Introduction: How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture
A glycerin tincture is a cost effective and safe way to medicate with cannabis. It's alcohol free, which is great for those who are sensitive to it. It's also entirely customizable, just like cannabis coconut oil. You can choose to use only sativa strains for daytime medication, high CBD strains for mood improvement, or indica strains for help with sleeping or pain relief.
The dosing for tinctures is a little more all over the place because chances are you'll be mixing several different strains and cuts of cannabis to make it or not be entirely sure of the THC content of everything going in. It'll take a bit of experimenting to figure out the best dose for you and your tolerance.
This tincture will take at least 60 days to finish but it takes very little effort during that time.
We found out about these tinctures originally from Subcool and MzJill - if you'd like to learn more about them, please click through and read the whole High Times article. There's a lot of argument about this method in the comments, but I think it's great.
Step 1: Tools + Ingredients
- food-safe vegetable glycerin
- decarboxylated sugar trim, kief, buds - even hash!
- quart size mason jar
- canning strainer stand + bag
- glass bottles to store the tincture (something with a dropper will make it easy!)
In this tincture, we used homegrown Cheesequake. We chose to grow Cheesequake because it's a very good indica - not a super hard hitter, but very relaxing and it has a good effect on my mood. We used hash (3-4 grams), bud and some trim.
Sadly we weren't thinking about posting instructables when we started this tincture so we don't have photos of the dried material that went in. Instead, here's a nice photo of some vegetable glycerin and some beautiful Doctor Who buds.
Step 2: Prep Work
It's always a good idea to decarboxylate beforehand, so click here to learn about that. Decarbing will keep you safe and make your tincture more potent.
Subcool ground his cannabis quite fine his tincture and we did not (just a chunky grind), but go with whatever you think is best.
You'll also want to sanitize a large glass jar (we have a quart size mason jar for this) and any measuring or funneling equipment.
Because this tincture will be taken orally it's very important to be careful about sanitation! You never want to make yourself or someone else sick.
Step 3: Combine and Let Sit
Fill the jar at least 3/4 off the way to the top with your decarboxylated cannabis. Don't pack it in, just let it settle naturally.
Once it's in, pour vegetable glycerin over the top until the cannabis is entirely covered.
Step 4: What to Do During the 60 Day Waiting Period
While you don't need to do much, it's a good idea to at least rotate the jar once a day if you remember.
We flipped the jar every now and then so it was constantly going between sitting upright or lid down.
(Full disclosure: we kinda forgot about our tincture. It was hiding in the closet. We took it more than 60 days. I don't even know how long it went!)
Step 5: Bonus Decarbing
Before you strain your tincture you can do one last thing: decarboxylate.
Subcool suggested doing it this way:
Put the whole mason jar, lid and all, into the oven and set it to 170 F. Once the oven is preheated, set a timer for 45 minutes and let the tincture warm up. (I personally think the temp here is too long and the time is too short - but since it's already decarbed I'm not too worried.)
Once it's up, turn off the oven and let the jar hang out until it's cool to the touch. (I don't recommend taking it out of the oven until it's cool - setting it on too-cool a surface could cause the glass to crack.)
If you're worried about your jar breaking, I'd say it might be best to pour the tincture into a small crock pot or pan on low heat and heat it that way.
Step 6: Straining
Using a canning strainer stand and bag is one of the simplest ways to do this. Just set up your stand and attach the straining bag firmly with a couple knots - it will be weighted down by the tincture and you don't want it to fall into the bowl below.
Pour the entire contents of the jar into the strainer bag and let it sit overnight if you can. It will take a long time to drip through!
Either wrap around the bottom vessel with plastic wrap to keep it free from debris or place it in a clean, cool place where it won't get knocked over.
Step 7: Storage + Use
Vegetable glycerin has a shelf life of 14-24 months, so I expect to store this for at least a year easily! We ended up with about 12 oz of tincture. We're keeping it in the fridge.
To use, simply take a bit orally. You can take it straight OR add it to tea, coffee, or whatever else you're drinking. The vegetable glycerin gives it a crazy sweet taste, so it works well in drinks and smoothies. :)
I take my tinctures straight and so does my mom - she uses a tincture daily to help with pain from a hip replacement, and I use mine for anxiety for the most part.
Remember to try it out the first time when you don't have anywhere to be for a while! I started with about half a dropper and worked my way up to 1-2 droppers. I've seen other folks reporting they take up to 2 tablespoons a day!
The strength of your tincture will really all depend on what you put in, so remember to keep playing around with your dose until you find one that works for you. :)