Guide to Making Cannabis Tinctures

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Cannabis Tinctures, often preferred by those who cannot tolerate inhalation methods of using marijuana, are made by using an alcohol bath to create a liquid extract of THC and other cannabinoids. A few drops of concentrated serum administered sublingually (under the tongue) work rapidly, usually within 15 minutes -- much more quickly than other cannabis edibles. This allows patients to adjust dosing within a shorter time frame if the desired peak has not been reached. (Edibles can take more than an hour to reach full effect.)  In addition to delivering results quickly, tinctures are known to provide steady relief over a longer period of time.  (See: Guide to Cannabis Edibles & Making Your Own CannaButter.)

There are two recommended ways to make alcohol extraction cannabis tinctures:

  • Warm Brew
  • Cold Brew

Both methods require using decarbed cannabis, which is a process that activates the medicinal properties of THC and CBD. (See: Guide to Decarbing Cannabis for Edibles and Topicals.)  Each of these methods should yield about two cups of cannabis tincture at a strength of about 60 percent THC, depending on the quality of the cannabis bud.

Equipment:

After your bud has been decarbed, you’ll need the following equipment regardless of your tincture “brew” method.

  • Grinder
  • Glass Bowl
  • Mesh Strainer
  • Cheesecloth (warm brew) or Unbleached Coffee Filter (cold brew)
  • 1-Quart Canning Jar with Lid 
  • Dark-Tinted tincture bottles with droppers 

Warm Brew

Ingredients

  • 1 Ounce roughly ground, decarbed cannabis
  • 1 quart jar full of alcohol, with ½ inch unfilled at top (Everclear is the highest proof, or use the highest proof vodka you can find)

Directions

  1. Mix the cannabis and alcohol in a one quart mason jar.  Cover tightly; shake well.
  2. Completely cover the jar in a manner that blocks out all light (which can cause the tincture to spoil) – a heavy brown paper bag, for instance. 
  3. Place the covered jar in a warm, dry place for 30 – 60 days (the longer the stronger).  
  4. When ready to process, strain the mixture through a double thick piece of cheesecloth over a mesh strainer into a glass bowl. The mixture will be a dark green.
  5. Transfer the alcohol tincture into dark-tinted bottles quickly (to avoid exposure to light). Store in the refrigerator. (Some brewers place the tincture bottles in an opaque container in the refrigerator.)  

Cold Brew 

Ingredients

  • 1 oz decarbed, high-quality bud, fully dry and crisp
  • 1 quart jar full of alcohol , with ½ inch unfilled at top (Everclear is the highest proof, or use the highest proof vodka you can find)

Directions

  1. Place the marijuana into a freezer bag and place in the freezer for two or three hours, or until frozen.
  2. Place the mason jar of alcohol 
  3. Grind the frozen marijuana into rough chunks
  4. Mix 1 ounce of your frozen, ground cannabis with the quart of alcohol.
  5. Close the jar tightly and shake vigorously for five minutes and return the mixture to the freezer.
  6. Every four to five hours for two days, shake the jar vigorously and return to the freezer.  
  7. After two days, strain the mixture through an unbleached coffee filter into a glass bowl.  The mixture will be a pale-to-golden green.
  8. Transfer the alcohol tincture into dark-tinted bottles quickly (to avoid exposure to light). Store in the refrigerator. (Some brewers place the tincture bottles in an opaque container in the refrigerator.) 

User’s Guide

Always label and date your tinctures and keep them out of the reach of children! 

Start small with just a few drops under the tongue to guage your reaction.  Wait at least 30 minutes to an hour after first use before increasing dosage.  

Because of the strong cannabis taste of sublingual cannabis tinctures, many people add them to beverages sweetened with honey or sugar.  Hot beverages like coffee, tea and cocoa may activate higher levels of THC. Caution is advised if adding cannabis tinctures to alcoholic beverages.