3 Easy Ways to Make a Cannabis Tincture

3 Easy Ways to Make a Cannabis Tincture

April 11, 2018

3 Easy Ways to Make a Cannabis Tincture

3 Easy Ways to Make a Cannabis Tincture With Alcohol or Vegetable Glycerin

Are you looking for an alternative way to consume cannabis? Smoking and vaping may be fun, but sometimes you might want something that’s a little more discreet and long lasting. The most common alternative method of cannabis consumption is via butters or edible products such as candies. Butters and edibles take a long time to work, though, and they also contain calories that you might not want to consume. Tinctures are a happy medium. Although the effects don’t last quite as long as what you’d get with cannabis edibles, the effects also come on more quickly. You can use a cannabis tincture discreetly, and you can carry the bottle almost anywhere without anyone asking about it. The best part is that making a cannabis tincture is extremely easy. You may already have many of the things that you need to make it.

In this article, we’re going to explain three easy cannabis tincture recipes. Before we begin, though, let’s learn a bit more about why you would want to make a cannabis tincture in the first place.

Why Would I Want to Make a Cannabis Tincture?

Acts Faster Than Butter

Although using a cannabis tincture may not be as fun – or as immediate – as smoking or vaping, it’s a great alternative to other forms of oral cannabis such as butters, oils and edibles. Compared to cannabis butter, cannabis tincture produces its effects much more quickly. While you won’t feel cannabis butter until at least 60 minutes after you’ve eaten it, cannabis tincture begins working in as little as 15 minutes if you hold it under the tongue. Marijuana tincture is therefore a great option if you use cannabis to treat conditions such as anxiety or chronic pain. The effects kick in fairly quickly and last a long time.

Easy to Use Discreetly

Compared to smoking or vaping, using a cannabis tincture is far more discreet. People near you might be able to smell the cannabis when you open the bottle, but the smell dissipates quickly. It’s useful, though, to have some breath spray handy. 

Add to Any Meal

Have you had difficulty trying to figure out the best way to use cannabis butter in your meals? Weed tincture is a great alternative because you don’t need to cook with it. Simply drizzle a bit on top of any finished meal. Cannabis tincture is also a great alternative to brownies and other traditional edibles because it contains very few calories.

Consistent Dosing

If you’re a medical marijuana user, the fun effects of cannabis may not matter as much to you as its medicinal effects. If that’s the case, you’ll love the fact that cannabis tinctures are so easy to titrate. If you always use the same strain of cannabis, the same amount of material and the same method when making your tincture, the result should be virtually identical every time. 

Long-Term Storage

If you happen to find yourself in possession of a large quantity of cannabis that’s either stale or simply not good enough to smoke or vape, making a cannabis tincture is a great way to extract the beneficial compounds from that cannabis rather than wasting it. Closed tightly and stored in a cool, dark place, your tincture will retain its potency for a very long time.

3 Easy Ways to Make a Cannabis Tincture

Decarboxylation: Required for All Tincture Methods

In the marijuana flower, THC doesn’t exist in a form that the body can readily use. THC in its raw form is THCA, bound by a carboxyl group. Heat removes the carboxyl group and converts the THCA to THC, producing the psychoactive effects that you know and love. Smoking or vaping cannabis provides the necessary heat. If you want to use cannabis orally, though, you’ll have to heat it first to activate the THC. That’s decarboxylation. Here’s how you do it:

  • Preheat your oven to 240° F / 115° C.
  • Grind your cannabis finely. Spread it on a small baking sheet or in a Pyrex dish.
  • Tie an oven bag over the dish or baking sheet if you want to contain the smell of the baking cannabis. During decarboxylation, the smell will fill your home. If you don’t mind the scent, you can skip this step.
  • Bake the cannabis for approximately 40 minutes. Your buds are fully decarboxylated when they are very fragrant and slightly brown.
  • Cool the cannabis to room temperature before using it to make your tincture.

Pro Tip: If you search online, you’ll find many different methods for decarbing weed. We encourage you to experiment with different temperatures and baking times until you find the method that works best for you.

What You Need (All Cannabis Tincture Recipes)

  • ¼ ounce of cannabis
  • 2 oz of high-proof alcohol such as Everclear
  • Mason jar with lid
  • Latex or nitrile gloves
  • Cheesecloth
  • Glass measuring cup with spout
  • Coffee filter
  • Small metal funnel
  • Amber glass bottles with droppers

Straining and Bottling Your Cannabis Tincture (All Recipes)

  • Wear a pair of latex or nitrile gloves. An alcohol-based cannabis tincture is very potent, and it can absorb through the skin.
  • Place a double layer of cheesecloth over a measuring cup. Pour the tincture through the cheesecloth. Squeeze firmly to extract all of the alcohol. Save the herbs for a second flush; see the tip at the bottom of this article.
  • Return the tincture to the mason jar.
  • Place a coffee filter over the measuring cup. You can secure the filter with a rubber band if you like. 
  • Pour the tincture through the coffee filter to remove the last bits of plant material. The mixture will be yellow-green (freezer method) or dark brown (room temperature method) and may be slightly cloudy.
  • Bottle the tincture with the funnel. Store the tincture in a cool, dark place.

