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Cannabis Tinctures Are Highly Recommended for New Patients

Leslie kahn


For those of you who are new to medical cannabis and feel overwhelmed by all the different delivery methods now available, may I recommend cannabis tinctures? In this article I will explain why using cannabis tinctures is a safe, easy, discreet and effective way to medicate. I will discuss the benefits, the different ways to use tinctures, dosing guidelines and will share simple recipes to make at home.

Cannabis tinctures are derived by extracting all the cannabinoids and terpenes from your plant material via alcohol or a similar medium. The result is a liquid application, typically in a dropper bottle, which is easy to use.

Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures

1. Alternative method for those who prefer not to smoke or vape
2. It is portable, discreet and easy to administer
3. Once you determine your Minimum Effective Dosage (MED), it is a very effective way to medicate
4. It is fast acting and easier to control the dosing than other methods
5. It maintains its potency for years, even decades, if stored correctly
6. It is simple to make at home and requires very little equipment
7. It has no strong odor to permeate your home
8. Saves you money as no plant material is wasted and it goes a long way

Methods of Ingestion

1. Sublingually

The most effective way to medicate with tinctures is under the tongue by way of sublingual artery absorption. It goes directly into your bloodstream through the lining of the mouth.

2. Ingestion 

A less effective way of medicating is by swallowing the tincture, adding it to foods and drinks or taking it in capsule form. These methods require the metabolism of the cannabinoids in the gut/liver which slows down the process. It may also affect its potency.

3. Topically

You can use cannabis tinctures like you would any other topical application. Most beneficial for deep tissue injuries, skin irritations and acne.

How Long Does It Last?

Sublingual - You should feel the effects anywhere between 15-45 minutes with the strongest effect at about 90 minutes. High-THC tinctures can last for up to 3 hours.

Ingestion - You should feel the effects anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, similar to that of an edible.

Dosing

Whenever you start using any new medical cannabis delivery method, you should start slow and low and increase it gradually.

A full dropper typically contains about 10 mg of THC. The recommended starting dose is 2.5-5 mg or a quarter-dropper to a half-dropper. Depending on how you took it, wait an hour or two to assess the effects. Add more gradually until you find your Minimum Effective Dose (MED).

Your MED is the smallest dosage that is effective for your needs which does the following:

1. Saves you money
2. Lowers your cannabis tolerance
3. May provide more effective treatment
4. Helps you choose the best potency for your needs

Chemical Composition

The most commonly used extraction method is alcohol with an ethanol percentage of 25-60% or 50-120 proof. The stronger the alcohol the stronger the tincture. Alcohol is the most effective vehicle for breaking down all the components of cannabis; both the acid and plant material. The end result is that more cannabinoids and terpenes end up in your tincture.

Different Extraction Methods for Tinctures 

1. 190 Proof Everclear - aka Green Dragon - legal in Arkansas
2. 50-120 Proof Grain Alcohol
3. Vodka or Brandy 50-80 Proof
4. Non-alcoholic Organic Vegetable Glycerin - less effective extraction method

Green Dragon Recipe (Slow Method)

Decarboxylated cannabis - from 1-6 grams per fluid ounce
190 Proof Everclear, if possible
Mason Jar
Dropper Bottles
Cheesecloth

1. Place cannabis and alcohol in an airtight jar and store it in a cool, dark place
2. Shake the contents daily for 2- 8 weeks. The longer it sits, the more potent it will become.
3. Filter all the plant material through a cheesecloth and pour into dropper bottles and store in the refrigerator or cool place.

Green Dragon Recipe (Cold Method)

Decarboxylated cannabis - from 1-6 grams per fluid ounce
190 Proof Everclear, if possible
Mason Jar
Dropper Bottles
Cheesecloth

1. Place cannabis and alcohol in an airtight jar and store it in the freezer for 5 days, shaking it daily. FYI, alcohol has a very low freezing point.
2. Filter all the plant material through a cheesecloth and pour into dropper bottles and store in the refrigerator or cool place.

Green Dragon Recipe (Fast Method)

Decarboxylated cannabis - from 1-6 grams per fluid ounce
190 Proof Everclear, if possible
Mason Jar
Dropper Bottles
Cheesecloth

1. Place cannabis and alcohol in an airtight jar
2. Place the jar in a water bath for 20 minutes at a constant temperature of 170°F.
3. Filter all the plant material through a cheesecloth and pour into dropper bottles and store in the refrigerator or cool place.

Strong candies, gummies and lollipops are best using the Green Dragon recipes.

Cannabis Tincture Using Glycerin

7-14 grams decarboxylated cannabis
2 cups organic vegetable glycerin
Mason Jar
Hand towel
Saucepan
Cheesecloth

1. Coarsely grind and decarboxylate cannabis material
2. Mix the cannabis and glycerin in a mason jar, making sure all the plant material is covered with glycerine. Close the lid.
3. Place a hand towel on the bottom of your saucepan and fill it halfway with warm water. This will keep the jar from overheating.
4. Place the jar in the saucepan on low heat and cook for 24 hours. Shake the jar occasionally.
5. Remove the jar from the heat and allow to cool for an hour. Filter contents through cheesecloth into dropper bottles.

You can easily incorporate tinctures into food and drinks such as juices, soups, coffee and tea, hot chocolate, smoothies, cider, milkshakes and salad dressings, to name but a few.

Note: Do not add tinctures to food and drink before cooking or heating them or it will destroy the cannabinoids and terpenes. Add the tinctures to your favorite recipes after the cooking process is complete.

Be adventurous and enjoy!

honestmarijuana.com, Marijuana Tinctures: Your Complete Guide
leafly.com, Cannabis Tinctures 101: What Are They, How to Make Them and How to Use Them, Philip Bjorge, June 16, 2016
dn.amproject.org, 5 Cannabis Tincture Recipes Anyone Can Make, Helena Miles
wakeandbake.com, Tinctures 101: 3 Potent Cannabis Tincture Recipes, Corinne, 2016.