What is a Tincture?

A tincture is an alcoholic extract of plant material and, when prepared properly, a potent source of a plant’s essential constituents.  As a method of using medicinal cannabis it excels as the cannabinoids dissolve in alcohol or oily materials.

There are several advantages to using a tincture:

  • It is a good method of cannabis administration for non-smokers
  • Tinctures are very potent
  • When kept in cool darkness, tinctures have a long shelf-life because the alcohol acts as a preservative
  • A full spectrum of the plant’s active ingredients are made available
  • You can combine various strains to get exactly the right balance for your needs
  • Tinctures can be used discreetly wherever you might be.

Making your Marijuana Tincture

Ingredients and Equipment

  • 4oz clean cannabis leaves
  • Alcohol of your choice – must be 80% or above and vodka is good but you can use whichever you wish
  • 2L warm water
  • Colander
  • Glass bowls
  • Coffee filter papers
  • Glass jars or bottles for storage


  1. Cover the cannabis leaves with the water
  2. Stir to ensure that all the leaves are wet.  Cut or torn cannabis leaves can be used, it’s just less work to keep them whole
  3. Strain through the colander – the green in the water is mostly chlorophyll so you can throw it away safe in the knowledge that you’re not missing anything
  4. Place the still wet leaves into the glass bowl and cover with alcohol, giving it a quick stir to ensure all is mixed well and all the leaves are under the alcohol
  5. Cover the bowl and put it somewhere dark (inside a cupboard is just fine) for 48 hours or so
  6. Remove the cover and leave for the alcohol to evaporate by about 50%.  This should take approximately 12 hours
  7. Another quick stir then pour the mixture through your coffee filter paper into a clean bowl.  Wring all the liquid content out of the filter paper into the bowl
  8. Pour the alcohol back through the leaves and repeat the wringing process
  9. You should now have two cups of tincture, which can be further reduced by boiling if you wish.

For those who can’t use alcohol:

Vinegar or glycerol can be used – as can water – however this is neither as efficient nor pleasant in use.

To use the tincture

Take your marijuana tincture as drops on the tongue or by adding to recipes and drinks.

Any of the medical conditions helped by medical marijuana will respond to tincture but use it sparingly – it is extremely potent.  The downside?  Well the effects are not quite as long lasting as with other methods of administration but, hey, that’s a very small price to pay when you can have your little bottle with you wherever you go.


Author Dianne Morgan

More posts by Dianne Morgan

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Himself says:

    Some interesting advice here. Decarboxylating the dried flowers and leaves are the only really effective way of getting to a functional and useful tincture. Just dropping briefly heated, or, completely unheated cannabis in an alcohol bath is not going to get you there. You have to take the time to do the process completely and thoroughly else you’ll wind up with a green alcohol that has little value medicinally. Also, I see a lot of questions about what types of alcohol to use here. Isopropyl alcohol, denatured rubbing alcohol and anything else used strictly for medical topical use is out of the question because you’ll poison yourself. You can use anything that is made for drinking so as it is 80 proof, or higher. Pure grain alcohol like Everclear is great, but the aftertaste is wicked and doesn’t make a smooth tincture. I suggest using rum instead. You’ll find the texture and sweetness of the tincture much more palatable.

  • chase w rawak says:

    Thank you for your comments I am new to this and think the tincture is the way for me to relieve pain. Will let you know

  • larry spelts says:

    you make it for me ill buy it from you,

    • debara says:

      I made a tinture out of good G-13 and some white widow mix I put it in a jar and used rubbing alcohol. I shook it daily and kept it in a warm dark area for a month. I then poured it through nylon into another container and rung out the excess into the container. I let it breathe for a day and then bottled it up. Is it ok to use? and what way can it be used I want to make it for patches is this o.k.

      • Jim says:

        NEVER USE RUBBING ALCOHOL!! IT WILL KILL YOU!!! Only use drinkable alcohol. The higher alcohol content the better the extraction.

  • Digby says:

    Here is another good recipe

    Glass jar- 1 quart mason jar is ideal but any size will do.
    3 parts ground marijuana. Leaf bud or shake.
    4 parts high proof alcohol. Everclear or Vodka.
    To make Tincture:
    Fill jar ¾ full of herb
    Fill rest of jar with alcohol; leave some room at top stir.
    Shake jar one or two times a day for 2 weeks.
    Strain through metal tea strainer or silkscreen.

    You can use whatever kind of clean glass, not plastic, jar you have with a tight lid. One-quart mason jars are ideal. Grind the herb thoroughly in a blender. It should be well ground but doesn’t have to be a powder. You can use leaf, bud, shake, joint leftover, or stems. Too many stems will wreck your blender and a weaker tincture. Leaf work fine but for higher potency use shake or bud. Fill the jar ¾ full of herb; it does not have to be exact.

