Cannabis Tinctures 101 – What They Are and How to Use Them

Cannabis tinctures are a popular and versatile way to consume cannabis. They are made by extracting the active compounds from the cannabis plant using alcohol, resulting in a concentrated liquid that can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) or added to food and drinks. This method of consumption offers a discreet and convenient option for those who prefer not to smoke or vaporize cannabis.

What are Cannabis Tinctures?

  • Cannabis tinctures are liquid extracts of the cannabis plant.
  • They are typically made using high-proof alcohol as a solvent to extract the active compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
  • The final product is a concentrated liquid that can be easily dosed and consumed.

History of Cannabis Tinctures

The use of cannabis tinctures dates back to ancient times when they were used for medicinal purposes. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, cannabis tinctures were commonly used in Western medicine and were available in pharmacies. However, with the increasing recreational use of cannabis and its subsequent prohibition, the use of cannabis tinctures declined. Today, with the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, cannabis tinctures have made a comeback and are widely available in dispensaries and online. For more information on the history and quality control of cannabis tinctures, you can refer to this study.

A cannabis tincture
A cannabis tincture

Types of Cannabis Tinctures

  • THC tinctures: These tinctures are high in THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, and can produce a euphoric effect.
  • CBD tinctures: These tinctures are high in CBD, a non-psychoactive compound that has been shown to have various medicinal benefits, including reducing anxiety and pain.
  • Full-spectrum tinctures: These tinctures contain a range of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, as well as other compounds found in the cannabis plant, such as terpenes and flavonoids.
  • Isolate tinctures: These tinctures are made using isolated cannabinoids, typically CBD, and do not contain any other compounds from the cannabis plant.

How to Make Cannabis Tinctures

Making cannabis tinctures at home is a simple process that requires just a few ingredients and some patience. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Ingredients:
    • Cannabis buds or leaves
    • High-proof alcohol (such as Everclear)
    • A glass jar with a lid
    • Cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer
  • Steps:
    1. Decarboxylate the cannabis by baking it in the oven at 240°F (115°C) for 30-40 minutes. This activates the THC and CBD in the plant.
    2. Grind the cannabis and place it in the glass jar.
    3. Add enough alcohol to completely cover the cannabis.
    4. Seal the jar and let it sit in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks, shaking it every few days.
    5. After two weeks, strain the mixture through the cheesecloth or strainer into another jar or bottle.
    6. Store the tincture in a cool, dark place.

How to Use Cannabis Tinctures

  • Cannabis tinctures can be consumed sublingually by placing a few drops under the tongue and holding it there for 30-60 seconds before swallowing. This allows the active compounds to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, providing faster effects.
  • They can also be added to food and drinks, such as tea, coffee, or smoothies.
  • The dosage will depend on the potency of the tincture and the individual’s tolerance and needs. It’s always best to start with a low dose and gradually increase it until the desired effects are achieved.

Tips for Beginners

For those venturing into the world of cannabis tinctures, the first step should be about gaining informed knowledge. Understanding the source and quality of the tincture is crucial. When it comes to dosage, starting low and going slow is the mantra. It’s advisable to start with a lower concentration to understand how your body reacts to it.

A common starting point could be 2.5 to 5 milligrams of THC. This modest beginning allows you to gauge your body’s reaction and build a foundation for your THC tincture adventure.

Moreover, keeping a log can be beneficial. Noting down the dosage, time, and effects can provide valuable insights and assist in adjusting the dosages accordingly. This practice embodies a methodical approach to exploring the therapeutic potentials of cannabis tinctures.

And a new user should be aware of the legality of cannabis tinctures varies across regions. It’s imperative to acquaint oneself with the local laws governing cannabis and its derivatives. This awareness fosters safe and legal enjoyment of cannabis tinctures.

Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures

  • Cannabis tinctures offer a discreet and convenient way to consume cannabis.
  • They provide precise dosing, making it easier to control the amount consumed.
  • Tinctures are fast-acting, especially when taken sublingually.
  • They are a good option for those who prefer not to smoke or vaporize cannabis.

Furthermore, tinctures are considered one of the healthiest ways to consume cannabis, providing a lower-calorie alternative to the typical edibles found on the market. This makes them a great option for those who are health-conscious or watching their calorie intake.

Additionally, tinctures are available in an array of potencies and flavors, allowing the consumer to find the perfect match for their needs and taste preferences.

The benefits of using a cannabis tincture
The benefits of using a cannabis tincture

Side Effects and Precautions

  • While cannabis tinctures are generally considered safe, they can cause side effects, especially if taken in high doses. These may include drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth.
  • It’s important to start with a low dose and gradually increase it to avoid any adverse effects.
  • Cannabis tinctures should be stored in a cool, dark place to preserve their potency and prevent degradation.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using cannabis tinctures, as THC can pass through the placenta and breast milk, potentially harming the baby.
  • People with a history of mental health issues should consult with a healthcare professional before using cannabis tinctures, as THC can exacerbate certain conditions.

Like with any substance, being aware of the potential side effects of Cannabis Tinctures is essential. Some individuals might experience dizziness, dry mouth, or changes in appetite. It’s crucial to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare provider if any adverse effects are experienced.

Moreover, individuals on medication or with pre-existing medical conditions should seek professional advice before venturing into the use of Cannabis Tinctures. This cautious approach paves the way for a safer and more informed experience.


  • How long does it take for a cannabis tincture to take effect? The effects of a cannabis tincture can be felt within 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the individual and how the tincture is consumed.
  • Can you cook with cannabis tinctures? Yes, cannabis tinctures can be added to food and drinks, but it’s important to note that high temperatures can degrade the active compounds, reducing their effectiveness.
  • What is the best base for cannabis tinctures? High-proof alcohol is the most common base for cannabis tinctures, as it effectively extracts the active compounds from the plant. However, other solvents, such as glycerin, can also be used.


Cannabis tinctures are a versatile and convenient way to consume cannabis. They offer precise dosing and fast-acting effects, making them a popular choice for both medicinal and recreational users. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects and take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. For more information on the regulation of cannabis and cannabis-derived products, you can refer to this resource from the FDA.


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