Tinctures 101: 3 Potent Cannabis Tincture Recipes

Have you ever seen a bunch of people sit down in a circle and start passing around a little glass bottle of cannabis tincture? Yeah, me neither. While marijuana tinctures aren’t the most popular way to use cannabis, they’re ah-ma-zing, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why they haven’t caught on yet.


While weed tinctures aren’t as social as other forms of ingesting marijuana, they have a bunch of benefits that make it a great alternative for folks trying to avoid smoke, keep things discreet, or for those who find fat-based edibles too intense.


Tinctures are discreet, easy to make, won’t fill your kitchen with the smell of cannabis, and are great for creating those hard-to-infuse edibles (like cannabis drinks and candy). They’re also a lot easier to dose than edibles because the effects come on and wear off much more quickly.


Weed Tinctures 101

weed ticturesTinctures are commonly used as a convenient delivery system for medicinal herbs because the alcohol allows for plant compounds to be absorbed quickly into the blood stream. For this reason, taking cannabis in the form of tinctures makes it easier to dose than cannabis coconut oil or cannabutter based edibles. You can feel the effects quickly and can adjust your dosage as necessary.


Just this morning, I spiked my coffee with a maui wowie vegetable glycerine tincture that I made over a year ago. I thought the potency may have gone down a bit so I added a little more than I’ve used in the past. A half a cup of coffee later, I realized that the tincture was just as potent as it was last year.


I made a different cup of coffee and let my spiked one chill until I felt the full effects of the tincture, which only took about 15-20 minutes. I decided to drink the rest of the spiked coffee, you know, for science, and it ended up being a solid medicinal dose that lasted until early afternoon.


The effects of tinctures mellow out a lot faster than edibles, so even if you do take too much, it doesn’t linger (and possibly ruin your day) like fat based edibles can. On that note, tinctures are a lot harder to take too much of since they’re not in the form of something that tastes really good. Take it from someone who has eaten one too many cookie, pancake, and marijuana grilled cheese sandwich that it’s easy to overdo it when you infuse your favorite foods with weed.


In my experience, tinctures also leave you more clear headed and alert. They’re a great alternative for daytime treatment or if you have to complete a monumental feat (like writing a really really long blog post about tinctures).


Another major up shot of making marijuana tinctures (especially if you can do it shortly after your cannabis has been harvested and cured) is that compounds like CBD, THC, flavinoids and terpenes are preserved intact and retain their potency for decades, if stored properly.


Are you getting excited about cannabis tinctures yet?


This guide includes an overview of weed tinctures and covers three different tincture mediums: pure grain alcohol (a.k.a. Green Dragon or PGA), vodka or brandy, and non-alcoholic vegetable glycerine. I’m also going to throw in some benefits of tinctures and differences between other ways of ingesting cannabis. If you just want to make one right now, keep on scrolling to the end, but if you’re ready to get obsessed with what I think could/should/will be the next big thing in cannabis, get ready to get your TMI on.


Cannabis Tinctures vs. Edibles

I’m a big fan of edibles, but not every day is an edibles kind of day. Even when I take small doses of cannabis coconut oil or cannabutter, sometimes there’s a moment when it comes on really strong and I’m glad I didn’t leave the house. I love edibles for intense pain relief, when I’m ready to chill at home and spend some time alone.


I understand that some people love being social and out and about when they eat edibles, but sometimes I get confused, lost, overwhelmed or distracted when I go into the world after taking a dose via edibles. I like fat based edibles for down time, sleep and quiet time. If you’re like me, tinctures might be the answer for you.


Since it’s easy to adjust the dosage of tinctures and the effects wear off quickly, I love to use tinctures when I have a bunch of stuff to do, and I happen to be experiencing a lot of pain. During farm season, when I spend a lot of time hunched over in the sun, or when I have a boatload of spine wrecking housework to do, tinctures are my go to way to ingest.


