‘Ask Ed’s Fast-Track Cannabis Tincture’
Methods of making alcohol tinctures vary from extremely simple and low tech to complex distillation apparatuses that produce highly purified cannabis oil. The easiest way to make tinctures is an alcohol soak.
Traditional tincture recipes talk about an aging process: “Let the mixture sit for…” The reason that the tincture gets stronger as it ages is that, at least in theory, more of the THC and other cannabinoids dissolve in the alcohol as time passes.
My tincture method speeds up the process by giving the dissolving cannabinoids a quick mechanical assist.
Tips on choosing your alcohol and choosing your herb
Quality solvent is important! 190 Proof Everclear is best, though banned in some states. Alternatively, you can use an extremely pure form of Polish vodka called Spirytus that comes in at 192 proof, or a percent purer than Everclear. Polmos Spirytus, Spirytus Rektyfikowany, and Baks Spirytus are some of the brands that can be found in the United States.
Tinctures made with different varieties of marijuana have varying effects because of the entourage effects that the terpenes create. Plant parts being used, maturity at harvest, and post-harvest processing all play a part in determining the tincture’s potency. Leaf, trim, bud, kief, and hash are some of the choices, and all are used.
When used for medicinal purposes, a tincture with CBD as well as THC may be beneficial. Some medical tincture makers have adopted cold-processing methods to avoid decarboxylating the cannabinoid acids. Not converting THCA to THC increases possible dosage levels because the THCA does not activate the high, but its medical qualities remain.
If marijuana has been dried and cured as it would be for smoking, some decarboxylation will have already taken place, so THC and CBD will be present without using heat, just not as much. Raw fresh or dried marijuana leaves can be used to make tinctures, though the resulting product may have a chlorophyll flavor. Gently soaking the dried marijuana in water removes some of the chlorophyll, which dissolves in water. Adding a bit of honey to the finished tincture can make it more palatable.
Here’s tools you need to make, ‘ASK ED’S FAST-TRACK TINCTURE’
Disposable neoprene or latex gloves
Metal slotted serving spoon
Fine mesh strainer
Glass or stainless steel bowl, sized to hold colander
Cloth kitchen towel
Amber or cobalt blue glass jar with sealing lid
Here’s the ingredients you’ll need to make, ‘ASK ED’S FAST-TRACK TINCTURE’
Bud, trim, or leaf material (see below to determine the amount you will need). *If your cannabis is already dried and ready for smoking, there will be less THC and CBD present in the tincture.
Grain neutral spirits such as Everclear or overproof alcohol such as 151 rum or vodka.
Weigh the marijuana.
For every ounce of herb use ten fluid ounces of alcohol. A 750 ml bottle of alcohol is 25.4 fluid ounces, so a full bottle is good for just over two and a half ounces of weed.
Place the marijuana in a colander up to one-third full. Do not break up the leaves or buds so that the glands remain on the leaf surfaces. Place the marijuana-filled colander in a mixing bowl. Add enough cool—not cold—water so that the marijuana can spread out. Let the weed sit in the water bath for an hour or so to dissolve the nonactive, water-soluble pigments and carbohydrates from the plant material.
Pull the colander from the water and let the water strain out of the plant material. Wearing gloves, roll the marijuana into a ball. Wrap it in a clean dish towel and squeeze out as much water as possible.
Place the strained plant material in a blender. Add ten ounces of alcohol for each ounce of marijuana. Place the cover on the blender. Blend at the lowest setting for five minutes. Let it sit for an hour, and then blend on low again for five minutes. Pour the blend into a bowl or wide mouth pitcher. Let the mixture sit for a couple of hours so that the leaf floats to the top of the alcohol.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the large floating debris and put it in the fine mesh strainer with the mixing bowl underneath to catch the drainage. Using gloves, press the herb against the strainer to squeeze out the liquid into the bowl. Break up the ball and let it soak in a small amount of virgin alcohol to dissolve remaining cannabinoids. Then repeat the squeezing process and discard the plant material.
* It can also be used as a poultice.
Pour the liquid through the fine mesh strainer over the bowl. Depending on how fine the mesh and how good the blender, you may see tiny insoluble plant particles in the bowl. If so, filter the tincture through a coffee filter or ultra-fine cheesecloth. If you are using a funnel for transferring the tincture to jars for storage, put the coffee filter or fine cheesecloth inside the funnel and filter while you fill. The tincture is ready to use but a little raw.
Test the tincture. Ideally a dose will be no less than a dropper full. If it is too strong, add alcohol or water. If it is not strong enough, concentrate it by evaporating some of the alcohol. Placing the marijuana in an open mixing bowl in a warm room speeds alcohol evaporation. Covering the bowl or jar with cheesecloth slows evaporation but keeps out dust and dander. Within a few hours the bowl will contain visibly less liquid.
Once the tincture is concentrated to the strength desired, put it in a clean, dark glass container and seal it tightly. Store refrigerated in the dark. Long exposure to warmth and oxygen degrades cannabinoid content
‘Ask Ed’s Fast-Track Cannabis Tincture’ in 8 steps recipe from my upcoming book, 'Beyond Buds Next Generation'.