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Cannabis Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures are one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis.

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Cannabis Tinctures: The Ultimate Guide

Tinctures provide an easy, discreet, and customizable way to ingest cannabis. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about cannabis tinctures, including:

What are Cannabis Tinctures?

Cannabis tinctures are concentrated liquid extracts of active cannabinoids like THC and CBD, dissolved in alcohol or glycerin. They come in small bottles with droppers for accurate dosing.

Tinctures allow you to reap the benefits of cannabis compounds in an easy-to-consume liquid form. They offer:

  • Precise dosing: Tincture droppers make it easy to measure your optimal dose. Start low and increase as needed.
  • Fast-acting effects: Tinctures absorb into your bloodstream directly under the tongue for rapid onset of effects in 15-30 minutes.
  • Discreet consumption: Tinctures can be taken discreetly by placing drops under the tongue, with little to no aroma.
  • Customizable strength: Tinctures can be formulated with isolated cannabinoids like pure THC or CBD, or full-spectrum blends.
  • Versatility: Tinctures can be added to foods and drinks if you don’t like the taste.

Tinctures allow you to medicate with cannabis subtly without smoking or vaping. Next, let’s explore the history of this versatile cannabis extract.

A Brief History of Cannabis Tinctures

Tinctures were one of the primary ways people consumed cannabis back in the 1800s-1900s, before prohibition. Here’s a quick history:

  • Early 1800s: Cannabis tinctures gained popularity as medicine in the U.S. and Europe.
  • Late 1800s: Major pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly, Bristol-Meyers Squib, and Pfizer produced cannabis tinctures.
  • Prohibition era: Tinctures disappeared as cannabis was banned in the 1900s.
  • Modern comeback: Tinctures reemerged as medical marijuana rose in the 1990s-2000s.
  • Today: Cannabis tinctures are popular again thanks to legalization in many states.

Historically, tinctures were prized for their medicinal properties and reliable effects. Today, this tried and true method of consuming cannabis is back in the spotlight!

How Do Cannabis Tinctures Work?

Cannabis compounds like THC and CBD interact with your body’s ECS, causing various effects. Tinctures allow cannabinoids to enter your bloodstream quickly under the tongue. Here’s a simple step-by-step overview:

  1. Place tincture drops under tongue.
  2. Cannabinoids instantly absorb into the blood vessels under your tongue.
  3. The compounds enter your bloodstream and travel to your brain and body tissues.
  4. Cannabinoids bind to receptors in your ECS.
  5. You feel effects kick in within 15-30 minutes.
  6. Effects peak around 2 hours and taper off over 4-6 hours.

Sublingual tincture absorption allows a faster onset compared to edibles which take 30-90 minutes to digest. Now let’s take a closer look at the two primary cannabinoids in tinctures.

THC Tinctures

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the intoxicating compound in cannabis responsible for the high feeling and euphoria. Possible benefits and effects of THC tinctures include:

  • Relaxation
  • Elevated mood
  • Pain relief
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Anti-nausea
  • Sleep aid

THC binds to CB1 receptors in your brain and central nervous system. It can cause impaired motor function at high doses. Start with a low dose of 2.5-5mg THC and wait at least 2 hours before taking more.

CBD Tinctures

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating compound known for therapeutic benefits without the high feeling. CBD tinctures may help with:

  • Reducing anxiety
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Chronic pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuroprotection

CBD binds to CB2 receptors in your immune and nervous systems. It also stimulates serotonin receptors for mood regulation. CBD is not psychoactive, so optimal doses vary by individual. Start with 10-20mg CBD then increase as desired.

Now that you know how tinctures work, let’s go over the pros and cons of using them.

Pros and Cons of Cannabis Tinctures

Tinctures offer many advantages but also have some limitations to consider:

Pros of Tinctures

  • Easy to dose: Droppers allow precise small doses and easy titration.
  • Fast onset: Effects kick in within 15-30 minutes when taken sublingually.
  • Inconspicuous: Little aroma makes tinctures discreet.
  • Versatile uses: Add tinctures to foods/drinks or take them on their own.
  • Shelf-stable: Properly stored tinctures last up to 3 years.
  • Smoke-free: Tinctures are a healthier alternative to smoking.

Cons of Tinctures

  • Effects vary: Onset, duration, and intensity can vary compared to smoking.
  • Dose timing: Effects come on gradually, making redosing challenging.
  • Not calorie/carb-free: Alcohol-based tinctures contain calories. Glycerin versions have carbs.
  • Doesn’t kick in instantly: It takes 15-30 minutes to feel effects unlike smoking.
  • Price: High-quality, lab-tested tinctures can get expensive.

Overall, tinctures provide a customizable experience with the benefits of cannabis in a smoke-free, discreet form. Just be aware it takes some trial and error to find your optimal dose. Up next, tips for taking tinctures properly.

