In my ripe old age of twenty-eight, I’m starting to become less of a stoner. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a fresh bowl or a hit from a vape pen here and there, but I’m starting to notice that I get more out of other cannabis products. More recently, I’ve discovered there are a few great alternatives to smoking that have several less downsides.
I’ve been smoking weed for almost a decade, and while it’s offered me incredible relief and helps me in so many ways, my relationship with it has changed over time. In my early twenties, I used to start the day with a few bong hits, as if they were a cup of coffee.
Now, I don’t find myself wanting to feel an intense buzz or high the same way (or as often as) I did when I was younger. Now, my main focus is on mitigating my chronic physical pain, anxiety, and depression. If you suffer from any of the above, like so many people do, you should seriously consider alternatives to smoking cannabis. Sometimes, I’ve found that smoking can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms. It’s important to pay attention to your body and take the time to find what methods work best for your current circumstances and lifestyle.
Are you interested in finding relief without having to take away any time from your day on the ritual of smoking bud? Do you feel unsure about edibles or dislike the smell of weed? Are oil based products like concentrate pens too intense of a high for you? If you answered yes to any of the above, or simply want to try something new, you should consider using a cannabis tincture as an alternative to inhaling your THC. Tinctures are one of the most underrated and underutilized of all cannabis products; compared to raw flowers, edibles and dabs they work just as well.
Cannabis-infused tinctures have been a common form of marijuana medication throughout history. They were, in fact, the United State’s most frequently physician-recommended type of cannabis product until the use of marijuana for medical purposes was federally prohibited in 1937 (www.bit.ly.com/tinctureorigins)
Now, they seem to carry less stigma than smoking because it is discrete; it doesn’t come with the smell and doesn’t require you to find a special place to do it. You’re also much less likely to accidentally get too high on a cannabis tincture than you are with a marijuana edibles. What’s more, tinctures are safer to ingest than an oil concentrate because they are not made with any chemical additives. Tinctures serve as a great entry point for both recreational and medical users who are looking to ease into a clean, smokeless consumption method.
So now you’re probably wondering how you get your hands on some, right?
LOCAL'd is in the process of working with distributors to bring some different sublingual options to their customers, but in the meantime I have a tried and true DIY recipe to share with you!
Keep reading for a quick Tincture Q and A, and find an easy recipe to make your own cannabis tincture at the bottom of this article.
Q: So what makes up a THC tincture?
A: Alcohol is the most common solvent because it is effective at breaking down both acidic and basic components of the plant matter. In the case of a cannabis tincture, that means that more of the good-for-your cannabinoids will wind up in your little dropper bottle. Other solvents like vinegar and glycerin (a.k.a. glycerol) can be used to create a tincture for internal consumption, but they are not as effective at extracting all the chemicals from the original plant matter.
The process of making a tincture is very much like dissolving sugar in water or making Kool-Aid; The solids break down in the water in a chemical process which results into a super delish concoction. The same thing happens when making a tincture—only the ingredients aren’t water and sugar.
The alcohol dissolves the plant matter and all the chemicals it contains (trichomes, cannabinoids, oils, terpenes, and others). Those chemical compounds are then suspended in the alcohol solution (much like the Kool-Aid mix in water) that can then be ingested or administered under the tongue.
Q: What is the rule of thumb for dosing tinctures?
A: Tincture dosages are easily measured with a dropper, but this method does require the user to self-titrate. This means you’ll adjust the dosage of your own dose as needed. Gradually increase the amount until your individual optimal dosage is reached. A good rule of thumb is to start with 2-4 drops of your finished tincture and put it under your tongue. If you’re happy with the effects, you’re done. Otherwise, increase or decrease by a few more drops until you’re happy with the results. Make sure to ramp up slowly while testing your desired dosage so you can avoid getting uncomfortably high.
It’s also important to remember that you are also consuming alcohol—albeit a tiny amount—when you administer a tincture. In addition to that alcohol, your tincture will likely contain about 60% THC. That’s a lot! The combination of the alcohol and the THC can pack a hefty punch so start slow with your tincture titration.
Err on the side of caution if you’re new to cannabis consumption. After you administer your drops, wait at least an hour and a half before consuming more. This gives the chemicals in the tincture time to spread throughout your body and gives your body time to fully process the cannabinoids. After an hour and half, you should know for sure how the amount of tincture you took will impact your body and mind.
Q: How do I take my tincture?
A: I recommend taking tinctures sublingually. Just place the drops under your tongue, holding there for 5-10 seconds before swallowing and washing down with water. When done this way, the THC absorbs into your blood system faster than if you ingested it by diluting it in water. This is because it doesn’t have to be absorbed by your liver first.
Alternatively, you can drop it into any liquid and drink it. Just be aware that consuming in the latter way will take longer to onset.
Q: What is the high like?
A: You can expect to feel the effects within 15-45 minutes when taken sublingually, and you’ll reach your peak high at about 90 minutes. If you simply add the dose into whatever beverage you’re enjoying, you can expect a slower onset that more closely resembles traditional edibles.
Q: What is the best way to store my tincture?
A: According to The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook, tinctures will last for many years when stored in a cool, dark location. When combined with proper self-titration, the long shelf life means you can make larger quantities of tinctures at once and have a convenient, accurate way to ingest cannabis.
The Long Steep Technique is just one of the many ways you can make a potent tincture easily. This is my preferred method for making strong tinctures.
Step 1: Fill a quart mason jar with one ounce of decarboxylated LOCAL’d cannabis (go to www.bit.ly.com/weedandbakeblog to learn how to decarboxylate your weed and why you should)
Step 2: Add your choice of alcohol. Moonshine, Vodka, Brandy. Use Vegetable Glycerine if you don’t like alcohol for whatever reason.
Step 3: Fill the jar leaving about one inch of space.
Step 4: Cover tightly with a lid and place in a dark cupboard or in a paper bag on a shelf.
Step 5: shake the mixture every couple of days, and continue to do so anywhere from 2 weeks to one year (you could probably go longer but this is the longest I’ve ever personally steeper a tincture).
Remember: Test periodically to determine if the tincture is at your desired strength.
Step 6: When you’re ready to use, strain out the plant material and pour into dropper bottle that is made of a dark glass; this will keep it from getting exposed to heat and light which will keep the potency in tact as it sits over time. You can find these type of bottles here Amazon (www.bit.ly/Amazonamberbottles)
Have more questions?
Send us a direct message on our live chat and/or call our the LOCAL’d support team and they will do their best to get them answered for you!
DISCLAIMER: This is not intended as medical advice. I am not a medical professional or scientist. I’m also not a lawyer and can’t defend you if you get busted trying to make this recipe in a state where possession or cultivation of cannabis are still a criminal act. I don’t agree with cannabis prohibition laws, but also don’t want anyone to get in trouble. Jail would suck big time.
Instead, I strongly encourage that you work to change the law on a state and federal level by supporting and being active in grassroots organizations that are trying to legalize cannabis in your area (they’re everywhere). This recipe is only intended for LOCAL’d customers who live where medical and recreational use of cannabis is legal, who are 21 and older, of sound mind, and who understand that operating heavy machinery (cars, trucks, planes, ect) under the influence of any intoxicant, including marijuana is dangerous and stupid. Instead, support public transit or a use a ride sharing service like Lyft, and enjoy your buzz even more by knowing you’re being responsible.