    You can use anywhere from ½ to 2/3 part herb but ¾ will make a full strength tincture. Use the highest proof alcohol you can, Everclear, which is 180 proof, but hard to find. So just use the highest proof Vodka you can find. Pour alcohol over the herb, filling the rest of the jar. Leave just enough space (an inch or so) at the top so that you will be able to shake the jar. Stir the mixture; the herb will absorb some of the alcohol so you may need to add more. Put the lid on tightly; label the contents and the date you started. It takes two weeks for the alcohol to extract all the active elements from the herb. Shake the jar once or twice a day for 2 weeks. The alcohol will rise to the top and a deep green/red color will develop. After 2 weeks of aging you can strain the tincture through a metal tea strainer or a silk screen into a small tincture bottle with a dropper.

    You can leave the rest in the jar if you want, it will age and mellow in flavor and you can strain off as much as you want at a time. Alcohol is a strong preservative it will hold for a long time, be careful when handling the tincture, it satins and will turn everything it comes in contact with green. Use Ultra Palmolive anti-bacterial dish soap, the orange kind, to clean the glass, metal or other ceramic utensils, (do not use plastic) sinks and counter tops works best at dissolving THC residue.

    Dosage varies per individual but start with half a dropper dissolved in hot tea or water. Hot tea will dissipate some of the alcohol and activate the THC a bit. It can be taken straight but may burn the tongue and has a very strong herbal taste.

  • mungo st james says:

    Why is it important for the alcohol to evaporate? Add whatever you need & seal it up.

    I make my tincture on the oven & cover the Mason jar with foil to prevent evaporation. Just poke a hole for the thermometer. Out of 2 oz I lose maybe 1/4 oz. And 1 vial is plenty for dosage.

    THC/CBD are fat and alcohol soluble, not water. That is why glycerin based tinctures are difficult to make. Many sites document that problem.

    Penny, if you didn’t die yet, you won’t. Rubbing alcohol is poisonous, don’t drink it. Any drinking alcohol will work, 151 rum or either Everclear is best. The higher the proof the better. If tincture tastes too much like alcohol, then the recipe used too much alcohol or not enough cannabis. Add a few drops of peppermint concentrate to improve the taste.

    I only use the stovetop method with great success.20 minutes is all it takes of heating.It always has a cannabis taste , or peppermint.

    ghost, CBD rich cannabis is usually best for true medical purposes. 5-10 %. Those are hard to find. Incredible Romulan, Harlequin, True Blueberry OG are ones I have used.

    For insomnia, I found it best to heat the ground bud to 365 in the oven for 5 minutes. That drives off most/all the THC and leaves CBD. That used in a tincture is great for insomnia.

    • Alex says:

      I’m really new to all this and just found this website today. Can you tell me what your stove-top method is please?

      I really want to be able to use a tincture as altho I enjoy a joint, it makes me sleepy which is great at nite, but not during the day. I suffer with chronic pain 24/7 and have tried every legal medicine going, I actually got addicted to codeine without realising it – prescribed by my doctor! I still take some now, just to ‘take the edge’ off the pain, but would really like to try and see if some tincture would help.

      I live in the UK and have some home-grown bud (grown outside just like any other normal plant), so I know the quality’s good and no nasty’s on it. Still not sure what THC and CBD are, told you I was new and still pretty naive about all this.

      Sorry it’s such a long msg but hoping u can help.

  • ghost says:

    Thank you for this useful information. I plan on going the tincture route very soon to avoid the coughing that comes with smoking it. I use it for medical purposes-any idea what strains make up a good Anti-epileptic / pain control tincture?

    Trying to be discreet about it. Thank for any help you can offer! I live in western washington, where supposedly there are some dispensaries…I just haven’t been able to find them.

  • Penny Storey says:

    I used regular alcohol 80 percent but not the rubbing alcohol will it make you sick?

  • Gregg says:

    This is good information but I totally disagree with you statements concerning the length of effects or that alcohol is the best way to make it.

    I almost didn’t use tinctures because of the terrible alcohol taste but saw glycerin tinctures in a health food store so thought I would give it a try. It is so easy to make using 1 oz to 32 oz glycerin, freeze and then chop material and place in a jar, add glycerin and shake to mix up.

    Do that for a month and it’s ready to use, or you can use what you need leaving the medicine in there I’ve got some over 19 mo now and it taste better than @ 30 days…It will last several hours and can be taken anywhere also. Maybe you didn’t do it right if you think the alcohol is better. My friends call it Nectar of the Godz or Honey and different strains have different flavors and is very effective without disrupting a persons day. You might want to give it another try and do it correctly and you might just be surprised…Peace

    • Debi says:

      Gregg, I agree with you. I’ve tried vegetable glycerin tintures and love them. I’m trying Agave Nectar. Heard it’s alittle sweeter as glycerin, but I’m ready. Was told to cook on top of stove at warm temp. for 12 hrs. and strain as usual. Tired of the terrible coughing. Great alternative.

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