Smoking joints, spliffs, blunts, and bowls were a rite of passage for the old-school cannabis community, but today’s varied product selection gives you a new and smoke-free way to consume cannabis: cannabis tinctures. Smoking aficionados may never turn back on their preferred delivery methods, but medical patients or those worried about COVID-19 may benefit from a smokeless solution to protect their lungs.
Smokeless Delivery Methods
No longer will you feel pressure to take a puff of that joint if you don’t want to. You can pull out a number of infused cannabis edibles and topical products that provide the same relief as smoking but without the smoke. Cannabis can be infused into capsules, pills, suppositories, tinctures, salves, balms, creams, and lotions.
Smoking may produce fast-acting effects but it can have a more sinister side. The COVID-19 pandemic has many people wondering if habitual marijuana smokers are more at risk than the general population. Since smoking increases the number of receptors that a virus can attach to, it may be wise to at least temporarily switch to a smokeless solution to help protect your lungs just in case.
Smokeless delivery methods such as cannabis tinctures bypass the inhalation process, which is also a benefit if you have a respiratory illness such as asthma. Inhaling smoke and vapor can introduce cannabinoids, terpenes, and, in the worst of cases, contaminants and carcinogens that can irritate your air pathways and cause coughing and shortness of breath.
Topicals can provide localized pain and inflammatory relief without any psychoactivity. Edibles can be ingested and passed through the digestive tract and liver converting the intoxicating THC into its metabolites, which can cause longer-lasting and more pronounced effects. Edibles can take up to an hour to take effect. A cannabis tincture is a more fast-acting way to get results compared to edibles.
What Is a Cannabis Tincture?
Cannabis tinctures, also known as cannabis oils, are a type of cannabis extract that is based in either alcohol or oil, albeit, the majority of dispensaries sell an oil-based tincture due to laws that prevent alcohol and tincture from being combined. Cannabis tincture contains different concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes. You can choose a THC-rich, CBD-rich, or THC:CBD ratio tincture for balanced effects. Some may even come with pot-derived terpenes.
Tincture products usually come in opaque dropper bottles with a clearly marked dropper that can hold about one milliliter (mL). Cannabis tinctures can contain as little as 300 mg of cannabinoids or up to 1,000 mg of its therapeutic compounds for heavy relief. Medical and recreational users can easily adjust their tincture dosage depending on the relief they seek.
Why Cannabis Tincture?
Cannabis tincture offers numerous benefits over smoking or vaporizing cannabis or even other edible options out there. Unlike traditional edible cookies, brownies, capsules, and other infused goodies, cannabis tinctures are a more versatile solution. Introduce them into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals or drinks or add a few tincture drops under your tongue for quick absorption and relief.
On top of providing long-lasting and rapid effects, cannabis tinctures are a discreet and convenient way to dose cannabinoids. In terms of discretion, cannabis tinctures don’t involve plumes of grey and harsh smoke along with a pungent and skunky scent. Tinctures are practically odorless unless you choose a bottle infused with natural flavors and terpenes. Even then, others won’t be able to smell your tincture from your purse, bag, or pocket.
In terms of convenience, tincture products come in small and amber-hued bottles that look like any conventional wellness product or supplement, which can be convenient when traveling within the country. A tincture bottle easily fits in pockets and other portable travel bags without spilling or requiring extra smoking equipment such as lighters, pipes, and cumbersome rigs. There's no need to light a flame at all. All you need is to aim into the dropper into your mouth.
On top of the smokeless factor, tinctures can be more sanitary than using and sharing pipes, vapes, and other smoking devices. Sharing personal smoking devices with others can exponentially increase your risk of catching or passing on bacteria, and not just the kind that gives you a common cold. Tinctures avoid the contamination problem by using dropper bottles that never come in contact with salivary glands or dirty hand germs.
Oil tinctures can be added into food and consumed as other edibles. Many people choose to take their tincture sublingually. Just add 1 full dropper, or your preferred amount, under your tongue and let it sit for about 30 seconds until the oil absorbs into your bloodstream. This method essentially takes a shortcut to your brain to avoid the scenic digestive route when taking edibles.
