Tinctures have been around for many years. These orally dosed agents can be made from a range of medicinal and botanical agents, including cannabis. While traditionally all tinctures were made using alcohol, today in the world of cannabis, the word “tincture” can imply one of two types of products: an alcohol tincture or an oil tincture. So, what’s the difference, and does the difference matter as far as potency, dosage, or effects? Let’s take a closer look.
First, why cannabis tinctures?
Cannabis tinctures offer an alternative way to reap the benefits of or simply enjoy the effects of cannabis. Instead of smoking flower, you can simply take the dose in a discreet way—no grinding, no rolling, and no ash, smoke, or smell. Tinctures also offer a more precise way of dosing cannabis, which can be useful for people who use cannabis for medical purposes or prefer to microdose. It can be difficult to measure a precise level of cannabinoids if you are smoking flower, even though you could potentially get a rough estimate when you know the potency of your strain.
Health Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures
Studies have shown that cannabis tinctures show a lot of promise for certain health benefits. Tinctures are the main type of cannabis product that include THCa, CBDa and CBGa. These are cannabinoid acids that have not yet been decarboxylated, a process where cannabis is heated to activate cannabinoids. Though the exact benefits have yet to be confirmed, it is notable that these are starting to be studied—including this recent COVID-related study—and the only way you can get them currently is in a tincture, most notably Peak tinctures.
A Look at Cannabis Tincture Made with Alcohol
A cannabis alcohol tincture is essentially an alcohol-based extract. The alcohol used to make these products is high-proof, so the end result is often a product containing 60 to 70 percent alcohol. The alcohol acts as a natural solvent, so to make an alcohol tincture, the cannabis plant is basically soaked in alcohol, the plant matter is strained, and the desirable cannabinoids remain in the alcohol.
Cannabis alcohol tinctures are actually not as common as oil tinctures, and that is not without reason. Not only do some people prefer to avoid alcohol, but the alcohol tincture can also have a bit more of a bitter or harsh taste that requires flavor additives to mask. So, while tinctures are traditionally known to have alcohol in them, the majority of cannabis tinctures are usually made with oil.
A Look at Cannabis Tincture Made with Oil
Cannabis tinctures made with oil are cannabinoids that have been extracted from cannabis and then incorporated into a carrier oil. Even though several different types of carrier oils may be used, including hemp seed oil, the most common oil is something like MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) coconut oil. In addition, other terpenes or essential oils may be added to the tincture for additional flavoring.
The cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as CBD (cannabidiol) or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), can be extracted from the cannabis plant in a number of ways. Many modern-day processors utilize distillation or supercritical CO2 extraction to prevent the possibility of lingering solvents. In general terms, an oil tincture will have a more palatable taste than an alcohol tincture and tends to have fewer ingredients.
Alcohol vs Oil Tincture – Which is better?
While most people prefer an oil-based tincture over an alcohol tincture and oil tinctures are easier to find, which is best can be a matter of preference. For the most part, tinctures made with alcohol or oil are going to deliver the same cannabinoid profiles, and the effects can be pretty much the same. The primary difference is how the cannabinoids were extracted and the main ingredient in the product.
Some prefer cannabis oil tinctures because they don’t like the taste of alcohol or they are sensitive to alcohol. Just the same, some may prefer an alcohol tincture because they have sensitivities to carrier oils. Alcohol tinctures do have a longer shelf life (generally 3-5 years) so if you are a very occasional user, alcohol tinctures may be the way to go.
How to Take Cannabis Tincture
All cannabis tinctures can be taken orally or sublingually. When taken orally, you simply place your remeasured dose on your tongue and swallow. When taken sublingually, you place the dose under your tongue, hold it in place for about 30 seconds, and then swallow. It should be noted that some alcohol tinctures are best swallowed, especially those that have a higher alcohol content, because it is uncomfortable to hold the dose under your tongue.
The ingested or swallowed tincture can take an hour or two to kick in, much like a cannabis edible. By contrast, sublingual dosing under the tongue offers faster absorption and transition into the bloodstream. Therefore, you may feel the effects in as little as 15 minutes.
Dosage levels with tinctures vary from person to person. Always look at the potency of the product you are using and determine how much you need. Remember, tinctures can be highly potent. For example, something like Siskiyou Sungrown Alcohol Tincture contains 380mg of THC in a one-ounce bottle. Therefore, one bottle can contain as much as 128 0.25 ml servings, depending on your dosage needs specifically.
Find Premium Cannabis Tinctures at Moss Crossing
At Moss Crossing, we do all we can to bring all the ways to enjoy cannabis to our customers. Therefore, in addition to some of the top-requested flower strains, pre-rolls, and vapes, we also include a full lineup of cannabis tinctures on our menu. Be sure to take a look at our menu to reserve your preferred tincture for pickup.