Discover what a cannabis tincture is, what it can be used for, the benefits of making your own, and how to make a traditional Green Dragon cannabis alcohol tincture at home with a simple step-by-step process.
- Just 2 ingredients needed: cannabis flower & high-proof grain alcohol
- Choose your soak time: from 24 hours up to 6 months (with lab tests to show the difference)
- Can be used as a sublingual tincture or made into FECO
Why You Will Love This Guide
If you're ready to try making your own tincture at home, welcome, you're in the right place! Here are a few important things to know first:
This post is specifically dedicated to the long soak, alcohol-based cannabis tincture called 'the Green Dragon'.
If you're looking for another option, be sure to check out my different tincture recipes:
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to make the perfect Green Dragon tincture at home.
Read on to learn how to make your tincture, what ingredients you will need, the step-by-step process, and all the different ways to use your tincture once it's prepared, with fully answered FAQ's.
Buy Cannabutter Online
Skip the hard work and have perfectly dosed, delicious, pure Bliss Cannabutter delivered directly to your door! Shop Now →
- Cannabis flower: You will need your desired amount of cannabis flowers, ranging from 1 gram up to 1 ounce or more. Choose THC, CBD, or CBG dominant flowers. You can purchase them from your local dispensary or purchase hemp flower from my online shop here. Do not forget to decarb before getting started.
- High-proof alcohol: You need high-proof, grain alcohol. You want at least 150 proof, but ideally 190 or 200 proof. Lower proof alcohols, like vodka, are not ideal. Be sure to check out my guide for where you can order high-proof grain alcohol online and have it shipped to your door, or learn more about what to ask for when visiting your local liquor store.
Note: a complete list of ingredients with amounts and printable instructions is located in the recipe card below.
The Step-by-Step Process
- Step 1 - If you haven't already, decarb your cannabis. You can use an oven, Instant Pot, or decarb machine. See the decarb recommendations guide below for different times for CBD, CBG, THC.
- Step 2 - Put the decarbed cannabis flower (or trim, shake, kief) in a mason jar.
- Step 3 - Pour the alcohol over the cannabis. You only need enough to cover the plant-matter. Any more is a waste.
- Step 4 - Attach the lid and shake gently.
- Step 5 - Place the jar in a cool dark location, like a cupboard or even the freezer, and leave to infuse for 24 hours to 6 months. See notes below for timing and lab tests.
- Step 6 - When ready, strain the tincture through a filter.
- Step 7 - Store in a dark jar, like this dropper bottle, in a cool, dark place, up to several months or even longer.
- Step 8 - Move on to evaporating the alcohol, if desired.
Note: complete step-by-step printable instructions are located in the recipe card below.
Store your tincture in glass, not plastic. A dark jar, like this dropper bottle, is ideal, but clear glass is just fine if you store it in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or freezer. Tinctures can be stored for up to several months or even longer.
Notes and Expert Tips
Want to make this recipe perfectly the first time? Check out all of my notes and expert tips below before getting started.
Don't Forget To Decarb First
One of the most frequent mistakes I see made by my Well With Cannabis Community members make is forgetting to decarb first.
For the compounds in cannabis to be active, like CBD and THC, they need to be heated at low temperatures over a certain period of time before being mixed with the alcohol.
Thus, the first step to making a successful cannabis tincture involves decarboxylating the plant matter according to the cannabinoid acid present. Click here for a full guide to cannabis decarboxylation, if needed.
• THCA to Δ9-THC → bake at 240°F/116°C for 40 minutes
• CBDA to CBD → bake at 240°F/116°C for 90 minutes
• CBGA to CBG → bake at 220°F/105°C for 60 minutes
• Δ9-THC to CBN→ bake at 240°F/116°C for 180 minutes
Your cannabis tincture can only be as strong as the material you’re starting with.
High-grade flower buds are going to be more potent than trim or shake, but less potent than kief.
You can also make different cannabinoid-dominant tinctures like a CBD alcohol tincture using CBD flower or a CBG alcohol tincture using CBG flower.
Keep this in mind as you choose what strain and how much cannabis to use.
