Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
Tinctures offer an alternative way to ingest cannabis without smoking or vaping. Dabbing is the most popular way to enjoy rosin, while smoking is common for high-quality bubble hash. But both bubble hash and rosin can also make great sources for creating potent tinctures. Tinctures themselves have something in common with our favorite solventless cannabis products: they’re straightforward to make with minimal equipment right from home.
What Is a Tincture?
What is a tincture? Tinctures are alcohol-based extracts that contain the therapeutic compounds from cannabis. Because they are in a liquid form, tinctures are perfect to take orally, and specifically under the tongue. The alcohol in tinctures pulls all the cannabinoids and terpenes out of the cannabis starting material (in this case bubble hash or rosin), so they can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Whereas regular cannabis edibles pass through the digestive system and metabolize through the liver, tinctures are absorbed right into the bloodstream by way of tiny veins in the mouth. The fastest absorption happens along the gums and under the tongue.
Cold Alcohol Extraction
Cold alcohol extraction is a way of using a highly concentrated, food-grade alcohol to pull out the desired compounds from solventless extracts like rosin and bubble hash. And these tinctures won’t cause alcohol intoxication, since only a small amount of alcohol is required to get the proper dosage. But tinctures definitely pack a punch!
It is best to use either 200-proof food grade ethanol or 190-proof Everclear alcohol for making tinctures with bubble hash or rosin. Alcohol is a strong natural solvent that’s safe to consume. It effectively pulls out all the active ingredients from cannabis concentrates, so the actual bubble hash or rosin itself no longer needs to be present within the tincture. At that point, it’s good to filter out the cannabis from the tincture.
Using regular alcohol, such as vodka used in most cocktails, isn’t quite strong enough for many tincture recipes.
Just remember, do not use rubbing alcohol!
Benefits of Tinctures
So what about the benefits of using tinctures? Tinctures are easy to titrate (dose) and control. Unlike taking a big dab, where the exact amount of cannabis compounds ingested isn’t clear, with tinctures it’s very predictable to get the desired amount of cannabinoids.
Tinctures are great to get very consistent doses. And they are nice and discreet, unlike dabbing or vaping which can create a cloud of cannabis aroma that lingers around.
What Type of Hash or Rosin to Use for Making Tinctures
Food-grade hash is ideal for making tincture. Full melt hash, the most premium grade of hash available, is fit to consume on its own. Lesser grades of hash are better to use for making tinctures. It could be considered a desecration to use such a fine product in a tincture! Learn more about how to grade hash in the article How Bubble Hash Is Rated.
The same goes for rosin. The best quality of rosin is better to dab in order to enjoy the full experience. So lesser grades of rosin are best for making tinctures. Rosin that’s not super terpy or maybe a darker color could be perfect for tinctures.
Supplies Needed To Make Tincture
1. 3 grams of bubble hash or rosin
2. 6 ounces of 200-proof food grade ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or 190 proof Everclear
3. Freezer-safe glass containers, such as wide-mouth pint mason jars or half-pint jars with lids
4. Small unbleached coffee filters
6. Digital Scale
7. Dropper bottles to store the tincture. 2-ounce amber bottles are great, and the droppers have mL markers on them for accurate dosing.
This will produce 2 grams of high-potency tincture.
The Process of Creating Tinctures Using Bubble Hash or Rosin
The full process for creating tincture takes only 2 days, most of which involves the tincture sitting in the freezer. There’s actually more waiting than working.
Before getting started, it’s vital to decarb the rosin or bubble hash. Decarbing transforms cannabinoids from their acid form into their psychoactive, non-acid form (e.g. THC-A into THC).
The more heat is applied, the faster decarboxylation takes place, within a certain range. THC-A not only converts to THC, but THC can in turn convert into CBD and CBDN. These are therapeutic cannabinoids in their own right, but our goal will be to maintain the highest levels of THC that we can. So, we’ll aim to keep the THC-A to about 70% decarboxylation, which means that still 30% will remain as THC-A.
Beyond 70%, the levels of THC begin to fall sharply, while CBN rises drastically.
