TINCTURES & SUBLINGUAL
Among numerous ways of marijuana consumption, there are the ones that are especially user-friendly: easy-to-use, fast-acting, convenient. One of the most underrated cannabis products is a cannabis tincture.
Essence of cannabis tincture
Cannabis tincture, sometimes referred to as a «green dragon», is actually the alcohol infused with marijuana. Market tinctures usually come in small bottles with a dropper for precise dosage. Some tinctures are alcohol-free: they are created by dissolving marijuana in a vegetable glycerin or the oil.
Alcohol in a tincture works as a solvent: it helps to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from marijuana flower. Depending on the type of extracted cannabinoid, a tincture might be THC-, THCA-, CBD-based, or have a mixed ratio.
Tincture is a perfect alternative to smoking for both medical and recreational users. It is easy to take, it does not irritate lungs, and it requires no special equipment or preparation. It is enough just to place a few drops under the tongue and let them dissolve; the effects will not be long in coming.
Cannabis tincture has been successfully used as a therapeutic product for more than a hundred years. The first mention of alcohol infused with cannabis dates back to 1840, when Queen Victoria used it as a menstrual pain reliever. Soon after that, in 1850, cannabis tincture becomes recognized as a medical treatment and gets catalogued in U.S. Pharmacopoeia. It is claimed to be effective for treating cholera, typhus, neuralgia, insanity and convulsions.
However, with the time cannabis lost its appeal as a therapeutic product because of quick development of the pharmaceutical sphere and appearance of new effective medication. Tinctures are re-discovered in almost a hundred years, when recognized pharmaceutical laboratories produce market cannabis extracts. At the beginning of 20th century, there already are effective medical cannabis tinctures supported by sufficient research that proves their effectiveness.
Psychoactive tinctures that are based on THC begin to appear after marijuana legalization. Now, tinctures are not only the effective medication of numerous health problems, but also a quick and easy way to get intoxicated with cannabis.
Key 7 benefits of using a tincture
Cannabis tincture has plenty of benefits in comparison with more traditional ways of consumption. Check the list to make sure:
Discretion of use.
A bottle with cannabis medicine looks just like any other pharmaceutical product and it does not have a grassy marijuana smell. It is a perfect choice for those who do not want to attract attention.
When cannabis is used for medical purpose, dosage is important. With a dropper, it is easy to get exactly the required amount. Moreover, this is good for recreational users, too. THC overdosage is highly unlikely with a tincture if you know your dose.
Smoking marijuana is much more time consuming. With tinctures, you are able to get your treatment on the go.
Getting low calories.
Edible lovers consume much sugar and other additives together with their cannabinoids. Tinctures are a healthy choice: they usually stay within 5-10 calories per ml.
Sublingual absorption provides a fast onset, which is very favorable for those who look for urgent pain treatment or simply do not want to wait.
Long shelf life.
If stored in appropriate conditions, tinctures might last up to 15 months.
Tinctures can be used for cooking edibles or simply to infuse the ready-made cooking delicacies. It is worth noting that the way of absorption thus will be changed to the gastrointestinal so the effects will be delayed. Another way of application is topical: a tincture is applied directly to skin to get the local healing effect.
Sublingual absorption: how it works
To take a tincture, one should use a dropper to place the liquid under the tongue. In a mouth, there are dense mucosal membranes near cheeks and a semipermeable membrane under the tongue. Via these membranes, a liquid infused with cannabinoids gets into the bloodstream. As a result, cannabis medicine comes to the brain as fast as possible.
The significant benefit of this way of absorption in comparison with eating and drinking (edibles) is that there is no need to digest cannabis — the process that is both unpleasant and potentially unsafe for your body.
There is a popular mistake that regards the tincture absorption: unexperienced users sometimes consume it orally swallowing the liquid. This way, they let the cannabinoids be absorbed through the stomach and metabolized by the liver. The whole process might take up to few hours during which a user frequently repeat the first dose or even increase it. The intoxication that comes within few hours is too hard and unexpected; it often results in paranoia, hallucinations and psychosis. To avoid these problems, it is recommended not to swallow the tincture but to keep it under the tongue for a while.
