Brown tincture bottle with dropper laying on three cannabis leaves

What Are Cannabis Tinctures?

So you want to enjoy cannabis, but on your terms—you don’t want to smoke or dab it, and you don’t want any unnecessary calories. What are your options? The good news is that you have a few, and one of our favorites is a THC tincture. In this guide, we’re going to teach you everything we know about tinctures, including:

  • What is a THC Tincture
  • How Do Cannabis Tinctures Work?
  • THC vs CBD Tincture: What’s the Difference?
  • CBD Oil vs CBD TIncture: What’s the Difference?
  • How Do You Make a Cannabis Tincture?
  • FAQs About Tinctures

What is a THC Tincture?

A cannabis tincture is a marijuana extract infused in a liquid, commonly alcohol, but it can also be oil or glycerine. Tinctures can come loaded with cannabinoids and terpenes, or they can come as just THC tinctures, meaning only the THC cannabinoid is suspended in a liquid.

What makes tinctures a unique cannabis product is that they’re meant to be absorbed sublingually, instead of eaten, smoked, or dabbed. Whether you’re microdosing or taking a full dose, the liquid is dropped under the tongue and left to absorb through the thin skin of your mouth. This allows the cannabinoids and terpenes to enter the bloodstream faster than a digested edible.

How Do Cannabis Tinctures Work?

While you can add tinctures to foods and beverages, they were created to be placed directly into the mouth. This process takes advantage of the thin tissue of the mouth and the number of blood vessels we have under our tongues. Once the tincture is applied, it’s quickly absorbed and enters the bloodstream. You should feel the effects of the tincture within 30 minutes, and you may even feel a second wave of intoxication once the extra remnants are digested.

THC vs CBD Tincture: What’s the Difference?

The biggest difference between THC and CBD tinctures is that THC tinctures will cause psychoactive effects and CBD tinctures will not, depending on your own individual endocannabinoid system.

Depending on where you purchase your tinctures, there may be differences in the amount of THC in the tincture—even when it’s a CBD tincture. For example, if you purchase a CBD tincture outside of a dispensary, it comes from the hemp plant, not the marijuana plant, and it has to have less than 0.3% THC in it. CBD tinctures purchased in a dispensary will be from a marijuana plant and can have varying amounts of THC in them. (This is called full-spectrum.)

CBD Oil vs CBD Tincture: What’s the Difference?

While CBD oils and CBD tinctures can both be ingested, they have two distinct differences. First, CBD oil is made by suspending CBD in a food-grade oil. CBD tinctures are made by infusing CBD in alcohol.

The second difference is how they can be used. CBD tinctures and oils can both be applied under the tongue or added to food and consumed, but CBD oil can also be rubbed into the skin as a topical for a more localized effect.

How to Make a Cannabis Tincture - 4 Steps

If you’ve ever decarboxylated your flower, you’re already halfway to creating a tincture. The rest of the process is easy. Here are the steps you should follow to make a tincture at home:

Step 1: Decarboxylate Your Flower

Pick your favorite strain of flower and then decarboxylate it. You can do this by putting some parchment paper atop your favorite cookie sheet, loading it with flower, and then placing it in the oven at the lowest heat setting.

Step 2: Soak Your Flower

Fill a sealable jar with alcohol and submerge your decarbed flower into it. Seal the jar.

Step 3: Store Your Tincture

Make space in your freezer and tuck your jar of submerged cannabis into it. Once a day, take it out and give it a good shake. Then, put it back in the freezer. Do this for 2 weeks for the best results.

Step 4: Filter Your Tincture

Using a sieve, cheesecloth, or screen, strain your liquid into a measuring cup. Squeeze the liquid out of your flower and place the soaked flower aside. Then, strain the liquid in the measuring cup as many times as it takes to remove any plant material.

Simply transfer your tincture to a glass dropper bottle and store it in a cool, dark area, away from heat and light. 

Answering FAQs About Tinctures

As with all of our cannabis products, there are questions we get pretty frequently about tinctures. Here are their answers:

Can you cook with THC tinctures?
Technically, you should not cook with a tincture. This is because the cannabinoids have already been decarboxylated, so if you heat them again, you can end up ruining your product by destroying the cannabinoids. That said, you can add tinctures to food and beverages that have already been made. In general, as long as you’re not heating the food, you can add tinctures to just about anything.

How long does it take tinctures to work?
Marijuana tinctures typically take effect within half an hour, as long as you let them sit in your mouth for a minimum of 30 seconds before swallowing. If you swallow your tincture in food, it may take longer to take effect, but it also could feel stronger.

Can you make tinctures without alcohol?
Yes. Tinctures can be made with oil and glycerine.

Purchasing Tinctures

From terpene-rich to THC-only tinctures, you can find a full selection at your local dispensary. Ask the budtenders any of your tincture-related questions or for recommendations on tinctures available in stock.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.