It is essential to use high-proof grain alcohol for the best quality extraction. Here is my complete guide for where you can get high-proof alcohol for making tinctures.
If you cannot access high proof alcohol, 151 proof will work as well, although it is not as strong of a solvent. You will not achieve the same results with lower-proof alcohol like vodka or rum.
I do not recommend using any alcohol that is not graded as food-safe such as isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol).
Your alcohol-based tincture will burn when placed under the tongue for sublingual use.
To counteract this, you will want to evaporate the alcohol, leaving you with a more concentrated tincture.
How much alcohol you evaporate off will depend on the type of final product you want, but many people typically evaporate off anywhere from 50-100% of the alcohol.
If you evaporate off all of the alcohol, you will be left with full-extract cannabis oil (FECO), a powerful concentrated cannabis extract.
*Warning: Combining high-proof alcohol with open flames can be extremely dangerous. Before attempting any type of alcohol evaporation, ensure you are being safe. Proper ventilation, no open flames, and common sense go a long way*
There are many different ways to evaporate the alcohol, some safer than others.
The most simple way is to let the tincture sit out without a cover to let the alcohol evaporate away naturally over time.
You can also follow the instructions here on how to make full-extract cannabis oil with complete instructions for evaporating the alcohol off.
General Tincture Information
Let's start by looking at what a tincture is. Tinctures are extracts made by soaking the bark, leaves, or roots of herbs in a solvent like alcohol.
The liquid pulls out the active compound in the plants, dissolving them and concentrating them.
When it comes to cannabis tinctures, alcohol is used to extract the active ingredients, including cannabinoids like CBD and THC, and terpenes from the plant material.
Tinctures are usually stored in glass bottles with a dropper, making a tincture a more accurate way to dose and easy to consume.
How To Use A Tincture
A tincture can be used under the tongue, swallowed as-is, or added to a wide range of cannabis recipes.
When taken under the tongue, sublingually, you'll feel the effects quite quickly, within 15-20 minutes.
When swallowed, orally, it may take up to 2-4 hours for the full effects to be felt.
Of course, this will be dependent upon your own unique endocannabinoid system.
Another common use for tinctures is to create edible recipes. Because tinctures are so easily measured, you can add a precise amount to any dish without greatly affecting the final flavor.
It's also easier to test out the exact amount needed to feel the effects and find the minimum effective dose (MED), so you don't use too much.
It's important to remember that cannabis works differently for each person, so it's important to try a few different strains and dosages to find out what works best for you.
If you want to gauge the effectiveness of a tincture, start with a small dosage, and then increase drop by drop until you feel the effects.
Benefits Of Tinctures
Tinctures are a preferred method of consumption because they are easy to make at home and can be used in a variety of ways.
Smoke or vapor can be harsh or unpleasant for some people, which means tinctures are great alternatives.
For people who prefer edibles over smoking or vaping, sublingual tinctures work well because they are easy to consume and don't add a lot of calories to your diet.
And unlike smoking, tinctures don't have a strong smell once they're made, so they are more discreet and easy to use in public.
In addition, you don't need any special equipment to make or consume a tincture.
And, when taken sublingually, it has a very fast onset, so you can quickly tell whether or not you'll need to take more to feel the effects.
Different Ways To Make A Cannabis Tincture
You can scour the internet and find hundreds of different ways to make a cannabis tincture.
There is no one right way to make a tincture, and in fact, several ways different ways are often shared in my Well With Cannabis Community.
There are, however, are different methods used to make a cannabis tincture with slightly different outcomes.
This long-soak, Green Dragon cannabis tincture is one of the two most popular tincture making methods. The second most popular is the Golden Dragon, also known as a QWET tincture, or a freezer tincture.
Green Dragon vs. Golden Dragon Tincture
A traditional cannabis tincture like the Green Dragon involves steeping the cannabis flowers in alcohol for a prolonged period of time, with no freezing required.
I’ve seen traditional tinctures steep anywhere between a few hours to up to 4-6 months or longer in some cases.