How to dose a tincture properly?
Dosing differs depending on the brand and cannabinoid amount in a certain product. For most tinctures, the recommended dose is 1 ml for the first try. Evaluate the results and increase the amount next time if it is necessary. «Start low, go slow» motto works right with tinctures as well as with other cannabis products.
How cannabis tinctures are made
To produce a cannabis tincture, it is necessary to extract active cannabinoids into a liquid. This liquid might be either ethanol (alcohol), vegetable glycerin (a combination of plant oils), or a definite oil (coconut, olive, etc.)
The effectiveness of cannabinoid extraction depends on the type of liquid chosen. The use of alcohol allows to get the most potent tinctures since they are most effective at breaking the plant matter in order to get valuable compounds. Oils are a safe choice for accidental digestion but they are less effective in cannabinoid extraction.
The main principle of tincture production is as follows: the solvent dissolves the plant marijuana placed in it to extract it main chemical compounds (cannabinoids and terpenes). The plant material then gets removed and the liquid is cleared and filtered. The resultant solution is a cannabis tincture.
Storing: myth and reality
The main rules for storing a cannabis tincture is the same as for all cannabis products: absence of heat and direct sunlight, keeping in a cool dry place. The best place for storing tinctures is the fridge: it is always cool and protected from any disruptive factors.
Tinctures are known and valued for the long storing period. Manufacturers claim that they can stay for a few months without any changes in their chemical composition. However, this data has proved to be unreliable according to the research performed by a London Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy.
The cannabis tinctures that were taken for experiment were claimed to have 3 months` shelf life at a room temperature or 15 months in a fridge. Scientists have checked the chemical composition in each of the cases and have made the unexpected conclusions:
- room temperature: after 3 months’ shelf life, the tincture contained only 15% of the initial cannabinoid amount;
- fridge: after 15 months of storing, the tincture contained 45% of the initial cannabinoid amount.
Conclusion: tinctures that are stored for a long period become less effective. To get maximum from your cannabis products, store them in a fridge and do not keep them for too long.
Tinctures for medical use: what they treat
As a medical product, cannabis tincture has a number of applications. To get the maximum therapeutic effect and to avoid unnecessary intoxication, it is recommended to choose CBD- or THCA-based products. They are non-psychoactive and are only aimed at providing therapeutic benefits. The combination of CBD and THC is good for severe pain and conditions.
The main indications for using a cannabis tincture are the following:
- pain and inflammation;
- nausea followed by vomiting or diarrhea;
- epilepsy and seizures;
- anxiety disorders;
- low appetite
- cancer (as an auxiliary treatment).
To get the maximum effect, it is necessary to choose the right cannabinoid ratio. High CBD to low THC is good for treating inflammation, pain, anxiety and insomnia. Equal CBD and THC content is used for cancer, inflammation followed by pain and spinal cord injuries. Low CBD to high THC is the intoxicating medicine used for severe pain, cancer with tumors, a strong need in appetite stimulation.
Side effects of marijuana tinctures depend on the type of prominent cannabinoid. If it is CBD, the potential negative effects might be:
- A dry mouth;
- Interference with the work of other medications (CBD might interact with heart medication and decrease its efficiency).
- Low energy and self-esteem (if CBD treatment is used for a long period of time).
THC component provides more hazards to physical and mental health of the consumer:
- Actual intoxication. For medical users, it might be an unpleasant side effect that breaks their life schedule.
- Potential harm to a consumer or his environment. Being unable to fully control her movements, an intoxicated person might bring harm to herself or other people.
- Memory problems. Cannabis negatively influences the work of a short-term memory.
- Addiction. THC-based forms of marijuana are addictive if used on a regular basis.
Considering these side effects, it is necessary to evaluate the therapeutic benefits and potential risks of marijuana tinctures in each separate case.