Cannabis Tinctures: What Are They and How to Use Them

Dominique Fontaine

Curious about cannabis tinctures? You’re in the right place. In this easy-to-understand guide, we’ll uncover what cannabis tinctures are and how to use them. 

We’ll explore their benefits, learn how they’re made, and discuss their safe use. Whether you’re new to cannabis or just curious about tinctures, this article will give you the insight you need. So, let’s dive in and learn together.

What are Cannabis Tinctures?

Cannabis tinctures, often just called tinctures, are a type of cannabis extract. They are made by soaking cannabis in a liquid, often alcohol, to pull out the plant’s active compounds. The result is a potent liquid that can deliver the benefits of cannabis without the need to smoke or vaporize the plant material.

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Basic Ingredients of a Cannabis Tincture

At its most basic, a cannabis tincture contains just two ingredients: cannabis and a solvent. The cannabis, which can be either a specific strain or a blend, is ground up and soaked in the solvent. Most tinctures use high-proof alcohol because it’s very effective at extracting the active compounds from the cannabis. However, other solvents like vinegar or glycerin can be used as well.

Once the cannabis has been soaked for a period of time, the liquid is strained out to remove the plant material, leaving behind the tincture. Some tinctures may also include additional ingredients for flavor or added benefits, such as herbs, spices, or oils.

Quick History of Cannabis Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures have a long history. They were one of the primary forms of medical cannabis in the United States before prohibition in the 1930s. Doctors prescribed cannabis tinctures for a wide range of ailments, and they were available in pharmacies across the country.

However, with the prohibition of cannabis, tinctures fell out of use. They’ve seen a resurgence in recent years with the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in many states and countries. Today, they’re appreciated for their ease of use, potency, and versatility, making them a popular choice for both new and experienced cannabis users.

Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures offer a multitude of benefits, such as: 

Pain Management

One of the top benefits of cannabis tinctures is pain relief. Many people find that tinctures can help manage both acute and chronic pain, making them a versatile tool for pain management.

Anxiety and Stress Reduction

Cannabis tinctures can also help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. By calming the nervous system, they can promote a sense of relaxation and well-being.


The versatility of cannabis tinctures is another major benefit. They can be taken sublingually, added to food and drinks, or applied topically. This makes them an adaptable option for various needs and lifestyles.

Ease of Use

Tinctures are straightforward and easy to use. With the accompanying dropper, dosing is accurate and hassle-free. This can be especially beneficial for those new to cannabis or those who need precise dosing for medical purposes.

Fast Absorption

Compared to edible cannabis products, tinctures can be absorbed faster into the bloodstream, especially when taken sublingually. This means quicker onset of effects, which can be particularly beneficial when immediate relief is desired.

Long Shelf-Life

Cannabis tinctures have a longer shelf-life than many other cannabis products. They don’t need to be refrigerated, making them a convenient option for those who use cannabis regularly or infrequently.

Less Respiratory Risk

Unlike smoking or vaping, using tinctures carries no risk of lung irritation or respiratory harm. This can be a significant benefit for those with respiratory issues or those who prefer to avoid smoking.

Discreet Use

Cannabis tinctures also offer the advantage of discretion. There’s no smoke, no smell, and you can easily carry a small bottle of tincture in your pocket or bag. You can use it practically anywhere without drawing attention to yourself.

Lower Calorie Option

Compared to edibles like cookies or brownies, cannabis tinctures are a lower-calorie way to use cannabis. If you’re watching your calorie intake, tinctures can be an excellent choice.

Suitable for Dietary Restrictions

Tinctures are also a great option if you have dietary restrictions. They’re gluten-free, allergen-free, and suitable for vegans. Plus, they don’t contain any added sugars, unlike many cannabis edibles.

Customizable Dosage

One of the biggest benefits of cannabis tinctures is the ability to customize your dosage. Because tinctures are so concentrated, you can take a small amount for a mild effect or a larger amount for a more potent effect. It’s easy to adjust your dosage as needed.

How Are Cannabis Tinctures Made?

If you’ve ever wondered how cannabis tinctures are made, you’re not alone. Many people are curious about the process, which is both simple and complex at the same time. Let’s break it down.

The basic process of making cannabis tinctures involves two main steps. First, the cannabis plant is soaked in high-proof alcohol or another solvent. This is usually done over a long period, which allows the solvent to extract the beneficial compounds from the plant. After the soaking is done, the plant material is strained out, and you’re left with a potent, cannabis-infused liquid.

Now, let’s talk about the ingredients. The cannabis plant is the star of the show, of course. Different strains of cannabis have different amounts and types of cannabinoids (the compounds that give cannabis its effects), so the strain used can significantly affect the final product.

The solvent used is also essential. High-proof alcohol is the most common choice, as it does an excellent job of extracting cannabinoids. However, other solvents can be used. Some people use vinegar or glycerin, but these don’t extract the cannabinoids as well, so the final product isn’t as potent.

Finally, some cannabis tinctures include additional ingredients for flavor or added benefits. These could be anything from essential oils for flavor to herbs like lavender or chamomile for added relaxation effects.

How to Use Cannabis Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures offer a versatile and easy-to-use method of consuming cannabis. However, using them correctly is key to ensuring a positive experience.

Correct Dosage and How to Measure It

Determining the correct dosage of cannabis tinctures largely depends on your personal needs and tolerance levels. If you’re new to cannabis, it’s best to start low and go slow. This means beginning with a small dose, perhaps just a few drops, and waiting to see how it affects you before taking more.

A dropper is usually included with the tincture bottle, which helps measure the dosage accurately. Be sure to shake the bottle well before each use to ensure the cannabis is evenly distributed in the liquid.

Different Ways of Using Cannabis Tinctures

One of the many benefits of cannabis tinctures is the variety of ways they can be used:

Sublingual: This is the most common method of using tinctures. By placing a few drops under your tongue and holding it there for about a minute, the cannabis is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes. This method allows for fast absorption and onset of effects.

In food or drink: You can also add cannabis tinctures to food or drink. This method is slower-acting since the cannabis must be digested before it enters the bloodstream, but it can be a tasty and enjoyable way to consume cannabis.

Topical use: Some people use cannabis tinctures topically, applying them directly to the skin for localized relief of pain or inflammation.

Safety Considerations and Possible Side Effects

Like all cannabis products, tinctures should be used responsibly. Keep in mind that the effects can take a little while to kick in, especially if you’re consuming the tincture in food or drink, so be patient and avoid taking more until you know how the initial dose affects you.

Possible side effects can include dry mouth, dizziness, and feelings of anxiety or paranoia. If you experience any unpleasant effects, it’s a good idea to lower your dose next time.

Finally, be sure to store your tincture properly. Keep it out of reach of children and pets, and store it in a cool, dark place to help it maintain its potency.

Summing Up

In this article, we’ve explored the fascinating world of cannabis tinctures. We’ve learned that these are liquid extracts of the cannabis plant, created by soaking cannabis in a solvent like alcohol. They’re a versatile product, offering all the benefits of cannabis in a form that’s easy to use and control.

We’ve also delved into the various benefits of cannabis tinctures, which can include pain relief, stress management, and more. Plus, we’ve learned how to use these tinctures, with a focus on correct dosing, different methods of use, and key safety considerations.

Remember, as with all cannabis products. It’s essential to use cannabis tinctures safely and responsibly. Start with a low dose and go slow. Keep an eye out for any possible side effects, and don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if needed.