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WTF is a Tincture?
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.
Two Common Cannabis Tinctures: Green Dragon and Golden Dragon
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.
Golden Dragon (QWET or Quick Wash)
Soak bud overnight (or longer) in alcohol, strain
Freeze alcohol and bud overnight, then process (details below) and strain
Whole-plant extraction, more complete medicine, more potent
Better taste, pretty golden color, still very potent
Strong weed taste
Lower potency, not as many cannabinoids extracted
Do You Have to Decarb for Cannabis Tincture?
Yes! If you want the effect, you should decarb first. See our decarboxylation guide to learn how to activate your cannabis.
Which Alcohol Do I Use?
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.
Reduce it to FECO for capsules and syringes, and use it directly in edibles (a FECO guide is on my to-do list!)
Straining Cannabis Tincture
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.
Storing Cannabis Tincture
Store your tincture in an air-tight container at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer.
Green Dragon Cannabis Tincture
Learn to make a cannabis tincture like the green and golden dragon and use them to infuse anything from beverages to sugar and salt at home.
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