How To Take Cannabis Tinctures

Taking tinctures properly ensures you experience optimal effects. Follow these steps:

1. Shake Well Before Use

Be sure to shake the bottle vigorously for 30 seconds before each use. This evenly distributes the cannabinoids.

2. Fill Dropper With Desired Dose

Remove the dropper and squeeze the bulb to draw up your starting dose. For first time use:

  • THC tincture: Start with 2.5-5mg
  • CBD tincture: Start with 10-20mg

3. Place Drops Under Tongue

Open your mouth and squeeze the dropper bulb to release the dose under your tongue.

4. Hold for 60 Seconds Before Swallowing

Keep the tincture pooled under your tongue for 1 minute before swallowing. This gives the cannabinoids time to absorb sublingually.

5. Wait At Least 2 Hours Between Doses

It takes time for your body to process the cannabinoids and feel the full effects before redosing. Wait a minimum of 2 hours.

Follow these simple steps each time you medicate with a cannabis tincture for best results. Up next, let’s go over how to make tinctures at home.

How To Make DIY Cannabis Tinctures

Want to make your own custom cannabis tinctures? Follow this simple process:


  • Cannabis: Dried flower/trim or concentrate like wax, rosin, etc.
  • Solvent: High-proof alcohol like everclear or food-grade glycerin.
  • Dropper bottles: Amber glass tincture bottles with droppers.


  1. Decarboxylate: Heat dried cannabis to activate THC. Oven at 240°F for 40 mins.
  2. Prepare solvent: Use a 1:1 ratio of cannabis to solvent. Example: 7 grams of cannabis for 7 ounces of liquid.
  3. Infuse: Combine cannabis and solvent in a mason jar. Shake periodically and infuse for 2-4 weeks.
  4. Strain: Pour liquid through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove plant material.
  5. Bottle: Transfer filtered liquid into tincture bottles.
  6. Store: Keep bottles in a cool, dark place for up to 3 years.

Be sure to label your DIY tinctures with cannabinoid content and date created. Start low and slow with dosing. Now let’s look at the different types of cannabis tinctures.

Types of Cannabis Tinctures

There are several major categories of cannabis tinctures as outlined below:

Full Spectrum

Full spectrum tinctures contain all the naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in the cannabis plant. This includes THC, CBD, CBG, and many other active compounds.

Benefits: Entourage effect from all compounds working synergistically. Provides well-rounded therapeutic effects.

Broad Spectrum

Broad spectrum maintains many cannabinoids and terpenes but goes through extra processing to remove THC.

Benefits: Provides many therapeutic benefits without the high feeling from THC.


Isolate tinctures are formulated with single isolated cannabinoids like pure THC, CBD, CBN, etc.

Benefits: Allows you to tailor effects based on the desired cannabinoid.

1:1 Ratio

1:1 ratio tinctures contain an equal amount of THC and CBD, typically 5-15mg each per dose.

Benefits: Balance between CBD benefits and THC high. Well-suited for recreational and medical users.

Experiment with different ratio formulations to discover what works best for your needs. Up next, tips for choosing quality tinctures.

How To Choose Quality Cannabis Tinctures

With so many tincture options on the market, it can get overwhelming. Use these criteria to select high-quality, effective tinctures:

  • Lab tested: Reputable brands test for potency, purity, solvents, pesticides, and microbiological contaminants.
  • Clean ingredients: Quality tinctures only contain cannabinoids, a proven solvent like alcohol/glycerin, and carrier oils if any. Avoid additives.
  • Good manufacturing practices: Seek brands following industry best practices and compliance standards.
  • Proper packaging: Tinctures should come in light-resistant amber glass bottles with child-proof dropper caps.
  • No unrealistic health claims: Beware products making unfounded medical claims. Cannabis is not a proven cure-all.
  • Positive reviews: Check third-party websites for genuine user reviews on the brand and product line.
  • Transparent company: Legitimate companies post lab reports and have engaged customer service.

Prioritizing these standards ensures you get pure, potent tinctures from reputable sources. Now let’s look at specific factors that affect your tincture experience.

Factors That Impact Effects of Tinctures

Several key factors influence the experience and effects you’ll have using cannabis tinctures:


Proper dosing is essential to achieve your desired effects from any cannabis product including tinctures. If you don’t take enough, you may not feel anything at all. Take too much, and you may have an intensely uncomfortable experience. Start low and work your way up to find your optimal dose.


Your individual tolerance based on past cannabis use affects how intensely you’ll feel a given tincture dose. Frequent users need higher doses than new users. Consider your tolerance when dosing.

Experience Level

Are you totally new to cannabis, or have you been using it for years? Your personal experience level with marijuana can impact the effects you feel from tinctures. Novice users should exercise additional caution.


How quickly you metabolize and process cannabinoids once they enter your system plays a big role in the onset and duration you’ll experience. Individual metabolism varies.


The specific cannabinoid contents and potency of your tincture impacts the effects and duration. Full-spectrum tinctures feel different than CBD isolate versions, for example.