Weed Tinctures vs. Smoking Weed

cannabis tinctures


One of the major benefits of taking tincture vs. smoking marijuana using fire is that you keep all of the medicinal compounds in tact. Since you don’t light the more nuanced and volatile parts of your medicine up in smoke, you’re literally getting more medicine for your money.


Vaping is another good alternative to smoking, and can be really convenient if you have a small vape device. Otherwise, I think tinctures are way more discreet and travel-friendly than smoking or vaping.


The effects last a bit longer than smoking, but seem less “stoney” to me. I feel uplifted when I take tinctures and find that even indica tinctures are more of a fun head high than a couch lock body high. I have no science to back that bit up, but that’s been my experience so far.


Tincture #1 – Green Dragon: Grain Alcohol Marijuana Tincture

Green Dragon tinctures are made with Everclear, aka PGA or pure grain alcohol. The high alcohol content is incredibly strong and makes it a great medium for cannabis infusion. If the intense taste of high proof booze is an issue for you or if you’ve given up alcohol, keep on scrolling because I’ve got a sweet vegetable glycerine tincture just for you. This tincture is intense and, made with the long steep technique (see below), it’s the strongest tincture I’ve made to date.


The green dragon tincture is perfect for making strong candies, gummies, lollypops, etc. because it’s easy to incorporate small amounts with decent potency without changing the consistency of the mixture. I’ll be doing more of these this year, so stay tuned for that.


It’s nice to mix your green dragon tincture with something sweet (I use honey) if you’re just going to take it sublingually (under the tongue). It’s also great to add a few drops to your morning coffee, tea or juice.


Tincture #2 – Vodka or Brandy Cannabis Tincture (50-80 proof)

These alcohol based tinctures are much more mellow than the green dragon tincture. I know in some states, Everclear is illegal, so this is a good alternative if you can’t get your hands on the hard stuff. These don’t turn out as strong as the green dragon tincture, but they’re very very nice.


You can use any high quality vodka or brandy for these tinctures. I just happened to have some local organic stuff on hand and they turned out great. I haven’t tried any other brands, so if you prefer something, let everyone know in the comments below. I prefer the flavor of brandy cannabis tincture over the green dragon any day of the week even though it’s not as strong.


Tincture #3 – Vegetable Glycerine Marijuana Tincture

While the other tinctures in this post are stronger than the vegetable glycerine tincture, I really use this one the most often. It’s really palatable and sweet, and a dropper in my morning coffee is one of my favorite ways to start the day if I need to medicate.


I bring a bottle of this everywhere and introduce it to people who are curious about edibles, but don’t know where to start. If you’re a new patient or you’re making tincture for one, this is a great and mellow introduction. I have a hard time holding alcohol under my tongue (because I’m a big baby), so this is great for sublingual dosing of the weak tongued.


I use organic vegetable glycerine which can be a bit tricky to find. The best ones I’ve tried is this one.


What is Sublingual Dosing?

long steep cannabis tincture
I’ve mentioned the term “sublingual” a few times during this post and I feel like I should probably cover wtf that means. In short, it just means that you administer the tincture under your tongue and hold it there as it absorbs into the membrane beneath the tongue. It’s a very fast and accurate way to administer tinctures. Here’s a good in-depth explanation from Wikipedia:


When a chemical comes in contact with the mucous membrane beneath the tongue, it diffuses through it. Because the connective tissue beneath the epithelium contains a profusion of capillaries, the substance then diffuses into them and enters the venous circulation. In contrast, substances absorbed in the intestines are subject to “first-pass metabolism” in the liver before entering the general circulation.


Sublingual administration has certain advantages over oral administration. Being more direct, it is often faster,[quantify] and it ensures that the substance will risk degradation only by salivary enzymes before entering the bloodstream, whereas orally administered drugs must survive passage through the hostile environment of the gastrointestinal tract, which risks degrading them, either by stomach acid or bile, or by the many enzymes therein, such as monoamine oxidase (MAO). Furthermore, after absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, such drugs must pass to the liver, where they may be extensively altered; this is known as the first pass effect of drug metabolism. Due to the digestive activity of the stomach and intestines and the solubility of the GI tract, the oral route is unsuitable for certain substances, such as salvinorin A.


