Many cannabis users love to inhale their herb. Rolling a joint and passing it between friends can be a smooth social experience. Packing a vape to take on the go for a discreet pick-me-up later can be just the ticket for a long day out.
Yet other users prefer to steer clear of inhalation altogether. One of the benefits of buying weed online in British Columbia is the variety of products – including cannabis tinctures. Tinctures are an excellent smokeless alternative to traditional marijuana, and they work pretty quickly compared to edibles.
What Is A Cannabis Tincture?
A tincture is an extract made by steeping fresh or dried plant matter (bark, roots, leaves, berries, flowers, or stems) in alcohol. This mix usually sits for a minimum of six weeks and is agitated daily to allow the alcohol to reach as many plant cells as possible, extracting the compounds within.
Tinctures can be made from many different kinds of herbs, including marijuana. Varying proofs of alcohol are used depending on the plant matter. Cannabis tinctures are typically made with high-proof food-grade alcohol – anywhere from 75-95 percent works most efficiently for extracting the compounds from cannabis.
You may also see products labelled as “tinctures” made from vinegar, glycerin, water, or oil. These are technically extracts, as the term tincture strictly applies to extractions made using alcohol. However, in cannabis culture, you will often see oil extracts labelled as tinctures. Always check the ingredient list to be sure of what you’re ordering.
Pros of Using Cannabis Tincture
The positives of marijuana tinctures are many:
- No Smoke: If you avoid burning plant matter, you spare your lungs the harshness from the heat and carcinogens present in smoke. Even though the effects of marijuana aren’t as damaging as tobacco, chronic users will still suffer maladies of the lungs.
- Discretion: lighting up a fattie can be pretty obvious (especially if you’re using fresh, dank herb), but slipping a few drops of tincture directly into your mouth or into a beverage is much less noticeable. There is no odour, and since the dosages are typically small, the taste is minimal as well.
- Fast Onset: unlike edibles that take nearly an hour to kick in, tinctures cross into your bloodstream typically within fifteen minutes when dropped directly under the tongue.
- Easily Adjustable Dosage: since you can measure drop by drop, it’s easy to find that sweet spot of effectiveness and efficiency to make your tincture stretch further.
- Long-lasting Product: tinctures, stored properly, can be shelf-stable for years. The alcohol acts as a preservative and doesn’t go rancid as oils do.
Cons of Using Cannabis Tincture
You may be starting to think tinctures sound like the perfect way to consume cannabis! Before you jump to conclusions, consider these thoughts as well:
- Alcohol: even though alcohol use is so common in our culture, some folks prefer to avoid it altogether. Be it for reasons of recovery or purely personal belief, some people can’t have even minute amounts of alcohol. (see below for other ways to make extracts without using alcohol!)
- Burning Sensation Under Tongue: your mouth is a sensitive area, especially under the tongue, as that area doesn’t typically receive direct traffic. Some people find that high-proof alcohol gives a burning sensation when applied under the tongue.
- Potency: some users may find that they can’t achieve the desired effects with a reasonable tincture dose. Everyone’s body is different, so this may not be an issue for some.
How To Make Cannabis Tincture At Home
As stated above, the word “tincture” has varied meanings in the cannabis world. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you can buy weed online in British Columbia and make your own cannabis tincture! This way, you can control the content and potency according to your needs.
To make cannabis tincture, you will need:
- High-proof Alcohol: must be food grade. Do NOT use isopropyl alcohol, as it is not meant for human consumption. You can ask your local liquor store to special order high-proof vodka. Regular 40 percent will do in a pinch, but the higher proof the better
- Large mason jar
- Cheesecloth or a fine sieve
- Amber glass bottles (with a dropper top is ideal)
- Decarboxylate your marijuana: this converts the THCA and CBDA to THC and CBD, respectively, which are the compounds we are looking to extract in our tincture.
- To decarboxylate your weed, coarsely grind it (too fine of a grind will burn). Spread it out evenly on a baking tray (lined with parchment or a piece of foil) in a one-inch layer.
- Preheat your oven to 225° (an oven thermometer is good to have here for accuracy. If your oven gets too hot, you can destroy the compounds you’re trying to extract.)Cover the weed loosely with a piece of tinfoil and place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the weed is lightly toasted and golden-brown in colour (fresh cannabis may take longer). Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool.
NOTE: this method of decarboxylation is very smelly! Be sure to run a fan or crack a window for proper ventilation.
Extracting the Cannabinoids
- Pack Your Jar: pack a mason jar full of the converted herb and cover it completely with alcohol.
- Let it Steep: let your tincture steep for six weeks in a cool dark place. Shake once daily to agitate the mixture and release the compounds into the alcohol.
- Strain: after six weeks, strain the tincture through a cheesecloth, being sure to squeeze as much alcohol as possible out of the spent herb.
- Decant into dark glass bottle(s). Label it with the product, date, and proportions of ingredients used. This last detail is important for making consistent tinctures in the future.
How to Use Tinctures
As with edibles, it is important to start low and go slow. A one militer dose is a good starting place. Measure out one militer with a dropper and drop it under your tongue. Let rest for one minute before swallowing.
Administering the tincture under your tongue helps it get into your blood more quickly; there are many capillaries there for the tincture to move through into your bloodstream.
Tinctures can also be added to food or beverages but may not act as quickly as direct sublingual administration. Increase your dose daily until you find the desired effects you’re looking for.
There are also many variations on the basic alcohol-based tincture. If alcohol is not an option for you, try the above recipe using vinegar, glycerin, or water/herbal tea in place of the alcohol, maintaining the same ratio.
Time for Tincture Adventures!
That’s it, that’s all! Making tinctures is a cinch, especially if you have a reliable source to buy weed online in British Columbia. Make sure you follow the steps and label your product properly to get the most out of your handcrafted medicine.