How to Make Your Own Cannabis Tincture
Are you familiar with cannabis tincture? If you do not know what cannabis tincture is, you should. As with everyone, there was a time when I didn't know what cannabis tincture was.
My friend Roger had an older brother, and he would bust out a jar every now and again that had a very dark green liquid in it. He always called it 'dragon's breath,' and whenever he found out someone liked cannabis, he would give them some drops of it under the person's tongue, and the recipient would understand very quicly why he called it dragon's breath (it packed quite a kick!).
I was the recipient once upon a time. All I knew was that my good buddy Roger lived in the hill country, grew some amazing cannabis, and his brother would take all of Roger's trim, and sometimes the stems from dried flower nugs, and make the dragon's breath.
How is cannabis tincture made?
I am a curious fellow, so naturally I ask my buddy's brother how he made it, and what he added to the trim other than very, very strong alcohol (which was what gave the mixture such a kick). He grinned and explained to me that was the best part, all it involved was cannabis scraps, alcohol and time.
There are various methods to making tincure, and various types of liquids that you can use to make it. Alcohol or glycerine seem to be the two most common. I have never made glycerine tincture, but I just made some alcohol tincture, and it is extremely effective.
The process started with me receiving some amazing sugar leaf trimmings from my good friend Richard. For those that are unaware, sugar leaves are the ones closest to the flower, and are covered with sparkly trichomes. They aren't as potent as the flower, but they are as close as the rest of the plant gets.
I decarboxolized the trim by putting it in the oven at 240 F and baking it for about 25 minutes or so. I then put the trim in a mason jar, and filled the mason jar up with the highest proof of alcohol I could find in my area (Clear Springs, although many use Everclear, both work). From there I just let it marinate for four months with some frequent shaking.
Shaking the jar is how you help the magic happen
Jar agitation is the key. The more you shake the jar, the more the alcohol breaks down the cannabis. I put mine by the station I set up in my office where I consume most of my cannabis. Every time I consumed cannabis throughout the day, which I assure you was very frequent, I would give the jar a good shaking.
My best friend Jay used to work at a dispensary in Eugene, Oregon, and he said that they had jar rollers that they would set the jars on, and it would keep the agitation going constantly. Another, much cheaper, trick I heard from my friend Seth was to use a rock tumbler, although you have to have a really strong jar for that I'd imagine.
How long do you let it soak?
The only truly subjective thing that you have to do in the process, and I think this is what seperates the alcohol tincture pros from the amateurs, is knowing how long to let the mixture soak. I posed the question on social media, and received answers for anywhere from one week to indefinitely.
Having gone through a four month soaking process, I can say from my experience that a week was too short. A month was probably even too short. It wasn't until month two that I started to see a noticeable decrease in the amount of plant material that was in the jar, and that the liquid was getting extremely green.
By month four I couldn't see through the once clear liquid because it was so green. Curiousity got the best of me and I pulled it, and the guy that gave me the trim and I split the tincture. 3 cups total, each! One thing that was really weird to me was the leaf that went into the mixture, which had been soaking in liquid for four months and would presumably be sllimy and flimsy, was very crispy.
I'm no science guru, so I'll let someone else explain that one, but I did sample the tincture, and have been consuming it ever since, and four months is long enough to make some quality tincture based off my experience. I'm making another batch that I intend to let go longer.
I pulled samples at the one week mark, the one month mark, at three months, and obviously at the four month mark. I'm going to get them tested to see what the cannabinoid absorption rate is over time, so expect to see that in a future article! I have one friend that has had a soak going for 2 years, and just simply pulls drops off the top when he needs to medicate. That's dedication, and I'd imagine also makes for some mighty fine tincture!
Have you ever tried making your own tincture? Any questions about the process? Let us know in the comment section below!