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how to make marijuana tincture without alcohol

How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture

Introduction: How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture

A glycerin tincture is a cost effective and safe way to medicate with cannabis. It’s alcohol free, which is great for those who are sensitive to it. It’s also entirely customizable, just like cannabis coconut oil. You can choose to use only sativa strains for daytime medication, high CBD strains for mood improvement, or indica strains for help with sleeping or pain relief.

The dosing for tinctures is a little more all over the place because chances are you’ll be mixing several different strains and cuts of cannabis to make it or not be entirely sure of the THC content of everything going in. It’ll take a bit of experimenting to figure out the best dose for you and your tolerance.

This tincture will take at least 60 days to finish but it takes very little effort during that time.

We found out about these tinctures originally from Subcool and MzJill – if you’d like to learn more about them, please click through and read the whole High Times article. There’s a lot of argument about this method in the comments, but I think it’s great.

Step 1: Tools + Ingredients

ingredients:

  • food-safe vegetable glycerin
  • decarboxylated sugar trim, kief, buds – even hash!

tools:

  • quart size mason jar
  • canning strainer stand + bag
  • glass bottles to store the tincture (something with a dropper will make it easy!)

In this tincture, we used homegrown Cheesequake. We chose to grow Cheesequake because it’s a very good indica – not a super hard hitter, but very relaxing and it has a good effect on my mood. We used hash (3-4 grams), bud and some trim.

Sadly we weren’t thinking about posting instructables when we started this tincture so we don’t have photos of the dried material that went in. Instead, here’s a nice photo of some vegetable glycerin and some beautiful Doctor Who buds.

Step 2: Prep Work

It’s always a good idea to decarboxylate beforehand, so click here to learn about that. Decarbing will keep you safe and make your tincture more potent.

Subcool ground his cannabis quite fine his tincture and we did not (just a chunky grind), but go with whatever you think is best.

You’ll also want to sanitize a large glass jar (we have a quart size mason jar for this) and any measuring or funneling equipment.

Because this tincture will be taken orally it’s very important to be careful about sanitation! You never want to make yourself or someone else sick.

Step 3: Combine and Let Sit

Fill the jar at least 3/4 off the way to the top with your decarboxylated cannabis. Don’t pack it in, just let it settle naturally.

Once it’s in, pour vegetable glycerin over the top until the cannabis is entirely covered.

Step 4: What to Do During the 60 Day Waiting Period

While you don’t need to do much, it’s a good idea to at least rotate the jar once a day if you remember.

We flipped the jar every now and then so it was constantly going between sitting upright or lid down.

(Full disclosure: we kinda forgot about our tincture. It was hiding in the closet. We took it more than 60 days. I don’t even know how long it went!)

Step 5: Bonus Decarbing

Before you strain your tincture you can do one last thing: decarboxylate.

Subcool suggested doing it this way:

Put the whole mason jar, lid and all, into the oven and set it to 170 F. Once the oven is preheated, set a timer for 45 minutes and let the tincture warm up. (I personally think the temp here is too long and the time is too short – but since it’s already decarbed I’m not too worried.)

Once it’s up, turn off the oven and let the jar hang out until it’s cool to the touch. (I don’t recommend taking it out of the oven until it’s cool – setting it on too-cool a surface could cause the glass to crack.)

If you’re worried about your jar breaking, I’d say it might be best to pour the tincture into a small crock pot or pan on low heat and heat it that way.

Step 6: Straining

Using a canning strainer stand and bag is one of the simplest ways to do this. Just set up your stand and attach the straining bag firmly with a couple knots – it will be weighted down by the tincture and you don’t want it to fall into the bowl below.

Pour the entire contents of the jar into the strainer bag and let it sit overnight if you can. It will take a long time to drip through!

Either wrap around the bottom vessel with plastic wrap to keep it free from debris or place it in a clean, cool place where it won’t get knocked over.

Step 7: Storage + Use

Vegetable glycerin has a shelf life of 14-24 months, so I expect to store this for at least a year easily! We ended up with about 12 oz of tincture. We’re keeping it in the fridge.

To use, simply take a bit orally. You can take it straight OR add it to tea, coffee, or whatever else you’re drinking. The vegetable glycerin gives it a crazy sweet taste, so it works well in drinks and smoothies. 🙂

I take my tinctures straight and so does my mom – she uses a tincture daily to help with pain from a hip replacement, and I use mine for anxiety for the most part.

