Tinctures can be an effective, powerful way of absorbing THC, depending on your rate of metabolism. The use of sublingual absorption will be quicker than digestion and enable you to get a quicker, steady higher rather than eating an edible.
What Are Tinctures?
Tinctures are liquid, highly concentrated herbal extracts known to create a potent physical high and are made by soaking herbs in alcohol, vegetable glycerin or oil. They have a long shelf life, making them a convenient option for cannabis consumption, particularly for people who want to enjoy marijuana but aren’t interested in smoking.
Tinctures are one of the oldest methods of consuming marijuana. In fact, before prohibition began in 1937, tinctures were the most common type of cannabis medicine in the United States.
While less common today, cannabis tinctures are still popular among medical marijuana patients, especially those who need to take regular doses of marijuana throughout their day.
Like any other herbal tincture, a cannabis tincture is simply a concentrated liquid, heavy in THC. Marijuana tinctures are sometimes called “green dragon” because of the deep green color that develops as the plant’s chlorophyll infuses with alcohol.
How Do Tinctures Work?
Cannabis tinctures are made by soaking cannabis flowers in alcohol and letting the cannabis and alcohol infuse. Leaf trim, hash and kief can also be used instead of flower.
Alcohol is used to extract the terpenes and cannabinoids from the cannabis, leaving behind a liquid that contains a high concentration of active compounds. Alcohol also preserves the compounds, which is important since it takes longer to consume tinctures as opposed to smoking.
Cannabis tinctures are usually stored in a dark dropper bottle, which helps preserve the tincture for longer by blocking out sunlight.
One of the benefits of using tinctures is that the alcohol allows your body to absorb the medicine faster.
Most tinctures are taken by placing a few drops under the tongue, also known as sublingual administration. When you take a tincture sublingually, the cannabinoids are absorbed by the blood vessels lining the mouth, resulting in a relatively quick onset of effects.
Tinctures can be ingested orally by swallowing or mixing it with food. If you consume a tincture orally, the cannabinoids must be absorbed by the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and take much longer to enter the bloodstream, like an edible.
Depending on whether the cannabis is decarboxylated first, tinctures may contain THC in its active form or non-active form (THCA).
Medical Uses of Cannabis Tinctures
While the medical uses of THC are still being researched, there is evidence that it can be helpful in treating a wide range of conditions and disorders, including nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, pain, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, sleep apnea, glaucoma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many others.
However, if you purchase cannabis that is not decarboxylate, you will only receive the benefits of THCA, which are far more limited. According to some studies, THCA may be useful for treating nausea, pain, neurodegeneration and inflammation.
The effect of the tincture also depends on which strain is used to make it. For example, a sativa dominant strain will give you more of an energetic and uplifting head high. It can be used to stimulate appetite and combat pain.
On the other hand, an indica-dominant strain will give you more of a body high and can aid in sleep. It can also reduce nausea, depression and pain. Tinctures made with a hybrid strain will share some qualities of both indica and sativa.
The main benefit of cannabis tinctures is that you don’t need to smoke your medicine. People who smoke marijuana may develop a cough, increased phlegm production, and other respiratory problems.
Tinctures allow the user to obtain the same medical benefits while avoiding the respiratory issues associated with burning the plant.
Tinctures Are Better Than Edibles
Tinctures also have some advantages over edibles. Firstly, tinctures contain fewer calories than marijuana-infused baked goods.
A common concern with edibles is that someone may accidentally eat the food without knowing it’s infused and get high. On the other hand, tinctures are easier to store because they are often kept in glass dropper bottles and look like medicine at first glance, so accidental consumption is unlikely.
Tinctures can also be kept for longer without spoiling. Unlike edibles, if tinctures are kept in a dark and cool cupboard or fridge, they should last for years.
Tinctures Are More Discreet
Tinctures can be a good option for patients who need to be discreet about their medication. Unlike smoking or vaporizing, which can emit a scent and draw unwanted attention in public, consuming a tincture is quick and odorless.
This means that tinctures can be taken in the same settings as any typical over-the-counter medication: at the office, in public places or anywhere else marijuana wouldn’t be considered socially acceptable.
If taken sublingually, tinctures can be felt as quickly as 15 minutes after dosing. To take a tincture sublingually, drop the desired dosage under your tongue and hold it for 30 seconds before swallowing. This method will produce quicker and stronger effects because the medicine is absorbed into the bloodstream through the inner linings of the mouth. You also can take cannabis tinctures orally by adding a few drops to a beverage such as soda, juice or a mocktail.
The effects of tinctures do, however, last for a shorter period of time compared to edibles. Tincture highs usually peak about 90 minutes after consumption and can last 4 to 8 hours, depending on the dosage.
Because the effects can be felt so quickly, dosing a tincture is easier than dosing an edible. A patient can consume a small amount, wait for the effects and take more if necessary.
As with any form of cannabis, you should start with a small dose to gauge your tolerance and to avoid the unwanted effects of over-consuming. If you’re taking a cannabis tincture for the first time, start off with about 1 milliliters and adjust as necessary.
When you take a tincture orally rather than sublingually, it must be absorbed through the digestive system, so it will take longer to feel the effects. Tinctures that are taken orally have a similar effect as edibles and can take up to an hour to start working.
Cannabis tinctures may be added to a variety of foods such as puddings, ice creams, dressings and sauces.
What Are the Effects?
The effects of a marijuana tincture are the same as smoked marijuana: euphoria, confusion, slowed thinking and reaction time, impaired balance and coordination.
The high from tincture is controlled by the strain of marijuana used in the production and the quality of extraction during the process. The use of tincture is for more of a controlled high for medical purposes rather than a rip from a joint. The result is a high that allows you to function.
Delta 8 THC is a mildly intoxicating cannabinoid. In tinctures, this cannabinoid can create a balanced effect with other cannabinoids or offer a lower intensity experience when taken alone. Delta 8 THC has been shown to aid in the treatment of pain, inflammation, anxiety, nausea and appetite loss.