Updated on January 25, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
There are many methods you can use to consume your cannabis treatment, but one of the most user-friendly is medical marijuana tinctures. Whether you’re a seasoned cannabis user or are just getting started, tinctures are the perfect way to begin your medical marijuana journey.
Tinctures come in a glass bottle with a dropper and manufacturers make them with a high percentage of alcohol. Because of this, they’re one of the best methods of consumption for exact dosing.
The alcohol helps extract the cannabinoids, like THC and terpenes, from the rest of the material of the cannabis plant. Cannabis tinctures work best with 90% pure alcohol, such as Everclear. Manufacturers must decarboxylate the cannabis using time and heat to make sure they activate all the ingredients. If they don’t, the medicine’s effects won’t be a potent as they could be.
Just like with edibles, you consume tinctures orally. You can use tinctures in various ways, such as:
Plus, they’re faster-acting than your regular edible, so you won’t be waiting for several hours only to see your cannabis treatment didn’t work. You should notice its effects shortly after you take your dose and determine if you need more or not.
Even though tinctures are quite convenient, they’re not talked about a whole lot yet. This is surprising — before prohibition, tinctures were the most common type of medical marijuana in the U.S.
In the past, we saw attention going towards other consumption methods like vaping or smoking. Nevertheless, interest has been growing over the past several years in alternative consumption forms, including tinctures, oils and edibles. As a result, you’ll find THC and CBD tinctures at pretty much all medical cannabis dispensaries in the U.S.
Manufacturers make medical marijuana tinctures by soaking the plant’s flowers in alcohol and allowing the alcohol and cannabis to infuse. They sometimes use hash, kief and leaf trim instead of flowers.
Why use alcohol? Because it:
This is essential because it takes longer for individuals to consume tinctures than other forms of cannabis.
Dispensaries store marijuana tinctures in dark dropper bottles to help preserve the tincture longer, since they block out the sunlight.
One benefit of using CBD tinctures is that your body absorbs the medication faster thanks to the alcohol. You take most tinctures sublingually, which means you place a few drops under your tongue. With sublingual consumption, the blood vessels lining your mouth absorb the cannabinoids, leading to a quick onset of effects.
You can also ingest tinctures orally by mixing a few drops in your food or swallowing them. When consuming tinctures orally, your gastrointestinal tract and stomach need to absorb the cannabinoids, and it takes a lot longer to get into your bloodstream that way.
Tinctures might contain THC either in its non-active form (THCA) or active form (THC), depending on whether or not the marijuana is decarboxylated first.
Sublingually ingested cannabis tinctures are ideal for those who are worried about the potential health risks of smoking the herb. It’s also a beneficial method to take marijuana for those who have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, since no smoke enters the lungs.
Tinctures are also well suited for those who are older, too sick, or too young to smoke or vape the herb properly. They allow individuals of all ages to benefit from the cannabis plant and what it has to offer.
Seasoned users also enjoy tinctures recreationally in social situations because they don’t draw the same attention as smoking a blunt in front of everyone would, for example.
You know the smell of marijuana can, and likely will, draw a lot of attention. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on where you are. Tinctures don’t draw this attention. You place a few drops under your tongue and you’ll feel the effects more quickly than you would with edibles or smoking a joint. It’s as simple as that, and with no smell to worry about. Just the euphoria and medicinal benefits you’re looking for.
If you don’t want a “high,” use a tincture that’s very low in THC or use CBD tinctures strictly.
There are many types of cannabis tinctures and flavors. For example, you’ll find:
Once you’ve bought or made your medical cannabis tincture, you have a few ways you can use it:
Whichever method you choose, be sure to read the instructions and consult with your marijuana doctor.
To make medical marijuana tinctures, you’ll want to use the highest percentage of alcohol as you can. You don’t make all tinctures the same way. The potency of your tincture will depend on the quantity and quality of marijuana you’re using.
You’ll want the following equipment and ingredients to make your marijuana tincture:
Grind up your marijuana or break it into small pieces and fill your pan with them. Cover your oven-safe pan using aluminum foil so your cannabis won’t get hot enough to vaporize or burn. Place your marijuana in the 230° F preheated oven and baked for 110 minutes.
