The process of making a tincture is very much like dissolving sugar in water or making Kool-Aid. The solids (the sugar or the Kool-Aid mix) break down and liquefy in the water, transferring their chemical makeup (sweetness) into the resultant solution. The same thing happens when making a tincture — only the ingredients change. The alcohol dissolves the plant matter and all the chemicals it contains (trichomes, cannabinoids, oils, terpenes, and others). Those chemicals are then suspended in a solution (much like Kool-Aid mix in water) that can be ingested or administered under the tongue.
Marijuana tinctures offer a long list of benefits (many of which we’ll discuss throughout this article). To give you an idea just how great marijuana tincture is, here are a few of the benefits you can enjoy whether you take a THC tincture for pleasure or a CBD tincture to relieve pain: You feel the effects quickly You can easily control the amount of tincture you take Marijuana tinctures are discreet (meaning you don’t have to worry about standing out) Tinctures are safe Tinctures have a long shelf life when stored properly. Obviously, you would only use a THC tincture to achieve a psychoactive high (although THC does have some pain-fighting properties). But if you use a CBD tincture, the benefits multiply. That’s because a CBD tincture can be used to treat: Low appetite Insomnia Nausea and vomiting Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) Inflammation Psoriasis Chronic pain Artery blockage Psychosis Bacterial growth Anxiety Cancer cell growth Convulsions Bone degeneration Seizures Muscle spasms. Couple the above benefits with the safe, fast-acting, easy-to-dose nature of the tincture itself, and you’ve got a potent recipe for medical relief of the toughest symptoms. If you’re taking a THC tincture, then, yes, you’re going to get the same side effects you would get if you smoked a doobie (paranoia, munchies, etc.). If you’re taking a CBD tincture, the side effects are less obvious. CBD does cause dry mouth, but many feel that it’s a small price to pay for all the medical benefits that the cannabinoid has to offer.
The only other side effect of note is that CBD decreases your liver’s ability to process other drugs. That’s not a problem if you replace one medication with a CBD medication. But if you take a CBD medication and something like a heart medication, the CBD will interfere with the effectiveness of the heart medication. Because of the potential interactions, always consult a doctor adding CBD to your daily routine. One of the main benefits of a tincture is that it’s very easy to take. Drops of tincture solution are squeezed out through an eyedropper syringe under your tongue. There, the solution is left to be absorbed (not swallowed) into your bloodstream through a process called osmosis. Osmosis occurs when molecules of a solvent (the ethanol and all the cannabis chemical it contains) pass through a semipermeable membrane (the tissue under your tongue) from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one on the other side in order to equalize the concentrations on both sides of the membrane. The major advantage of the sublingual administration method is that the medicine is rapidly absorbed through the sublingual artery, your body’s main blood supply to your tongue. This artery arises from the external carotid artery, which, in turn, is close to the internal carotid artery. This allows the medicine to quickly reach your brain. Additionally, the tincture doesn’t come in contact with the acids in your stomach like other edibles do. That fact alone serves to keep many of the beneficial chemicals in your cannabis tincture more complete and readily available for use in your body. Sublingual absorption effectively removes a step — digestion — that can have slight but destructive consequences to the chemical makeup of the cannabis you put into your body. The process of osmosis through the sublingual artery is ideal for patients suffering from pain due to gastrointestinal difficulties such as ulcers, hyperactive gut, coeliac disease, and other digestion issues that might make an edible less palatable. Cannabis smoke is in no way conclusively linked to any kind of cancer, but sublingual ingestion of cannabis tinctures is, of course, ideal for anyone who may be concerned about the perceived health risks of inhaling smoke of any kind into their lungs. Tinctures are also ideal for anyone who may be too sick, too old, or too young (like Charlotte Figi was) to properly smoke or even vaporize cannabis. Tinctures allow people of all ages to realize the beneficial health effects that the cannabis plant has to offer. Tinctures are also well-regarded by seasoned stoners as an effective recreational high that you can stealthily enjoy in most social situations without drawing the same attention to yourself that you would if you lit a massive blunt in the middle of a crowd. It’s a proven fact that the smell of cannabis smoke can, and often will, draw a lot of attention. And depending on where you are, that could be a good thing or a bad thing. All it takes is two or three drops under your tongue — a process that takes less than 20 seconds — to achieve much the same high as smoking a joint. Just the psychoactive high or the medicinal benefits you crave.
The onset of the euphoric or medicinal effects of a tincture will kick in just a little bit slower than they would if you were smoking, but much faster than they would from an edible of the same strain of weed. You’ll feel the effects of two to three drops under your tongue within about 15 minutes. This is why tinctures are infinitely superior to edibles in terms of the process of trial and error by which you determine the right amount of cannabis that your unique endocannabinoid system requires in order to feel optimal. The more scientific name for this “try-and-see” practice is titration . You’ll often hear this term bandied around by those in the know because it’s easier to say than, “the process of trial and error by which you determine the right amount of cannabis that your unique endocannabinoid system requires in order to feel optimal.” See what we mean? Why say 26 words when you can say just one and mean the same thing? Start using the word titration now so you at least sound like you know what you’re talking about.
When administering these drops of canna-goodness, it’s important to remember NOT to swallow your tincture if you want the full benefits of sublingual absorption. You can , of course, swallow your tincture, or even add it to tea , juice or food like many patients do. However, the delta-9-THC in your tincture will transform into 11-Hydroxy-THC when it passes through the liver of your gastrointestinal tract. And depending on your metabolism, this can take up to two hours or more to occur. That means that you’ll have to wait at least two hours to feel the effects.