How to Use Cannabis Tincture

Cannabis tinctures are made by soaking cannabis flowers in alcohol and letting the cannabis and alcohol infuse. Leaf trim, hash and kief can also be used instead of flowers.Alcohol is used to extract the terpenes and cannabinoids from the cannabis, leaving behind a liquid that contains a high concentration of active compounds. Alcohol also preserves the compounds, which is important since it takes longer to consume tinctures as opposed to other forms of marijuana.

With a name like “green dragon,” you might think cannabis tinctures are not for the faint of heart, but they’re actually a great entry point for both recreational and medical users looking to ease into smokeless consumption methods.In general, cannabis tinctures are recommended for relieving anxiety disorders, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), chronic pain, fibromyalgia, insomnia, muscular spasms, restless leg syndrome, and other conditions.

The effect of the tincture also depends on which strain is used to make it. For example, a sativa dominant strain will give you more of an energetic and uplifting head high. It can be used to stimulate appetite and combat pain.On the other hand, an indica dominant strain will give you more of a body high and can aid in sleep. It can also reduce nausea, depression and pain. Tinctures made with a hybrid strain will share some qualities of both indica and sativa.

Using cannabis tinctures offers a more discrete, private, and effective experience:

  • Quick high: Tinctures are infused alcohols, liquids that come in small pharmacy bottles. They are extracted concentrations of cannabis. During the concentrating process, alcohol absorbs the THC and cannabinoids. Applied under the tongue with an eye dropper, it will affect you quickly.
  • Easily taken: Tinctures are taken sublingually, so they have none of the inconvenience or debris generated by smoking. They are a good product for those so ill they have trouble chewing and swallowing.
  • Fewer Calories than Edibles: Tinctures also have some advantages over edibles. Firstly, tinctures contain fewer calories than marijuana-infused baked goods.
  • Prolonged effects: Edibles metabolize slowly, but tinctures hit home within 15 minutes. It peaks quickly and lasts a long time. How high and how long does depend on your bud choice.
  • No aroma: Without a distinctive or identifiable smell, the tincture carries well wherever you go. You don’t have to hide to smoke or worry about the law.
  • Shelf-life: Tinctures have a long shelf-live with full potency.
  • Safe for Children: Tinctures are safe to use for patients who are prescribed medical marijuana. Tinctures may be especially helpful to ill children who shouldn’t smoke or vaporize cannabis.
  • Reasonably priced: With a medical marijuana card, you can find a tincture at any dispensary in bottles big enough to serve you for quite a while. It comes in different flavors and with different strain heritages.

There are three ways to consume cannabis tinctures: sublingually, orally or mixed with food.

Most tinctures are taken by placing a few drops under the tongue, also known as sublingual administration. When you take a tincture sublingually, the cannabinoids are absorbed by the blood vessels lining the mouth, resulting in a quick onset of effects.

You can take cannabis tinctures orally by adding a few drops to a beverage such as soda, juice or a mocktail. Alternatively, you can also swallow the tincture on its own like you would any liquid medicine. When you take a tincture orally rather than sublingually, it must be absorbed through the digestive system, so it will take longer to feel the effects.

Tinctures can also be combined with food to make a tincture edible. The difference between a tincture edible and a fat-based edible is that the latter is harder to dose and can produce a longer, more intense high. Tinctures can be incorporated after cooking into all sorts of meals and drinks: juices, ice creams and sherbets, soups… You can add them to cakes and cookies, and salad dressings, puddings and teas without an appreciable impact on taste. And, you can mix the tincture with other oils, butters, and spreadable items. 

Tinctures are easily and cheaply purchased where legal. You can use them at your convenience and in private. You can consume them for their medical benefits or just for fun. And, you can make your own.

[Updated, originally published 5.5. 2017]

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