What's the point behind making your own cannabis tincture?
You can make cannabis tincture with your favourite strains, even if they're not available from dispensaries in tincture form. You can simply pick up your favourite strain, some solvent, and make your own!
What kind of solvents can you use?
You can make an oil-based cannabis infusion or you can make an alcohol-based cannabis infusion.
What can you do with your tincture?
You can consume it directly or use it to make creams, balms, candies, and edibles.
All of the wannabe chemists, alchemists and medicine people — this article is for you. I know you’re eager to get into your makeshift apothecary and make things fizzle and smoke. Unfortunately, it’s not that dramatic, but it certainly feels that exciting to make your own cannabis tincture.
Making your own cannabis tincture really does make you feel like a long lost traditional healer. But more than that, it gives you the chance to make tinctures out of your favourite strains, which can sometimes be hard to find.
We definitely advocate oral consumption of cannabis over smoking — especially if you use cannabis regularly. Making your own tincture means you don’t have to give up using your favourite strains just because you want to switch to oral consumption.
In this guide, you’re going to learn how to make two kinds of cannabis tincture: oil-based tinctures and ethanol-based tinctures. Some flexibility in solvents also gives you the chance to make a whole variety of different products with your final extract.
Let’s get started by checking out some of the ways you can use your homemade tincture.
What can you do with homemade cannabis tincture?
It’s important to recognize that your tinctures, though they will be awesome and effective, will likely not reach the levels of purity and potency as commercial tinctures. Without sophisticated extraction equipment, you won’t be able to extract the volume of cannabinoids that you might typically see on a tincture bottle in the dispensary.
But that doesn’t mean your tincture won’t be great — it’s just something to think about when it comes to dosing and the reason that you’re using cannabis.
Depending on the kind of tincture you make, you’ll be able to use it in a number of ways including:
- Just take it orally, under the tongue
- Mix it into juices and use it in food
- Use it to make homemade cannabis topicals
- Use it to make chocolates, gummies, and hard candies
Essentially, your home-made cannabis tincture can be used to add cannabis to virtually any kind of product you want to make.
Choosing a solvent for your cannabis tincture.
Before you get started, you have to understand what kind of cannabis tincture you want to make. Would you like it to be oil-based or would you like it to be ethanol-based? Cannabinoids aren’t water-soluble, which means you have to choose something fatty (such as fractionated coconut oil) or you have to go with alcohol.
Which one you choose will depend on what you want to use your tincture for and what kind of materials you have around the house to help you with extraction.
With an oil-based cannabis tincture, you can make:
- Cannabis balms
- Cannabis oil (for oral consumption)
- Soft candies such as gummies
With an ethanol-based tincture, you can make:
- Cannabis creams
- Hard candies such as lollipops
- Cannabis tincture (for oral consumption)
We will also be talking about the ways that you can convert an ethanol-based tincture into cannabis oil, but without the right equipment, this won’t be entirely possible.
How to make your own cannabis tincture
Now it’s time to get preparing! I’m going to share two methods of making cannabis tincture with you. I’ll also share how you can convert your ethanol tincture into a very, very potent cannabis oil — if you’ve got the right equipment lying around!
Making oil-based cannabis tincture
As previously mentioned, cannabinoids are soluble in oil. Naturally, this makes oil a very good solvent for cannabis. The oil you choose is entirely up to you, but I encourage you to choose an oil that helps to serve the purpose of your tincture. If you’ll be using it orally, choose an oil that is good for your body such as hemp seed oil or olive oil. If you’ll be using it topically, choose an oil that’s great for the skin such as MCT oil.
If your oil is a liquid at room temperature, you could simply put your buds in a jar, immerse them in oil, and let them sit for 4-6 weeks. However, I know that most of us are less patient than that. Plus, using the following technique, you’ll be able to make it even more potent.
What you’ll need:
- Your favourite strain of cannabis (remember to choose something that isn’t easy to find in tincture form)
- A Magic Butter machine or a form of double boiler
- Your chosen oil
- A cheesecloth
- A jar or bottle to keep your cannabis oil tincture
A note before starting:
The volume of oil you choose is going to depend on how much cannabis you want to extract. I suggest starting with a small volume of oil so that you can potentiate it, instead of having a very large volume of not-so-potent oil. If you’d like your final volume to be about 100 mL, your starting amount should be around 200-250 mL.
Time needed: Approximately 4-6 hours
Decarboxylate your cannabis
The first step in any cannabis product preparation is decarboxylation. If you don’t know how to decarboxylate cannabis, you can check out our comprehensive guide here.
