When the plant matter is frozen stiff, mix 1 ounce cannabis with 1 quart (32 ounces) alcohol in a mason jar. Seal the jar tightly with a lid and shake for 5 minutes. Every 2-3 hours, remove the jar from the freezer and give it a good shake. Continue to alternate shaking and storing for the next two days.
After 48 hours, separate the solid material from the liquid by pouring through a cheesecloth. Then, pour the liquid through a coffee filter to strain out any small, left-over plant matter. Finally, store the tincture in an opaque bottle and avoid prolonged light exposure. The hot method, often called “green dragon”, is the same basic process. But instead of letting the mixture sit for weeks, heat is added to speed the process. This reduces total production time from weeks to hours. But the green dragon method is not without its risks. There is a very real potential of catching the alcohol on fire during the heating process. On top of that, the hot method increases the risk of ruining the medicinal benefits during the cooking process.
Despite those risks, the hot method is fairly simple and only requires about 30-60 minutes to produce a fine cannabis tincture. So if you don’t want to wait 30 days, or even 48 hours, this may be the method for you. We recommend starting small with this method until you’ve done it a few times. To that end, we’re going to start with ⅛ ounce cannabis and 2 ounces alcohol. After you have some experience, you can double or even treble the recipe. Chop dried plant matter using a coffee grinder or marijuana grinder. In a 1 pint mason jar, combine the chopped cannabis and 2 ounces of the highest-proof alcohol you can find (Bacardi or Everclear). For the next few steps, you’ll need a quick-read or candy thermometer. Place about 1 inch of water in a medium-sized sauce pan. Place the thermometer in the mason jar and then place the mason jar in the simmering water (this is called a water bath). Monitor the liquid in the mason jar and bring the temperature to 170℉. The boiling point of pure ethanol is 173℉, so you want yours just below boiling. Simmer this way for 20 minutes making sure to keep the alcohol temperature around 170℉. After 20 minutes, separate the plant matter and the liquid THC using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Regardless of which method you choose, the basic production principles remain the same. During the steeping or cooking process, the cannabinoids are released from the cannabis plant. These free cannabinoids are then absorbed by the alcohol. The resultant tincture is a powerful, concentrated liquid that is very much greater than the sum of its parts. Liquid THC has been tested up to 90% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content compared to 50% for oils, waxes, and shatters, and 12-25% for bud that’s smoked. Tinctures are often stored in a dropper or small pump spray bottle. As was mentioned in the recipes above, tinctures are often stored in a dropper bottle for easy access. A standard eyedropper can hold about 1 milliliter (or 1 gram) of liquid and this makes for a nice dosage amount. You can also store your tincture in a small spray bottle and administer the liquid THC by squirting it in your mouth like breath spray. However you choose to store your tincture, be sure to NEVER drip it into your eyes.
When stored in an opaque bottle out of the sun, your tincture should last for a good long time. Simply put, you’ll likely use it up before it goes bad (unless you’re only doing one dropper-full a year). Depending on the plant matter used, it can range in color from light to dark green and can even be a greenish-brown. The liquid THC should smell like bud and give off a somewhat floral aroma. If the liquid is a bright green and smells like grass, the decarboxylation was insufficient and the resulting tincture will probably be weak. Stories abound of unknowing cannabis consumers purchasing “liquid THC” from unreputable sources only to find out that what they had purchased was just water or some other liquid.
Be sure the liquid you purchase is at least green and, if possible, always buy from a reputable source. Liquid THC is most commonly consumed orally, but it can also be vaporized in an electronic vape pen and smoked like other eliquids. Oral consumption is the more traditional, and most common, method for experiencing the effects of liquid THC. Start with 2-3 drops of the tincture administered sublingually (under the tongue).