Are you ready for a taste of the least controversial method of consuming cannabis ever? Try a tincture. “Why would I want to do that,” you ask? Because tinctures have been described as the most underrated of all the marijuana/hemp products that can be taken for medical purposes and can be refined just as we have done so that the user does not get the psychedelic head high.
Tinctures are arguably underutilized compared to raw flowers, joints, edibles etc. even though they work better.
Yep, you read that right. For many people, tinctures often work better than every other method of hemp or cannabis consumption, including cream, pills and gummies. It really depends on what your needs are.
In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about marijuana tinctures. Along the way, we’ll discuss:
- A brief history of the marijuana tincture
- The basic science of tincture
- The benefits of marijuana tincture
- The side effects of marijuana tincture
- How to take a marijuana tincture
- The benefits of sub lingual administration
- Are marijuana tinctures right for you
- When will you feel the effects
- To swallow or not to swallow
- Recommended dosing
- The economics of marijuana tinctures
- A bit about ingredients
- Taking all the tincture in
- How to get your tincture
A Brief History Of The Marijuana Tincture
In spite of how novel they may seem to so many cannabis consumers, tinctures are really nothing new. In fact, tincture was the primary form of cannabis medication until it was banned in 1937.
You may not have heard about marijuana tinctures yet because an eyedropper full of medicine just doesn’t have the same stigma as smoking a joint.
You don’t need a creme brulee blowtorch in order to medicate with a tincture, which is why tinctures don’t have any derogatory mainstream media monikers like “the crack of cannabis.” You’re also much less likely to overdose.
Now that you know a few facts about marijuana tinctures, let’s investigate the basic science behind what makes a tincture a tincture.
The Basic Science Of Tinctures
We’re not going to get too involved in the science of tinctures, but we will touch on a few key scientific facts that will help you understand tinctures better.
A tincture is most often an alcoholic extract of plant material (although animal material can also be used) with an ethanol percentage of between 25 and 60%. We use this method as it equates to a solution that is between 50 and 120 proof, although sometimes the alcohol concentration can get as high as 90% (180 proof) in some tinctures.
Alcohol (ethanol) is the most common solvent because it’s effective at breaking down both acidic and basic components of the plant matter. In the case of a cannabis tincture, that means that more of the good-for-your cannabinoids will wind up in your little dropper bottle without the psychedelic/head high.
Other solvents like vinegar and glycerin (a.k.a. glycerol) are cheaper and can be used to create a tincture for internal consumption, but they’re not as effective at extracting all the chemicals from the original plant matter.
The process of making a tincture is very much like dissolving sugar in water or making Kool-Aid. The solids (the sugar or the Kool-Aid mix) break down and liquefy in the water, transferring their chemical makeup (sweetness) into the resultant solution.
The same thing happens when making a tincture — only the ingredients change. The alcohol dissolves the plant matter and all the chemicals it contains (trichomes, cannabinoids, oils, terpenes, and others). Those chemicals are then suspended in a solution (much like Kool-Aid mix in water) that can be ingested or administered under the tongue.
The Benefits Of Marijuana Tincture
Marijuana tinctures offer a long list of benefits (many of which we’ll discuss throughout this article). To give you an idea just how great marijuana tincture is, here are a few of the benefits you can enjoy when you take a THC tincture to relieve pain:
- You feel the effects quickly.
- You can easily control the amount of tincture you take.
- Marijuana tinctures are discreet (meaning you don’t have to worry about standing out).
- Tinctures are safe.
- Tinctures have a long shelf life when stored properly.
In addition, our tincture can be used to treat:
- Low appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- Chronic pain
- Artery blockage
- Bacterial growth
- Cancer cell growth
- Bone degeneration
- Muscle spasms
Couple the above benefits with the safe, fast-acting, easy-to-dose nature of the tincture itself, and you’ve got a potent recipe for medical relief of the toughest symptoms.
The Side Effects Of Marijuana Tincture
Our tinctures can cause dry mouth, but many feel that it’s a small price to pay for all the medical benefits that the Cannabinoids has to offer.
The only other side effect of note is that CBD decreases your liver’s ability to process other drugs. That’s not a problem if you replace one medication with a CBD medication or you take the tincture sublingually, (see the following section) thus bypassing the liver.
But if you take a CBD medication and something like a heart medication, the CBD will interfere with the effectiveness of the heart medication. That’s bad. Because of the potential interactions, always consult a doctor when adding CBD to your daily routine.
How To Take Marijuana Tinctures
One of the main benefits of a tincture is that it’s very easy to take. Drops of tincture solution are squeezed out through an eyedropper syringe under your tongue, (sublingual). There, the solution is left to be absorbed (not swallowed) into your bloodstream through a process called osmosis.
Osmosis occurs when molecules of a solvent (the ethanol and all the cannabis chemical it contains) pass through a semipermeable membrane (the tissue under your tongue) from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one on the other side in order to equalize the concentrations on both sides of the membrane.
The Benefits Of Sublingual Administration
The major advantage of the sublingual administration method is that the medicine is rapidly absorbed through the sublingual artery, your body’s main blood supply to your tongue. This artery arises from the external carotid artery, which, in turn, is close to the internal carotid artery. This allows the medicine to quickly reach your brain.
