Discover the difference between the Golden Dragon vs. Green Dragon tincture, review the pros and cons of each method, and see real-world lab tests that tell us which method is more potent and by how much.
- An overview of the Green Dragon vs. Golden Dragon tincture
- Pros and cons for each method, including taste vs. potency
- Lab results that show which option is more potent
Why You Will Love This Guide
If you are a member of my Well With Cannabis Community, you may already be familiar with the standard alcohol-based cannabis tincture.
Preparing a cannabis tincture involves pouring alcohol over cannabis flower buds or leaves to extract the medicine, like CBD and THC, from the plant matter.
The resulting tincture can be used for various purposes, including under the tongue or to create tasty recipes.
There are two standard processes for creating a tincture, the Golden Dragon QWET Tincture method and the Green Dragon Long Soak Tincture method.
Each process has its pros and cons that we will explore below, but the most crucial question is - which one is more potent?
For a reliable, science-based answer, I sent samples off for lab testing to determine once and for all - which method is more potent and by how much.
Continue reading to learn more about the pros and cons of each method, and read the lab tests for yourself so you can decide which method is right for you.
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The Purpose of This Research
The research presented in this post aims to identify the ideal method for maximum cannabinoid extraction and minimum chlorophyll release when making an at-home cannabis alcohol tincture by comparing the Golden Dragon (QWET) Tincture method to the Green Dragon (Long Soak) Tincture method.
TL: DR - Per lab test results, the Green Dragon Long Soak Tincture method produces a more potent tincture. The longer the soak, the more potent the final product, until a certain point. However, this method produces a stronger-tasting tincture with more residual plant matter like chlorophyll.
This leaves you, the consumer, deciding to choose potency over taste. Continue reading to determine which method is suitable for you.
What is the Golden Dragon Tincture?
QWET stands for ‘quick wash extraction technique’ or ‘quick wash ethanol extraction’ and is a cannabis tincture often called the Golden Dragon or Ice Dragon.
This QWET extraction method makes a cannabis tincture using frozen cannabis, cold high-proof grain alcohol, and quicker wash times.
This method produces a lighter-colored, less-intensely flavored – but still highly potent – cannabis extract.
Compared to a traditional Green Dragon tincture, this quick wash freezer method produces a much lighter colored tincture with a much more mild cannabis taste.
The QWET method is preferred due to its mild taste and flavor, resulting in better-tasting edibles.
Pros and Cons of the QWET Tincture
|Quicker to produce||Less potent per lab testing|
|Produces better-tasting edibles||Requires upfront prep work|
|Produces a much more mild cannabis taste that many people prefer||Pulls fewer plant compounds, resulting in a less full-spectrum experience|
What is the Green Dragon Tincture?
A traditional cannabis tincture called the Green Dragon involves combining cannabis flowers and alcohol in a vessel and letting them sit and steep for a prolonged period, 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, resulting in a complete full-extract cannabis oil after the alcohol is evaporated.
Many believe that a complete plant extract that includes more plant compounds like chlorophyll and terpenes produces a more medicinal final product.
Pros and Cons of the Green Dragon Tincture
|More potent per lab testing - until a certain point||Requires long waiting times|
|Pulls more plant compounds for a more full-spectrum experience||Produces a much stronger cannabis taste that many people do not like|
|Better suited for making FECO||Produces less desirable tasting edibles|
Lab Test Results with Photos
Before lab testing, we knew that the Golden Dragon tincture was preferred over the Green Dragon tincture for its better taste.
But many people wondered if we were sacrificing taste for potency.
So I conducted a series of tests by preparing the tinctures according to the directions on the blog and sent the samples in for lab testing.
I tested the Golden Dragon single wash compared to the Green Dragon Long Soak for 24 hours, 5 days, 8 days, 30 days, and 60 days.
The results show that overall the Green Dragon tincture was slightly more potent than the Golden Dragon tincture.
The potency of the Green Dragon tincture continued to increase slightly from 24 hours through 30 days.
However, between 30 days and 60 days, there was a degradation in the potency, showing a reduction in the number of cannabinoids available.
These results suggest that up to 30 days is a good soak time for the Green Dragon tincture, but anything more than that can be detrimental to the final product.
Results Per Dropper
When looking at the lab test results, I found it easier to visualize the information based on measured dropperfuls.
Each measured dropper has a 1mL mark.
Remember that 1mL = 1 gram, or that 1 gram = 1mL.
