Cannabis consumption has seen a surge with legalization and the overall understanding that nothing heals like mother earth herself. The ways of consumption keep revolutionizing as cannabis culture keeps bringing a more potent way of consuming it. 

That being said, we know how to reap the benefits of a good ol' Mary Jane with the help of bongs, dab rigs, joints, or simply vape them. Not only that, but you can also find cannabis-infused lotions, edibles, and much more. 

So while we are moving forward, let's take a look back at another way of consuming your herbs; Cannabis Tinctures. They are underutilized and underrated when compared to raw flowers and other methods of consumption, even though they work just as well or sometimes, even better.

Let's see what they are, the different methods of making them, and dosing on them. 

Let the crash course begin!

What is Cannabis Tincture?


Cannabis Tincture is a smokeless way of consuming strains that was very popular in the United States before it enacted cannabis prohibition. They are used for accurate dosing. 

Similar to the extraction of cannabis concentrates and oils, cannabis tinctures use solvent, mostly alcohol or Glycerin, to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from the raw flowers and buds.

Like every other consumption, curating cannabis tincture requires the correct information and precision to reach the preferred strength of the liquid. 

Edible Tinctures and Topical Tinctures

There are two types of Cannabis Tincture; one that is meant to be ingested while the others are designed to go on your skin. The basic difference is how they are made. If you use food-grade material like Bacardi 151, Everclear, Glycerin, etc., it is safe to consume the cannabis tincture. 

However, if you're using isopropyl alcohol or other ingredients that are not safe to consume orally, then that is a topical tincture. 

How do you make Cannabis Tinctures?


You may know by now that alcohol or Glycerin is used as the solvent in cannabis tinctures. So before we start with the different methods of preparing tinctures, let's see the comparison between Alcohol and Glycerin, and the different types of Alcohol that can be used for this preparation. 

Alcohol Vs. Glycerin - The difference between the two

Alcohol is the preferred choice for making cannabis tinctures as they are better at bonding with the THC. Though difficult to find, high-proof alcohol like Bacardi or Everclear is generally accepted to make a quality cannabis tincture. Make sure any alcohol that you use is safe for oral consumption. And no, don’t use your leftover Vodka for this!

On the other hand, Glycerin is used by people who want to avoid the intoxication effect of alcohol. Not very good at binding, it is not the most popular choice. One common method of using Glycerin is to first use alcohol and then carefully evaporate the (very flammable) alcohol. The Glycerin is introduced afterwards, giving the tincture the potency of the alcohol, and the texture of the Glycerin. 

Different types of Alcohol

Let's have a look at the different types of Tincture Alcohol that can be used.

The first choice is always Everclear. It owes its reputation and fame to the fact that it is pure and edible, which is basically the two features we need in alcohol for making tinctures. 

The other choice, as mentioned above, is Bacardi 51, which is not as good as Everclear but gets the job done by binding to the THC easily. 

But if you're someone extremely passionate and possessive about the choice of alcohol, you can get super-strong Polish alcohol called Spirytus. It is a little difficult to find, but you can order it online. It is known to be better than Bacardi 51, but Everclear takes away the first position. 

Methods of Making Cannabis Tinctures


Before we proceed, let's have a look at decarboxylation, which is almost necessary for every method discussed later.

Let's see what it is:


Before we start arguing about what is the optimal temperature, the research scientists in Holland have agreed-upon 230 degrees Fahrenheit for 110 minutes as the appropriate temp and time for decarboxylation. 

For this step, all you have to do is grind or break your cannabis buds or flowers into smaller pieces and spread it out on the oven pan. Cover the pan with aluminium, cause’ you don't want to burn them. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 230 degrees Fahrenheit for 110 minutes. And voila, there you have, decarboxylated cannabis ready!

Method 1: The most basic DIY Method

Even though all of the methods are DIY, this one is the easiest and the best method to make cannabis tinctures, even if you're starting for the first time. Also known as Master Wu’s green dragon tincture recipe, it is the most popular one. 

Before that, I use this measurement as it works for me- For every ounce of cannabis flower, use one 750 mL bottle of alcohol. But you can experiment the ratios around until you tune into your desired frequency. 

