Alcohol (ethanol) is an excellent solvent for THC, CBD, and cannabinoids, as well as the terpenes found in marijuana. You can make a CBD-rich cannabis tincture at home following these simple instructions.
Tinctures are an excellent way to use trim, kief and leaves, as well as popcorn and flowers. Another advantage to using a cannabis tincture is that when taken sublingually (under the tongue) it enters your bloodstream very quickly. This makes self-titration, establishing one’s own doseage, easy because the feedback loop is measured in minutes. Taking a marijuana tincture orally takes up to an hour to take effect because it goes through your digestive system and must be metabalized by your liver.
Use the strongest alcohol you can. Everclear is 160 (80 proof) or 190 proof (95%) pure ethanol depending where you live. This is significant because what you want to extract is alcohol soluble. The water soluble components in cannabis are of little interest to us. A high proof vodka or rum are alternatives if Everclear isn’t available. Do not use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol).
Making a cannabis tincture is a two part process. Raw cannabis must be decarboxylated, which converts the naturally occuring THC-A and CBD-A (both inactive) into THC and CBD. When heated to 245° F for 45 minutes (for maximum THC) or 245° F for 90 minutes (for maximum CBD), the carboxyl acid is removed. After being properly decarboxylated, the cannabis will be very dry, much darker, and it will crumble easily. Be forewarned: your kitchen will smell so plan ahead.
A good rule of thumb is to use 1 gram of decarbed cannabis for every ounce of ethanol. Less if you use leaves, more if you want a stronger result. When in doubt, make it stronger rather than weaker.
Crumble the decarboxylated cannabis but resist turning it into a fine powder. Put the cannabis and ethanol in a Mason jar and stick it in the freezer for an hour. Shake the mixture for 1 to 3 minutes, that’s all. The goal is to capture what’s in the trichomes on the outside, not what’s inside the plant material.
Strain the liquid to remove cannabis. Filter the liquid through coffee filters, cheesecloth or a jelly bag to remove more of the plant material. Filtering it twice is recommended.
Store in glass containers away from light. Better yet, store it in dark glass containers.
Using an eyedropper to administer the tincture sublingually (under your tongue). This is faster than taking it orally. If the taste of pure Everclear is too much, dilute the tincture with honey, vegetable glycerin, or water. Begin by taking a small amount, waiting several minutes, and then taking more as needed (self-titration).