WHAT IS CBD?
CBD is the abbreviation for the word cannabidiol. Thank goodness for abbreviations, right! If you’re wondering how to pronounce that five-letter word, it’s can-uh-BIH-dee-all (with the stress on the third syllable). And if you think that’s a mouthful, wait until we introduce you to THC, which is short for tetrahydrocannabinol (teh-truh-high-dro-CAN-uh-bihn-all).
Whew! Try saying that fast 10 times after a few tokes on a Yoda OG bong. Alright, alright, enough levity! We’re here to learn about CBD tincture, so back to the subject at hand.
Both CBD and THC are chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Other cannabinoids include:
Scientists have isolated 113 different cannabinoids from the three species of Cannabis plant (indica, sativa, and ruderalis). Even if you’re new to the world of cannabis, you’ve probably heard about the effects of THC. And if you don’t use marijuana in one form or another but you’ve been to a Phish or Grateful Dead concert, you’ve probably experienced the effects second-hand. That’s because THC is the cannabinoid responsible for getting you high.
But you may not have heard about CBD because its main effects are medicinal rather than psychedelic. We’ll discuss the benefits and effects of CBD in just a little bit. But first, let’s delve a bit deeper into one of the easiest methods for taking CBD: the CBD tincture.
WHAT IS CBD TINCTURE, AND HOW IS IT MADE?
A tincture is a liquid extract made by soaking one substance in another substance. We know that’s a pretty general definition, so allow us to clarify by first focusing on the second substance. The most common liquid used to make tinctures is alcohol. What could be better than cannabinoids and alcohol? That’s a rhetorical question—please don’t send us your answers.
If you’re leery about making a tincture out of alcohol, you can also use an oil, a vinegar, or a glycerin. Having said that, alcohol really does produce the best finished product. And with the amount you take at one time, you won’t feel anything from the alcohol. You can also use different types of alcohol such as brandy, vodka, or grain alcohol (Everclear) to produce unique flavors.
So we’ve got the liquid—alcohol—but what are we going to soak in it? If we were making a THC tincture, we would choose a high-THC strain like Fruity Pebbles or Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. In the case of a CBD tincture, the substance we would choose is a high-CBD/low-THC marijuana strain like Charlotte’s Web or Cannatonic.
Once the alcohol and marijuana plant matter are combined, the alcohol dissolves the trichomes, cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other chemical goodies and holds them in solution (kind of like mixing up a batch of Kool-Aid).
And to be clear, tinctures aren’t just restricted to the marijuana plant. Any plant, combination of plants, or even animal material can be used to make a tincture. In fact, common medicinal tinctures include sage, hyssop, and garlic. You can even make your own tincture at home. We’ll show you how at the end of this article. But first, let’s discuss how to use a CBD tincture.
HOW DO YOU USE CBD TINCTURE?
Tinctures of any kind are the easiest and most discreet form of marijuana you can take. That’s because CBD tincture is administered a few drops at a time under your tongue. No more “pot smell” or trying to make up an excuse for not sharing your food (‘cause it’s got pot in it!). Just a few seconds by yourself, and you’re good to go.
Side note: be sure to hold the liquid in your mouth, and don’t swallow. Nothing bad will happen if you do swallow; it will just take longer to feel the effects.
After the drops dissolve under your tongue, they’re absorbed into your sublingual artery, the CBD travels through your external carotid artery, into your internal carotid artery, and then to your brain. The whole process—from the time you administer the drops to the time you feel their effects—takes about 15 minutes.
Feeling the effects from a tincture is a bit slower than smoking the same plant matter, but it’s a lot faster than using an edible. For an easy way to calculate the right dose for you, check out our article Honest Marijuana CBD Dosage Calculator.
WILL CBD TINCTURE GET YOU HIGH?
The answer to that question is simple: no, CBD tincture will not get you high. In fact, very few CBD products (e.g. dissolvable strips, wax, shatter, concentrates, tea, butter, pills, etc.) will get you high. This is because they’re prepared with high-CBD/low-THC strains to minimize the psychedelic effects and maximize the health benefits.