Fans of the traditional tincture prefer this method because it is believed that the longer soak times help extract a full spectrum of plant compounds.
In contrast, the Golden Dragon QWET tincture combines frozen cannabis and frozen alcohol for only a few minutes, often called a ‘wash’ or ‘wash times.’
Compared to the Green Dragon, the Golden Dragon is preferred because produces a much lighter colored tincture with a much more mild cannabis taste.
The Green Dragon tincture is preferred by some due to the belief that it produces a more complete plant extract that includes additional plant compounds, like chlorophyll and terpenes, producing a more medicinal final product.
Neither one is right or wrong, it is a matter of personal preference.
Feel free to experiment with it, adapt and adjust your method as you go along, and learn more about your own personal preferences.
What One Is More Potent?
I ran my own lab tests to compare the Green Dragon tincture to the Golden Dragon tincture, and the complete results are posted here.
According to the results, the Green Dragon long soak tincture method produces a more potent tincture.
The results suggest that the longer the soak, the more potent the final product - but not by much.
However, this method also produces a stronger tasting tincture with more residual plant matter like chlorophyll.
This leaves you, the consumer, with the decision of choosing potency over taste.
How to Determine The Dosing
Want to get a more accurate guesstimate of the potency of your cannabis infusions and extractions? Try our popular edibles calculator!
Not sure what your perfect dose is? Learn more here.
Recipes You Will Love Using Tincture
Once you have your cannabis tincture prepared, you can use it in many different types of recipes.
Our most popular recipes to use a cannabis tincture include:
My Edibles Made Easy Online Cooking Course will teach you how to easily make cannabis edibles and topical recipes at home. This step-by-step video course will teach you how to infuse, extract, and create edibles with many different product types - all from the comfort of your own home.
Learn more and enroll today →
Green Dragon Cannabis Alcohol Tincture
- 14 grams decarbed cannabis flower
- 8 ounces high-proof grain alcohol
- If you haven't already, decarboxylate your cannabis. Be sure to decarb according to the specific cannabinoid present: CBD, CBG, THC, etc.
- Place the decarboxylated cannabis flower in a pint-sized mason jar.
- Pour the alcohol over the cannabis flower. You only need to add enough alcohol to completely cover the plant matter. Screw the lid on tightly and shake gently.
- Place the jar in a cool, dark location like a cupboard, or the freezer, and leave it to infuse for anywhere from 24-hours to 6 months. See notes for timing. Shake occasionally.
- After your desired soak time, strain the cannabis through your preferred straining system, separating the plant matter from the alcohol, into a clean mason jar. A coffee filter works well here.
- You now have a cannabis tincture. You can choose to evaporate off some or all of the alcohol now, if desired.
- Store your final tincture in a dark bottle in a cool, dark space.
- You do not need to use the full 14 grams of cannabis called for in this recipe. You can use as much or as little cannabis as you want. For a small, starter batch, start with just 3.5 grams.
- Only use high-proof alcohol, the higher the better. Lower-proof alcohol, like vodka, is not ideal. Use this guide to finding high-proof alcohol, if needed.
- *You do not need to use the full 8 ounces of alcohol, you just need enough to cover all of the cannabis in the container you are using. Anything more is a waste.
- *How long to soak? I’ve seen traditional, long-soak tinctures steep anywhere between a few hours to up to 6 months, or longer, in some cases. Soaking your plant material for longer will slightly increase the potency, but will also increase the amount of chlorophyll and plant matter in your final infusion.
- If you want to make FECO, follow this guide for how to safely evaporate the alcohol from the tincture.
I'm still learning from you, while I'm trying to achieve my goals. I certainly enjoy reading everything that is posted on your blog.Keep the information coming. I loved it!
Thanks so much for your kind words, Zori!
This is a wonderful recipe and is my go to method of use for cannabis. I love your site and am very greatful that you freely share your insights, learning and recipes. I have learned much from you and continue to do so. Thank you so much!!