Do You Decarboxylate Before Making Tinctures?

Yes! If you want a high THC content in your tinctures (as opposed to a high THCA content), make sure to decarboxylate your plant material before beginning to steep your tinctures. Check out the Wake & Bake posts about decarboxylation here and here.


I use a Nova to decarboxylate my cannabis because it effectively transforms 100% of the THCA to THC without any THC loss. You can read more about that here.


How To Make Cannabis Tinctures

We’re finally here! Now that we’ve learned a little about the different tinctures and how to administer them, it’s time to learn how to create a batch in your very own kitchen. Exciting!


So, I’m not sure what the technical terms are for these techniques, but this is what I call them. The long steep is a several month process. It’s absolutely worth the time and minimal effort. The heat steep is for folks who want a tincture, like, now. The result is generally weaker, but it can be done in a just a couple of hours.


The Long Steep Technique

This is my preferred method for making strong tinctures.


Fill a quart jar with:


1 oz decarboxylated cannabis
Everclear, Moonshine, Vodka, Brandy or Vegetable Glycerine to fill the jar leaving about 1 inch of space.
Cover with a lid. Place in a dark cupboard or in a paper bag on a shelf.


Shake the mixture every couple days.
Steep for anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 year (probably could let it go for longer, but this is the longest I’ve ever personally steeped a tincture). Test periodically to determine if the tincture is at your desired strength. Strain out plant material. Pour into dropper bottles.


The Heat Steep Technique

If you need a tincture asap, this technique is quick and easy, but you sacrifice a bit of potency in my experience.


I’ve only ever done this in a Magical Butter Machine, but I believe you could do it on a stovetop if you’re very careful and you only use a lower proof alcohol or vegetable glycerine. I’ve tried making a green dragon tincture a few times using the heat method and one time, it destroyed my MBM, so I no longer recommend using it for green dragon unless the model of MBM you’re using has the no heat option.


In a Magical Butter Machine, combine:
1 oz decarboxylated cannabis
2-3 Cups Vodka, Brandy or Vegetable Glycerine


Press the tincture button. Let the magic happen. Strain and pour into dropper bottles.
Here’s a photo that shows the difference between a heat steep green dragon tincture (4 hours in the MBM on the lowest heat setting) and a long steep green dragon tincture (7-8 months in a dark cupboard). I can verify that the long steep tincture is much much stronger in both flavor and potency.
Heat vs. Long cannabis tinctures


For Special Brownie Points

What’s your favorite tincture method and medium? Do you have something really technical and informative to share with other tincture enthusiasts? Do you have questions about the process? Leave a comment below…


Much love,



Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. I’m not a doctor. I’m also not a lawyer and can’t defend you if you get busted trying to make this recipe in a state that still considers possession or cultivation of cannabis a criminal act. I don’t agree with this law, but I’d never advocate that you break it. Jail would suck. Instead, I strongly advise that you work to change the law in your state or nation by supporting and being active in grassroots organizations that are trying to legalize cannabis in your area (they’re everywhere). This recipe is heretofore only intended for people who live in states or countries where medical or recreational use of cannabis is legal, who are 21 and older, of sound mind and who understand that operating heavy machinery (cars, trucks, planes, etc.) under the influence of any intoxicant, including marijuana, is incredibly dangerous, immature, and wholly stupid. Please don’t ever eat and drive. Support public transportation or use the two legs that evolution gave you and walk your sweet ass wherever it is that you need to go.


