Making a marijuana tincture is an easy way to extract THC and cannabinoids from Cannabis. A tincture is an alcohol-based solution, used to extract organics from herbs and other plants. Tinctures are useful because they isolate certain compounds better than soaking or boiling herbs in water, the alcohol acts as a natural preservative, and medicinal tinctures often take effect more quickly than other administration routes, like eating, drinking, or smoking.
Marijuana Tincture Materials
A typical ratio of plant matter to alcohol would be 1 gram to 1 fluid ounce (35 ml) of alcohol. Up to 6 grams of Cannabis can be used, depending on your resources and how concentrated you want the end product to be. Do not use any other type of alcohol besides ethyl alcohol or ethanol (e.g., isopropyl alcohol or methyl alcohol), as these chemicals are toxic.
- Cannabis sativa bud, fresh or dried
- High-proof ethanol
- Flavoring (optional)
- Small glass jar with lid
- Brown or blue glass dropper bottle
Everclear is a popular source of ethanol because it is so high in alcohol. 151 rum also works. Be sure to use food-quality ethanol, not denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol contains contaminants that make it unsafe to drink. Lower concentrations of alcohol will not be as effective for the extraction or preservation.
Basic Steps To Prepare a Cannabis Tincture
- Place the marijuana in the bottle.
- Pour alcohol into the bottle, making certain to cover the plant matter.
- Seal the bottle. Place it in a warm location, out of direct sunlight.
- Give the alcohol mixture at least a day, but preferably longer than a week to soak. You can shake the bottle from time to time to ensure a good extraction of the THC and other cannabinoids.
- Filter the liquid through a coffee filter to remove the solids and reserve the liquid in a dark-colored glass dropper bottle. Avoid using plastic, as the liquid may leach some undesirable compounds from the plastic into the tincture over time. Flavoring may be added to improve the taste of the tincture, if desired.
- A typical dose would be 3-5 drops, depending on how strong you made the tincture. Start with the minimum amount and see what works best for you.
Fast Marijuana Tincture Recipe
While the classic tincture instructions are fine, you can prepare a tincture much more quickly if you're willing to put in slightly more preparation time. Also, this method uses less source material (although the tincture is also less potent). This recipe produces an effective tincture in as little as an hour. The disadvantage of the method is that it uses heat, which can damage some of the many cannabinoids in Cannabis if you get carried away. Don't exceed the recommended temperature.
- Dry about 4-5 grams of a Cannabis sativa bud.
- Grind the material to increase surface area (speeds extraction).
- Bake the marijuana is a 240 F over (set for just under 250 F) for 30 minutes. This decarboxylates the matter, improving the extraction of desirable compounds while helping to eliminate unwanted chemicals. Both heat and alcohol can convert the THCA molecules in the plant matter into active THC.
- Place the marijuana in 2 ounces of alcohol. Make sure it is covered and seal the container to prevent gas exchange with air.
- Place the container in a cool, dark location. The longer you allow for the alcohol to extract the cannabinoids, the more potent your tincture will be. You can watch the extraction progress as the color of the liquid changes from clear to green. Once the color is stable (up to 2 or 3 hours), filter the liquid using a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Of course, you can consider the tincture "done" sooner, but you may lose potency.
- Store the tincture in a dark glass dropper bottle. While the alcohol preserves a tincture at room temperature, it's fine to refrigerate it to further reduce the chance of mold or fungal growth.
How to Use a Marijuana Tincture
The ideal way to use this tincture is to apply drops sublingually (under your tongue). Use a few drops and then wait to determine the effect. Cannabinoids are quickly absorbed across the mucosa of the mouth into the bloodstream for distribution to the brain and other parts of the body. If the desired effect is not achieved after the initial dose, a few more drops may be applied.