Originally Published April 29th, 2016.
The cannabis industry is constantly evolving, creating new ways for people to experience this popular plant. People are looking for these techniques online, and what works for some may not work for others. Guides for edibles, THC extraction, the best strains, and methods of smoking seem to be more cut-and-paste and less organic – which inspired me to try my hand at a method that was foreign to me: a tincture. A tincture, as defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary, is “a solution of a medicinal substance in an alcoholic solvent.” In this case, the medicinal substance is cannabis.
For my first attempt creating a cannabis tincture, I used an ounce of Headband shake and 1.5 grams of kief. I chose to use Everclear as a solvent, because of its clear color and high alcohol content. The higher the percentage of alcohol, the greater the extraction of THC from the plant matter. Here is my step-by-step recipe.
Step 1: Get Supplies
- 1 Ounce of premium grade cannabis shake
- Any hash or kief for added potency
- 2 cups of Everclear or high ABV liquor
- A cannabis grinder
- Aluminum foil
- 1 Sealable plastic bag
- 1 Amber glass eye dropper
- 1 Large mason jar
- 1 Glass oven-safe pan
- 2 Coffee filters
- 1 Cheese cloth pack
- 2 cup measuring cup
- 1 Rubber band
- 1 Pair of latex gloves
- 1 Funnel
Step 2: Grind and Heat the Cannabis
Grind up 1 ounce of cannabis shake or trimmings, seal inside a plastic bag, and place it in the freezer for at least 1 hour. (I read that freezing the plant matter, along with the alcohol, allows for the THC molecules to retain their structure during the solution process).
Next, place the plant matter into an oven-safe pan and spread it evenly. Cover the pan with foil, preheat your oven to 235 F (I used a second thermometer in the oven to make sure the accuracy was as precise as possible), and place the pan in the oven for one hour. The foil reduces the risk of burning the cannabis, and keeps the THC and terpenes from escaping during baking. THC boils at 240°F, which will defeat the purpose of decarboxylation and reduce the potency of the final product, so err on the side of caution if you don’t trust your oven’s temperature gauge. The idea is to activate the THC without losing any in the process. In my research this was a hotly debated process, so after comparing a number of methods I came up with my own and it worked well for me; I used this website as a guideline.
Step 3: Extract Cannabinoids from the Cannabis
Once the decarboxylation process is complete, let the pan cool but keep the foil in place. When the pan is cool to the touch, carefully transfer your cannabis into a large mason jar and add the alcohol. Only pour enough solvent so that it just covers the top of the cannabis.
Stick the jar in your freezer for at least one week to six months. For my experiment, I let mine sit in my freezer for two weeks, shaking the jar for one minute every day. Shaking is important because it disturbs the plant matter, allowing even distribution of the cannabinoids in the solution.
Step 4: Process the Tincture
After your decided duration has passed, use a funnel to pour the entire contents of the jar through a double layer of cheese cloth into another glass vessel. Once the liquid has stopped passing through easily, squeeze and twist the mass in the cheese cloth until all of the liquid is rendered. I encourage you to use gloves when handling the soiled cheese cloth; this tincture can seep into pores very easily and can lead to unintended medication before titration (a method of determining the concentration of a dissolved substance) has been tested.
Now that you have a murky tincture, the next step is to clean out the original jar and dry it thoroughly. Place two coffee filters over the mouth of the jar and secure it in place with a rubber band. Next, slowly pour the tincture through the filter until all of the plant matter is caught in the filter.
Step 5: Enjoy!
There you have it: you now have your very own cannabis tincture! Keep the tincture in a cool, dry place, preferably in an amber bottle (as the colored glass prevents the tincture from deteriorating in sunlight).
This recipe was my first attempt and I must say that I am happy with the results. The end result was about two cups of homemade Headband tincture. To administer the tincture, I use an amber eye dropper bottle for titration. The best way to administer a tincture is with a few drops under the tongue; begin with a few drops, wait for it to take effect, and then determine if you need another drop or two. With this batch, I felt the Headband’s signature tingle along my temple and especially in the back of my neck after 5 drops. The effects took about 15-30 minutes to come on, and lasted around 30 minutes, so start slow and proceed safely.
It’s definitely more for medicinal use over recreational. However, the effects were amplified after smoking cannabis so I caution the reader to test the tincture a few times before adding more factors into the experience. Overall, I am very satisfied with my new recipe, and I hope that this helps other canna cooks like me. Please send us feedback on your own methods and let’s compare notes!
Things I would do differently next time:
- Use a more potent shake and/or add more kief or hash.
- Make multiple batches and let them sit for different lengths of time.