Remember to try it out the first time when you don’t have anywhere to be for a while! I started with about half a dropper and worked my way up to 1-2 droppers. I’ve seen other folks reporting they take up to 2 tablespoons a day!

The strength of your tincture will really all depend on what you put in, so remember to keep playing around with your dose until you find one that works for you. 🙂

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How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture: A glycerin tincture is a cost effective and safe way to medicate with cannabis. It's alcohol free, which is great for those who are sensitive to it. It's also entirely customizable, just like cannabis coconut oil. You can choose to use only sativa s…

How to Make Cannabis Tinctures

by Sirius Fourside

Table of Contents

What Is A Tincture?

A tincture is a concentrated herbal extract. In the cannabis world, this means it’s an herbal extract that has some of the useful properties of weed. Cannabis tinctures are usually made from alcohol but they can also be made with glycerin to skip the intoxicating effects of the – usually high-proof – alcohol.

3 jars containing cannabis tinctures, each one made a different way.

Edible vs Topical

Some tinctures are made to be ingested while some are made to go on your skin. The difference comes from how the tincture was made. If you make tinctures with food-grade materials like Bacardi 151, Everclear, Glycerin, etc., then tincture is going to be edible. If you’re making it with isopropyl alcohol (or something else that isn’t safe to ingest), then you’re making a topical tincture which should be applied to your skin instead of being eaten. Don’t make edible tinctures with isopropyl alcohol, it’s really bad to eat that stuff!

Don’t ingest anything made from isopropyl alcohol!

Alcohol vs. Glycerin

Simply put, alcohol is better for making tinctures because it’s better at bonding to THC than glycerin.

Alcohol makes tinctures faster than glycerin because alcohol bonds with THC easier. Any alcohol being used for tinctures should be high-proof which isn’t as easy to get as glycerin which can be found in many craft stores. Still, a high-proof type of alcohol like Bacardi 151 can be used, and it’s pretty easy to find in all states.

Glycerin is a plant-based solution that is great for tinctures when you don’t want any of the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Although Glycerin is a great vehicle for tinctures, it’s not as good at bonding to the THC in your cannabis. Therefore, it’s better to make your tincture with alcohol, then add glycerin afterward. If you want your glycerin tincture to be stronger, you can evaporate some of the alcohol and add glycerin in its place.

We’re using 100% Food-grade Ethyl Alcohol

Types of Alcohol

If you have easy access to Everclear, you’re already set. Everclear is a great type of alcohol to use for tinctures because it’s so pure and it’s edible (which is super important).

As stated before, you can also use Bacardi 151 rum. Although it’s not as good of a choice as Everclear, it’s strong enough to bond to THC easily and it’ll definitely get the job done.

As another option, you can get a super-strong Polish alcohol called Spirytus (thanks Ed Rosenthal!). Although you won’t find it just sitting on the shelves of your local supermarket, you can order it and have it shipped to you from a reputable company like BevMo. Spirytus is stronger than Bacardi 151 and is a great substitute for those who can’t get Everclear. Otherwise, 151 will do the job just fine.

If you can’t get Everclear or something similar in your area, Bacardi 151 is a good substitute.

Safety first!

Making tinctures involves the use of high-proof alcohol. All of the stuff we recommend is great for the job, but it’s also flammable!

Here are a few steps to make tincture creation as uneventful as possible:

  1. No open flames – That means no smoking. Even a small spark can be enough to create a massive fire under the right conditions.
  2. No gas stoves – It’s insanely dangerous to attempt cooking tinctures near gas-burner stoves. Alcohol fumes + a gas stove is a recipe for an accidental fire. If your stove uses gas, try using a hot plate if possible, but under no circumstances should you take the chance of using a gas burner stove.
  3. Ensure Good Ventilation – High-proof alcohol makes fumes that can be easily ignited when they build up. If you keep the area well-ventilated, the concentration of flammable fumes in the air stays low enough that it can’t be combusted. In other words, make sure there’s new, clean air in your cooking area to avoid a flaming mishap.
  4. Keep a dry-chemical fire extinguisher handy – As long as you follow the rules above, you’ll be fine making your own tinctures. However, it’s always a good idea to be prepared! You can get extinguishers at hardware stores or online. Either way, it’s a good thing to have around your house in case of an emergency whether you’re making tinctures or not.

