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.
- No special equipment required!
- 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.
- Versatile and can be made with your favorite strain of cannabis flowers.
- Dietary Features: vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, fat-free.
Why You Will Love This Method
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.
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- 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.
- The most common recommendation for decarboxylating THCA to THC is to bake the flower at 240° F for 40 minutes.
- The most common recommendation for decarboxylating CBDA to CBD is to bake the flower at 240°F for 90 minutes.
- The most common recommendation for decarboxylating CBGA to CBG is to bake the flower at 220°F for 60 minutes.
- The most common recommendation for degrading THC to CBN is to bake the flower at 240°F 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.
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
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.
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!
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:
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Green Dragon Cannabis Alcohol Tincture
- 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.