We’ve talked a lot about cannabis tinctures on our blog, so you’ve probably already whipped up your own potion if you’ve been following us. Maybe you even hit the jackpot on your first try, crafting the perfect solution that hit all the right spots. But chances are better that you liked your first homegrown cannabis tincture well enough while admitting it had room for improvement. Maybe the flavor was too bitter, maybe the carrier left something to be desired. Or maybe it was perfect for that moment but you just like a little variety in your life and now you want something different. You’re in luck because today we’re going to break down some of the ways you can switch up your cannabis tincture formula to create a tailor-designed potion that lands a direct hit.
Cannabis Oils vs. Green Dragon Tinctures
By its official definition, a tincture is alcohol-based. But whether because of health concerns or personal reasons, demand in the cannabis community has grown for tinctures that don’t use alcohol as an ingredient. These solutions are still incorrectly referred to as “tinctures” and the term just sort of stuck. Sometimes, to be extra clear, alcohol-based cannabis tinctures are referred to as “green dragon tinctures”. Alternative solvent choices include vinegar and glycerin. If you want a more traditional green dragon tincture, Everclear is the most popular choice, though most high proof grain alcohols work swimmingly. But even this ingredient can allow for deviation with some potion masters using highly potent absinthe as the base for their green dragon tinctures.
If alcohol is off the menu and you prefer to skip the solvents altogether, you can use oils as a carrier. Any high fat oils will work well as carriers. Because of their effectiveness, some of the most popular oils for tinctures include MCT oil, avocado oil and coconut oil.
Be a Tastemaker
If flavor isn’t a priority in your life, you’re living it wrong. Chances are that your first shot at making a cannabis tincture wasn’t the most delicious thing you ever tasted. Fortunately, the flavor in green dragon tinctures can be fine-tuned in a few different ways.
A common complaint with homemade tinctures is a persistent bitter flavor. A little stevia may be all you need to set that right. If that’s not quite scratching the itch, you may want to review your chosen method of infusion. Heat-based infusions are shown to release more tannins than cold infusion methods, often resulting in that unmistakable bitter taste. Cold infusions can prevent chlorophyll and other unintended flavors from polluting the tincture with that overwhelming bitterness.
You can also purchase natural terpene blends specifically designed to flavor tinctures, but you may want to do a little research before choosing a terpene on flavor alone. Research shows that terpenes have their own benefits and effects, so you’ll want to make sure those are in line with the experience you want.
If you’re using oil as a solvent substitute in your tincture, you’ll want to make sure that any flavorants you choose are oil-soluble. Otherwise, you’ll need to add emulsifiers and preservatives which adds a whole new level of complexity.
Where Do You Want Your Tincture to Take You?
Some of us want to create tinctures for the convenience of carrying easily-dosed euphoria in our pocket that can be enjoyed virtually anywhere. Others want calmness that reduces anxiety but provides clarity so they can handle their business. There are a few ways you can go about getting either one of these results. You just need to decide before you begin the tincture-making process whether you want a psychoactive cannabis tincture or not.
Psychoactive properties are released when you put your cannabis flower through the decarbing process. Decarboxylation uses heat to cause a chemical reaction that transform the cannabinoid THCa into psychoactive THC. This is why you could eat a handful of raw cannabis flower and feel no psychoactive effect. But when you expose that same flower to a certain threshold of heat, the THCa becomes THC and gives us that euphoric high. So, if this is your intention when making your cannabis tincture, it is absolutely integral that you decarb your flower.
But what if you just want health benefits or stress relief without the psychoactive elements? This depends on which cannabinoid’s benefits you’re seeking. With non-psychoactive tinctures, you’re probably looking for either THCa or CBD. For THCa, the process is simple: you just avoid decarbing your cannabis flower. But if you want the benefits of the CBD cannabinoid, you’ll still need to decarb your flower, because you’re actually starting out with a cannabinoid known as CBDa. Is anyone else experiencing déjà vu?
However, the decarbing process for changing CBDa to CBD is much more open to debate than the decarbing process for THC. And that’s saying something since both are so woefully under-researched for all the potential benefits they’ve already shown. The easiest way to effectively decarb for CBD is to use a decarboxylator like the Ardent Nova or larger Ardent FX. Both feature specific settings for decarbing CBD based on their own painstaking research.
Methods of Consumption
So, now that you have your green dragon tincture or your oil-based variety to your liking, there’s still yet another way you can switch up your tincture game. Like the many other forms of cannabis, tinctures can be enjoyed in a few different methods of consumption. Possibly the most obvious is oral consumption; mixing drops into your food or drinks. If you’ve perfected the flavor of your tincture, it can be particularly fun pairing the flavor profiles with your favorite foods or drinks to take the experience to another level. A lot of CBD tinctures can bring fast and powerful relief through topical application. Simply rubbing the tincture into the affected area has been shown to be highly effective. Finally, there’s sublingual application which is just a fancy way of saying taking the tincture drops under the tongue where they are easily absorbed into your bloodstream. Sublingual application brings quick relief without any wasted medicine, so it can be the preferred method of consumption for the medicinally minded.
Customizing your tinctures to meet your personal tastes should be a fun process, but it’s best to go into it expecting a bit of trial and error. If you’re stepping into unfamiliar territory, it pays to do a bit of research to find out what’s worked for other people in the past. Trust us, virtually anything you can think to do with cannabis tinctures has already been done by somebody else, so learn from their pain and mirror their pleasure!