Consider all these factors to dial in the ideal tincture selection and dose for your needs. Up next are some popular uses of cannabis tinctures.

Cannabis tinctures can be used to treat many conditions or simply enhance your wellness. Here are some of the top uses:

Pain Relief

Both THC and CBD may help reduce pain signals to the brain and decrease inflammation. Tinctures offer lasting relief for several hours.

Reduce Anxiety

THC induces relaxation while CBD counteracts anxiety. Tinctures provide calming effects without sedation or impairment.

Mood Booster

The cannabis compounds CBG, CBD, and pinene terpene have been shown to act as natural anti-depressants and mood enhancers.

Sleep Aid

Formulations with relaxing ingredients like terpinolene and myrcene terpenes, along with sedating cannabinoids like CBN can promote better sleep.


THC, CBD, ginger flavonoids, and limonene terpenes have anti-emetic properties to curb nausea and increase appetite.

Wellness Supplement

Many people use CBD tinctures daily as a wellness supplement for the natural benefits without getting high.

Talk to your doctor before using cannabis tinctures to treat symptoms or medical conditions. Next up are tips for storing your tinctures properly.

Proper Storage of Cannabis Tinctures

To maintain freshness and potency, be sure to store your tinctures correctly:

  • Keep tinctures in the original packaging away from direct light which degrades cannabinoids. Tinted bottles help block light.
  • Store in a cool, dry place between 50-70°F. Avoid extreme cold or heat. Refrigeration can cause condensation issues.
  • Position bottles upright to prevent leaking. Don’t store on the side.
  • Check labels for expiration dates and don’t use tinctures past the recommended shelf life.
  • Keep away from children and pets by storing high up or locked away.

Properly stored in a dark, room temperature environment, cannabis tinctures can retain potency for up to 3 years. Refrigeration is not required. Next up are some frequently asked questions about cannabis tinctures.

FAQs About Cannabis Tinctures

What’s the difference between tinctures, oils, and extracts?

Tinctures use a solvent like alcohol or glycerin to extract and suspend cannabis compounds into a fast-absorbing liquid. Oils and extracts involve more intensive processing of the raw cannabis plant.

How long do tincture effects last?

On average, you can expect tincture effects to last 4-6 hours. However, onset time and duration vary based on dose, tolerance, and personal metabolism.

Can you take too much cannabis tincture?

Yes, it’s possible to take too large of a tincture dose leading to unpleasant side effects like impairment, rapid heart rate, anxiety, and paranoia in extreme overdoses. Dose carefully and start low.

Do THC tinctures get you high?

Yes, THC tinctures produce intoxicating effects like euphoria, sensory enhancement, energy, and overall “high” feeling. CBD tinctures do not cause impairment.

Can tinctures go bad or expire?

The cannabinoids and ingredients in tinctures gradually degrade over time. Store properly and use within 1-3 years of the packaging date for best quality.

Is glycerin or alcohol better for making tinctures?

Alcohol like everclear creates a faster-acting tincture. Glycerin has a worse taste but is better for children or avoiding alcohol. Both work well.

The legality of cannabis tinctures depends on your state laws. In states where recreational/medical marijuana is legal, tinctures are permitted within possession limits.

Can you fly with cannabis tinctures?

No, it remains federally illegal to transport cannabis products across state lines or onto flights. Tinctures should be purchased and used within legal states only.

User Experiences with Cannabis Tinctures

Here are some testimonials from real cannabis users about their experiences using tinctures:

“I tried CBD tinctures to help manage my anxiety and stress levels. It really helps take the edge off without feeling impaired at all.” – Sara M.

“THC tinctures give me nice, mellow pain relief from my arthritis without needing to smoke. I barely taste them mixed into a cup of tea or juice too.” – James T.

“As a busy mom, discreet tinctures help keep my energy and mood up. The effects kick in quickly when I take a dose in the carpool lane!” – Amanda P.

“For fast relief when my back pain flares up, I use a high CBD formula tincture sublingually. It works much faster than waiting for a pill.” – Daniel K.

“The 1:1 THC/CBD ratio tinctures offer a great balance of pain relief and relaxation without being overpowering for novices.” – Steven R.

As you can see, cannabis consumers widely report excellent experiences and results using quality tinctures. From discretion to fast relief and mood enhancement, the benefits are numerous.

The Bottom Line on Cannabis Tinctures

Tinctures are one of the most versatile and customizable ways to consume cannabis. Whether you want targeted relief, mood enhancement, or just an easy, discreet experience, quality cannabis tinctures deliver. They offer:

  • Fast absorption when used sublingually
  • Precise dosing with a controlled dropper
  • Custom cannabinoid ratios to match your needs
  • An inconspicuous consumption method without smoking
  • Long-lasting effects when dosed properly

High quality, lab-tested tinctures from reputable producers provide exceptional experiences. With the right education on dosage, storage, and determining your individual needs, cannabis tinctures can be a go-to option for both new and experienced users alike.