Thank you so much for your sweet reply, Dawn, it is much appreciated ☺️
I just ordered 200 proof organic food-grade ethanol from Culinary Solvent.com, and they have a booklet called "4 Cannabis Tincture Myths That Everyone Believes" in which they say, among other things, "On average, the alcohol in your tincture has fully dissolved all available cannabinoids after about 10 minutes. Waiting up to 20 minutes will ensure a full soak and full extract"; the link to the download page is https://culinarysolvent.com/pages/4-cannabis-tincture-myths-that-everyone-believes or I can email you a copy.
The two principals for this company "met while pursuing degrees in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute," and have been selling ethanol products for over 10 years; I'm generally skeptical, but I'm inclined to believe them.
You say "Choose your soak time: from 24 hours up to 6 months (with lab tests to show the difference!)"; can you refer me to those lab tests?
BTW, Culinary Solvent was the only one of the companies you listed that would ships to PA without any special permit or license.
Hey Jon, yes, that is what my lab tests suggest, too! You can find all of the lab tests here and here are the instructions for the quicker, QWET Tincture.
Have you heard of anyone adding mushrooms to their green/ golden dragon? Would the 190 proof everclear hurt the mushrooms? Don’t worry, I have never, nor will never be in any kind of drug or law enforcement agency. I’m a 20 year veteran of the USAF.
Hey Greg, thank you for your service ❤️ This is a great question. I am not very educated when it comes to mushrooms (but I do hope to learn more!) but I believe that the alcohol is too strong of a solvent for them, unfortunately.
I'm new to cannabis and I'm using for pain/anxiety management. I think a tincture is something I'd like to try but, have one question: When leaving the top off to allow the alcohol to evaporate, how do you know when all the alcohol is gone?
Hey Eric. When the alcohol evaporates, it leaves behind a black, sticky residue known as FECO (the medicine we want). You can read this post which has some pictures of what the final product should look like 🙂
How strong is the smell when evaporating the alcohol?
Ayla, it will depend on the size of your room and the airflow, but if you were in a small room with no ventilation, it would smell bad.
Can flavors be added to cut the flavor of the alcohol?
Hey Kerry, yes, you can add food grade essential oils or extracts like vanilla or coconut. These will add flavor but they will not cut the burn of the alcohol. To reduce the burn, you will need to evaporate some of the alcohol first 🙂
Also as a tincture should it still taste/be alcohol tasting? Looking to use it as a sublingual and on/in candy.
Kerry, you will definitely want to evaporate the alcohol to eliminate the burn, especially for sublingual use.
Such a comprehensive.. everything, you really have hit on all the marks!
One of the strains I grew this year has a combination of cbd and thc in their percentage and concentration breakdown. A rarity in the seedbank business, but I tried it and it produced well enough for container grown.. My question is; does the extended length of time for the decarb of cbd somehow negatively alter the thc by lengthening the recommended time for thc , overcooking it per say?
Thanks for your kind words, Jeff! Congrats on the successful grow. From my understanding, its best to decarb for the CBD, as the THC will be fully decarbed, and then if anything, some of that THC may be converted into CBN, aka "the sleep cannabinoid" resulting in a sleepier end product. I don't have lab tests to verify, though. Hopefully soon!
If my tincture turned cloudy over time what did I do wrong. Doesn't look appealing
Hey Gabe, this is likely water that got into the tincture through cross-contamination or wet product. Although it doesn't look appealing, your final product should still be OK 🙂
hey quick question, so i filtered my alcohol and the stuff in the filter kind of looks like kief? is it trash? or is it usable? obviousluy my tincture is green and not cloudy, i did two washes... and working on a 3rd for good measutre.
Hello Niccole! If I'm understanding correctly, it is just leftover plant matter that you would want to discard 🙂
From a Red Dragon a question regarding Green Dragon. After I craft a batch, I keep the tincture over the decarb until I need it, when I make another batch, I add the leftover cannabis from the previous batch after I cover the fresh decarb with new alcohol. Is there an advantage or disadvantages to doing this?
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Frank. Chances are, there is some good stuff stuck in the leftover plant material, making it worth saving and reusing as you do.
