Obtained from greenbridgemed.com
By Jay R. Cavanaugh, Ph.D.
Many patients who utilize and benefit from medical cannabis do not wish to smoke due to the perceived health hazards of smoking or for other personal reasons. These patients are in something of a bind. Smoking cannabis delivers the active cannabinoids within seconds. Medicine is absorbed in the lungs and goes directly to the brain and general circulation. The same effect can be achieved with a vaporizer, which is safer than smoking burning vegetable matter. Since the effects of inhaled cannabis are so quick, it is easy for patients to titrate their dose by simply waiting a minute or two in between puffs.
Oral cannabis, such as our Better Bud Butter, is absorbed in a very different fashion from smoking or inhalation. The GI tract gradually absorbs Cannabinoids over the course of one to two hours. Medicine is processed first by the liver, which converts some cannabinoids such as delta nine to delta 11 version of THC. Orally delivered cannabis requires four to ten times the amount of the smoked version in order to achieve the same effect. Orally delivered cannabis can present a problem in achieving the required or desired dose level in any consistent fashion.
Tincture is designed to address the problems of rapid medicine delivery and consistent dosing. Most tinctures are made to be used under the tongue or sublingually. English pharmaceutical companies are presently working on a cannabis extract “spray” that can be used under the tongue in a similar fashion. These sprays are not expected to be approved for use in the United States for years and will be very expensive. Absorption by the arterial blood supply under the tongue is completed in seconds. One trick is to not swallow the dose as, if swallowed, absorption will be in the GI tract. Many patients, though, add their tincture to a cup of tea or cranberry juice for easy delivery. When tincture is used in a beverage, absorption will be slower than if absorbed under the tongue. While tincture absorbed in an empty stomach is accomplished in minutes, conversion in the liver remains, as does the difficulty in titrating dose. Usually, a tincture dose is delivered by means of a medicine dropper or a teaspoon. A rule of thumb on dose is that patients receive benefit from 3-4 drops to a couple of full droppers depending upon the potency of the tincture and the patient’s own unique requirements among other factors.
The methods listed below will detail two major methods of preparing tincture. While the methods are optimized for purity and potency, ultimately these will largely be determined by the purity and potency of the cannabis from which the tincture is made. Another item of note in regard to starting material for tincture is the patient or caregiver selection of strain. A rough rule of thumb is to select Indica dominant strains for cramping and muscle spasticity and Sativa dominant strains for pain relief. The reality, though, is often that the strain is unknown or not well characterized. Trial and error is usually required to acquire the appropriate strain and the proper dose level.
Tincture is an extraction of active cannabinoids from plant material. Cannabis contains many chemicals that can either upset the stomach or taste nasty. One of the goals of extraction is to secure the cannabinoids while leaving out as many of the terpenes and chlorophylls as possible. Both heat and light adversely effect cannabinoids and should be avoided or minimized. Tincture should be stored in airtight dark glass containers kept at room temperature or below. Avoid plastic containers. The ethanol in the tincture may solubilize some of the free vinyls in the plastic.
Cold Method with Ethanol
Making tincture cold preserves the integrity of cannabinoids. To be potent, this method requires starting material high in cannabinoid content such as flowers or kief made from trim and leaf. The material must be mold free and dry. Drying can be accomplished in the freezer (-4-10 degrees Celsius) or better yet by placing in a liquid proof bag into a dry ice/ethanol ice bath (-70 degrees Celsius). Once water has been removed then the surface area of the starting material requires expansion. This can be accomplished a number of ways but two ways stand out:
Using flowers (bud)- Place dried buds in a coffee grinder and pulse until thoroughly ground but not powdered.
Making kief- Rub dry trim and leaves over a silk screen. Collect the powder that comes through the screen. It should be a very pale green. “Kiefing” is an age old way of extracting trichomes from plant material.
Whether kief or ground bud is used both should be kept ice cold for this preparation. Similarly, the ethanol to be used should also be ice cold throughout the process.
