How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture
Introduction: How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture
A glycerin tincture is a cost effective and safe way to medicate with cannabis. It’s alcohol free, which is great for those who are sensitive to it. It’s also entirely customizable, just like cannabis coconut oil. You can choose to use only sativa strains for daytime medication, high CBD strains for mood improvement, or indica strains for help with sleeping or pain relief.
The dosing for tinctures is a little more all over the place because chances are you’ll be mixing several different strains and cuts of cannabis to make it or not be entirely sure of the THC content of everything going in. It’ll take a bit of experimenting to figure out the best dose for you and your tolerance.
This tincture will take at least 60 days to finish but it takes very little effort during that time.
We found out about these tinctures originally from Subcool and MzJill – if you’d like to learn more about them, please click through and read the whole High Times article. There’s a lot of argument about this method in the comments, but I think it’s great.
Step 1: Tools + Ingredients
- food-safe vegetable glycerin
- decarboxylated sugar trim, kief, buds – even hash!
- quart size mason jar
- canning strainer stand + bag
- glass bottles to store the tincture (something with a dropper will make it easy!)
In this tincture, we used homegrown Cheesequake. We chose to grow Cheesequake because it’s a very good indica – not a super hard hitter, but very relaxing and it has a good effect on my mood. We used hash (3-4 grams), bud and some trim.
Sadly we weren’t thinking about posting instructables when we started this tincture so we don’t have photos of the dried material that went in. Instead, here’s a nice photo of some vegetable glycerin and some beautiful Doctor Who buds.
Step 2: Prep Work
It’s always a good idea to decarboxylate beforehand, so click here to learn about that. Decarbing will keep you safe and make your tincture more potent.
Subcool ground his cannabis quite fine his tincture and we did not (just a chunky grind), but go with whatever you think is best.
You’ll also want to sanitize a large glass jar (we have a quart size mason jar for this) and any measuring or funneling equipment.
Because this tincture will be taken orally it’s very important to be careful about sanitation! You never want to make yourself or someone else sick.
Step 3: Combine and Let Sit
Fill the jar at least 3/4 off the way to the top with your decarboxylated cannabis. Don’t pack it in, just let it settle naturally.
Once it’s in, pour vegetable glycerin over the top until the cannabis is entirely covered.
Step 4: What to Do During the 60 Day Waiting Period
While you don’t need to do much, it’s a good idea to at least rotate the jar once a day if you remember.
We flipped the jar every now and then so it was constantly going between sitting upright or lid down.
(Full disclosure: we kinda forgot about our tincture. It was hiding in the closet. We took it more than 60 days. I don’t even know how long it went!)
Step 5: Bonus Decarbing
Before you strain your tincture you can do one last thing: decarboxylate.
Subcool suggested doing it this way:
Put the whole mason jar, lid and all, into the oven and set it to 170 F. Once the oven is preheated, set a timer for 45 minutes and let the tincture warm up. (I personally think the temp here is too long and the time is too short – but since it’s already decarbed I’m not too worried.)
Once it’s up, turn off the oven and let the jar hang out until it’s cool to the touch. (I don’t recommend taking it out of the oven until it’s cool – setting it on too-cool a surface could cause the glass to crack.)
If you’re worried about your jar breaking, I’d say it might be best to pour the tincture into a small crock pot or pan on low heat and heat it that way.
Step 6: Straining
Using a canning strainer stand and bag is one of the simplest ways to do this. Just set up your stand and attach the straining bag firmly with a couple knots – it will be weighted down by the tincture and you don’t want it to fall into the bowl below.
Pour the entire contents of the jar into the strainer bag and let it sit overnight if you can. It will take a long time to drip through!
Either wrap around the bottom vessel with plastic wrap to keep it free from debris or place it in a clean, cool place where it won’t get knocked over.
Step 7: Storage + Use
Vegetable glycerin has a shelf life of 14-24 months, so I expect to store this for at least a year easily! We ended up with about 12 oz of tincture. We’re keeping it in the fridge.
To use, simply take a bit orally. You can take it straight OR add it to tea, coffee, or whatever else you’re drinking. The vegetable glycerin gives it a crazy sweet taste, so it works well in drinks and smoothies. 🙂
I take my tinctures straight and so does my mom – she uses a tincture daily to help with pain from a hip replacement, and I use mine for anxiety for the most part.
Remember to try it out the first time when you don’t have anywhere to be for a while! I started with about half a dropper and worked my way up to 1-2 droppers. I’ve seen other folks reporting they take up to 2 tablespoons a day!
The strength of your tincture will really all depend on what you put in, so remember to keep playing around with your dose until you find one that works for you. 🙂
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How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture: A glycerin tincture is a cost effective and safe way to medicate with cannabis. It's alcohol free, which is great for those who are sensitive to it. It's also entirely customizable, just like cannabis coconut oil. You can choose to use only sativa s…
3 Easy Ways To Make a Cannabis Tincture
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 butter 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.
We suggest having a look at the Mighty Vaporizer.
Why Would I Want to Make a Cannabis Tincture?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Glass measuring cup with a 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 can 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 cannabis tincture cold 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 a 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 the above items except alcohol
- 2 oz of food-safe vegetable glycerin
- Stretchy silicone cover for mason jar
- Crockpot 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 the pressure builds in the jar during heating, the silicone will eliminate the possibility of the jar breaking.
- Put a washcloth in your crockpot to keep the jar away from the heating element. Add water to the crockpot until it is about half full. Place the jar in the water bath.
- Put the crockpot 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 crockpot, 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
Cannabis Extraction with Alcohol Method
Are you in a hurry? Using the freezer method, 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.
Heated Alcohol-Based Cannabis Tincture
It is also possible to 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.
We recommend you 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.
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.