Tinctures 101: 3 Potent Cannabis Tincture Recipes
Article Name
Tinctures 101: 3 Potent Cannabis Tincture Recipes
Tinctures are commonly used as a convenient delivery system for medicinal herbs because the alcohol allows for plant compounds to be absorbed quickly into the blood stream. For this reason, taking cannabis in the form of tinctures makes it easier to dose than cannabis coconut oil or cannabutter based edibles. You can feel the effects quickly and can adjust your dosage as necessary.
Publisher Name
Wake & Bake


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  • Reply
    August 28, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Hi, thanks so much for writing this! Could these tinctures be mixed into lotions or salves for topical use? Thank you!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I’ve been doing a 5 day freezer method. I found the directions someplace on the web, I’m sorry to not be able to give proper credit where it’s due.
    -put bottle of alcohol in freezer right after I buy it.
    -grind/chop bud/trim
    -decarb (somewhere read 220-240f for about an hour)
    -cool, then put in glass jar w/lid. Put in freezer for awhile (like an hour)
    -add alcohol to jar of cold herb, put on lid and shake really well.
    -shake really well 2x/day, open to burp once/day (I don’t know why or if it’s even needed).
    -do this for 5 days. (some people have said only for a few hours, some say for a few weeks or months. I haven’t waited longer than a week, but always the 5 days. Who knows, maybe it isn’t needed that long at all…)
    -strain. I strain first in a regular wire strainer, then add a coffee filter and strain again, then once again with another clean coffee filter.
    -It isn’t necessary, but I also evaporate some of the alcohol out of it (thinking it’ll be more gentle under my tongue) I put the tincture (same glass jar as was in the freezer) in a pan of water over the stove until it’s about 1/2 the volume as I started out with. Keep a thermometer in the jar the tincture is in, don’t let it go over about 110 f. I think if it keeps being heated, or heated to hot, you lose potency.
    -pour in dropper bottle and your good to go. I usually use a 35 mm glass dropper bottle and use about 1/2 a dropper full.

    I would love some feedback on my method. The stuff helps, that’s all I know. Usually I’m using high CBD and very low THC herb, so there isn’t an easy way to tell if the dose is enough or too much. When I’ve used high THC bud, 1/2 a dropper full was enough to kick me in the butt…. One day at work I was in a lot of pain and used that much of the high THC tincture, I was desperate for relief. WELL…it was WAY too strong for me. I actually emailed my cubicle mates to keep an eye on me, as I was feeling like I’d pass out. Somehow I managed to sound human, but WOW…not for daytime use! hmm…maybe I should make some more of that…

  • Reply
    August 29, 2016 at 9:56 am

    An ounce of herb is A LOT of expense in my country. Even if I was to use a quarter of herb with half a pint of everclear that’s still quite a bit. Is it possible to use less herb or is this the standard dosage?

    By the way I love this site so much, keep up the good work ?

    • Reply
      November 2, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Though I have not made tincture yet, I have made cannabis coconut oil using 1/2 the recommended amount of bud. Erring on the side of caution. I am currently still low doing at 1/8 t. Per dose. Though I do not get a high per se, I absolutely get noticeable lessening of pain. So I know less weed still is effect even at a low dose. Increased dosage my well increase high or stronger pain relief. Will know soon. I may never use suggested amounts if this stays an optimal result.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Anyone have any “uses” for old weed. I was using for a while….then went off weed for some time due to not wanting to smoke it. But I kept it….like for 6-8 yrs!!! [ya, I know, nuff said] – it was just hard to throw out as there was a day that weed was hard to come by where I live in Canada – not any more!!!

    So, what can I do now with it? Pitch it OR….I like the “or” solutions much better if there are any. Thx so much for kind replies.

    • Reply
      March 5, 2017 at 5:55 am

      Hi Lynne Probably way too late but if you still have the herb, you could make it into a balm by infusing into coconut oil. I don’t think decarbing at this stage would be of much use as probably the herb has decarbed itself. But it might be great as a sleep aid!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    I would make a tincture
    I have had weed at least up to four years with no reduction off potency. I would try it anyways just to ensure usefulness. Good luck.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2016 at 9:25 am

    So I was making the VG tincture in my slow cooker and the coconut oil on my stove at the same time. I didn’t have lecithin for the butter recipe, but I remember reading “you can just add it later”. A few hours later I managed to find some lecithin and what do I do? Put 1 tbsp into the tincture.

