In this step-by-step guide, we will learn how to make a cannabis tincture using alcohol as the base liquid.
Tinctures are solely one application method of administering cannabis. Smoking, vaping, capsules, edibles and topical solutions, among others, are different application methods. Each form produces unique effects specific to the type of administration method used. The versatility of cannabis is one of the beautiful things about the plant. Right now we will focus on tinctures. Tinctures are a concentrated extract of any herb in liquid. They are applied sublingually (dropped under the tongue) and absorb very quickly into the bloodstream via the mucous membranes in the mouth and upper throat. Within 15-20 minutes of dropping the liquid under the tongue, the effects are felt. With cannabis, the carrier liquid is usually alcohol or glycerin.
Today, we will learn how to make a tincture using alcohol. Ideally, tinctures are dropped under the tongue for the most rapid absorption, but infusing them in dressings, sauces, and drinks are extremely common and effective as well.
- Mason Jar (size does not necessarily matter as long as the ground cannabis and alcohol mixture does not exceed ¾ of the jar’s capacity)
- 14 grams of coarsely ground, decarboxylated cannabis (we will go over how to decarboxylate the marijuana)
- 3 fluid ounces of Grain Alcohol (or the highest proof unflavored alcohol you can find- Bacardi 151 works fine)
- Rubber Band
- Opaque Bottle with dropper
- Glass Bowl
Before we get started, we will need to decarboxylate the cannabis in an oven. Decarboxylation will activate or ‘prime’ the cannabis to make it bioavailable when ingested. Decarboxylation requires heat to remove the acid from the THC-A, CBD-A and CBC-A, among other cannabinoids—what is left is THC, CBD and CBC, respectively. When the acid is attached to cannabinoids they are not bioavailable and don’t provide the desired effects. We manually decarboxylate cannabis when smoking it, with the heat source being a lighter, removing the acidic molecules. Prior to preparing any form of ingestible cannabis, decarboxylation is necessary.
Follow these steps to decarboxylate cannabis:
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees Fahrenheit
- Once preheated, spread finely ground cannabis evenly across a baking tray lined with parchment paper in the oven (make sure the cannabis is spread out—the more surface area of flower the heat can reach the better off)
- Let the cannabis decarboxylate in the oven for 30 minutes
- Take the tray out of the oven and let the freshly decarboxylated cannabis cool down for 15 minutes (the ground cannabis should be dry and brown in color)
- BAM! That’s it. Now your cannabis is activated and ready to infuse into ingestibles.
Now back to the tincture!
Step 1: Place decarboxylated cannabis and grain alcohol into mason jar and close the lid
Step 2: Shake vigorously for five minutes (make sure lid is on tight!!)
Step 3: Keep mason jar in freezer for two weeks (shake intensely for five minutes, twice a day)
Step 4: After two weeks, take the mason jar filled with the liquid mixture out of the freezer. We will need the cheesecloth and rubber band for the next step.
Step 5: Take the lid off the mason jar and lay two layers of cheesecloth across the opening of the jar. Then fasten the cheesecloth to the mouth of jar with a rubber band.
Step 6: Turn the mason jar upside down over a glass bowl and let the liquid strain into the bowl. Take the rubber band off the jar while keeping the ground cannabis wrapped in the cheesecloth. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cheesecloth filled with the ground cannabis (PS.. There is more liquid than you think. Squeeze, squeeze and squeeze some more!) Be careful that none of the ground cannabis falls into the bowl with the liquid.
Step 7: Fill your opaque bottle with your freshly made tincture (any bottle will do but light will start to degrade the cannabinoids if the bottle is clear—so opaque works best!)
Step 8: Find the dosage that works for you. Always start small and move up incrementally until the desired effects are produced.
Step 9: Enjoy!
There you have it folks. That is how to make your own alcohol-based cannabis tincture at home. Pretty simple, right? (extremely effective too!) Store in a cool, dark place for optimal shelf life. (a refrigerator or freezer will work fine) And don’t forget step 9!!