What is a Tincture?

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Everyone is familiar with the traditional forms of cannabis, such as blunts and gummies. However, few stoners are familiar with tinctures, which have been used as a form of medicine for hundreds of years. Now, they are a common way to ingest cannabis and other herbals. 


A tincture is a highly concentrated, liquid extract of an herb. Tinctures are made by soaking herbs in alcohol, vegetable glycerin, or oil to create an extract. They are so concentrated that they are measured with droppers, allowing users to fine tune their dosage. 

Interesting Fact: Queen Victoria of England is reported to have been prescribed cannabis tincture by her royal physician for general pain management. Cannabis tinctures were widely used throughout Victorian England as a pain management medication.

Ways To Consume a Tincture

bay city dispensary, cannabis tinctures

Many consumers choose to add tinctures to their favorite foods or beverages.

  • Sublingual consumption means you put a few drops under the tongue for fast absorption. Sublingual applications have an onset time of 15-30 minutes because the extract bypasses the gut and liver and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the saliva glands under the tongue.
  • Adding your tincture to food or beverages is a common method . You can also just swallow the tincture by itself rather than adding it to food or beverages. However, since it’s absorbed in the digestive tract, it has a longer onset time of around two hours.
  • Topical tinctures are used directly on the skin for targeted relief; they work best when applied after a hot shower when your pores are more open and if you apply it to an area with a major blood vessel as this helps with absorption.

Benefits of Tinctures

There are many benefits of tinctures that sets them apart from other forms of cannabis, including:

  • Precise dosing- Because tinctures are so concentrated and dosed by droppers, they give users the ability to get an exact amount. Users can test tinctures drop-by-drop, whereas traditional edibles are more difficult to dose as the potency is based on the entire product. 

Hot Tip! Here is an easy trick for those looking to microdose; there are roughly 20 drops in the standard ml tincture dose. Therefore, you can divide the total number of mg per tincture by 20 to get the mg per drop. This allows you to finetune your microdosing incase you are particularly sensitive to THC or would like to effectively prolong your high.

  • Minimum effective dose- By testing a tincture drop-by-drop, users can get their desired effect at the minimum dose. By determining the minimum effective dose, users can save money, manage their high, and lower their cannabis tolerance. 
  • Discreet application – The sublingual application of tinctures is very discreet and doesn’t come with the odor of smoking cannabis. 
  • Low calorie- Tinctures are also a great low calorie alternative for weed edibles. The average tincture typically contains 7 calories/ml. On the other hand, edibles range between 100 and 200 calories a serving depending on the item. 
  • Long shelf life- Tinctures have a shelf life of six months to three years, depending on the type. Most tinctures should be stored in a dark, cool place to extend the shelf life.
  • Flexibility- Tinctures can be used in numerous dishes, drinks, and baked goods. Try them in your next smoothie, juice, sauce, or cake!

How to Use a Tincture

As mentioned above, cannabis tinctures can be applied sublingually, topically, and ingested. The method you use depends on how quickly you’d like to experience the onset times. While there is no established rule on how to dose tinctures, most cannabis companies recommend starting with .25 ml of 2.5 mg THC. Even if you don’t feel anything after 1 hour, give it time. Wait a full two hours between doses to see how you respond to the tincture. Two doses a day is the recommended starting point for folks figuring out how they will respond to the tinctureAfter 24 hours, users can judge if they want to up the dosage to feel more lasting effects. 

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