need to strain it. For this, first, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth to filter out large particles followed by a coffee filter to filter out unwanted small residues. 

Once the liquid is strained, return the remaining cannabis to the freezer.

Step 6: Second Wash and Strain

second wash and strain

Now, it’s time for a second wash and strain, which will remove any unwanted cannabinoids and residue from the liquid. For this, repeat the previous two steps.

Then, add the remaining three ounces of alcohol to the container and shake vigorously followed by straining. 

Your cannabis tincture is almost ready!

Step 7: Reduce the Liquid

reduce the liquid

The strained liquid is your tincture but it is not as concentrated yet. So, you need to reduce it by half, and it’s easy to do so. Just leave the container open for some time and let the alcohol evaporate. This can take a few hours, but keep an eye on the container. 

Once the liquid’s volume has been reduced by half, the tincture will be much more concentrated. Reseal the container.

Step 8: Store the Tincture

store the tincture

Transfer the liquid from the container to the final storage bottle, i.e., the medicinal dropper bottle. Ensure the dropper bottle is amber or dark to reduce light exposure and keep your cannabis safe from degradation.

You can then store the dropper bottles of tincture for weeks in a refrigerator or a cool, dry, dark place in your home, and consume it whenever you want!

Type of Alcohol to Use

The best alcohol for making cannabis tincture is 200-proof food-grade ethanol or 190-proof Everclear alcohol. Both the recommended alcohols are potent natural solvents capable of stripping the desired cannabinoids easily from the buds. 

You must use high-proof alcohol because weaker alcohols contain higher water content, which can slow down the extraction of cannabinoids. 

You should only use food-grade alcohol, which means rubbing alcohol is a no-no. Some users also use vodka to make tinctures, but it is a long process and the results are not as good as using food-grade alcohol. 

And don’t worry, food-grade alcohol will not get you drunk. 

Being Safe with Alcohol

When using the alcohol method to make your tincture, you need to be careful. High-proof alcohol is highly flammable, so follow these tips to ensure safety:

  • Do not work around any open flames and avoid smoking around alcohol. Even a small light can lead to a massive fire when high-proof alcohol is involved.
  • Ensure that your room has good ventilation. High-proof alcohol fumes can be easily ignited when present in high concentrations, so ventilation will keep the concentration of fumes low in the room.
  • In most cases, using high-proof alcohol in the right environment is completely safe. But in case of an accident, it is best to have a fire extinguisher at hand. You can get one at your local hardware store or online easily. 

What Type of Cannabis Should I Use to Make Tinctures?

This entirely depends on whether you use THC- or CBD-dominant strain. Both have their benefits, so pick the one that fits your needs and preferences. Also check your local area’s legality to ensure the cannabis you use is legal. 

Aside from that, you can pick any strain you like. Explore various strain options to find the one with traits that you desire for your tincture. 

There is no right or wrong answer when choosing cannabis — just pick a strain you like and ensure it is high quality with enough terpenes on the buds’ surface. 

Can I Make Tincture Without Alcohol?

Alcohol-based cannabis tinctures, like the one mentioned above, are made from high-proof alcohol. Alcohol acts as a natural solvent to strip the cannabinoids from cannabis. 

However, some users don’t like the idea of using alcohol-based tinctures. They find the alcohol taste to be bitter or leave a harsh aftertaste, and for some users, alcohol leaves a burning sensation in the mouth.

If you prefer a non-alcohol-based tincture, you can use oil instead. In the oil-based method of making tinctures, the cannabinoids are extracted from the buds and mixed into the carrier oil, and you can use various kinds of oil to make your tinctures like MCT oil, and coconut oil, or olive oil.

Oil-based tinctures are milder in flavor and potency, but they work just fine for most users. Plus, you can use oil-based tinctures as skin-care products or food additives, too!

Here, one is not better than the other, whether you choose alcohol or oil. They produce the same effects, but only taste a little different. The primary difference between the two bases is the extraction method. 

How to Make Cannabis Tincture With Oil?

cannabis tincture with oil

Making oil-based cannabis tincture is also quite straightforward. Just follow these steps to make your oil-based tincture.

