soaking weed in alcohol

How to Make a Marijuana Tincture

Extracting THC and Cannabinoids With Alcohol

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  • Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College
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Making a marijuana tincture is an easy way to extract THC and cannabinoids from Cannabis. A tincture is an alcohol-based solution, used to extract organics from herbs and other plants. Tinctures are useful because they isolate certain compounds better than soaking or boiling herbs in water, the alcohol acts as a natural preservative, and medicinal tinctures often take effect more quickly than other administration routes, like eating, drinking, or smoking.

Marijuana Tincture Materials

A typical ratio of plant matter to alcohol would be 1 gram to 1 fluid ounce (35 ml) of alcohol. Up to 6 grams of Cannabis can be used, depending on your resources and how concentrated you want the end product to be. Do not use any other type of alcohol besides ethyl alcohol or ethanol (e.g., isopropyl alcohol or methyl alcohol), as these chemicals are toxic.

  • Cannabis sativa bud, fresh or dried
  • High-proof ethanol
  • Flavoring (optional)
  • Small glass jar with lid
  • Brown or blue glass dropper bottle

Everclear is a popular source of ethanol because it is so high in alcohol. 151 rum also works. Be sure to use food-quality ethanol, not denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol contains contaminants that make it unsafe to drink. Lower concentrations of alcohol will not be as effective for the extraction or preservation.

Basic Steps To Prepare a Cannabis Tincture

  1. Place the marijuana in the bottle.
  2. Pour alcohol into the bottle, making certain to cover the plant matter.
  3. Seal the bottle. Place it in a warm location, out of direct sunlight.
  4. Give the alcohol mixture at least a day, but preferably longer than a week to soak. You can shake the bottle from time to time to ensure a good extraction of the THC and other cannabinoids.
  5. Filter the liquid through a coffee filter to remove the solids and reserve the liquid in a dark-colored glass dropper bottle. Avoid using plastic, as the liquid may leach some undesirable compounds from the plastic into the tincture over time. Flavoring may be added to improve the taste of the tincture, if desired.
  6. A typical dose would be 3-5 drops, depending on how strong you made the tincture. Start with the minimum amount and see what works best for you.

Fast Marijuana Tincture Recipe

While the classic tincture instructions are fine, you can prepare a tincture much more quickly if you’re willing to put in slightly more preparation time. Also, this method uses less source material (although the tincture is also less potent). This recipe produces an effective tincture in as little as an hour. The disadvantage of the method is that it uses heat, which can damage some of the many cannabinoids in Cannabis if you get carried away. Don’t exceed the recommended temperature.

  1. Dry about 4-5 grams of a Cannabis sativa bud.
  2. Grind the material to increase surface area (speeds extraction).
  3. Bake the marijuana is a 240 F over (set for just under 250 F) for 30 minutes. This decarboxylates the matter, improving the extraction of desirable compounds while helping to eliminate unwanted chemicals. Both heat and alcohol can convert the THCA molecules in the plant matter into active THC.
  4. Place the marijuana in 2 ounces of alcohol. Make sure it is covered and seal the container to prevent gas exchange with air.
  5. Place the container in a cool, dark location. The longer you allow for the alcohol to extract the cannabinoids, the more potent your tincture will be. You can watch the extraction progress as the color of the liquid changes from clear to green. Once the color is stable (up to 2 or 3 hours), filter the liquid using a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Of course, you can consider the tincture “done” sooner, but you may lose potency.
  6. Store the tincture in a dark glass dropper bottle. While the alcohol preserves a tincture at room temperature, it’s fine to refrigerate it to further reduce the chance of mold or fungal growth.

How to Use a Marijuana Tincture

The ideal way to use this tincture is to apply drops sublingually (under your tongue). Use a few drops and then wait to determine the effect. Cannabinoids are quickly absorbed across the mucosa of the mouth into the bloodstream for distribution to the brain and other parts of the body. If the desired effect is not achieved after the initial dose, a few more drops may be applied.