Easy to Dose
Tinctures are also easier to dose than smoking or other edibles. You may have to do a little bit of math to figure out how much you're taking, though. Tinctures will have the total number of milligrams listed on the packaging and the number of milligrams per serving which you can divide into smaller amounts if you're consuming fractions of a dropper.
Tinctures may also be more suitable for those with caloric intake requirements. if you're looking to avoid sugary or calorie-dense brownies and chocolate, tinctures are less calorically dense. Seniors who can’t take in as many calories can also benefit from the convenient dosing nature of tinctures.
Most importantly, tinctures come in varying cannabinoid concentrations. While most states allow the sale of hemp and cannabis-infused tinctures, some states may only be open to hemp-derived tinctures rich in the non-intoxicating CBD compound. Tinctures can now be found in major drug stores and CBD shops across the nation. Pets can also benefit from the smokeless nature of tinctures. Look for pet-specific varieties of tinctures for your four-legged friend.
Understanding THC:CBD Ratios and Isolates
Cannabis tinctures can come in various THC:CBD ratios or non-psychoactive isolates such as THCA tinctures. THCA is the acidic precursor to the intoxicating THC compound. Consuming THCA orally or sublingually doesn’t make you high. CBD-rich oil won’t get you high, either. Add some THC into the mix and you’re likely to feel a bit of a buzz.
With smoking or vaporizing cannabis, you can’t really get a precise dose or mix of cannabinoids. Tinctures, however, come in an array of THC:CBD ratios such as 1:1, 3:1, 1:2. 1:4, 1:8, 1:20 and other ratios. Balanced ratios such as 1:1 or even 2:1 can provide less intoxication and more clear-headed effects.
Hemp-derived tinctures contain a high amount of CBD and are legally only supposed to contain less than 0.3 percent THC, an amount that is highly unlikely to cause any narcotic effects, even in large amounts. Cannabis-derived tinctures can contain a high amount of THC and different ratios of CBD and THC.
Tinctures with a higher CBD ratio won’t cause the tell-tale THC effects of euphoria and mild hallucinations. Tinctures with a high THC ratio, however, are likely to leave you more stimulated or sedated, depending on the amount you take. For new users, start with a tincture low in THC and high in CBD and slowly work up your THC tolerance to your desired effects.
Full Spectrum Tinctures for Better Results
For the ultimate tincture experience, a full spectrum tincture offers a more complex chemical variety that is thought to produce a better high. Full-spectrum refers to the entire or most of the strain’s compound lineup. Many tinctures only contain one cannabinoid, THC or CBD, but lack the entire chemical ensemble that works together within the body.
Early cannabis research found that cannabinoids aren't the only source of effects. Minor and more temperature-sensitive terpenes, responsible for the plant’s aroma, can have modulating effects on the ability for cannabinoids to bind to the endocannabinoid system. Essentially, having both the terpenes and cannabinoids together can minimize negative side effects and maximize the health benefits of cannabis oil.
Terpenes such as myrcene, caryophyllene, humulene, limonene, and pinene are common among cannabis strains. Each terpene has the potential to benefit the human body and contain analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anxiolytic effects. Minor cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, CBDV, and CBN can also improve the product’s “entourage effect.”
Make sure you make a distinction between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products. Broad-spectrum products typically contain every cannabinoid, especially CBD, terpenes, essential fats, and vitamins, except for THC. Broad-spectrum refers to the broad chemical composition, but not full-spectrum because of the missing THC.
Brands that use a light hydrocarbon solvent such as in butane hash oil extraction to make BHO tincture can pull out more of the plant’s valuable and medically-applicable compounds compared to other solvents. Furthermore, ensure your product has been tested by an independent analytical laboratory for residual solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful contaminants.
Whether you want to be more health-conscious in your cannabis consumption or you require a smokeless solution for your medicine, a tincture blend can provide a discreet, convenient, potent, and versatile experience. Finding the right ratio of cannabinoids and terpenes can make all of the difference.