Health & Wellness

Cannabis Tinctures And How To Use Them

Most people have never tried a cannabis tincture.
Most people have never tried a cannabis tincture.

For the people that don’t want to smoke weed for its benefits, there are many different methods out there. You’ve got edibles, sublinguals, and topicals, amongst others. One of the most popular smokeless cannabis consumption methods is a cannabis tincture. 

What is a cannabis tincture?

A cannabis tincture is a type of alcohol-based cannabis concentrate that comes in liquid form. They are easy as hell to make, and you can use them in a variety of ways. Cannabis tinctures are held in high regard amongst medical patients for being fast-acting and easy to dose with less intense effects than smoking flower or vaping hash oil. 

The different types of cannabis tinctures 

There are THC tinctures, CBD tinctures, and tinctures that are a mix of both of them. There are also tinctures of different cannabinoids. Basically, whatever your fix, there’s a tincture out there for you. 

Seven types of cannabis tinctures:

  • THC tinctures
  • CBD tinctures
  • Balanced THC/CBD tinctures
  • THCA tinctures
  • CBDA tinctures
  • CBG tinctures
  • CBN tinctures

THC tinctures

The most familiar type of cannabis is THC-dominant, the cannabis compound responsible for getting people high. Currently, it is the only known intoxicating cannabinoid. There are many health benefits to consuming THC. It helps people with treating stress, anxiety, glaucoma, insomnia, lack of appetite, and even pain relief.  Here are some articles on it from Healthline, Green-Flower, and Insider that delve deeper into the medical reasons that people choose to consume THC. 

Often times people want to enjoy the high and benefits of THC, but they consider the effects of smoking flower, dabs, or vaporizers to be too intense. That’s where tinctures come into play, as they allow for manageable dosing and experiences.

CBD tinctures

CBD tinctures are for the people that want the benefits of the non-intoxicating compound. They can be made from both cannabis and hemp, which means there are CBD tinctures out there that you can buy online and have shipped directly to your doorstep, considering that hemp is federally legal. 

This free-for-all nature of hemp products also means that you need to do your homework on products before ordering them. You need to know about the company’s background, their standards, how their hemp was grown, how their extracts were produced, and so on. It’s the best way to make sure that you don’t have a negative experience that turns you off to the wellness benefits of cannabis forever.

As a rule of thumb, the best cannabis product companies are transparent about their processes, celebrating them even.

Balanced tinctures

Balanced refers to cannabis products that contain both THC and CBD. They allow consumers to get a full spectrum of effects, and truly enjoy the entourage effect of multiple cannabinoids. Balanced cannabis tinctures usually have around 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of THC:CBD, and vice versa.

THCA tinctures and CBDA tinctures

THCA and CBDA stand for THC-acid and CBD-acid, respectively. They are the precursors to THC and CBD, converted from the former to the latter by heat i.e. a lighter, dab torch, etc. They are non-intoxicating, but still provide respective benefits for people that use cannabis for health purposes. Cresco Labs details THCA’s benefits as symptom relief for cancer, seizures, Alzheimer's disease, and cachexia. Leafly suggests CBDA may provide relief from pain and inflammation.

CBG and CBN tinctures

In addition to our main cannabinoids, there are minor cannabinoids that have really become the talk of the town lately. CBG and CBN are two of them. CBG is a cannabinoid that helps with inflammation and pain; CBN is a cannabinoid that helps with sleep.

How cannabis tinctures are made

You can make tinctures at the crib if you want to. You just need cannabis and alcohol basically. Just make sure to use a high-grade proof alcohol. So, like vodka or gin, or something of that sort. Rubbing alcohol isn’t meant to be drunk, so don’t use that. You’ll get sick, I promise you. Keep that solely for cleaning your glass, grinders, and other pieces. If you don’t want to use alcohol, some people use glycerin to make tinctures. People also use olive oil and coconut oil to make tinctures, though those are technically elixirs, not tinctures.

Steps to making a cannabis tincture at home:

  • Step 1: Decarboxylate your weed
  • Step 2: Choose your tincture base
  • Step 3: Soak your decarbed weed in a tincture base 
  • Step 4: Transfer your tincture to a dropper bottle
  • Step 5: Use your cannabis tincture

To make cannabis tincture, you need to decarb the weed, like any other cannabis product that you want to use. Decarb cannabis in the oven by placing it on a cookie sheet for around 20 minutes at a temperature somewhere between 220-245 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, your cannabis is ready to use for edibles, tinctures, etc.

Once decarbed, your weed is ready to infuse with whatever alcohol-base (or glycerin-base) you’ve chosen. Take the decarbed nugs and simply sit them in a jar of the alcohol. Then close the jar and let it sit for a few weeks, shaking daily. The longer it sits, the more potent your cannabis tincture will be.

Once your cannabis tincture is made, pour it into dropper bottles. That will allow you a way to manage dosage and distribution. Make sure to use dark dropper bottles, and store them in a dark, cool environment, as overexposure to heat and light can weaken your tincture’s potency. 

How to use cannabis tincture

There are plenty of ways to use cannabis tinctures. Sublingually, mixed with food, and mixed with beverages are the most common methods.

Sublingually

You can drop a cannabis tincture right below your tongue and let it sit for a couple minutes. This is the quickest onset time for using tinctures. According to Leafly, cannabis tinctures taken sublingually may take effect within 15-45 minutes, while regular eddies (or swallowing your tincture) might take up to 2 hours before you feel them. 

On top of a food

If you want to take your cannabis tincture ritual to a higher level, you can also cover literally any food you want with it. It’s the easiest way to make homemade edibles, to be honest. Take your dropper, suck up a few drops of cannabis alcohol, and distribute the cannabis tincture over your dish at your leisure. Being that this cannabis has to cycle through your stomach, the tincture may take the normal onset time of edibles before you feel it. 

In a beverage 

If you don't want to squirt a tincture directly into your mouth or have to eat every time you use one, you can also infuse normal beverages by applying cannabis tinctures to them. To change your Fanta Orange soda to a Fanta Orange Kush, simply drop a little bit of your homemade or store-bought cannabis tincture into that beverage and voila, you’re ready to consume.

If this is your first time making a tincture, approach dosage slowly so you can know exactly how potent it is before you start bathing your grilled chicken breast in too much THC. Same goes for any of the non-intoxicating cannabinoids.

Who should use cannabis tinctures 

Cannabis tinctures are great for people who want the benefits of cannabis the quickest and easiest way.

1) People who don’t want to smoke can use tinctures. That’s the most obvious group of consumers. Most of the time, these consumers are medical patients who *can’t* smoke. In fact, cannabis tinctures used to be the main way people medicated with cannabis.

2) Consumers who consider flower and dabs way too potent to handle would greatly benefit from using cannabis tinctures. Using cannabis tinctures allows for more manageable dosages of THC, CBD, etc than smoking a joint or hitting the Dr. Dabber. 

3) People who want to make infused meals, but don’t want to go through the process of actually cooking your food with cannabis. Whip out the dropper, and apply it to your dishes as stated above.

4) Cannabis consumers who want to use the plant while on-the-go can pack tinctures in a small bag, backpack, or tote and take off into the world.

5) Cannabis tinctures are great for people who want discretion. No one will ever think the wiser about what liquid is in your little dropper bottle. Plus, there’s no smell or clean-up, so truthfully, this all makes tinctures one of the best possible ways to benefit from cannabis.

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