Freezer Cannabis Tincture

There are many different recipes for making cannabis tinctures. We like the freezer method, though, because it is fast and produces a consistent result without the inherent risks of using a heat source around high-proof alcohol. The freezer method produces a great tincture without heat because freezing the cannabis causes the water in the cannabis to freeze, swell and burst through the flower’s cell walls, releasing the beneficial compounds into the alcohol.

Freezer Cannabis Tincture Recipe

  • Decarboxylate the cannabis using the steps above.
  • Put the alcohol in the mason jar and close the lid. When you’re done decarboxylating your cannabis, freeze it as well. Freeze the alcohol and cannabis for up to three hours before mixing the two.
  • Add the frozen cannabis to the alcohol. Close the lid and shake the jar vigorously for several minutes.
  • Shake the jar several times daily over the next two days.
  • Strain and bottle the tincture using the steps above. 

Room-Temperature Cannabis Tincture

Making a cannabis tincture at room temperature takes a long time. We like this extraction method, though, because it draws every last bit of the beneficial compounds out of your cannabis. This is the best way to get the most out of stale or otherwise low-quality material. 

Room-Temperature Cannabis Tincture Recipe

  • Decarboxylate the cannabis using the steps above.
  • Combine the cannabis and alcohol in the mason jar. Close the lid and shake the jar vigorously for several minutes. 
  • Place the jar in a brown paper shopping bag to block out the light. 
  • Allow the mixture to steep for up to 60 days. Remove the jar and shake it periodically.
  • Strain and bottle the tincture using the steps above.

Alcohol-Free Cannabis Tincture

If you want your cannabis tincture to work quickly, you’ll need to hold it under the tongue. The problem, though, is that some people feel an unpleasant burning sensation when using strong alcohol sublingually. There are also some people who don’t consume alcohol in any form. If you can’t use an alcohol-based tincture due to discomfort or because you’re avoiding alcohol, an alcohol-free tincture is the perfect alternative. Some people have noted that they find vegetable glycerin cannabis tinctures a bit weaker than alcohol tinctures, though, so keep that in mind when dosing.

What You Need

  • All above items except alcohol
  • 2 oz of food-safe vegetable glycerin
  • Stretchy silicone cover for mason jar
  • Washcloth
  • Crock pot or saucepan

Vegetable Glycerin Cannabis Tincture Recipe

  • Decarboxylate the cannabis using the steps above.
  • Combine the cannabis and vegetable glycerin in the mason jar. 
  • Cover the mason jar with the silicone cover and shake the jar vigorously for several minutes. You can also use a mason jar lid, but a silicone cover is a better choice. If pressure builds in the jar during heating, the silicone will eliminate the possibility of the jar breaking.
  • Put a washcloth in your crock pot to keep the jar away from the heating element. Add water to the crock pot until it is about half full. Place the jar in the water bath.
  • Put the crock pot on the lowest heat setting. Use it to heat the vegetable glycerin cannabis tincture all day. Use tongs and heat-proof gloves to periodically remove and shake the jar. 
  • Allow the mixture to cool completely before straining and bottling it using the steps above.

Pro Tip: If you don’t own a crock pot, you can also heat your vegetable glycerin cannabis tincture for several hours in a water bath on your stovetop. Check the temperature regularly – it should be around 190° F / 87° C. Stay nearby to ensure that the water isn’t boiling off. 

Tips for Making and Using Cannabis Tinctures

  • Are you in a hurry? Using the freezer method, a strong alcohol can extract most of the THC from cannabis in just a day with regular shaking. Although a one-day tincture won’t be quite as strong as a two-day tincture, bottling the tincture after one day gives you something that you can use right away. After you’ve bottled your first tincture, return the herbs to the mason jar and cover them with more alcohol. Continue shaking the jar regularly and bottle the second cannabis tincture when you’re finished using the first. The second-flush tincture won’t be as potent as the first tincture, so you might need to use it a bit more often to achieve the desired result. Making two tinctures from the same starting material, however, is a good way to ensure that you’ve captured all of the beneficial compounds in your herbs. It’s worthwhile to try a second flush regardless of the extraction method that you use. If you don’t get anything out of your second-flush tincture, you’ll know that your initial extraction was complete enough that you probably don’t need to bother with a second flush in the future.
  • It is also possible make a heated alcohol-based cannabis tincture by placing a mason jar in a water bath heated to 170° F / 76° C. Heating the water bath to that temperature causes the alcohol to bubble and evaporate. To use this method, you’ll start with 4 oz of alcohol and stop the heating when half of the alcohol has boiled off. The benefit of using heat to aid the cannabis extraction is that the finished tincture is ready to use immediately. We don’t discuss the heat extraction method in this article, though, because the fumes of 190 proof alcohol are extremely flammable. Using high-proof alcohol near a heating element or open flame is, therefore, very dangerous. We don’t recommend trying it.
Start slowly when using cannabis tinctures until you know how they affect your body. You can always take more tincture if you aren’t getting the desired effects, but you should wait about two hours after taking the tincture to evaluate how you feel.


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