On the lab tests shown below, you will see the very right-hand result is printed in mg/g, which translates into mg/mL.
Results Per Bottle
Now let's look at the results per bottle and compare.
A standard tincture bottle holds 30mL or 30 doses of the droppers shown above.
When looking at the results per dropperful, the potency seems quite similar among the first four samples.
But when you look at the results per bottle full, it seems that the potency does vary between the Golden Dragon and 30-day Green Dragon tincture.
That's a difference of 69mg per 30mL bottle!
And then you will see that it dramatically drops off between the 30-60 day tincture. The final test has the lowest potency result.
This suggests that any soaking time over 30-days is not ideal and may lead to degradation of the cannabinoids.
Which One is Right For You?
With all this information presented, it is time for you to decide - which one is right for you.
It is most definitely a question of taste vs. potency here.
The Golden Dragon no doubt tastes better as a sublingual or to make edibles.
But the Green Dragon is undoubtedly more potent overall, but only until a certain point.
Think about your end goals. What are you trying to achieve? Delicious, tasty homemade cannabis edibles? Or a more medicinal end product like FECO?
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Thankfully now have the education and resources needed to make an educated decision for yourself.
If you've never made your tincture before but are ready to try it now, be sure to grab the recipes I have here:
- Golden Dragon QWET Freezer Tincture
- Green Dragon Long Soak Traditional Tincture
- CBDA (Cannabidolic Acid) Tincture
- THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid) Tincture
- Cannabis Root Tincture
Don't forget to evaporate the alcohol if you find the burn of the alcohol too overwhelming.
The Actual Lab Tests
If you're interested in seeing the actual lab tests used and reviewing them for yourself, I am happy to share them here.
I will share 7 lab tests; the first is the decarboxylated material we started with that serves as the control, followed by the 6 tinctures.
To prepare each of the tinctures, we used 12.18 grams of decarboxylated CBD flower (14 grams before decarbing, but we accounted for the 0.87 loss associated with the process.)
We then used 8 ounces of Everclear 190 Proof Grain Alcohol for each tincture.
Each method was followed precisely as printed in the instructions:
Test 1 - Control Material Decarbed CBD Flower
We started with CBD flower decarboxylated for 90-minutes using this decarboxylation process.
Test 2 - Golden Dragon QWET Freezer Tincture
These are the results of the Golden Dragon tincture.
Test 3 - Green Dragon Tincture 24-Hour Soak
These are the results for the Green Dragon tincture that was left to soak for 24 hours.
Test 4 - Green Dragon Tincture 5-Day Soak
These are the results of the Green Dragon tincture that was left to soak for 5 days.
Test 5 - Green Dragon Tincture 8-Day Soak
These are the results of the Green Dragon tincture that was left to soak for 8 days.
Test 6 - Green Dragon Tincture 30-Day Soak
These are the results of the Green Dragon tincture that was left to soak for 30 days.
Test 7 - Green Dragon Tincture 60-Day Soak
These are the results of the Green Dragon tincture that was left to soak for 60 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
A few reasons. Cost is one; we are NYS licensed hemp farmers, so we have access to an abundance of CBD products. Legality is the other, we are legally not allowed to ship THC samples across state lines, and the lab we use is in Colorado. I am confident that these cannabinoids function the same within the tests, and that if I used a THC dominant flower, the results would be the same.
Yes, definitely. The trichomes containing cannabinoids should not act differently in testing based on their makeup.
Any Remaining Questions?
I know a lot of information was shared here!
If you have any more questions about these results, please join the Well With Cannabis Facebook Community or post your question below.
Have you or anyone tried starting with the Green Dragon method, say for a month, and then taking that and doing the Golden Dragon method. I wonder what that might do.
Dennis, I don't think you would get the benefits of the freezing process outlined in the Golden Dragon method if you make a Green Dragon tincture first.
So based off of lab test results, what percentage of your starting material was actually extracted? Or maybe i should ask how much loss was there compared to making MCT tincture. Trying to get an idea on starting percentage and end result percentage for dosing.
Daniel, I don't have lab tests to compare this to an MCT oil extraction, but from my understanding, the alcohol extraction method should be the more efficient method.
How many washes did you do with the QWET? I wonder if multiple washes would’ve been a similar yield to the 24hr soak.
Brad, I did three washes.
Did you ever get results from your two month test? That would be very important to know.