What you need:

Oven- Preheated to 230 Degrees Fahrenheit

Oven Pan

Aluminium Foil

Cannabis - Obviously

High Proof Alcohol

Mason jar

Coffee Filter

Step 1: Decarboxylate the cannabis buds or flowers, as stated above. Make sure to grind it into a fine consistency. This step will require you to use the Oven Pan, Aluminium Foil, Cannabis, and of course Oven. 

Step 2: Transfer the decarboxylated cannabis into a jar along with the high-proof alcohol. 

Step 3: Tightly close the lid of the Mason jar and store it for a few weeks, shaking it every day. If you don't want to wait for weeks, shake vigorously for 5-10 minutes, and follow the next step. 

Step 4: The final step is to filter the tincture through a coffee filter, ensuring nothing but liquid makes its way out. 

Method 2: The Ed Rosenthal Method


Ed Rosenthal, also known as the Guru of Ganja, is leading cannabis horticulture authority, activist, author, and educator. So, you have to trust this man when he brings an innovative method of making cannabis tinctures. 

He shows this method in his book, "Beyond Buds: the Next Generation" which surely gives some new information to blow your mind. 

Here's how the Ed Rosenthal Method goes about. 

What you need:

  1. Cannabis Buds or Flowers (Decarboxylated)
  2. High Proof Alcohol
  3. Mason jar
  4. Blender
  5. Mesh Strainer
  6. Coffee filters
  7. A large metal bowl

Step 1: Decarboxylate the Cannabis, which is the first step, and you already know how to do that (Explained above).

Step 2: Place your cannabis on the strainer and then put the strainer in the large metal bowl. 

Step 3: Fill the bowl with water until you can see the plants floating. Set it aside for 1.5 hours/90 minutes. This step helps to pull out the chlorophyll from the plants.

Step 4: Strain the waiter and collect the wed buds into a ball to squeeze the excess water from them. 

Step 5: Break the wet cannabis ball into smaller pieces and put them into the blender.

Step 6: Add pure alcohol to the blender and blend it on low for 5 minutes and then wait for an hour, before blending it again for 5 minutes.

Step 7: Strain the mixture, ensuring that you collect the used buds. Squeeze the tincture from them using the back of a spoon. 

You have your first batch of cannabis Tincture ready! But we have more to do.

Step 8: Place the used buds in fresh alcohol for an hour

Step 9: Pour the mixture through a strainer, and discard the used buds this time.

Step 10: Pour the tinctures through coffee filters over a bowl to avoid getting smaller particles in your solution.

Step 11: Transfer it into a Mason jar and store it in a cool, dry place!

Method 3: Water Bath Method

If you're someone who likes to enjoy the process of making tinctures, ensuring the correct temperature is maintained, and the work is precise, then this method is for you. It is the fastest method to make Cannabis Tinctures as you don't have to store it for weeks before dosing on them. So let's see what the Water Bath method entails. 

And no, you don't have to take a bath for this!

CAUTION: Before you begin with this method, make sure you don't have an open flame anywhere in the house. Since this method involves evaporating alcohol, it creates a highly flammable vapour and can easily burn the house down. Please be safe!

What you need:

  1. Cannabis Buds or Flowers (Decarboxylated)
  2. High Proof Alcohol
  3. 2 X Mason jar
  4. Grinder
  5. Mesh Strainer
  6. Coffee filters
  7. A large metal bowl
  8. A cooking pot (Not a smoking one)
  9. An accurate thermometer

Step 1: You already know the first step, so we'll jump to the next one.

Step 2: Using the grinder, break your cannabis into smaller pieces and put them in the Mason jar. 

Step 3: Add Alcohol into the jar, but make sure you don't close the lid on it.

Step 4: Take the cooking pot and fill it with an inch of water, and place it on the electric stove on medium flame. [Remember, no gas stove]

Step 5: Now, the water bath begins! 

Place the jar in the water and set the temperature until the Mason jar mixture reaches 165°F. Let it cook for 30 minutes, ensuring that the temperature does not go above that level. 

Step 6: Remove the Jar after 30 minutes, allowing it to cool down.

Step 7: Filter the tincture through coffee filters over a bowl to strain out the tiny particulates.