The temperatures we aim for are 180 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 60 mins. You can use a bottle with boiling water to gently press bubble hash inside a folded piece of plant-based cellophane (not the stuff made with petroleum-based plastic). Or, you can simply heat the bubble hash or rosin at these temperatures in an oven.
Recipe for Making Tincture
1. Use a scale to weigh out 3 grams of bubble hash or rosin. Add the concentrate to a glass container with a lid, like a full pint jar. Even though you don’t need all this space for the concentrate, the extra room will make it easier to shake later.
Then, add 6 ounces of ethanol to a separate freezer-safe container. Keep both of these in the freezer for 24 hours.
2. Now it’s time to combine the cannabis concentrates and alcohol. Pour only 3 ounces of the alcohol into the container with the rosin or bubble hash. Replace the lid and shake vigorously for 5 minutes. This is called the “first wash”. Then place both jars back into the freezer for 2 more hours.
3. After the 2 hours is up, remove the jar with the cannabis from the freezer and shake again for 5 minutes. You can leave the jar with just the alcohol in the freezer.
4. Strain the jar with the cannabis and alcohol mix through a cheesecloth. One easy method is to stretch the cheesecloth across the mouth of the jar, then screw the rim of the lid back on, so you only have to tip the jar over and let the tincture drain through the cheesecloth this way.
5. Stretch a coffee filter over an empty jar in the same way you did with the cheesecloth, then pour the tincture out of it’s jar through the cheesecloth, and through the coffee filter allowing it to strain into the fresh jar. This allows the tincture to pass through both filters, which further refines the product by removing lipids and smaller pieces of plant particles.
Place the jar that contains the remaining cannabis back in the freezer while the tincture is still draining through the coffee filter and into the empty jar. Leave it there for about 10 minutes.
6. Next is the second wash. This will extract the remaining cannabinoids from the cannabis. Add the remaining alcohol to the cannabis that’s still left over, shake, then strain through both cheesecloth and coffee filter. Follow the same process for shaking the jar and then straining as you did for the first round. Then combine the tincture from both rounds of washing together.
7. Now it’s time to reduce this mixture, by letting a significant amount of the alcohol evaporate away from the tincture (about half of the volume). All you need to do is leave the jar with the lid open at room temperature for several hours. You can place the jar in front of a fan to speed up the process.
8. Once about half of the alcohol evaporates, the tincture is ready to go into the amber dropper jars for storage. To keep the tincture preserved for longer-term use, store in the refrigerator.
Dosing Your Tincture
The strength of the tincture depends on the cannabinoid content of the rosin or bubble hash. It’s very difficult to measure the THC content of the tincture, unless you send it to a lab for testing.
So start slow! Place a few drops under your tongue, wait about 45 minutes, and see if you can feel the effects. Dose up or down from there. Experimentation is the best way to find the ideal dose for you.
Want to know how to calculate the THC content in your tincture? Check out our article How To Calculate THC Content in Cannabis Edibles and Tinctures.
While using alcohol to extract cannabinoids may seem counter to the solventless approach, we realize that having other means to inject cannabis is very useful. So don’t be afraid to use your bubble hash or rosin to make tinctures. Food-grade alcohol is safe to consume and definitely won’t get you drunk, if you’re only taking a few drops.
Tinctures are a safe, effective, and discreet way to utilize your cannabis concentrates. They’re also straightforward to make at home with basic, minimal supplies. Give it a try today!
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a tincture?
Tinctures are alcohol-based extracts that contain the therapeutic compounds from cannabis. Because they are in a liquid form, tinctures are perfect to take orally, and specifically under the tongue.
What kind of hash can you use to make tinctures?
Food grade bubble hash, or medium to low-grade rosin is good for making tinctures.
What kind of alcohol can you use to make tinctures?
It is best to use either 200-proof food grade ethanol or 190-proof Everclear alcohol for making tinctures with bubble hash or rosin. Don't use rubbing alcohol!
How strong are cannabis tinctures?
The strength of the tincture depends on how much bubble hash or rosin you start with, and also the cannabinoid content in the hash or rosin.
How do you make a tincture with bubble hash or rosin?
First decarb the hash or rosin, then soak in alcohol to extract the cannabinoids, then strain this mixture through a cheesecloth and coffee filter.