Additionally, the tincture doesn’t come in contact with the acids in your stomach like other edibles do. That fact alone serves to keep many of the beneficial chemicals in your cannabis tincture more complete and readily available for use in your body.
Sublingual absorption effectively removes a step — digestion — that can have slight but destructive consequences to the chemical makeup of the cannabis you put into your body.
Are Marijuana Tinctures Right For You?
The process of osmosis through the sublingual artery is ideal for patients suffering from pain due to gastrointestinal difficulties such as ulcers, hyperactive gut, coeliac disease, and other digestion issues that might make an edible less palatable.
Cannabis smoke is in no way conclusively linked to any kind of cancer, but sublingual ingestion of cannabis tinctures is, of course, ideal for anyone who may be concerned about the perceived health risks of inhaling smoke of any kind into their lungs.
Tinctures are also ideal for anyone who may be too sick, too old, or too young to properly smoke or even vaporize cannabis. Tinctures allow people of all ages to realize the beneficial health effects that the cannabis plant has to offer.
Tinctures draw no attention. All it takes is two or three drops under your tongue — a process that takes less than 20 seconds — to achieve much the same relief as smoking a joint. No muss. No fuss. No telltale smell and best of all no psychedelic head high. Just the medicine you need.
When Will You Feel The Effects?
The onset of the medicinal effects of a tincture will kick in very quickly. It all depends on the individual but most patients find immediate relief inside of five minutes.
This is why tinctures are infinitely superior to edibles in terms of the process of trial and error by which you determine the right amount of tincture that your unique endocannabinoid system requires in order to feel optimal.
The more scientific name for this “try-and-see” practice is titration. You’ll often hear this term bandied around by those in the know because it’s easier to say than, “the process of trial and error by which you determine the right amount of tincture that your unique endocannabinoid system requires in order to feel optimal.”
See what we mean? Why say 26 words when you can say just one and mean the same thing? Start using the word titration now so you at least sound like you know what you’re talking about.
To Swallow Or Not To Swallow?
When administering these drops of canna-goodness, it’s important to remember NOT to swallow your tincture if you want the full benefits of sublingual absorption. You can, of course, swallow your tincture, or even add it to tea, juice or food like many patients do. Nothing bad will happen.
However, the delta-9-THC in your tincture will transform into 11-Hydroxy-THC when it passes through the liver of your gastrointestinal tract. And depending on your metabolism, this can take up to two hours or more to occur.
That means that you’ll have to wait at least two hours to feel the effects. On top of that, they might be slightly different because of the presence of 11-Hydroxy-THC.
According to The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), ingested 11-Hydroxy-THC can be felt up to four to five times stronger than inhaled Delta-9-THC. But, according to Jay R. Cavanaugh, Ph.D., it can take four to 10 times as much oral cannabis in order to feel the same effects.
So again, remember not to swallow or the tincture will most likely take much longer to be effective. Just let the tincture solution dissolve under your tongue for about 30 seconds.
It’s also important to remember that you are also consuming alcohol — albeit a tiny amount — when you administer a tincture. In addition to that alcohol, your tincture will likely contain about 60% THC. That’s a lot!
The combination of alcohol and THC can pack a hefty punch, so start slow with your tincture titration. Get a feel for the potency of your medication and then gradually increase your dosage.
We suggest starting with two or three drops at a time. Err on the side of caution and start with two drops (or less) if you’re new to tincture consumption. After you administer your drops, wait at least an hour and a half before consuming more.
This gives the chemicals in the tincture time to spread throughout your body and gives your body time to fully process the cannabinoids.
After an hour and a half, you should know for sure how the amount of tincture you took will impact your body and mind. Until you gain some experience with tincture titration, we recommend waiting another hour and a half before trying another does.
This will give your body time to flush its system so you’re not stacking new THC (or CBD) on top of old THC.
The Economics Of Marijuana Tinctures
Tinctures are very economical. A one ounce size bottle of tincture typically costs $100+/-. If you take 3-5 drops at a time you’ll only be paying $0.40 to $0.60 per dose. Considering the cost of ibuprofen nowadays it would be about the same cost per dose.
A Bit About Ingredients
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exists as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) until it is decarboxylated, usually with heat. The nice thing about the extraction process is that the alcohol bath dissolves the THCA, decarboxylates it into THC, and preserves the resultant material so that it won’t spoil. Alcohol does all three of these things at the same time…all without heat.
Taking All The Tincture In
Tinctures were an effective time-honored weed tradition in this country and across the globe long before prohibition made it harder for us to get our medicine. They’re making a comeback in the modern cannabis community because of how much more effective they are than edibles in terms of providing adequate, titrated doses of medicine for new patients.
Remember to let your tincture drops absorb for about 30 seconds under your tongue into your sublingual artery, which should result in a good body high in about 1-2 minutes. Enjoy!
How To Get Your Tincture
To get your PC Tinctures please go to your local dispensary and ask specifically for PC Tinctures. If your local dispensary does not carry PC Tinctures please email Us at Tinctures@PiratesCoral.com or call us at (949) 329-5083