August 29th, 2009 | Author: Allan Frankel, MD
I generally never edit older posts, but have found that is is
important to add some comments with regard to significant changes in
the Cannabis Medicine Tincture’s available, at least in the Los
Angeles area. The cost of professionally made CBD Rich tinctures for
anxiety, manifestations of anxiety, pain, particularly neuritic and
many other conditions, CBD based or “Cannabidiol” based tinctures and
capsules are the future and have in fact become the present. As using
CO2 extraction is not for patients at home – yet – I suggest you check
out some of these tinctures at some local collectives.
As the CO2 extraction process is nearly 100% efficient, the cost ends
up being not much different than making it yourself. Also, unless you
find some rich CBD or flowers, it will just be a THC extraction, which
is good, but just not great. It is well worth checking into if you are
dealing with anxiety or pain. For Multiple Sclerosis and many
degenerative neurological disorders, CBD is truly a miraculous
addition to THC and is welcome back.
The extracts can be purchased and the costs are reasonable. However,
IF you are a grower and are in possession of good quality Rich CBD
plant material, you can also elect to join:
phone next day shipped orders of rich CBD and dosable cannabis
medications. In addition, if you are a patient of their collective,
you can easily barter your plant material, assuming it tests properly,
for CO2 extracted medicine.
By Jay R. Cavanaugh, Ph.D.
Many patients who utilize and benefit from medical cannabis do not
wish to smoke due to the perceived health hazards of smoking or for
other personal reasons. These patients are in something of a bind.
Smoking cannabis delivers the active cannabinoids within seconds.
Medicine is absorbed in the lungs and goes directly to the brain and
general circulation. The same effect can be achieved with a vaporizer,
which is safer than smoking burning vegetable matter. Since the
effects of inhaled cannabis are so quick, it is easy for patients to
titrate their dose by simply waiting a minute or two in between puffs.
Oral cannabis, such as our Better Bud Butter, is absorbed in a very
different fashion from smoking or inhalation. The GI tract gradually
absorbs Cannabinoids over the course of one to two hours. Medicine is
processed first by the liver, which converts some cannabinoids such as
delta nine to delta 11 version of THC. Orally delivered cannabis
requires four to ten times the amount of the smoked version in order
to achieve the same effect. Orally delivered cannabis can present a
problem in achieving the required or desired dose level in any
Tincture is designed to address the problems of rapid medicine
delivery and consistent dosing. Most tinctures are made to be used
under the tongue or sublingually. English pharmaceutical companies are
presently working on a cannabis extract “spray” that can be used under
the tongue in a similar fashion. These sprays are not expected to be
approved for use in the United States for years and will be very
expensive. Absorption by the arterial blood supply under the tongue is
completed in seconds. One trick is to not swallow the dose as, if
swallowed, absorption will be in the GI tract. Many patients, though,
add their tincture to a cup of tea or cranberry juice for easy
delivery. When tincture is used in a beverage, absorption will be
slower than if absorbed under the tongue. While tincture absorbed in
an empty stomach is accomplished in minutes, conversion in the liver
remains, as does the difficulty in titrating dose. Usually, a tincture
dose is delivered by means of a medicine dropper or a teaspoon. A rule
of thumb on dose is that patients receive benefit from 3-4 drops to a
couple of full droppers depending upon the potency of the tincture and
the patient’s own unique requirements among other factors.
The methods listed below will detail two major methods of preparing
tincture. While the methods are optimized for purity and potency,
ultimately these will largely be determined by the purity and potency
of the cannabis from which the tincture is made. Another item of note
in regard to starting material for tincture is the patient or
caregiver selection of strain. A rough rule of thumb is to select
Indica dominant strains for cramping and muscle spasticity and Sativa
dominant strains for pain relief. The reality, though, is often that
the strain is unknown or not well characterized. Trial and error is
usually required to acquire the appropriate strain and the proper dose
Tincture is an extraction of active cannabinoids from plant material.
Cannabis contains many chemicals that can either upset the stomach or
taste nasty. One of the goals of extraction is to secure the
cannabinoids while leaving out as many of the terpenes and
chlorophylls as possible. Both heat and light adversely effect
cannabinoids and should be avoided or minimized. Tincture should be
stored in airtight dark glass containers kept at room temperature or
below. Avoid plastic containers. The ethanol in the tincture may
solubilize some of the free vinyls in the plastic.