Selection of alcohol- ethanol or ethyl alcohol is the form of alcohol that can be used by humans. The proof listed on commercial alcohol refers to the percentage of ethanol that the beverage contains. The proof is twice the percentage, so 80 “proof” means that the mixture contains 40% ethanol. The higher the alcohol content used, the better the extraction will work. Ideally, 200 proof ethanol would be best except that ethanol cannot be distilled to this proof so benzene is used to remove the last vestiges of water. This makes “pure” ethanol poisonous.
Many folks use “Everclear” which stands at 190 proof or 95% ethanol. Everclear has no taste. Apparently, Everclear is not available in all States. A close second choice is 151 proof rum. This is a light amber liquid that is 75% ethanol that has a sweet taste. One of our caregiver writers will use nothing but Korbel brandy because she likes the taste. Others use iced Russian vodka. These “normal” distilled spirits are 40% to 50% ethanol. Some patients find that the higher proofs ethanols like Everclear and 151 rum burn too much under the tongue. If burning is a concern consider a high quality 90-100 proof Vodka.
Cold Extraction and purification-
Use at least one ounce of starting material to each pint of ethanol. Place cold powdered kief or ground cannabis flowers together with ethanol in a glass quart-mixing jar. Close the jar tightly and vigorously shake for five minutes then return to the freezer. Continue to agitate the mixture every few hours with refreezing. Continue for a period of two to three days.
Pour the cold mixture through a double thickness of sterile cheesecloth. Save the cheesecloth “ball” for topical uses or use the material to make bud butter once dried. The liquid collected through the cheesecloth should then be filtered twice through a paper coffee filter. Use gloves throughout the process, as it is necessary to squeeze the cheesecloth and coffee filters to facilitate the extraction. Without gloves some of the material will be absorbed on the skin.
If Everclear is used the tincture will be pale green to golden. If 151 rum is used an amber tincture results. Dark green tinctures mean that excess plant material is present. This does not mean that the tincture will not be potent, just taste nasty. When Everclear is used, various flavor extracts may be added (vanilla, raspberry, etc.). Be careful to use only a few drop of flavor extract.
Traditional or Warm Method
The old fashioned (and effective) way to make tincture from trim, leaf or “shake” is to grind the plant material to expose surface area. A fine grind is not needed and will just make the tincture cloudy. A rough chop will do. Most folks can’t afford to use kief or bud for tincture but may have leaf handy. If so, this is the way to go. Use ethanol as described above in the same proportions. The key difference is that in this preparation the materials are kept warm (not hot). Light must be avoided.
Place the ethanol and chopped cannabis in a large glass Mason jar. Shake at least once a day. Place the jar in a brown paper bag or otherwise shield the jar from light. Leave in a warm spot (near a window) for 30-60 days. The mixture will turn a very dark green. Strain as previously described through cheesecloth. Save the “shake ball” for topical applications.
While this method produces a nasty tasting tincture, it is powerful. It may upset some fragile stomachs. It is recommended that Warm Tincture be used orally in cranberry juice or coffee with sugar. Keep the filtered tincture in light blocking glass jars or bottles in a cool dry place (refrigerator or freezer is fine). The shake ball should also be kept in the freezer. For topical applications, just take out the cold shake ball and apply a few drops of fresh tincture to the cloth then hold it on the affected area for a few minutes with gentle rubbing.
by Leanne Barron
You need to use food grade U.S.P glycerine, this can be relatively hard to find inexpensively but a gallon lasts a LONG time.Glycerines have a shorter shelf life than alcohol based tinctures and while they can sit on the shelf I refrigerate mine. Vegetable glycerine has nearly no impact on blood sugar or insulin and is very low in calories (4.3 per gram). It’s sweet taste makes the tincture more palatable than the alcohol based tincture and is a suitable substitute for those concerned with alcohol consumption.Add the amount of cannabis that you desire for potency. I added 6 oz of roughly trimmed (finger trimmed the leaves off) cannabis to 1 gallon of glycerine. For your personal preference add more cannabis or less depending on desired potency. I blend mine, using a coffee grinder, blender or if you are lucky enough to have a Vita Mix. Make sure there is no other product matter in whatever you use. I use a clean basting brush to clean out my Vita Mix when I am done powdering my cannabis.