Grind your decarboxylated weed into a powder
Put a small amount of it in your double boiler or Magic Butter machine
Add the oil until you have used your entire starting amount.
Slowly add more ground cannabis, but stop before there's no longer enough oil to submerge it all
If there's unused cannabis, it's fine. You can use it to potentiate your oil after the initial extraction.
Turn on the double boiler or Magic Butter machine
If using a double boiler, use low heat, as applying too much heat to oil will degrade it. You absolutely do not want the oil to boil. If you’re using a Magic Butter machine, proceed — you pretty much can’t fudge that one. Be sure to choose the lowest temperature setting.
Allow the cannabis to infuse into the oil for at least one hour, and for up to two hours
Strain your oil into a jar using the cheesecloth and squeeze out all the remaining oil. Measure the volume of oil you have.
If your oil volume requires a small top-up, do so now. Then, add the already-infused oil back into the double boiler with more cannabis, and repeat the process.
This is how you potentiate your oil. Do not repeat the process more than 3 times with the same solvent.
Using your cannabis oil
Now - be sensible about how you dose up. If you know you’ve extracted roughly an ounce into 200 mL of oil, and it usually takes you around 3-4 weeks to consume an ounce of cannabis, then you probably don’t need to use more than 50 mL a week. It might take some time to readjust to using a homemade tincture, but it won’t take long to figure out your dose.
Making ethanol-based tincture
You can actually make cannabis oil out of an ethanol extract if you have the right equipment at home. If not, that’s also okay, your tincture will still be fine to use as it is. In this part, you’ll learn to make an ethanol-based cannabis tincture and you’ll also learn how to reduce that into a potent cannabis oil.
What you’ll need
- Food grade alcohol (the higher the ethanol content, the better. I recommend Spyritus Rectified Spirit 95%)
- A mason jar
- A funnel and a coffee filter
- A large glass jar
- Your favourite strain of cannabis
A note before starting:
There’s a lot of contention about how long the buds need to be in the ethanol before it’s considered “extracted”. Typically, people are interested in extracting cannabinoids, which dissolve in ethanol very quickly. In herbal medicine, we’re interested in the whole plant, and even chlorophyll has its health benefits. Therefore, we don’t mind macerating the buds in ethanol for longer and extracting the whole phytochemical profile.
Time needed: Approximately 2 weeks
- You must first decarboxylate your cannabis
If you don’t know how, refer to our decarboxylation guide.
- Grind your cannabis into a powder and put it in the large glass jar
- Cover the buds until they are completely submerged in ethanol
- Stir the solution very well, close the jar, and give it a good shake
- Leave it somewhere cool and dark to macerate for at least 2 weeks
Under the sink, in a closet, or in the pantry are great places to keep your macerating tincture. The most important thing is that it isn't exposed to sunlight or heat.
- After you’ve left the jar to macerate for long enough, it’s time to strain your solution
Using the coffee filter, filter the solution to collect all of the plant material. You can discard the plant material.
If you don’t have a rice cooker sitting around at home that can be used with the lid open, this is where your extraction ends. Those with a rice cooker can reduce their tincture into something more potent.
- Pour your solution into your rice cooker and put it on the lowest temperature setting
If the temperature ever exceeds 150 ℃, your cannabinoids will begin to vapourize. So it is essential that the rice cooker is functioning properly and is set to a temperature between 80 and 100 ℃.
- Ensure that the room is well ventilated or the rice cooker is hooked up next to an open window
You will be producing ethanol vapour, which is toxic. So make sure it has a window to blow out of.
- As your cooker heats up, your solution will begin to boil and ethanol will evaporate
It’s entirely up to you how long you let this go on for. You can reduce your tincture to 100 mL, or you can keep reducing it until all you have left is an oily residue at the bottom of your rice cooker.
Enjoy your homemade cannabis tincture.
Making cannabis tincture at home is a great way to get a tincture out of your favourite cannabis strains. It’s not always that easy to find tincture made out of your favourite strains, so this allows you to. Your homemade tincture might not be as pure or potent as commercial brands, but it’ll be filled with your favourite strain nonetheless!
Don’t be too disappointed if your first experiment isn’t perfect. Chemical extraction is a whole universe that takes time to master. Enjoy the process most importantly, and remember to make a lot of delicious things with your homemade tincture.
Have you made your own cannabis tincture before? How was it, and did you use it to make other things? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!