For those of us who enjoy a good psychotropic substance, that may be a bummer. But for those of us with medical issues, it’s a life-saver.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND EFFECTS OF CBD TINCTURE?
Because the cannabinoid CBD has so many medical benefits and effects, CBD tincture can be used to treat:
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels)
- Nervous system degeneration
- Artery blockage
- Bacterial growth
- Cancer cell growth
- Bone degeneration
- Muscle spasms
- Chronic pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low appetite
In general, CBD reduces pain and inflammation, which is why it’s so good at treating a large number of physical disorders. But CBD also has some unique effects on brain activity, which is why it can also be used to treat several neurological disorders, such as PTSD, social phobia, OCD, panic disorder, GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), and a host of others.
DOES CBD TINCTURE HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
CBD tincture produces no serious side effects. The worst thing you can expect from any high-CBD product, CBD tincture included, is dry mouth. But if you’re taking a CBD tincture to treat a more debilitating disorder, a little dry mouth is a small price to pay to feel better.
Technically, CBD does produce one other “side effect” of note: it can interfere with your liver’s ability to process other medications. That could have unintended consequences if the CBD you’re taking isn’t meant to completely replace another medication (like heart or blood-pressure medication). Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking a CBD product.
CAN YOU MAKE YOUR OWN CBD TINCTURE?
Yes, and the process is really quite simple. There are actually three different methods for making your own CBD tincture:
Sounds like a game we used to play as kids. But anyway…
Here are the basic instructions for each method.
The Cold Method For Making CBD Tincture
- Break, tear, shred, or grind your dry cannabis into a glass canning jar.
- Pour in enough ethyl alcohol (we suggest an ultra-high-proof alcohol like Everclear) to keep the plant matter covered even when it rehydrates and expands.
- Put a lid on the jar, and shake it vigorously for two minutes.
- Stow the jar in your freezer.
- Once or twice a day, take the jar out of the freezer and give it a shake.
- After five days in the freezer, remove the jar from the cold and strain the tincture through a cheesecloth, tea strainer, or silk screen into another jar or bowl.
- Dispose of the leftover plant material.
- Distribute the liquid tincture into a small, dark dropper bottle.
- Store the dropper bottle in a cool, dry place like a closet or kitchen cabinet.
The Warm Method For Making CBD Tincture
- Mix the ingredients (plant matter and alcohol) in a mason jar like you did in steps 1-3 of the cold method.
- Store the jar in a cool, dry place out of the sun for 30 to 60 days.
- Finish the process by straining the tincture into dropper bottles like you did in steps 6-9 of the cold method.
- We suggest starting a new batch of tincture every two to four weeks. If you stagger the brew this way, you’ll have a tincture approaching readiness while you consume another. Then you’re never without enough tincture to get you through your day.
The Hot Method For Making CBD Tincture
Note: Alcohol fumes are combustible, so be sure to perform this recipe in a well-ventilated area.
- Chop your cannabis buds as finely as possible.
- Place the ground buds on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 325°F for five minutes (this is the process of decarboxylation).
- Pour the baked bud into a canning jar and add in your alcohol of choice (just like the other methods).
- Set the opened canning jar in a pan and add 2 inches of water around the jar (don’t put any water IN the jar or you’ll ruin your tincture).
- Bring the water to a boil, and then simmer the uncovered canning jar until the alcohol inside reaches 165°F (you’ll need a candy or cooking thermometer for this step).
- When the alcohol in the canning jar has reached 165°F, remove the jar from the pan (the jar will be hot!), and set it on the stove or a towel to cool.
- When the jar is cool enough to handle with your bare hands, separate the plant matter from the liquid by pouring through a strainer or cheesecloth.
- Let the liquid cool to room temperature, and then pour it into a dropper bottle.
- Store the dropper bottle in a cool, dark place.