Learn how to prepare a marijuana tincture. All you need for this easy recipe is alcohol and a Cannabis sativa bud.

More about Tinctures

What Is a Tincture?

Tinctures are basically alcohol infused with some sort of medication — in this case, cannabis . They’re a simple, smokeless way to dose, and very popular because they are easy to make, store, transport, and use. In addition to the cannabis plant, a tincture may also be made from herbs. Dandelion is one popular herb that may be an ingredient in tinctures.

How are Tinctures used ?

Tincture drops are often administered sublingually, or under the tongue. They can also be mixed into foods and drinks, such as smoothies, salad dressings, and soups. Some people use tinctures because, unlike edibles such as cookies or brownies, they have very few calories.

Consuming a tincture sublingually is the most straightforward method and allows users to feel the full effects quicker because the medication is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Finding the right dose is relatively simple, but it requires trial and error and a bit of patience. Most, if not all, tinctures come with a dropper that allows consumers to measure how much they consume. Because all consumers are different, its best to start with a 1mL dose. Place the drop under your tongue, hold for 30 seconds, then swallow. Cannabis tinctures are fast-acting and will deliver the desired effects quickly.

When mixing into foods, the onset effects will take longer than consuming sublingually because the medication is absorbed through the digestive process. The onset time is similar to medicating with an edible.

The history of Tinctures

The first official account of cannabis tinctures being used in Western medicine was in an 1843 medical journal . The piece included a recipe, so it didn’t take long for apothecaries and patent medicine producers to begin making and selling tinctures.

A few years later, in 1851, tinctures first appeared in the United States Pharmacopeia — an almanac with a list of medicinal drugs, their effects, and usage instructions — under the name Extractum Cannabis Purificatum, or “purified extract of Indian hemp.”

Tinctures were such accepted medicine that in the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria’s personal physician prescribed a cannabis tincture to help relieve her menstrual cramps. The physician wrote, “When pure and administered carefully, [cannabis] is one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”

In the U.S., the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 taxed the possession and transfer of cannabis so outrageously that it was basically outlawed, and cannabis was removed from the US Pharmacopeia four years later.

How to Make Cannabis Tinctures

Making tinctures isn’t difficult, but it can take weeks — so if you’re going the homemade route, you can’t be in a hurry. Here’s a basic cannabis tincture recipe with detailed instructions and tincture dosage.

The ingredients are dried, ground flower or extract and high-proof ethyl alcohol to use as a solvent. The higher the proof, or double the percentage of alcohol by volume, the more cannabinoids will be absorbed. Add a few other household supplies (including a mason jar, some coffee filters, and a measuring cup) and you’re off and running.

Note: In order to feel the euphoric, intoxicating effects of cannabis in the tincture, the cannabis flower must be decarboxylated by heat to break down tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) before it’s mixed with alcohol.

Mix the cannabis and alcohol in the jar, then seal it and put it in a freezer. It can soak anywhere from a week to six months, but the jar will need to be shaken for one minute each day to keep the cannabinoids evenly distributed.

To complete the process, filter out the cannabis plant matter from the remaining tincture liquid using the coffee filter. The tincture will be usable for years if kept in a cool, dry place out of sunlight or direct light.

How to Make CBD Tinctures

Here is an easy CBD tincture recipe:


⅛ ounce cannabis that contains high levels of CBD , such as Sour Tsunami or Ringo’s Gift

2 ounces 190 proof grain alcohol

Mason jar and lid


Combine cannabis and alcohol in mason jar

Cover the jar and leave it for 3 weeks, shaking at daily intervals

After 3 weeks, use the coffee filter to remove the cannabis from the liquid

Medication made by dissolving cannabis in alcohol. Tinctures contain a range of cannabinoids and are administered orally, sublingually, or in tandem with a beverage ]]>