Jane Adams Phd
How much tincture do you add
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Jane. You need just enough alcohol to cover the bud completely.
If you wanted to make a 1:1:1 THC:CDB:CBG tincture, would you make all the tinctures separately and then mix equal parts together as the final step to make the final step? Thank you for all you do!
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Teresa. You can make your tincture with all cannabinoids in one or you can make separate then combine. The results will be the same.
Hello! Your site is excellent, I love learning! If I make a batch of tincture with trim, would you recommend using more of it than I would make with bud? Thank you!!
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Erin. Thank you for your kind words! We assume that trim is 50% less potent than flower, so you will definitely want to use more trim when making a tincture.
Hi Emily, does a tincture affect sleep in anyway? Thank you.
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Christina. Tinctures affect everyone differently, but CBN tinctures will definitely affect one's sleep. Do you have particular concerns?
Yes, I made a green dragon tincture and I used 3.5 grams of decarbed flower, I covered it with a littler more everclear than I should have and did not reduce the alcohol at first so I took a full dropper of it last night and this morning woke up feeling like I did not get a goods nights rest. Is this because I did not evaporate the alcohol at all? I also let the tincture sit for 2 weeks. I don’t drink because I have a sensitivity but I’ve loved how the tincture makes me feel, I’m not sure if it’s just the alcohol period for me. Thank you
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Christina. It could be that the tincture isn't strong enough for the desired effects you are looking for. You have two options. You can consume more until you reach your desired effect, or you can evaporate off some alcohol to make the tincture stronger, then take a dropper and adjust accordingly. I hope this helps!
Thank you very much for all your work. Your recipes and your site are awesome, well explained and very informative. Keep the great job 👏
Renée from Team EKN
Hi LuPietro. Thank you so much for your kind words. You put a big smile on Emily's face as well as mine! Emily works hard to improve the cannabis education she offers continuously and it’s always rewarding to receive such wonderful feedback. We love that you love us. 🥰 Thanks again!
Can I use THCA crystals to make a tincture, or is it essential to uae flower? I do want to have maximum THC in the final product, so I'm assuming the crystals need to go through a decarb phase. If so, should I pre-bake for 40 min. at 40 degrees, or could I use a heating method for alcohol evaporation that would convert THCA into THC/delta-9?
Thanks for your website! It has been helpful.
-Will from Tennessee
Firstly this is a great site and thanks so much for sharing all your knowledge and experience with us.
I was wondering what your thoughts are on making Green Dragon with a couple of the Gold Dragon steps in it ... ie freeze cannabis and everclear,
combine , shake and then leave in a dark place for 3 weeks ...
And I notice you leave the heads largely intact instead of broken up ... what's the thinking behind that
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Will. You can use THCA crystals to make a tincture, but you definitely want to decarb for THC at 240º for 25-30 minutes, or until it stops bubbling. When evaporating alcohol with heat, the temperature doesn't usually get high enough for effective decarb.
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Paul. That is an excellent question. Have you seen the lab results of the Green Dragon vs Gold Dragon? Take a look over them here: Golden Dragon vs. Green Dragon Tincture and you can decide if it's beneficial to soak for the extended time. ⏰ We don't recommend breaking up the cannabis too much because you lose a lot of the trichomes in the process, which decreases the potency of your cannabis. Does that make sense?
A little something to share. I have been having a dilemma with Green vs Gold dragon .. but in the end I want a little more potency so I went Green Dragon ... still wanted to improve the colour .. and after much research out in www, came up with the following:
Once your soak is completed , put the mason Jar in the freezer for 24 hours (will precipitate out the waxes etc) ... then immediately filter thru a small ultra fine kitchen sieve and then thru a coffee filter ....
Colour in-between Green and Gold,
much lighter in colour
Better taste (not so bitter and full of chlorophyll)
Hope this is useful (this is a great site!!)
Renée from Team EKN
Hi Paul! Thank you so much for your feedback. Our readers are always looking for new techniques to try! Have you checked out Emily's lab results for Golden Dragon vs. Green Dragon? It's well worth the read! Golden Dragon vs. Green Dragon Tincture