What is a Cannabis Tincture?
A tincture delivers cannabis without the need for the combustion of smoking. Tinctures are potent liquids of concentrated cannabinoids.
The highly-concentrated tinctures are taken in small doses. Most have a very thick liquid consistency and the bottles come with a dropper to ensure a very small, measured dose.
Most people take tinctures under the tongue (sublingually).
Research has shown that sublingual administration is more effective than other oral dosings like liquid or pill form. This is because it delivers the substance faster and more consistently.
Lots of people also mix tinctures into beverages like coffee or tea or foods like soups. Most people prefer tinctures because they are easy to dose and easy to take.
We use an alcohol-based (usually ethanol) extraction.
Alcohol-based cannabis tinctures
Let’s remember that marijuana wasn’t always illegal in the U.S. It regularly lined pharmacy shelves and many of those bottles were tinctures.
Alcohol has been used as a carrier for over 100 years. Alcohol is used for extraction and then also mixed back into the concentrate to create the tincture.
The downside is that this mixture usually has a bad taste, so it is not uncommon for the producer to mix honey or a sweet liquid to mask the sharp taste.
The other issue is that if you want to avoid alcohol, this is probably not the tincture for you. Nor is it the tincture for you if you live in California. When recreational marijuana use was legalized in the state, these tinctures were no longer legal.
However, there are pros to alcohol-based tinctures, including their fast absorption and generally longer shelf life, given the alcohol wards off any bacteria.
Cannabis-infused MCT oil is a popular type of cannabis oil infusion made from 3 simple ingredients: Cannabis flower, MCT oil, and Lecithin.
MCT oil is a type of fat extracted from coconuts. They are rapidly digested and absorbed by the body.
MCT oil remains liquid at room temperature, is completely clear, and has no flavor, making it one of the reasons it is so popular.
Tinctures Have Faster Onset Times
Since tinctures can be consumed sublingually – meaning they can be either sprayed or dropped under the tongue – they have the advantage of having a short time to onset (time duration to feel effects).
Especially when compared to marijuana edibles.
How fast you might ask?
Anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour, generally speaking that is.
As for eating edibles, you can expect to wait anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to feel the effects, depending on a lot of factors, like weight, diet, tolerance, and metabolism, of course.
The fast onset of tinctures is all because of biology.
Simply, by placing or spraying tinctures under your tongue, the compounds directly enter your bloodstream, instead of having to go through your liver and digestive systems.
Easier to Measure Dosage
Dosing is major advantage when it comes to cannabis tinctures.
With each 1 ml drop, or measured spray, you’re able to better measure your optimal dose.
This proves to be crucial, because finding the optimal dose is a tricky, tricky process that can require constant adjusting day and night. Which is almost impossible with edibles, given the challenges of decarboxylation and other processes related to cooking.
Longer Shelf Life
Another advantage tinctures have over other products is its long shelf life. .
And if you’re wondering as to how tinctures have a long shelf life – think of alcohol, the great bacteria fighting solvent.
The Practical Benefits Without Any Compromise to Potency
Lastly, cannabis tinctures have these practical benefits of faster onset times, easier measuring of doses and a longer shelf life with NO compromise to its potency and experience duration.
So in other words, you can expect your experience to last 4-6 hours, which is identical to eating pot edibles.
How to Use Tinctures
There are a number of ways of how to use tinctures. Here are three of the most effective ways.
1. Sublingual Methods: Placing a Drop Under the Tongue
If you choose this method, place a drop of tincture under your tongue so that it’s absorbed in the mucus membranes. Hold it for 60 to 90 seconds before swallowing.
It’s important that you DON’T place a drop on top of your tongue, otherwise, you’ll be swallowing it, which is the ingestion method. If you proceed this way, the onset time can increase to around 2 hours.
2. Spraying Inside Your Mouth
Before you consume tincture by spraying it in your mouth, first practice spraying it onto a piece of tissue.
Once you’re comfortable, place the nozzle into your mouth, either inside your cheek or under your tongue, and then press it. Make sure you let your mouth absorb the contents for a minute.
To avoid irritation, it’s best to spray in different areas of your mouth each time!
3. Adding Tinctures to Foods and Drinks
If you prefer to eat a nutritious and delicious meal or have a tasty drink, place a few drops or sprays onto the finished entree or beverage.
Need ideas? Try placing a drop onto sauces, salad dressing, smoothies, juices, soups or desserts. Don’t be afraid to get creative and fun with it!
How Much Should I Take? Finding the Right Cannabis Tincture Dosage
Regardless of which tincture product you have, one rule is to apply the age-old phrase, “start low and go slow”.
That’s not very scientific, I know. But when it comes to the right cannabis tincture dosage, things get a bit tricky as there’s no “one size fits all” approach.
The reason behind this is because the “right dose” depends on factors like body weight, diet, stress levels, metabolism, and tolerance.
Here’s a rough guide to help you experiment:
If you’ve never used tinctures before, start with a 1 to 2 drops before bedtime for two days.
If it’s not doing the trick, increase the dose to another 3 to 4 drops for two days, doing so until you see relief and have no UNWANTED side effects.
If the beginning experience proves to be strong and/or if side effects occur, do the opposite and decrease the dose for two days until you’re comfortable.