Are you excited to make your very first cannabis tincture? Let me guide you! Here, you will 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.
Table of Contents
- Why You Will Love This Guide
- Weed Tinctures 101
- What You’ll Need
- The Step-by-Step Process
- Storage Instructions
- Notes and Expert Tips
- Don’t Forget To Decarb First
- Cannabis Recommendations
- Alcohol Recommendations
- Evaporation Recommendations
- Different Ways To Make A Tincture
- How To Use A Tincture
- Green Dragon Tincture Recipe Recipe
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Recipes You Will Love Using Tincture
- Just 2 ingredients needed: cannabis and alcohol
- Can be used as a tincture, made into FECO, or edibles
- Want to make it easy? Skip the hard work, order my Bliss MCT Oil, and have it delivered straight to your door – now shipping across the United States!
Why You Will Love This Guide
If you are ready to try making a marijuana tincture recipe 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 traditional method of creating a long soak, alcohol-based cannabis tincture called Green Dragon.
- If you’re looking for another option, be sure to check out my different tincture recipes:
- Golden Dragon QWET freezer tincture
- CBDA tincture
- THCA tincture
- Cannabis root tincture
- MCT oil ‘tincture’
This recipe is the easiest method for beginners to follow, and this guide will teach you everything you need to know about making your own tincture at home.
In this guide, I will help you discover the best way to make a tincture, what ingredients you need, the step-by-step process, and all the different ways to use it once it’s prepared, with fully answered FAQs to help you along the way.
Weed Tinctures 101
Before we jump into making our own cannabis tincture for the first time, let’s quickly look at what a tincture is because the process can be new to most people – it was to me!
To get a better understanding of this process, think of vanilla extract. It is simply vanilla beans soaked in alcohol to capture the flavor.
The alcohol pulls out the plant’s active compounds and dissolves them in the liquid. This liquid can then be reduced, concentrating the potency.
There are many other types of tinctures. Green dragon is simply a name for this specific type of cannabis tincture and the process used to make it.
Benefits Of Tinctures
Traditional weed tinctures are easy to make at home, easy to consume, and don’t add many calories to your diet.
Unlike smoking, tinctures don’t have a strong smell once they’re made, so they are more discreet and easy to use in public.
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.
Because tinctures are 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.
Of course, this will be dependent upon your own unique endocannabinoid system.
What You’ll Need
- Dried cannabis flowers: Choose your desired amount of dried cannabis flowers, in grams, to use. Measure and record this weight if you want to calculate the potency at the end. You can choose THC, CBD, or CBG flowers. You can purchase flowers from my online shop. Do not forget to decarb before getting started.
- High-proof alcohol: You want at least 150 proof, ideally 190 or 200 proof grain alcohol. Lower-proof alcohols, like vodka, are not as strong. Be sure to check out my guide for where you can order high-proof grain alcohol online.
Note: The recipe card below has a complete list of ingredients with amounts and printable instructions.
The Step-by-Step Process
- Using a digital scale, measure the amount of cannabis you are using. This will help you calculate the potency later. If you haven’t already, decarb your cannabis if desired. You can use an oven, Instant Pot, or decarb machine. See the decarboxylation guide below for different CBD, CBG, or THC times.
- Put the decarboxylated cannabis flower (or trim, shake, kief) in a mason jar.
- Pour the alcohol over the cannabis. You only need enough to cover the plant matter. Any more is a waste.
- Attach the lid and shake the cannabis mixture gently.
- Step 5 – Place the jar in a cool, dark location, like a cupboard or even the freezer, and leave it to infuse for 24 hours to 30 days. See notes below for timing and lab tests. You can gently shake the jar every few days if desired.
- Step 6 – When ready, strain the tincture through a filter, like a coffee filter, into a new clean glass jar.
- Step 7 – Store in a dark jar, like this dropper bottle. You may want to use a small funnel for this process. Keep this in a cool, dark place for up to several months or even longer.
- Step 8 – Move on to evaporate the alcohol, if desired.
Note: Complete step-by-step printable instructions are located in the recipe card below.
Tinctures are usually stored in glass bottles with a dropper, making a tincture more accurate and easy to dose.
Store your tincture in glass, not plastic. Like this dropper bottle, a dark jar 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 if made properly.
Always keep your tincture out of direct sunlight to preserve as many health benefits as possible.
Notes and Expert Tips
Cannabis alcohol tinctures are generally pretty forgiving; however, there are a few things to know ahead of time to help you with the process.
Don’t Forget To Decarb First
One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen my Well With Cannabis Community members make is forgetting to decarb the plant material before mixing it with the alcohol.