Cold Method with Ethanol
Making tincture cold preserves the integrity of cannabinoids. To be
potent, this method requires starting material high in cannabinoid
content such as flowers or kief made from trim and leaf. The material
must be mold free and dry. Drying can be accomplished in the freezer
(-4-10 degrees Celsius) or better yet by placing in a liquid proof bag
into a dry ice/ethanol ice bath (-70 degrees Celsius). Once water has
been removed then the surface area of the starting material requires
expansion. This can be accomplished a number of ways but two ways
Using flowers (bud)- Place dried buds in a coffee grinder and pulse
until thoroughly ground but not powdered.
Making kief- Rub dry trim and leaves over a silk screen. Collect the
powder the comes through the screen. It should be a very pale green.
“Kiefing” is an age old way of extracting trichomes from plant
Whether kief or ground bud is used both should kept ice cold for this
preparation. Similarly, the ethanol to be used should also be ice cold
throughout the process.
Selection of alcohol- ethanol or ethyl alcohol is the form of alcohol
that can be used by humans. The proof listed on commercial alcohol
refers to the percentage of ethanol that the beverage contains. The
proof is twice the percentage, so 80 “proof” means that the mixture
contains 40% ethanol. The higher the alcohol content used, the better
the extraction will work. Ideally, 200 proof ethanol would be best
except that ethanol cannot be distilled to this proof so benzene is
used to remove the last vestiges of water. This makes “pure” ethanol
Many folks use “Everclear” which stands at 190 proof or 95% ethanol.
Everclear has no taste. Apparently, Everclear is not available in all
States. A close second choice is 151 proof rum. This is a light amber
liquid that is 75% ethanol that has a sweet taste. One of our
caregiver writers will use nothing but Korbel brandy because she likes
the taste. Others use iced Russian vodka. These “normal” distilled
spirits are 40% to 50% ethanol. Some patients find that the higher
proofs ethanols like Everclear and 151 rum burn too much under the
tongue. If burning is a concern consider a high quality 90-100 proof
Cold Extraction and purification- Use at least one ounce of starting
material to each pint of ethanol. Place cold powdered kief or ground
cannabis flowers together with ethanol in a glass quart-mixing jar.
Close the jar tightly and vigorously shake for five minutes then
return to the freezer. Continue to agitate the mixture every few hours
with refreezing. Continue for a period of two to three days.
Pour the cold mixture through a double thickness of sterile
cheesecloth. Save the cheesecloth “ball” for topical uses or use the
material to make bud butter once dried. The liquid collected through
the cheesecloth should then be filtered twice through a paper coffee
filter. Use gloves throughout the process, as it is necessary to
squeeze the cheesecloth and coffee filters to facilitate the
extraction. Without gloves some of the material will be absorbed on
If Everclear is used the tincture will be pale green to golden. If 151
rum is used an amber tincture results. Dark green tinctures mean that
excess plant material is present. This does not mean that the tincture
will not be potent, just taste nasty. When Everclear is used, various
flavor extracts may be added (vanilla, raspberry, etc.). Be careful to
use only a few drop of flavor extract.
Traditional or Warm Method
The old fashioned (and effective) way to make tincture from trim, leaf
or “shake” is to grind the plant material to expose surface area. A
fine grind is not needed and will just make the tincture cloudy. A
rough chop will do. Most folks can’t afford to use kief or bud for
tincture but may have leaf handy. If so, this is the way to go. Use
ethanol as described above in the same proportions. The key difference
is that in this preparation the materials are kept warm (not hot).
Light must be avoided.
Place the ethanol and chopped cannabis in a large glass Mason jar.
Shake at least once a day. Place the jar in a brown paper bag or
otherwise shield the jar from light. Leave in a warm spot (near a
window) for 30-60 days. The mixture will turn a very dark green.
Strain as previously described through cheesecloth. Save the “shake
ball” for topical applications.
While this method produces a nasty tasting tincture, it is powerful.
It may upset some fragile stomachs. It is recommended that Warm
Tincture be used orally in cranberry juice or coffee with sugar. Keep
the filtered tincture in light blocking glass jars or bottles in a
cool dry place (refrigerator or freezer is fine). The shake ball
should also be kept in the freezer. For topical applications, just
take out the cold shake ball and apply a few drops of fresh tincture
to the cloth then hold it on the affected area for a few minutes with
by Leanne Barron