Within my time in the cannabis industry I’ve spoken to a wide variety of patients, from seasoned smokers to people using cannabis for the very first time. One commonality that I’ve noticed is, most users have either never used a tincture before or don’t even know what it is.
Cannabis tinctures are quite underrated, probably because for us modern users, this is an unfamiliar method. Despite the unfamiliarity, tinctures date back to the pre-prohibition era and have been used ever since.
Let’s shine the spotlight on tinctures and learn some fun facts about them!
- Used throughout history: Tinctures have been an age old remedy, it was the initial form of pain relief before aspirin. Before cannabis prohibition the U.S Pharmacopeia actually listed Cannabis infused tinctures as a treatment for several conditions, including: tetanus, menstrual cramps, arthritis, cholera and even alcoholism. Back then you could easily find cannabis tinctures over the counter at your local pharmacy.
- Discreet: Need a discreet method for taking your medicine? Tinctures would be a great route to try out. Unlike lighting up a joint which produces an odor and smoke, tinctures are odorless, quick and discreet. Using the eyedropper to place a few drops under the tongue is all you need to do to consume, see, quick and simple. Being an odorless product makes tinctures easy to take on the go without worrying about the odor following you along.
- Fast-acting: Even though tinctures are ingested they take effect quicker than an edible. To properly use a tincture, you would place a few drops underneath your tongue, this oil is held there for a minute or so before swallowing. This allows the oil to be absorbed through mucous membranes and capillaries under the tongue delivering it directly into the bloodstream. This is much quicker than waiting for an edible to metabolise.
- Dosage Control: For a patient that is new to cannabis but doesn’t want to smoke, tinctures are a great starting point. A tincture is delivered sublingually, and is fast acting so for a beginner it is a method to feel quickly and won’t take you by surprise like an edible. The eyedropper delivery tool makes tinctures extremely easy to use as a dosed method that you can increase or decrease as needed.
- Choices: There are many different options when you’re shopping for a tincture. Not only do we have different strains to choose from like Sativa, Indica and Hybrid, but there’s options for every taste pallet. Even though a tincture by definition, is made with alcohol being the solvent used to extract, you can now find many cannabis tinctures made with oils. Oils are used as an elixir in our tinctures, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, glycerin and MCT oil are popular elixirs found in tinctures. With different oils being used this affects the shelf life and flavor giving consumers a large amount of choices.
- Cannabinoid options: Tinctures are a great way to try out different cannabinoids. Tinctures have opened the door for many ratio options for those looking for a combination of THC and CBD. If you’re really looking to explore cannabinoids you could even be able to find tinctures with our acidic cannabinoids like THCA or CBDA. Exploring different cannabinoids can be helpful for patients targeting a certain condition or symptom.
- Using tinctures as a topical: Topicals are a great option for body aches, pains and skin conditions, but they can be expensive. Hear me out, get a tincture. A tincture can be used topically and ingested, so you’re basically getting two uses in one bottle. You can apply it directly to the skin or even add it to a lotion you have at home to create your own topical. A tincture can be used topically and ingested, so you’re basically getting two uses in one bottle. You can apply it directly to the skin or even add it to a lotion you have at home to create your own topical.
- Low-Calorie: It’s hard to refuse a delicious chocolate cannabis infused dessert like a brownie, but some of our edibles are packed with sugar and calories. If you’re a type 2 diabetic or a patient that has to watch their blood sugar or intake edibles can be especially difficult to navigate. If you enjoy ingesting cannabis, a tincture provides a much healthier alternative to edibles.
One Last thing to remember about our new favorite delivery method is that heat and light will deteriorate our precious cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc). So it is important to store your tincture in cool temperatures in an airtight container. In a dark glass container is preferred but if it is in a clear container make sure your tincture isn’t exposed to too much light to keep quality.
David G. Balter MD
Medical Marijuana Doctor