    My plan was to make a tincture that I could vape. I tried vaping it but didn’t get much out of it. I think the amount of lecithin just thinned it out too much as I can’t get enough of it into the vape pen. Can I separate the lecithin somehow?

    Lesson learned: Don’t sample the product while cooking.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    So I have made ever clear tinture and cooked it down to oil on a hot plate and now I want to make it in to a marijane salve for pain any good recipies ?

  • Reply
    Mark Allen, MD
    December 8, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Which of the three tinctures analytics most closely resemble that of the cured bud the tincture is made from?

  • Reply
    December 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    I’ve only done oil a few times with mixed results. I used ABV to make it though and made it different ways (crock pot with water and oil, pan simmer, mason jar in a crock pot with water around it, bud in cheese cloth soaking in oil in crock pot). Grinding I think is key though and have a coffee grinder for it.

    I’m thinking making a tincture with my trim to make drinks with. Maybe alcoholic drinks, but prefer hot tea. Would you make the tinctures different based on what you were going to mix with or is it all the same? I want it to be as potent as I can get though.

  • Reply
    Kevin G
    December 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Wonderful way to take my meds!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I’m so excited to try making tinctures for shorter bursts of relief that don’t strand me in a cognitive zombieland.

  • Reply
    David Fellows
    December 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Would love to try tinctures

  • Reply
    December 12, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I love tinctures. I use them all the time. In fact, I make a tincture that I use for vaping. I also have one that I use for pain.

    • Reply
      February 14, 2017 at 6:22 am

      Do you mind sharing your vap recipe?

  • Reply
    December 13, 2016 at 10:07 am

    I am making an alcohol tincture with 80 proof vodka, via the freezer. Will comment again on this article when it finishes later this week. I previously made a glycerin tincture but was not happy with the mess in getting it from jar into bottles and during delivery of the medicine. I think I will like the alcohol tincture better in that regard and will likely try the ever clear method next.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2016 at 10:15 am

    I want to try this!!

  • Reply
    julia arkles
    December 13, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I plan on using the VG method to make hard candy but would like to be able to know my dosage ratio. In my experience I can get 24 servings of a 10mg thc dose from about 4 tablespoons of butter. Would that make 24 servings of VG in 8 tablespoons (or 12 servings in 4 tablespoons)? I guess I’m just trying to figure out the potency vspe butter. Any input would be helpful!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Ok…..so I’ve been smoking for years….and it’s not having the same affect. Now I’m wondering about tinctures? What is a tincture?

  • Reply
    January 2, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Thanks so much for these thorough instructions Corinne! I have a question: I just got the Aura Cacia organic vegetable glycerin you linked on here. However I notice on the bottle it indicates “for external use only.” I’m assuming you have used it internally as a tincture and it’s fine for consumption, right? Otherwise I’ll return it and order the Mountain Rose one instead. Thanks!

    • Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 9:01 am

      I noticed that too, but I’ve been using it for a couple of years now without any ill effects. I’m not sure why it says that. If anyone knows, maybe you can enlighten us. Otherwise, I’ll try to get a hold of them and see what they say. Thanks Seeemoanahhh!

      • Reply
        January 6, 2017 at 11:57 am

        Hi Seemoanahhh and Corrine, there are two types of glycerine. The one that is linked is to a skin care product which is why it says for external use only. There is also food grade glycerine is the type that should be used for the tincture. But with no ill effects I am unsure what the actual difference is. Thanks for all the info and good eats and products!!! Much ❤️
        — Side note it is not recommended to do the grain alcohol tincture on the stove top (specifically gas stove) because the high alcohol content may cause fire. —

        • Reply
          January 8, 2017 at 4:53 pm

          Good to know! I’ll do some more research and change that link. I’ll also add a warning about Booze + Heat = Fire <3

          Thanks so much for reaching out and for the feedback!

          Much love,

      • Reply
        January 14, 2017 at 10:32 pm

        Corrine, In your experience how should VG tincture be stored and how long does it last?