Place in a crockpot on low. Some crockpot’s low settings are too high so you may not be able to use yours. A “Keep Warm” setting if you have it is the best choice. Too hot, and you are killing the properties you are trying to extract, you want the mixture to be as warm as possible without boiling, I left my tincture like this for 24 hours. I have heard people leaving the tincture from anywhere from 4-6 hours to 3 days. You can try the tincture at intervals to decide when you are done. REMEMBER that glycerine tincture retains heat VERY WELL, do not burn yourself!!
If you do not have a crockpot you can place the herbs in a clear, sealed jar in a warm, sunny spot and accomplish the same thing over 4 weeks. Some people make their “sunshine tinctures” over 2 weeks. I do not feel that is long enough, especially in colder weather. Some leave them in the sun for up to 12 weeks. I have never seen a need to go that long myself. Shake each day to mix the herbs in.
When ready to strain use cheesecloth and a strainer to extract the cannabis debris, the THC has been extracted and the tincture is ready to use. The best way to store is in a glass amber bottle. A good place to obtain a large bottle for the bulk of your tincture is a brewery store that has supplies to make wine or beer. I also obtained a few small amber bottles with eye droppers for convenience. It takes a lot longer to strain glycerine than it does alcohol, the tincture will drip when strained instead of flow.
1:1 – A 1:1 CBD THC tincture contains equal parts THC and CBD. This means that it will still create a strong impairment due to the high quantity of THC. Keep in mind that these percentages can be very high as long as they're both equal. So, you can have a tincture with 15 percent THC and 15 percent CBD.How do I get the best results from tincture? ›
Sublingual consumption is one of the best ways to use a tincture if you want stronger, faster effects. Put the dose under your tongue and hold it there for 1 minute before swallowing.How can I make a tincture work better? ›
To take a tincture sublingually, drop the desired dosage under your tongue and hold it for 30 seconds before swallowing. This method will produce quicker and stronger effects because the medicine is absorbed into the bloodstream through the inner linings of the mouth.How do you determine the strength of homemade tincture? ›
Using the amount of alcohol and the ratio to the THC, you can find out how many mg of THC a standard dropper (1ml) contains. For a tincture that uses 375ml of alcohol, you'll need to divide the total THC by 375. So, you're left with 2800/375, which comes to around 7.5mg/ml.How much tincture is enough? ›
When getting started, a typical dose for tincture beginners would be roughly 1-2 mg THC. For best results, drip oil under the tongue and hold for one minute before swallowing and avoid taking any more product for the next two hours until you feel the full effect.What does 1/2 mean in a tincture? ›
For example, an recipe might say to tincture a fresh plant at "1:2, 80%," which means for every 1 part of plant material by weight (grams or ounces), use 2 parts of menstrum by volume (milliliters or fluid ounces), using 80% alcohol.Does tincture get stronger the longer it sits? ›
The longer it sits, the more potent it will become. Filter all the plant material through a cheesecloth and pour into dropper bottles and store in the refrigerator or cool place.What liquid is best for tinctures? ›
Alcohol is often the liquid of choice, as it can extract components, such as resins and alkaloids, that are not water-soluble. People usually take tinctures orally by using a dropper to place the liquid under their tongue.What are the disadvantages of tinctures? ›
- Adverse reactions with medications. In some people, herbal remedies may interact with medications. ...
- Allergic reactions. Some plants carry risk of allergy. ...
- Blood sugar drop. ...
- Death. ...
- Estrogenic effects. ...
- Gastrointestinal issues. ...
