How to Make a Marijuana Tincture
Extracting THC and Cannabinoids With Alcohol
- Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
- B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College
- Facebook Facebook
- Twitter Twitter
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.
Learn how to prepare a marijuana tincture. All you need for this easy recipe is alcohol and a Cannabis sativa bud.
Can You Ever Mix Alcohol With Cannabis?
Can you ever mix alcohol and cannabis? The answer is yes. However, because it appears that alcohol can increase THC absorption by up to twice as fast, make sure to go slow and consume responsibly.
Should you drink alcohol with your cannabinoids? That is a very interesting question. The conventional wisdom tends to be “no.” However, the conventional wisdom is often wrong about cannabis. Starting with its health effects.
In fact, cannabinoids are frequently mixed with “alcohol.” Even for medical purposes. In fact, alcohol-based extraction is a safe way, along with fat-infused “extraction,” to isolate cannabinoids from plant matter.
Further, while largely understudied, alcohol consumption appears to increase the body’s ability to absorb THC. This in turn may become a way to augment the impact of cannabinoids for medical patients. It may also be a way to reach new and different heights for experienced recreational consumers.
Like many other issues, this one comes down to common sense. How you combine alcohol with cannabinoids makes all the difference. It is also an issue of what kind of alcohol is used and how strong it is by volume. Not to mention what kind of cannabis is used, both in terms of strain and THC content.
Much of what appears on the edible and medical cannabis market today contains an alcohol-based extraction of cannabinoids. The reason? There are many recipes and formulas where fat-based concentrates do not work. See cannabis water or soda. Or gum. Or candy. Or even medical drops.
Regarding the above recipes, cannabinoids can be extracted by soaking cannabis plant matter in a high-proof, edible alcohol. In these applications, cannabinoids and terpenes are isolated, purified, then later mixed into recipes or combined with other elements.
PAIRING CANNABIS WITH BEER
This is another interesting subdivision of the whole debate. Why? Hops and cannabis are very similar cousins as plants. In fact, pairing cannabis and beer is becoming increasingly popular in Europe. This is heightened by the advent of cannabis-infused beer. However, this kind of beer in particular has trace elements of THC at best. The intoxicant here is the alcohol.
When deciding to smoke a THC-laden joint, beer can also heighten the experience in a number of ways. The trick here is to pick the right kind of strain. Hybrids or sativas tend to go better with alcohol simply because it is a depressant. The couch-lock effect of a heavy indica might send you off to sleep with the first swig.
However, there are some beers with a low-alcohol volume that can perfectly complement such endeavours. For example, sour beers are a good choice. They can reduce the feeling of cotton mouth. Pilsners are also a great, low-alcohol beer to try with your favourite strain. They act as refreshing palate cleansers.
HOW DOES CANNABIS DO WITH WINE?
Wine offers an intriguing experience when paired with cannabis. The same rules about alcohol content apply here, of course. But in addition to that, wine can add something completely new to the whole endeavour.
Wine has a more complex molecular structure than cannabis. This is the scientific reason why there are more discernible aromas in wine. The tongue is also better suited to determine distinct tastes. Smoke, on the other hand, is discerned via the palate and respiratory system. When combined, however, the entire olfactory experience is elevated in the presence of both substances. For example, lemony strains of cannabis go well with dry whites such as sauvignon, pinot, and chardonnay. Many smokers also prefer merlot, cabernet, and pinot noir because of the low tannins.
In addition, sparkling wines like Champagne or prosecco can aid as refreshing liquids for smokers’ dry mouth and throat.
The trick here? It is often so much fun that it is easy to take more than just a few sips. Remember, there is an entourage effect between THC and alcohol.
Cannabis-infused wine is another obvious idea. However, due to regulations of all kinds, there are very few places in the world where you can buy this commercially. It helps if you live in California.
MIXING CANNABINOIDS WITH LIQUOR
While this may sound like throwing gasoline on a bonfire, there are places where you can experiment with hard liquor and cannabis. Moderation here is the key. However, infusing any kind of liquor with cannabis is one way to guarantee a drink that packs a significant punch of potency, if not flavour.
For many, many reasons, there are no commercial varieties available on any market right now. However, making your own at home is very easy to do. Infuse the cannabis by soaking it in your favourite liquor. Marijuana margaritas are a popular choice. Any combination with fruit and alcohol is likely to be not only tasty, but highly intoxicating. Go slow. Limit yourself to one drink of such concoctions per evening.
WHAT ARE THE OVERALL SIDE EFFECTS?
Before you begin your experiments, it is really important to know what kind of science you are up to – particularly when it comes to mixing THC and alcohol. Both have impacts on your brain, and they are not necessarily complementary.
Crossfading, or combining alcohol with cannabis, also has different effects than just consuming one or the other. Indeed, combining both substances together can create an elevated high. They can also cause a side-effect known as “greening out.”
Physical effects include dizziness, nausea, sweating, and vomiting.
Scientific inquiry into the effects of crossfading provides a few more of the answers to this. It appears that ingesting THC alongside alcohol intensifies the experience of both. Drinking first may increase the body’s ability to absorb THC much faster. How much faster? Some studies claim that THC is absorbed up to twice as quickly after drinking than it is without alcohol. In other words, you can potentially double the effects of THC in your system if you have a drink before you smoke.
While this may seem like a “budget” way to stretch the impact of your cannabis high, go slow. Green-outs, like blackouts, are not the goal of any responsible consumer.
Mixing cannabis with alcohol is now a common practice across the industry. It can be fun and intensify the high. Here is a quick guide on the pros and cons.