Hey Mike, I just updated the post and added them. I hope that helps!
I have a technical question.
In reference to your testing results:
Test#1 shows 18.45% CBD in decarb flower
Test#5 reveals only 1.19% CBD in 8-day “green” soak.
Does this infer that approx. 17.26% CBD remains in the leftover plant material?
Hey David, thanks for reading. No, this does not infer that 17.26% CBD remains in the plant material. You are comparing two different things - dry cannabis flower and a solution of cannabis and alcohol. The volume of the alcohol skews the percentage. The first test just shows that 18.45% of the flower material is CBD and that it contains 184.5mg of CBD per gram of dry flower. I hope this helps!
After conducting my own research and producing my own THC, CBD, and CBG-dominant ethanol tinctures (around a dozen), I keep returning to your method. You've managed to distill (ha) this process down to a simple list of memorable and clear instructions.
Your writing and experimentation is greatly appreciated and has brought much health to myself and my community.
Merci, Emily !
You are so kind, thank you for sharing your experience, Régine, I really appreciate it!
I really enjoy reading your articles and have found them to be extremely informative. One question I have in reference to the green dragon (long soak) method is do you need to agitate the jar at all during the soak process?
Hey Jeff, thank you so much! You can gently shake if you want to, it certainly wont hurt 😀
24 hour Green Dragon seems like a no brainer after seeing all the data.
I'm so glad the data helped you make a decision, Björn!
Hello! Fantastic site. According to my calculations using your calculator (thank you by the way!), my 8oz. of green dragon tincture should have 2216.18mg of CBD. Does that number refer to the most you can possibly extract, say after thirty days, for example? I'm trying to calculate the potency of a 3-day everclear soak of 14g of 19% CBD flower.
I also left my green dragon in the freezer. Is there any benefit to doing so? Thank you so much for your work on this site!
Hello Daniel, thank you so much! Yes, that would be the *maximum* possible, and its always safe to assume you will lose a little bit along the way. There's no benefit to putting the Green dragon in the freezer once made (that I am aware of) but it's not harming it either 😀 Happy tincture making!
I'm assuming it makes a difference if using sativa,hybrid or indiga and potency of flower used effects outcome.
Yes, it absolutely does make a difference, Charlie!
Very interesting article. I wonder if there is just less THC in the 60 day green dragon because the THC is decaying? I heard that chlorophyll leads to faster degradation. So it would be interesting to test golden vs green dragon storage behavior. E.g. test both initially and after 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, half a year and a year maybe. If it's true that chlorophyll leads to faster degradation then after some time of storing the golden dragon should be stronger than the green dragon.
Thanks for reading, Chris, I wondered this, too. It would definitely take a lot of lab testing to know for sure!
First thank you for all of the information you have provided on your website. Did you "burn" off any of the alcohol before submitting? I plan on doing a tincture with a quarter and using about 4oz of golden grain based off your recipe. If I were to have the exact same bud, if I let half of the dragon tincture evaporate being left with 2 ounces, would I be looking at around 10mg in a half of a ml? I tried making a tincture once with ABV and didnt do a burn off. I swear it burned off a layer under my tongue. Was very "hot"!
Also planning on making a MCT infusion as well with a different batch of buds. Gonna find out what i like more. I am getting to the age where I hate smoking for all of the negative reasons people list.
Hello Drew; you are most welcome; thank you for the kind words. No, I did not burn off any alcohol before submitting. There is no way to know how many milligrams there will be in the end product if you don't know the % THC of your starting material. But if you do, the total milligrams of the whole batch will remain the same, no matter how much alcohol you do or do not burn off. The alcohol burn is terrible; you can find my safe evaporation methods here. I hope this helps!
Hi Emily, your resources have been invaluable to me as I try to figure out how to make my own edibles. It's a surprisingly scientific world! I have done many searches and talked to many folks and your processes are by far the clearest and seemingly most research based of them all. So up front, thank you!
I did have a question about the above. If I use the freezer/golden method and then let sit at room temp for 24 hours before draining would that be best of both worlds or does that have unforseen consequences I'm missing?
Renée from Team EKN
Hi M! Thank you for much for your kind words! Emily works hard to continuously improve the cannabis education she offers and it’s always rewarding to receive such wonderful feedback. 🤗 No consequences other than your tincture may have more of a plant taste as more plant matter will get extracted during the longer soak. That's not really a consequence other than taste though. I hope this helps!