When it comes to making tinctures with high-proof alcohol, fire is your worst enemy!

Weed to Alcohol Ratios

There is quite a bit of opinion on how much weed/alcohol to use when making tinctures. The amount a person is looking for can vary greatly depending on what effects they’re looking for. Here are some starting guidelines that you can try first and adjust as necessary for your specific case:

Mild – 1g of weed to 30ml of alcohol (1oz of weed to

850ml of alcohol)
Medium – 1g of weed to 20ml of alcohol (1oz of weed to

570ml of alcohol)
Strong – 1g of weed to 10ml of alcohol (1oz of weed to

280ml of alcohol)

Again, none of these measurements are set in stone. If you try one of these ratios and it feels too strong, move to one of the milder ratios and try it again. Too weak? Try one of the stronger ratios. If you’re already at the strongest/weakest ratio and it still needs to be adjusted, that’s no big deal! Just add less alcohol to make the tincture stronger, or add more alcohol to make it weaker. You can also evaporate some of the alcohol to increase potency, or add glycerin to your tincture to decrease potency without adding more alcohol. Tinctures are very customizable!

How to Make Tinctures

Old-School Method (aka Green Dragon)

This is the slowest method, but it’s also the most famous. You’ve probably heard of “Green Dragon” if you haven’t already had it. The fact that it takes almost no extra materials can’t be hurting its popularity…

  • Weed
  • High-Proof Alcohol
  • Amber or Cobalt Blue Mason Jar w/ lid
  1. Decarboxylate 1oz of weed.
  2. Add the weed to a glass container like a mason jar.
  3. Add about 300ml of alcohol to the jar. Close the jar tight.
  4. Place the jar somewhere cool and dark for about 3 months. Shake up the jar when the mood strikes you.
    1. Alternate Method: Shake the heck out of the jar over the course of an hour; many people believe this is just as effective as waiting for 3 months. I don’t know if it’s just as effective, but I tested the 60-minute method and it definitely works. It’s like a less-quick quick-wash.

Old-School “Green Dragon” takes a long time to make!

Make sure to shake your Green Dragon every so often.

The Ed Rosenthal Method

I’m a fan of Ed Rosenthal. He seems to come up with original (or least original to me) ways of doing things, but even better, he always has a reason behind his methods. This technique is from his newest book on concentrates/edibles (Beyond Buds: Next Generation) and I suggest you pick up a copy. It has good info and I’m sure you’ll learn something new!

  • Weed
  • High-Proof Alcohol
  • Amber or Cobalt Blue Mason Jar w/ lid
  • Blender/Food Processor
  • Mesh Strainer
  • Large Metal Bowl
  • Another Large Bowl (Metal or Glass)
  • Coffee Filters

Beyond Buds: Next Generation by Ed Rosenthal. I own a copy and it’s good!

  1. Decarboxylate 1oz of weed
  2. Add the weed to your strainer, then put the strainer in the large metal bowl
  3. Fill the bowl with water until the weed floats, and let it sit for 90 minutes.
    1. This should help leech out some of the chlorophyll from your bud.
  4. Pull the strainer from the bowl so the water drains.
  5. Collect your wet weed into a ball and squeeze the water out with your hands.
  6. Break up the squeezed weed and add it to your blender.
  7. Add about 300ml of your alcohol to the blender and blend on low for 5 minutes.
  8. Let the mixture sit for an hour, then blend again for 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the mixture through the strainer making sure to collect the used weed material.
    1. Make sure to squeeze any tincture out of the material.
    2. The mixture you just filtered is a potent cannabis tincture! Put it to the side so you can store it later.
  10. Put the used weed material in a container with fresh alcohol to soak for another hour.
  11. Pour the mixture through a strainer again, but this time you can discard the used weed.
  12. Pour your tincture through a coffee filter over a bowl to filter out the tiny particulates.
    1. This step isn’t necessary, but it looks nicer.
  13. Pour your tincture into an amber or cobalt blue jar that can be sealed.
  14. Your tincture is ready!

That’s an ounce of weed rolled into a ball. We played with it more than we should have.
Get Ed Rosenthal’s book on Amazon.com!

Water Bath Method

The water bath method is a fast way to make tinctures, but it also requires the most care since you have to make sure the water bath doesn’t get too hot.
Oddly enough, this method is the lower-budget version of using a Magical Butter Machine since it does all the same things but needs you to be there to take action and monitor for safety.

Important: Do not perform this method with any open flames anywhere in your house! Evaporating alcohol creates a flammable vapor, and having an open flame anywhere near flammable vapor is a recipe for firey disaster. Please be safe!

  • Weed
  • High-Proof Alcohol
  • Mason jar (for cooking)
  • Amber or Cobalt Blue Mason Jar w/ lid (for storage)
  • Coffee Grinder/Food Processor
  • Mesh Strainer
  • Large Metal Bowl
  • Coffee Filters
  • A pot for cooking (not for smoking)
  • An accurate candy thermometer or another cooking thermometer
  1. Decarboxylate 1oz of weed.
  2. Grind up your cannabis.
  3. Add the weed to your mason jar.
  4. Add about 300ml of your alcohol of choice to the jar.
  5. DO NOT CLOSE OR SEAL THE JAR!
  6. Fill the pot with 1” of water and place on an electric stove (no gas stoves!) on medium.
  7. Use your thermometer to make sure the water is no hotter than 165°F.
  8. Place the unsealed mason jar with your weed and alcohol into the pot.
    1. This is called a water bath. See the picture below to see what it looks like.
  9. Adjust the temperature as needed until the alcohol/weed mixture gets to 165°F and let it cook for 30 minutes.
    1. Stay next to the water bath and make sure it doesn’t get too hot (above 165°F).
  10. Remove the jar from the water bath and let it cool for about 30 minutes.
  11. Pour your tincture through a coffee filter over a bowl to filter out the tiny particulates.
    1. This step isn’t necessary, but it looks nicer.
  12. Pour your tincture into an amber or cobalt blue jar that can be sealed.
  13. You’re done!

Watch the temperature closely when using a water bath.

Making Tinctures with a Magical Butter Machine

The Magical Butter Machine is the way to make tinctures. It stirs it more, it constantly heats the material, and it has infinite patience, unlike a human being. It can stir and heat your tincture for 8 straight hours with no work on your part past the initial setup.

  • Weed
  • High-Proof Alcohol
  • Magical Butter Machine
  • Amber or Cobalt Blue Mason Jar w/ lid (for storage)
  • Mesh Strainer
  • Large Metal Bowl
  • Coffee Filters
  1. Decarboxylate 1oz of weed.
  2. Add the weed to your Magical Butter Machine without grinding it.
  3. Add 2cups (or more for a less potent product) of your alcohol to the machine.
    1. 2cups is the bare minimum you can add.
  4. Set the temperature to 130°F.
  5. Set the timer to 4 hours (tincture)
    1. …or set it to 8 hours for a stronger product.
  6. Let the machine finish, then unplug it and let your mixture cool for 30 minutes.
  7. Pour your tincture through a coffee filter over a bowl to filter out the tiny particulates.
  8. This step isn’t necessary, but it looks nicer.
  9. Pour your tincture into an amber or cobalt blue jar that can be sealed.
  10. Tincture time!

This is 2 cups of tincture that just finished cooking in the Magical Butter Machine

This is the machine you see above, the Magical Butter Machine.
Get one on Amazon.com!

How to Use Tinctures

There’s no perfect recipe for how to try tinctures since everyone has different tastes and tolerances. Here’s the best advice I can give for how to try your product:

  • Get “Boston Round” jars with droppers. These make it much easier to measure out doses with your tincture so you can repeat what works for you.
  • Don’t try tinctures for the first time if you have important things to do. Testing is best done on a free day at home just in case it’s too strong.
  • If your tolerance is low, or If you don’t know your tolerance, start with a drop or two of tincture then wait 1-1.5 hours to see how it affects you.
  • For those with higher tolerances, try a full dropper and wait 1-1.5 hours to see how you feel.
  • You can also add tinctures to drinks with strong flavor such as cranberry juice.

Storing Tinctures

  • Alcohol tinctures last multiple years if kept in an amber/cobalt glass bottle in your refrigerator. The amber/cobalt coloring keep light from degrading the cannabinoids in your tinctures.
  • Glycerin tinctures can last a few months if refrigerated.

Whew! That was long! Did I miss something? Did I get something wrong? Use the contact form to let us know; we love it when our readers help us improve articles!

How to Make Cannabis Tinctures by Sirius Fourside Table of Contents What Is A Tincture? A tincture is a concentrated herbal extract. In the cannabis world, this means it’s an herbal