What are Cannabis Tinctures & How Do You Use Them?

May 08, 2023

If you’re interested in consuming your cannabis without smoking, vaping, or eating needless calories, marijuana tinctures are a great option. They’re fast-acting, long-lasting, and easy to enjoy. All you have to do is add them to your favorite food or drink or place them directly under your tongue. 

If you’ve never heard of cannabis tinctures or you’re just interested in learning more about them, this is the perfect guide for you.

What is a Cannabis Tincture?

Cannabis tinctures are a type of cannabis extract made by soaking cannabis in alcohol, glycerin, or oil. The result is a cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid-rich liquid that can be consumed in a variety of ways, including sublingually and orally. 

Depending on how the tincture is made, you can get a broad-spectrum tincture, full-spectrum tincture, and cannabinoid-specific tincture. The two most common tincture isolates are:

  • CBD Tincture:CBD tincture is a tincture that only has CBD in it. There are no terpenes or other cannabinoids in a CBD tincture. CBD tinctures also have no psychoactive effects.

  • THC Tincture: If you prefer the intoxicating effects of THC, but don’t care about flavors, aromas, or other cannabinoids, you want to look for THC tinctures. These tinctures contain only THC, and they’re typically quite potent.

How Do You Use Cannabis Tinctures?

Cannabis tinctures can be used in a couple of different ways, but the most popular is by consuming them sublingually. This means that you put the tincture under your tongue, hold it there for 30 seconds, and then swallow what hasn’t been absorbed. This allows the cannabinoids and other compounds to sink through the thin skin of your mouth and enter your bloodstream. 

You can also consume cannabis tinctures orally. While some people choose to just swallow the tincture without letting it be absorbed sublingually, others like to add the tincture to their favorite food or drink. While this will delay the onset of the tincture’s effects, you will still be able to feel them. Just remember, don’t add your tincture to food that’s hot or that you plan on baking. The heat can break down the cannabinoids and ruin your tincture.

While some people also choose to apply tinctures topically, we don’t recommend doing this. Tinctures are usually alcohol-based and alcohol can really dry out your skin. If you’re looking for a topical option, we’d opt for a cannabis oil, lotion, balm, or salve.

What Are the Different Types of Tinctures?

Depending on the effects you’re looking for, you can find a type of tincture that caters to you. Here are the three most common types of tinctures available:

Full-Spectrum Tincture

A full-spectrum tincture is a tincture with all the compounds found in cannabis included. This means you can find terpenes and cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, along with other minor cannabinoids too, inside the tincture. If you’re interested in the entourage effect, you’ll want to pick up a full-spectrum tincture after you view our menu

Broad-Spectrum Tincture

When a tincture is labeled as broad spectrum, this means that it contains cannabinoids, terpenes, and other cannabis compounds, but it does not contain THC (or at least no more than 0.3% THC). If you purchase a broad-spectrum tincture in a dispensary, it is derived from the marijuana plant. If you purchase a broad-spectrum tincture outside of a dispensary, it is derived from the hemp plant.

Isolate Tincture

Want to get a tincture that’s only CBD or THC? This is called an isolate tincture. This means that a single cannabinoid has been isolated from the other compounds found in cannabis and infused in alcohol. Isolate tinctures may be flavored or flavorless.

Tinctures vs Edibles: What’s the Difference?

The biggest difference between tinctures and edibles is how your body processes them. With edibles, you need to eat or drink a food item infused with cannabis. The edible has to then be digested and pushed through the liver to be metabolized before you feel its effects. Tinctures bypass this process for the most part. This is because they are sublinguals, which means they are meant to be absorbed under the tongue. This allows the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream directly. 

Because of how our bodies process these two cannabis products, edibles may take longer to feel any effects but also last longer. Tinctures are faster-acting but may not last as long. It is also possible you can feel a second wave of effects with tinctures due to the cannabinoids that are swallowed and pushed through the digestive tract.

Tinctures vs Sublinguals: What’s the Difference?

There is no difference between a tincture and a sublingual. This is because a tincture is a type of sublingual. Sublinguals are cannabis products meant to be absorbed under the tongue—which is exactly how tinctures are consumed. That said, while all tinctures are sublinguals, not all sublinguals are tinctures.

Tinctures vs CBD Oil: What’s the Difference?

There are some significant differences between tinctures and CBD oils. First, tinctures are made from plant extracts that have been suspended in alcohol. CBD oils are made of CBD and other cannabinoids that are suspended in oil. 

Second, CBD oils can be consumed the same way as a tincture, but they can also be rubbed into the skin or applied as a topical. While tinctures can technically be rubbed into the skin, it will cause your skin to dry out, so we don’t recommend it.

Finally, THC tinctures are only found in dispensaries. CBD oils can be purchased in a dispensary or outside of a dispensary. If purchased outside a dispensary, the tincture is  made with hemp-derived CBD. For the record, we don’t recommend purchasing a product outside of a dispensary because they are unregulated.

Answering FAQs About Marijuana Tinctures

Tinctures are a versatile, potentially potent cannabis product. If you have questions about them, you’re not alone. Here are a few we regularly answer:

How long do tinctures take to work?

Tinctures might not be as fast-acting as smoking cannabis, but they are faster than edibles. In general, it takes tinctures up to 30 minutes to work. Depending on certain factors, like how much you ate and your metabolism, it’s possible that tinctures can last a full day. 

Are tinctures more potent than edibles?

Tinctures can be more potent than edibles. Edibles, as food items, cannot have more than 100mg of THC in them. Tinctures are not considered a food item and therefore do not have this limit on the amount of THC in them. 

How long should I hold the tincture in my mouth?

You should keep the tincture in your mouth, under your tongue, for at least 30 seconds prior to swallowing. 

Purchasing Cannabis Tinctures

Ready to pick out your new favorite cannabis tincture? Visit your favorite budtender at one of our locations. They’ll show you the selection of tinctures and other sublinguals they have available and help you find the right one for you.

Please consume responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.  State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.

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