Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why do you have to use tinctures and extracts?

I had to know. You always hear varying opinions on what type of extract or tincture to use and of course, people sometimes just put cannabis in straight-no tincture.
That is a total waste, so much cannabis is usually used for only a few goodies and if the temperatures are not right, then it doesn't matter anyways- which is most often what happens.

Plus,digesting cannabis is so much more effective and easier if you have it in a form your body can breakdown easier.

So I started looking at books and websites, because I wanted to know why. After all, it is a lot more extra effort, not to mention time to create extracts and tinctures.

The why is simple-THC is a hydrophobic oil. That means it is insoluble in water, but it can be extracted into fats, oils or alcohol. Our body recognizes and can break these down far better than just straight up eating cannabis.


Heat is also an important element. Most THC in cannabis originally starts out as THCA which is not psychoactive, to turn this active you need heat.

cannabis tincture

This is where decarboxylation comes in. Decarboxylation releases the carbon dioxide, which in turn converts THCA to THC. To decarboxylate cannabis, you apply heat to cannabis, which also happens during the drying and curing process of cannabis to a smaller degree.

The amount of heat needed to decarboxylate is at or below 240 degrees F. The time needed will depend on how much moisture is in the cannabis.

Opinions and methods greatly vary, but do not go above 240 degrees F. Some people find that 200 to 210 degrees F for 2 hours works or 240 degrees F for an hour. Keep in mind the time will be dependent on how much moisture is in the cannabis.

Heat is not always necessary. When creating some tinctures, you don't decarboxylate cannabis, you soak it in high proof alcohol. This creates a tincture with high amounts of THCA and very little THC, which is good for its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, but you will not have the psychoactive effects, the high, that THC would give.


I have found that even with the extra time and effort to make the extracts and tinctures, it does make it much easier to successfully cook with it, as you can substitute any oil, butter, fat in a recipe for the extract according to how much dosage you wish. Tinctures can be even easier than that, just add it in.

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