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Tinctures are extractions made by soaking leaves, bark, berries, roots, or flowers in alcohol. The alcohol acts as a solvent that dissolves the active ingredients in the plant material, creating a concentrated liquid solution.
To make a cannabis tincture, we soak decarboxylated cannabis flowers in high-proof grain alcohol such as Everclear. The result is a highly potent, activated extract which can be taken by mouth, cooked with, or reduced into a more concentrated product such as FECO.
There are several ways to make a cannabis tincture. Two of the most popular are called the Green Dragon and the Golden Dragon. I have no idea who named these things, but I dig it. Which you use is a matter of personal preference, and there are pros and cons to each. Here are the highlights of both methods.
|Green Dragon||Golden Dragon (QWET or Quick Wash)|
|Method||Soak bud overnight (or longer) in alcohol, strain||Freeze alcohol and bud overnight, then process (details below) and strain|
|Pros||Whole-plant extraction, more complete medicine, more potent||Better taste, pretty golden color, still very potent|
|Cons||Strong weed taste||Lower potency, not as many cannabinoids extracted|
Yes! If you want the effect, you should decarb first. See our decarboxylation guide to learn how to activate your cannabis.
You’re looking for high-proof food-grade grain (ethyl) alcohol such as Everclear 190. Everclear is not the only brand of 190+ proof alcohol. As low as 151 proof will work, but it is not as powerful a solvent, so your results may vary. Many states don’t sell 190 proof, which is unfortunate, but you may be able to find it online or in a nearby state. DO NOT use isopropyl or denatured alcohol for tincture. These are not safe for human consumption.
Straining the plant material from your tincture helps create a more refined, longer-lasting, better-tasting product. You’ll want to use something food-safe like unbleached coffee filters and a funnel, a fine-mesh strainer, cheesecloth, a 25-micron bubble bag, or my personal favorite: a french press. I like the french press best because I can pour the cannabis and alcohol into the press and use it to press the material to squeeze out all my alcohol without a mess or absorption from fabric or paper.
Store your tincture in an air-tight container at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer.