5 Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures and How To Take Advantage of Them
5 Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures and How To Take Advantage of Them
Tinctures are one of the oldest methods of concentrating plant compounds in medicine, and have historically been used to extract the benefits of a wide variety of plants, including cannabis. Traditionally tinctures are made using the Folk Method of submerging plant material in grain alcohol; here at CVD we combine organic cane alcohol with our CO2 cannabis extract to produce a tincture with consistent cannabinoid content for accurate dosing.
Did you know? The word “tincture” technically refers to extraction using alcohol as a solvent. While the term is also commonly used to describe oils infused with cannabis, the correct term for one of these is an “infusion”.
Methods of Tincture Administration
Tinctures are versatile for a number of reasons. Not only can they be added to a wide variety of food and beverages, but they can also be administered in several different ways.
- Sublingual is the preferred method of administration because the tincture is rapidly absorbed through the sublingual artery. Sublingual applications avoid first pass metabolism in the gut or liver, because they transmit active ingredients into the bloodstream directly through the lining of the mouth. (Cannabinoids, as well as pharmaceuticals, can be lost or degraded when being metabolized in gut or liver, resulting in a smaller dose than expected.) Sublingual application allows for a rapid onset of 15-30 minutes with peak effects at around 90 minutes, which can be helpful for handling intense breakthrough pain.
- Ingestion. Alternatively, tinctures can be used like an edible: swallowed or added to food, the THC is converted to the more potent form 11-hydroxy-THC, which delays onset by around two hours and produces stronger, more sedative effects than sublingual application.
- Topical. Tinctures can also be used topically (like a liniment), however this application is more popular with WPCO and infused cannabis oils. The best topical applications for alcohol-based tinctures are those where a drying, astringent effect is beneficial, such as for acne, skin irritation or injuries deep below the surface of the skin. Do not apply to mucous membranes or wounds.
Benefits of Tinctures
- Drop-by-Drop Dosing. By allowing you to dispense a single drop or two, tinctures allow you to titrate precisely the right dose. Concentrates, flower and baked goods are generally harder to titrate because they can’t be administered drop-by-drop.
- Minimum effective dose. Tinctures offer a great way to learn your minimum effective dose (MED), or the smallest amount of cannabis that is effective for managing your condition. Learning your MED saves money, lowers your cannabis tolerance, helps you select products with the correct potency, and can result in more effective treatment. We recommend that patients begin with 2.5-5mg of THC, then titrate up drop by drop until you reach your MED, waiting at least 60 minutes between doses. Keep in mind that multiple doses throughout a day can be cumulative in effect, and may result in a more potent experience.
- Discreetsublingual application. By taking tinctures directly under the tongue and holding for 15 seconds, cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the sublingual artery. This administration method is also preferable for those seeking a discreet way to consume cannabis, without the odor created by smoking or vaping. We recommend testing one drop of tincture under the tongue first to gauge the strength of the alcohol. Repeated use of alcohol held under the tongue can lead to irritation–for those who do not like the taste or sensation of alcohol, tinctures can be diluted in a little water to make them more palatable.
- Low-calorie. Unlike many cannabis edibles, tinctures are low calorie—a great solution if you’re actively managing your weight. The average tincture made with 140 proof alcohol is about 7 calories/ml, whereas most baked goods are around 100-200 calories.
- Long shelf-life and flexibility. Tinctures can last for years if kept in a cool, dark place, and can be added to a wide variety of foods including juices, smoothies, soups, sauces and more. Just be sure to keep your tinctures capped tightly to prevent evaporation, and shake well before consuming because separation may occur over time.
Whether you’re looking for a discreet, efficient method of dosing cannabis or an easy way to determine your minimum effective dose, this is a great time to try tinctures— Make an Appointment for Tincture Tuesday (any Tuesday in February) and get 10% off all tinctures!
Tinctures are one of the oldest methods of concentrating plant compounds in medicine used to extract the benefits of cannabis.
5 Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures
Whether you’re totally new to cannabis or if you’re looking for ways to cut down or quit smoking all together, the choices can seem a little daunting, confusing and overwhelming.
But when it comes to cannabis tinctures, you’ve got the ingestion method that is simple, easy and clear.
Tinctures are quickly becoming a more popular alternative to smoking (which is fine occasionally but can irritate the lungs and throat) or edibles (which may be tricky to dose and unpredictable).
I understand that when you start moving away from smoking or recreational use and begin exploring cannabis as a health or wellness tool, things can get complicated.
Whether you just want a new tool your cannabis toolbox, want to quit smoking altogether, or want more control over your experience, here are the 5 benefits to using cannabis tinctures:
[note: This post is part of our series on ingestion methods. You can also explore the benefits of edibles, topicals, and other alternatives to smoking cannabis.]
1. Cannabis Tinctures are Easy to Dose
Dosage is one of the most common questions we get here at Wake + Bake. While everyone’s ideal dose is different, exploring dosage is easiest with tinctures.
Outside of smoking, tinctures are the easiest to dose.
The effects don’t last as long as edibles but last longer than smoking, so it’s easy to find a dose that works for you. Great for beginners or for anyone wanting to explore more controlled dosing.
This is especially helpful when using THC dominant tinctures.
With non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBD and CBG effects are less noticeable, but I’ve found that taking smaller doses of those throughout the day seems to work better than taking a lot all at once.
The effects of cannabis tinctures last up to 4 hours so it’s easy to find a dose that works, but doesn’t wear off as soon as you reach your “goldilocks zone”.
If you take too much, the effects fade more quickly than edibles.
2. They’re Fast Acting
When used sublingually (held under the tongue), tinctures can come into full effect in 15-30 minutes.
After that time period passes, you’ll have a good idea if you’re getting the effects you want or if more is necessary.
You can step up gradually from there or use less for the next dose.
If you swallow it right away it can take as long as a regular edible, so be patient and you’ll see results more quickly.
3. Cannabis Tinctures are Easy to Make
You don’t need to be a chemistry major to make homemade tinctures.
It’s a simple 3 step process that takes less than a couple of hours.
All you need is a mason jar, alcohol or MCT Oil and plant material.
You can find our most popular basic tincture recipes here:
Or experiment with custom herbal blends in my latest e-cookbook Dazed + Infused.
4. They are Endlessly Customizable
Non alcoholic? Sure.
CBD with some CBG? Go for it.
What if you want to add other herbs to complement “the herb”?
Do it! Use the ingredients and cannabinoids that work best for you.
Because they’re so easy to make and dose, once you fall for tinctures, you’ll be in love for life. And that love never has to lose its spark.
You can completely customize your effects by adding other herbs, balancing the ratios of your cannabinoids, and trying new methods.
Or you can pick a method and formula that works for you and stick with old faithful.
5. They could save you money
Like all things on this blog, my goal is always to help folks save money and get healthier by using methods that work.
My hope is that you’ll be using those savings to invest in higher quality organic and local ingredients (when possible) or to nab cool tools that make your journey with cannabis easier and more fun.
Because you’re not lighting your plant material on fire, lower doses go further.
So even at dispensary prices, you can sometimes save money by using tinctures.
But let’s be real, sometimes a trip to a dispensary feels more like highway robbery.
By making your own tinctures, you can avoid high dispensary prices and control your ingredients.
I promise… it’s not hard.
I walk you through the whole process in Dazed + Infused or you can check out my post on tincture basics here:
Questions, comments? Fire em away below.
While we can’t answer every question individually, we put them on the docket for future blog posts and publish them so other community members can help.
Cannabis tinctures are possibly the easiest to make, easiest to dose and most customizable ingestion method. But are they right for you? Find out in this post.