- Headache, dizziness, and light sensitivity. ...
In order for tinctures to be shelf-stable they need to be at least 20% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 40 proof. To capture the widest range of both water soluble and alcohol soluble constituents, we recommend working with an alcohol that is between 40-60% ABV (80-120 proof).
A dropperful contains about 30 drops, or 1 mL.Is alcohol or vinegar better for tinctures? ›
Alcohol is a more robust extractor and is better at getting the medicinal properties out of tough woody parts of the plant. An alcohol tincture potency is more potent and more concentrated than a glycerite, meaning you can use less of a tincture to get the same results. Alcohol has better preserving properties.Which is stronger tincture or extract? ›
Extracts are more potent and contain less alcohol than tinctures, but they still may have more alcohol than many people would prefer.How long should I let my tincture steep? ›
Let your tincture sit for a minimum of 2-6 weeks. Tinctures can keep almost indefinitely (~10 years) as long as the alcohol preserves it. You do not have to decant right at 2-6 weeks. To decant, take out a cheesecloth or jelly strainer bag and a new, clean jar.Do tinctures lose potency over time? ›
Tinctures will not truly expire, but after very long periods of time or under stressful storage conditions, they will become less potent.How many hours does tincture last? ›
Tinctures can last between one to six hours after you drip a drop below your tongue.How long does a bottle of tincture last? ›
Stored away from heat and light, a bottle of tincture can last at least a year without losing its potency.How strong should tincture be? ›
A tincture is most often an alcoholic extract of plant material (although animal material can also be used) with an ethanol percentage of between 25 and 60%. This equates to a solution that is between 50 and 120 proof, although sometimes the alcohol concentration can get as high as 90% (180 proof) in some tinctures.What is the ratio for fresh tincture? ›
Generally, for fresh tincture extracts you'll aim to have a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio. This means that if you have 100g of your fresh herb, you're going to add 200ml of alcohol, leaving you with a 1:2 extract. If you have 100g of fresh herb and you add 300ml of alcohol, you'll have a 1:3 extract. See how this works?What is tincture formula? ›
Usually 2–7% elemental iodine, along with potassium iodide or sodium iodide, dissolved in a mixture of ethanol and water.
Extract dosages can be measured in drops, squeeze (dropper fulls), milliliters (ml.), or teaspoons. A squeeze is about 20-30 drops, or 1ml. A teaspoon is roughly equivalent to 5ml. The most commonly used dose for tinctures is 20-40 drops or 1-2 squeezes.How does a tincture high feel? ›
The effects of a marijuana tincture are the same as smoked marijuana: euphoria, confusion, slowed thinking and reaction time, impaired balance and coordination.Whats stronger tincture or oil? ›
Both CBD tinctures and oils are equally effective because the only difference is the suspension liquid. “The difference between tinctures and oils is what medium is used to dilute the extract,” says Higdon.Should I dilute my tincture? ›
While diluting the tincture is not necessary, it can help make it taste better. Squeeze your dose of the tincture into a bowl with about 1–2 ounces (28–57 g) of water or juice. You can also use a few drops of lemon or honey.Do tinctures need to be refrigerated? ›
Alcohol-based tinctures have an unlimited shelf life and do not require refrigeration if stored in a cool, dark location. Tinctures that are vegetable glycerine-based do not need to be refrigerated and can last from 3-5 years. Vinegar-based tinctures are recommended to be refrigerated, and can last up to a year.What vinegar is best for tinctures? ›
- Use raw apple cider vinegar if at all possible. If not available, use apple cider vinegar that still contains the mother—the beneficial bacteria that allows for fermentation.
- Do not use white vinegar.
- Use dry herbs only, not fresh.
- Vinegar tinctures have a one-year shelf life.
