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Tincture
Cannabis 101
What are cannabis tinctures?
Carolyn BerkFebruary 1, 2020

When first starting out on your ganja journey, it's not always clear how different consumption methods can affect you. When it comes to smoking versus eating cannabis, for example, the experiences are like apples and oranges. Understandably, it can be incredibly jarring for beginners to evaluate the many ways patients and other adult consumers take their cannabis.

Smoking isn't for everyone. So how can newbies figure out the right dose without taking one too many bites of brownie and spending the rest of the day on the floor? The perfect way to experiment with edibles is with tinctures.

What are tinctures?

Tinctures are essentially made by absorbing cannabis in alcohol or other solvent, straining out impurities, and administering the final product through a glass vial and dropper. If that sounds familiar to you, it could be because various medicines have been administered this way for centuries!

For patients or other tincture-takers who are intolerant or want to avoid alcohol, tinctures can also be made using other fat-soluble liquids, like vegetable glycerin (just make sure it is labeled as “food grade" vegetable glycerin). However, the strength of these may differ from alcohol-based tinctures, so make sure you use a reliable and reputable product that has measurements clearly listed on the label.

Why are tinctures good for beginners?

Many seasoned cannabis consumers have a story about a time they ate an edible that was too strong for them, and in many cases completely turned them off from cannabis edibles -- or cannabis entirely! While in most cases time, hydration and soothing tunes will help you weather the edibles overdose without harm, the experience tends to be overwhelming for newbies trying to determine the right dose and method of consumption that best fit their body.

Tinctures offer them a way to comfortably dip their toe into edibles territory instead of immediately diving into the deep end. Because tinctures are administered in small amounts through a dropper, it's incredibly easy to get a sense of precisely how many drops deliver the perfect high or other desired effects for you. Exactly measuring the tincture also makes it possible for new users to start at a low dose and gradually increase the amount at a rate that works for them.

How to consume tinctures

Tinctures are ridiculously easy to consume. It can be as simple as using a dropper to add a measured dose of tincture to foods and beverages, or dropping the tincture right on or under your tongue.

Depending on the strength of your product, it's best to start by using the dropper to measure out 1-ml of tincture and dropping it into whatever food you choose. Keep in mind that if the tincture is alcohol based, it may not blend well with certain food. A general rule of thumb is to stick with food that have main ingredients that are high in fat, like olive oil or butter.

Some menu recommendations for trying tinctures are:

  • Sauces
  • Ice cream
  • Soups
  • Salad dressings
  • Smoothies

Like with all edibles, it can take up to two hours to feel any effects when you consume and digest marijuana via tincture. Make sure you've given the medicine enough time to reach its full effects before you take any more, or else you may find yourself much higher than you intended.

For faster absorption, try placing a drop of the tincture under your tongue and hold it there for a few minutes to let it absorb. When taken sublingually, you can usually feel the effect of tinctures within between 15 to 30 minutes. Be sure to try a very small amount first to make sure that it won't be too harsh in your mouth.

Making tinctures work for you

Finding the perfect type and amount of tincture is an ongoing experiment. As long as you keep your tincture in an air-tight bottle and store it in a cool, dark place, you should have it on hand to explore whenever you like.

Once you discover and fine-tune the best tincture dosage for your needs, you can confidently journey through the wide world of edibles without the fear of getting too high for comfort. Just be sure to record the amounts that you use, so you know what to aim for when enjoying tinctures, edibles, or any other form of weed in the future.

carolyn berk lantern author
Carolyn Berk
Carolyn Berk got her start working in both radio and TV before applying her journalism skills to the cannabis industry. She is currently a content marketer and an active member of the New England cannabis community.