For compounds like CBD and THC to become active, they need to be heated at a low temperature over a certain period of time.
Therefore, the first step to making a successful cannabis tincture involves decarboxylating the plant material.
- THCA → Δ9-THC – bake at 240°F/116°C for 40 minutes
- CBDA → CBD – bake at 240°F/116°C for 90 minutes
- CBGA → CBG – bake at 220°F/105°C for 60 minutes
- Δ9-THC → 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.
Keep this in mind as you choose how much cannabis to use, as well as what strain of cannabis to use.
Using your favorite cannabis strains is one of the easiest ways to personalize your cannabis tincture recipe to make it suit your needs and desired medicinal purposes.
You can also make different cannabinoid-dominant tinctures, like:
- CBD alcohol tincture using a CBD flower
- CBG alcohol tincture using a CBG flower
- THC tincture using a THC flower
Just remember to record how much cannabis you start with, in grams, if you want to try and calculate the potency of your cannabis tincture.
It is essential to use high-proof grain alcohol for the best quality extraction.
The reason I recommend pure grain alcohol is that it is the best solvent for extracting the trichomes from the plant material and leaving them suspended in a cannabis-infused alcohol mixture.
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.
Here is my complete guide to where you to get high-proof alcohol for making tinctures.
Do not use any type of alcohol that is not graded as food-safe, such as isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). This is toxic to consume.
Your homemade tincture will burn when you place it under your tongue or in your mouth for sublingual use.
To counteract this, you will want to evaporate the alcohol. This process will leave you with a more concentrated tincture, meaning you will be able to take less
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 95-100% of the alcohol, you will be left with full-extract cannabis oil (FECO), a powerful concentrated cannabis extract.
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.
Combining high-proof alcohol with open flames can be extremely dangerous. Before attempting any alcohol evaporation, ensure you are being safe. Proper ventilation, no open flames, and common sense go a long way.
Different Ways To Make A 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.
However, there 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, quick wash extraction technique, or a freezer tincture.
A traditional cannabis tincture like the Green Dragon recipe 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 it produces a much lighter colored tincture with a much more mild cannabis taste.
So which option is better? 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.
This leaves you, the consumer, with the decision of choosing potency over taste.
How To Use A Tincture
Okay, yay, you’ve made it! Hopefully, you have made or are ready to make your tincture. But before you do so, let’s talk about how to use a tincture.
There are multiple ways to use a tincture, which basically all comes down to personal preference.
Thankfully, we have a complete step-by-step guide for how to use a tincture here.
In short, a tincture can be used:
Green Dragon Tincture Recipe
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lab tests here suggest that letting the tincture steep for up to 30 days will produce the most potent end product.
You can, but it won’t be as potent as a tincture made with high-proof alcohol. The higher the alcohol content, the more effective the solvent.
Yes, if you prepare your tincture with THC-dominant flower and decarb, there is a potential for your own green dragon tincture to get you high, depending on how much you consume.
If you want to gauge the effectiveness of a tincture, start with a small dosage and then increase it drop by drop until you feel the effects. Add or omit drops as needed until you find your sweet spot. If you know the potency of your final product, you may be able to start with more drops of tincture, depending on your dosage requirements. For best results, check my dosing guide first.
Yes, you can; however, it is best to use dried flowers if you want a longer shelf life. Remember, moisture is the enemy of any tincture.
If you know the % THC or CBD in your starting material and you weighed it to know how many grams you used; you can input these values into my edibles potency calculator to get a guesstimate of your final potency.
While most of the good stuff will now be in your tincture, yes, there will be trace amounts of cannabinoids left over in the plant material, making it worth saving for some people. Discover all of the different ways to use the leftover pulp here.
The burn is real. To help reduce it, you have a few options. You can leave the tincture to sit at room temperature for several days to evaporate, or you can follow one of these methods to evaporate some of the alcohol. If you want to keep it simple, adding a few drops of tincture to a glass of hot water or tea is a great way to naturally evaporate the alcohol.
No. Many people think that a very dark green tincture means it’s a good product; however, color has no correlation with potency. As you will learn, following the QWET method results in a lighter color tincture with similar potency.
It is totally understandable to have reasons to want to be alcohol-free. When it comes to cannabis, you have a few options. 1. Make this homemade cannabis tincture and evaporate off nearly all of the alcohol so there is none left. 2. Make an oil infusion instead. 3. Try a vegetable glycerin tincture.
Yes, you can; however, you do not need a machine to make a cannabis tincture; it is easy enough to do yourself at home.
Technically, yes, but you don’t really need to. You can, however, use your crockpot to create a water bath that will help evaporate some of the alcohol at the end.