Once you have all your necessary ingredients and materials, making a medical marijuana tincture is a cinch:
Most individuals choose to decarboxylate their marijuana before they make a tincture. This allows them to benefit from THC’s medical benefits fully.
While researchers are still studying THC’s medical uses, there is research which already shows it can be helpful in treating various disorders and conditions, such as:
However, if you do not decarboxylate your marijuana, you only benefit from the THCA. THCA is useful for treating pain, nausea, inflammation and neurodegeneration.
A tincture’s effects also depend on the strain you use to make it. For instance, sativa strains are considered by many to be uplifting and energetic, imparting a more “cerebral” high. They can help fight off pain and stimulate patients’ appetites.
Indicas, on the other hand, provide you with a “body high” and can help with sleep. They also help reduce pain, nausea and depression.
Hybrid strain tinctures share both sativa and indica qualities.
There are many benefits of medical marijuana tinctures. Although CBD tinctures aren’t as common these days as other popular methods, they are still common among medical cannabis patients. For individuals who are new to medical weed, tinctures provide you with a non-invasive and approachable way to consume cannabis and its cannabinoids.
Marijuana’s concentrated liquid form provides various benefits that make them the perfect choice for individuals who prefer discretion, versatility and quick effect onset.
Some benefits are:
Tinctures are fast-acting, which means once you consume them, they’ll start interacting with your body’s systems quickly. The active compounds in tinctures are absorbed quickly and delivered to your bloodstream, where they interact with receptors and cause the desired effects.
Tinctures are usually taken using a dropper so you can control your serving easily. You can quickly take another drop or two if you don’t experience your desired effects after several minutes.
Tinctures have no odor, allowing you to medicate discreetly and without disturbing your neighbors or family members. Take your medication on road trips with you easily without having to be concerned about finding a location to smoke.
Tinctures are a safe way to consume your cannabis. Unlike smoking the herb, you won’t be exposing your lungs to harmful carcinogens and toxins. Tinctures don’t pose any danger to your lungs.
When you store them properly, medical marijuana tinctures have a long shelf-life. Although cannabinoids will degrade over time gradually, weed tinctures stay good for years as long as you keep them away from light and heat.
Like all medications, there are some side effects of medical marijuana tinctures. But, this depends on whether you’re taking a THC or CBD tincture. Overall, either can lead to side effects, including drowsiness, dizziness and headaches.
THC tinctures will be the ones with some side effects, such as the munchies, dry eyes, dry mouth and paranoia.
CBD tinctures can cause side effects including drying your mouth, making you feel lightheaded, lowering your blood pressure, and leading to dizziness.
Cannabis tinctures offer a simple and discreet way to receive the medical benefits of the plant without having to be a smoker. You can make cannabis tinctures with a few ingredients, but when making them at home, you’ll want to exercise caution because high-percentage alcohol is flammable.
There is also equipment you can use, like mason jars, grinders, food processors, and oven pans, that make it easy to complete the entire process.
Do your research when buying your medical cannabis tinctures online to ensure you’re getting them from a reputable source.
CBD doesn’t have any official serving size, so patients are going by the companies’ and brands’ recommendations for dosage. Many people recommend a dropper of CBD each day as the standard dose.
Although this could be the correct dosage, there’s no real way to know if that’s the correct dose for you if you don’t take some important factors into account such as:
There’s no “one size fits all” dose, and it will probably take some experimenting to find the perfect dose for you. You can start by following the instructions on the back of the bottle.
Before you begin your CBD tincture treatment, you will want to consult with a cannabis-certified doctor to get a recommendation and get a marijuana card, if needed. MarijuanaDoctors.com can help you find a cannabis doctor who can help. We have a large database with hundreds of doctors in each state. Begin your cannabis journey by booking your appointment today.
Once you have your recommendation, you can shop for cannabis tinctures here at MarijuanaDoctors.com. Or, you can search for a cannabis dispensary in your area to purchase your medical marijuana tinctures.