Step 8: Store the liquid in a mason jar with a tight lid. And you're done!!

Method 4: The Magic Butter Machine Method


Everything is easier with technology and so making Cannabis Tincture is no different. Constant stirring, heating and everything else are so much better when you don't have to do it.

Let's see how magical the Magic Butter Machine Method is! 

What you need: 

  1. Cannabis buds and flowers
  2. High Proof Alcohol
  3. Mason jar
  4. Mesh Strainer 
  5. Large Metal Bowl
  6. Coffee Filter
  7. Magical Butter Machine

Step 1: Always the same, decarboxylate the cannabis!

Step 2: Put the cannabis in the machine and add alcohol to it.

Step 3: Set the temperature to 130 Degrees Fahrenheit and the timer for 4 hours. You can also set it for 8 hours if you want a more potent product.

Step 4: Once finished, allow the liquid to cool down for 30 minutes before straining it through the coffee filter. 

Step 5: Pour the prepared tincture into the Mason jar and store it safely. 

Method 5: Cannabis Tincture without decarboxylation

I know that I had emphasised so much on the first step being decarboxylation, but not everyone can follow that way. Even though I am not a fan of making tinctures without decarboxylation, if you're keen enough, you can give it a try. 

What you need:

  1. Everclear Alcohol
  2. Grinder
  3. Mason jar
  4. Strainer

Step 1: Grind the cannabis into a very fine texture. You have to make sure it is really fine as we won't be decarboxylating it and we need it to be thin for the chemical reaction to occur. 

Step 2: Fill the Mason jar with 1:3 ratio of ground cannabis and Everclear alcohol.

Step 3: Shake it up and place it in the freezer for 24 hours.

Step 4: Shake it again and continue this process for 3-7 days.

Step 5: When you think your cannabis tincture is ready, use a strainer or a coffee filter to separate the plant material. Do this twice to make nothing creep in your tincture. 

Step 6: Store it in a mason jar or a dropper bottle, whichever suits you best. Just remember, cold extracts can take longer than de-carboxylate extracts to hit the body.

Precautions while preparing the Cannabis Tincture


We all know that high-proof alcohol is extremely flammable and can be a big fire hazard. If you're making tinctures, you should keep the following points in your mind.

  1. No open flames anywhere in the house. Not even smoking, not even a small spark as it can lead to a full-fledged fire. 
  2. No gas stoves. You have to be extremely careful to ensure that you do not use the gas stove as the alcohol fumes along with gas stoves are an ensured fire hazard. 
  3. Good Ventilation: Make sure to open the windows and create good ventilation as alcohol fumes, when build-up can ignite on their own, leaving the entire process failed. 

Dosing on Cannabis Tinctures


Now that we have made the tinctures, the new question arises, how do we consume them? A bit of advice for beginners, start with 1ml and move your way forward until you reach the desired effect. And consume your first tincture on a day when you have nowhere to go. You don't want the uninvited high to accompany you everywhere.

So, coming to the type of consumption, you can do it in three ways; Add to your edibles, drop it right into your mouth or ingest it sublingually.

The sublingual effect is the most common and effective way to consume cannabis tinctures. You drop a few drops, preferably using a dropper, below your tongue. You don't swallow it; you just wait for the substance to get diffused into the blood through the tissues under the tongue.

There is a general complaint that tincture, especially those made with everclear alcohol create a burning sensation. So how do you make Everclear Tincture not burn? It's simple. You measure it accurately when making the tincture. Pure alcohol is much more powerful than Vodka, and you have to equate the quantity before mixing it with herbs and flowers. On the other hand, if you cannot take the burn, try mixing it with any drink. 

Another method is to drop the tincture into your mouth and swallow it. The effect may take a while before baring itself however, it can be consumed through this way if you like the feel creeping on you slowly.

The last method is making edibles with alcohol tinctures, anything that you want to consume. But the onset of the effects should take about as long as edibles. So, if you're looking for quick relief, try sublingual consumption. 

This was all about Cannabis Tinctures and their mini crash course. You don’t have to get overwhelmed with the information, it’s really easy once you try it. And if you still have some doubts or questions in your mind, feel free to drop it in the comments section below. 

Till then, toke it your way!