Both products offer similarly-strengthed cannabinoid effects and release times, so you will want to look at other differences when deciding. Some key differences when deciding between tinctures or edibles include: Taste: Tinctures and edibles offer very different tastes.What are the two methods in preparing tinctures? ›
The British Pharmacopoeia endorses, but does not limit to, two methods of producing a tincture—one that uses maceration and one that uses percolation. Maceration is the addition of a known quantity and strength of solvent to a known weight of solute (the herb).How many tinctures can you take a day? ›
If you buy a typical one-ounce bottle of tincture, it comes with a dropper top and a glass pipette inside. A standard dose is one to two squirts, three times a day.Is vodka or Everclear better for tinctures? ›
The most common choice of spirits for at-home tincturing is vodka. Vodka has a more neutral taste and is generally inexpensive, making it an ideal choice for tinctures.
Alcohol is broadly thought to be the best solvent for making tinctures and extracting a wide range of plant properties. The method allows easy absorption of healing plant compounds into the bloodstream. However, liquids other than alcohol can be used as the solvent, including glycerin, vinegar and honey.What can I use instead of Everclear for tincture? ›
- Bacardi 151 (currently being discontinued)
- Everclear 190.
- Polmos Spirytus 192 Proof.
- Zbigniew Spirtus Spirytus Grain Spirit 190 Proof.
- Graves Grain Alcohol 190 Proof.
- Clear Spring Grain Alcohol 190 Proof.
A standard eyedropper dispenses 0.05 mL per drop, meaning that there are 20 drops in 1 milliliter of medication.What does 1 full dropper mean? ›
When we. recommend a “dropper full” we are saying when the. pipette is submerged in the herbal liquid, squeeze the. bulb and release it. It will fill with one dropper full.How much is 1 ml from a dropper? ›
This basic glass pipet is also known as an eye dropper or pipette. It holds about 1ml or 20 drops.Why use glycerin for tinctures? ›
Glycerin, technically an alcohol, has solubility very similar to water, a sweet taste, and a viscous consistency. It is used to prepare “alcohol-free” tinctures, and to preserve and sweeten the taste of liquid extracts.Is Everclear best for tinctures? ›
What type of alcohol to make homemade cannabis tincture? It is best to use either 200-proof food grade ethanol (aka ethyl alcohol) or 190-proof Everclear alcohol for this cannabis tincture recipe. Both are strong natural solvents that will effectively strip and separate the desired cannabinoids from the plant material.What percent alcohol do you need for tincture? ›
In order for tinctures to be shelf-stable they need to be at least 20% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 40 proof. To capture the widest range of both water soluble and alcohol soluble constituents, we recommend working with an alcohol that is between 40-60% ABV (80-120 proof).What is 20 1 tincture good for? ›
Details. Our 20:1 formulation is a High-CBD tincture blend that is specifically formulated and lab-tested to treat patients with qualifying conditions such as epilepsy, autism, and related symptoms such as seizures, anxiety, depression, and restlessness, as identified under the Texas Compassionate Use Act.What does the herb ratio mean on tinctures? ›
1:5 is the Mass to Volume ratio. For every 5mL of liquid, there is 1g of herb. The liquid can be either Alcohol, Reverse Osmosis water, Apple Cider Vinegar, organic vegetable-based Glycerine or a combination. The percentage listed (often 33%), is the percentage of alcohol in the tincture.
Tincture Strength Ratios and Alcohol Content
The strength of the tincture is usually stated on the label in the form of an extraction ratio, for example, 1:3. This means they have used one part herb for every three parts liquid. In other words, one kilogram of herb was steeped in three litres of solution.
A dropperful contains about 30 drops, or 1 mL.Can you mix different tinctures together? ›
If you are taking several different Tinctures or Fluid Extracts at one time, then it is safe to blend the tinctures together. You can use a master blend bottle for your tincture mix from which to measure out the desired amount.What does tincture 1 10 mean? ›
Anytime you see a product that features a ratio, the first number will reflect the amount of CBD in a product. The second number featured shows the amount of THC in the same product. For example, a 10:1 Ratio tincture has 10x the amount of CBD as THC.