How to make your own cannabis drops

Tinctures are one of the oldest medical cannabis modalities.
Tinctures are one of the oldest medical cannabis modalities. (Photo by Bruce Wolf)

Celebrity cannabis chef Laurie Wolf takes you from zero to hero in the kitchen with our series “Cannabis Cooking Basic with Laurie Wolf.” This week: how to make your own cannabis tincture.

One of the oldest forms of medical cannabis is still one of the best and most popular — a tincture, liquid extract made with either alcohol or vegetable glycerin, typically taken sublingually (under the tongue). And it’s simple to make your own.

Tinctures are both smoke and vapor-free — much better for your lungs than smoking. (And since there is no smoke there is no smell. Because there are a large number of tiny capillaries in both the cheek and under the tongue, sublingual ingestion gets the medicine into your bloodstream quickly. The onset of effects can begin within 5 to 15 minutes. Effects last about 30 minutes to 2 hours (not as long as edibles). Finally, adjusting the level of a dose is relatively easy.

Though tinctures can cost up to $100 a bottle in stores, they require no special equipment or preparation to make at home.  and are easy to use, small and convenient.

The taste of a tincture can sometimes be unpleasant and occasionally dreadful. If that’s a problem, wash yours down with something tasty.

Tip: To use, place a few drops under the tongue and allow them to absorb before swallowing. If you find the taste displeasing, you can add it to a sweet beverage, though that will change time to onset as well as strengthen and lengthen effects.

How to measure and test dosage: : In our kitchen, we cook with cannabis that has 15 percent THC, which results in 10 milligrams of THC per ½ teaspoon of this tincture. If you need a higher or lower dose, you can use more or less cannabis when making your tincture. Cannabis is also often sold information on cannabidiol (CBD) content as well. To calculate CBD content in your tincture, factor CBD instead of THC into the above equations. For example, using this recipe, a strain with 5 percent CBD will result in a tincture with 3 mg CBD per ½ teaspoon of tincture.

To use, start with ⅛ teaspoon (12 drops) of cannabis tincture under the tongue and wait 4 hours to fully assess your reaction to its strength and effects.