When walking into a dispensary, you’ll find thousands of options. Medicated lotions, baked goods, candies, concentrates, flower, cartridges– even bath soak! One product, however, is often overlooked. While your first instinct may not be to select a tiny bottle of cannabis solution over a delicious looking brownie, tinctures are an ancient form of medicine that’s been used for centuries. In fact, before cannabis prohibition, they were the most popular form of medicinal marijuana.
As part of our Spring Equinox Celebration– a time of rejuvenation, new beginnings, and reconnection with nature– we’re highlighting how this deceivingly simple cannabis product can provide relief for myriad ailments and conditions.
Please note that the following article was not written by a doctor and this content should not be interpreted as medical advice. Always consult your doctor when adding supplements and cannabis into your health regimen.
What is a tincture?
Tinctures refer to a solution of medicine or botanicals dissolved in a liquid, usually alcohol or oil. They usually come in small bottles with droppers, and are taken orally. Cannabis tinctures can include THC, CBD, or both in specific ratios.
How does a tincture work?
The most common way to take a tincture is to do so sublingually. This means you’ll use the dropper to measure your solution, then drop the liquid under your tongue. It’s generally recommended to hold the solution under the tongue for 30 seconds before swallowing.
The tincture is then absorbed into the mucus membrane under your tongue, so it’s dispersed directly into your bloodstream. This is what differentiates a tincture from an edible– edibles must be digested and processed by the liver, which often takes several hours. When taken sublingually, tinctures bypass the liver, meaning users often feel medicated within 15 minutes to an hour after taking a tincture. We’ll provide more information on dosing and best practices, but know that you should treat tinctures with the same caution you approach edibles. Ensure you allow ample time for your first dose to take effect before taking more.
What are the benefits of tinctures?
Tinctures provide a kind of happy medium between edibles and smoking or vaporizing. Tinctures are a smokeless consumption method that doesn’t impact your lungs, but work faster than an edible.
Because tinctures are smokeless, they are generally considered odorless (the tincture itself may have a hemp-y smell, but it usually isn’t detectable from an open bottle) and thus discreet. They also have an extremely long shelf-life compared to other forms of cannabis and can remain usable for years if stored properly.
Tinctures are also some of the lowest-calorie edible products carried in most dispensaries, making them an ideal product for users with diabetes or other dietary restrictions. They can also be used to make your own edibles– just add them to drinks, baked goods, gelatin, etc. Tinctures open up the possibilities for less conventional edibles too, such as salad dressing, pasta sauce, ice cream toppings, soup, whatever! Get creative, the possibilities are endless.
Just keep in mind that edibles made with tinctures take the same amount of time to set in as regular edibles as eaten THC must be processed by the liver. It’s also in your best interest to pay attention to the type of tincture you’re using for cooking– one made of coconut oil might work great in brownies, but stirring it into your drink could be a struggle.
What kind of tincture should I buy?
Luckily, there is a huge selection of tinctures available on the market. Not only can you find tinctures with a variety of doses, they also come in a variety of ratios. If a tincture has a ratio on the package, it usually refers to the amount of CBD:THC. For example, a 4:1 tincture has four parts of CBD for every one part THC.
This specificity makes tinctures an ideal product for medical use– rather than supplementing your THC regimen with CBD, you can get all your medication from one product.
It’s also worth considering what your solution is made of. Alcohol-based tinctures can sometimes have a harsher taste and cause tingling under the tongue, but some users report that they deliver more potent medication. Oil-based tinctures can be easier to swallow, but may not pack as much of a punch. As mentioned earlier, your base material is also important when you’re making edibles.
How do I dose a tincture?
Dosing tinctures can be tricky, but luckily, all tinctures carried by Territory contain dosing instructions on the packaging! These instructions disclose how many milligrams are in each dropper, so you can easily calculate how many droppers to take. If you purchase a tincture elsewhere and need to determine the dosage, you can do the following math:
Divide the total number of milligrams in the product by the number of milliliters in the product. For example, a 250mg tincture containing 750ml of solution has 0.3 milligrams per milliliter. Next, fill up a dropper and empty it into a graduated cup (they commonly come with liquid medications like cough syrup, and you can find them at most pharmacies) and observe how many milliliters are in the cup.
Finally, simply multiply the strength by the dropper content. If your dropper holds 10 milliliters and there are 0.3 milligrams per milliliter, your dropper contains a 3 milligram dose.
When taking tinctures for the first time, we recommend starting with a smaller dose than what you normally take in an edible. If you’ve never taken an edible, we recommend starting with 5-10 milligrams. Drop your tincture under your tongue, hold it for 30 seconds, and swallow. When taking multiple droppers, you can either drop all of them at once, or take each dropper individually.
If you aren’t feeling medicated within 30 minutes to an hour, consider taking another small dose.
Keep in mind that tinctures– like all cannabis products– react with everyone’s bodies differently. You may experience stronger or weaker effects based on the brand, the solution contents, the ratio, or a variety of other factors. Don’t be discouraged if the first product you try doesn’t get you where you want to go! Finding the right product for you may be a long process, but the end results are worth it.
As always, your Territory cannabis guides are happy to answer your questions about all our products and look forward to helping you on your journey!