Things You Need:

  1. Half a cup of MCT, coconut, or olive oil
  2. 3.5 grams of cannabis buds
  3. Rimmed baking tray
  4. Baking paper
  5. Saucepan, crockpot, or double boiler
  6. Cheesecloth or coffee filter

Step 1: Break Up the Buds

break up the buds

Use a grinder or your hands to break apart the buds into smaller pieces. 

Step 2: Decarb the Buds

decarb the buds

Follow the same method listed above to decarb the cannabis buds, so the THC and CBD are activated. 

Step 3: Allow the Buds to Cool Down

allow buds to cool down

Next, allow the decarbed buds to cool down until they are at room temperature. The buds should appear dark green, although a brown hue is not uncommon for decarbed cannabis.

Step 4: Combine the Buds with Oil

combine buds with oil

Now, add the cannabis buds to the oil of your choice in a crockpot, double boiler, or saucepan.

If you are using a crockpot or slow cooker, cook the cannabis + oil mixture on low heat for 4-6 hours and stir occasionally. For a double boiler, cook the mixture on low for 6-8 hours and stir occasionally.

If you are using a saucepan, cook the mixture on low heat for three hours and stir regularly. This is the fastest method but also the most susceptible to scorching, so be careful. If the oil gets too hot, you can add a little water to stabilize the temperatures. 

Whichever method you use, ensure the oil does not heat over 245°F or 118°C, as it will scorch the cannabis and destroy the cannabinoids. 

Step 5: Strain the Mixture

strain the mixture

After cooking it for the recommended hours, you can then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or coffee filter. The resulting liquid is your oil-based tincture. You can store it in an airtight container and place it in a cool, dry place in your home. 

How to Use Cannabis Tinctures?

how to use cannabis tincture

Cannabis tinctures are dosed with a dropper, and you can consume them in two ways. 

The first method is adding it to your food or a drink. Just add a drop to your morning tea and you are good to go. Note that you will feel a delayed onset of effects (30 minutes to an hour) because the extract has to be metabolized by the liver before being absorbed into your bloodstream, which is a slow process. 

The second one is sublingual, where you place a drop under your tongue and wait for the cannabinoids to be absorbed. In this process, it's best to start with a small dosage as 200-proof alcohol can cause a burning sensation for some people. You can also add a little water to offset the alcohol’s taste in your mouth.

As for the dosage, you should consult with your doctor first. There are no established guidelines and internet queries can be unreliable. So, consulting a professional is the best choice. 

And it is also recommended to start with a small dose, like 2.5 mg, and increase it slowly until you reach your desired effect.

Here is a rough guide on the dosage based on a 300 mg THC tincture that you can refer to:

  • 0.10 ml for microdosing 
  • 0.25 ml for light dose for beginners 
  • 0.50 ml for a standard dose of tincture
  • 1 ml for a higher dose for experienced users
  • 2 ml for a potent dosage for experienced users and those with serious ailments

Remember, every individual reacts differently to cannabis, and your body may be more sensitive to cannabis. So, it’s best to be cautious. And if you feel any uncomfortable side effects, like nausea, paranoia, anxiety, or headaches, reduce your dosage. Start small and slow, and you can increase or decrease it accordingly. 

Summary: How to Make Cannabis Tinctures at Home?

That’s your short guide on making cannabis tinctures at home!

Tinctures have been a part of various cultures around the world for centuries, and rightly so. It allows you to consume cannabis without the risks of smoking and vaping, and offer terrific control over your dosage, among other benefits.

So, if you want to make cannabis tincture at home, whether it's CBD or THC-dominant, you can do so easily. You can either use alcohol or oil as a base and just follow the steps listed above.

Lastly, be careful when taking your homemade tincture for the first time. The potency can vary drastically, and you want to avoid consuming too much cannabis. So, consult your doctor first and start with a small dosage, and raise it until you reach the desired results. 

And don’t forget that tinctures work much the same way as cannabis, so if you make a high-THC tincture, expect to get intoxicated, feel euphoric, or have munchies. And the effects of tinctures can last for several hours, so stagger your drops and start low.

So, make your cannabis tincture at home now, and stay tuned to know more about making cannabis products at home. 

 






Comments

eurorack
eurorack

This is all good stuff, I might give this a go with my PVB.