  • Reply
    January 12, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I’ve made tincture in the freezer and with the Magical Butter Machine. Both work great and produce quality tinctures. If you can afford the machine, go for it. Otherwise, decarb the weed, put it and the alcohol in the freezer overnight and combine the next morning. Shake it and keep it in the freezer 2 weeks. Shake it up once a day. Strain it and bottle it. It can be used to make gummies and lollipops. I have found that the tincture carries the same properties as the strain you use. The best one for pain that I have made was from Purple Diesel.

    • Reply
      January 13, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Hi Yvonne!

      Thanks for reaching out and sharing! What type of alcohol did you use? I’m wondering if a brandy freezer tincture would be good…

      Much love,

  • Reply
    Mark Kipper
    January 13, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Couple of questions about the Green Dragon: Is it ok to add flavors to it? What’s the most effective way to do this? If I use honey, as suggested in the post, how much?

    • Reply
      Mark Kipper
      January 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Also, with all the posts about lecithin and it’s benefits to your end result, should I add lecithin to my Green Dragon?

  • Reply
    January 13, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    I made Green Dragon heat method with 151 rum. At the same time I made Vegetable Glycerin tincture. I was trying to come up with a good tincture for sleep. I gave my willing test subject some GD under his tongue and he nearly screamed. So then the VG tincture. Too sickly sweet.

    I previously had tried mixing some RSO w/alcohol and add vegetable glycerin to it, but it would not mix. So with a bit of trepidation, I decided to mix the two together. I kept the mix on the stove in the double boiler for a while longer to help them mix.

    Voila! It worked! I now had a tincture made from both, not too sweet, not too much burn. I ended up with about a pint. I supply friends and family. It’s helps sleep, it’s good in tea.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 10:27 am

    I’ve taken an ounce or more of good quality bud chopped it up but not a fine grind and mixed it with 750 ml of 80 proof vodka. I was kinda anxious to try this and I never heated up the pot first. I shake the bottle every day and I plan on adding some ground mint. Can anyone give me an idea of what I can expect after it has steeped for a month or so?

  • Reply
    January 17, 2017 at 12:16 am

    The second link for glycerin isn’t working.

    • Reply
      January 25, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      I’m on it! Thanks Laura 🙂

  • Reply
    January 19, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Hi Corinne:

    How did making the tincture in your MBM ruin your MBM? I’d like to find out before I start making tinctures in the MBM.



    • Reply
      January 25, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      I made a PGA at 6000 feet at 160 degrees. Apparently it didn’t like that…

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  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I put nine grams of decarbed flower in a 1.25 x 3.75 86 micron nylon mesh bag, then slip that into another same size bag. Into the freezer for 24hrs, after which, it is then slipped into 5oz. Everclear that is in a pint Mason jar which has also been in the freezer 24hrs. Shake the crap out of it for 2-3 minutes, then put back in freezer, laying on its side so pouch is completely immersed. Do that once an hour for three hours. After final shake remove lid, stick a shrimp skewer through bag so you can suspend across the top of jar and let drain. Stick in a dark cupboard evaporate off 2 oz. Usually takes 12-16 days. There will be husks left bottom but no plant material. All that filtering crap was a beating. 2ml in 2 oz yogurt along with 1/2 gram of decarbed flower 2hr. b4 bed no more insomnia or joint pain and wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed.

  • Reply
    Bob Hoiser
    February 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for the informative article! I have a couple ounces of trim (sugar leaf and very small buds) from last year’s harvest that I’ve kept in the freezer…can I use to make a tincture, and should I use more than 1 ounce for a quart of alcohol?

  • Reply
    February 14, 2017 at 10:39 am


    I have a question,

    If I use 1 gm and want to use it recreationally maybe 3-4 times a week, how long do you think the tincture would last me? I am trying to figure out if I should use only 1 gm or buy more hehe.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Safe way to reduce the alcohol: leave it open to evaporate. To speed it up mightily, blow a fan over it. That will reduce it in hours.

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