Photo by Daria Shevtsova

Everything You Need to Know About Cannabis Tinctures

In October 2019 Canadians will experience the ‘second wave’ of cannabis legalization, when commercially prepared edibles, topicals and concentrates become legal for adult use. Within the highly anticipated concentrates category are tinctures, traditional cannabis preparations that are valued for being quick, effective and discreet.

Here’s everything you need to know about cannabis tinctures, and how they compare to other available cannabis products:

What are tinctures?

By definition, a tincture is a medicine made by dissolving or extracting active ingredients, such as cannabis or other herbs, in alcohol.

Tinctures may feel new, but humans have been creating medicinal preparations from alcohol-extracted herbs for centuries. In many western countries, cannabis tinctures were a normal part of pharmacy offerings until the early to mid 1900s, when prohibitionist laws began banning their use. It is rumoured that Queen Victoria used a cannabis tincture to treat menstrual pain.

How do tinctures work?

Tinctures can be ingested with food or taken sublingually – in other words, under the tongue. If swallowed or taken with food, cannabis tinctures essentially work like edibles, moving through the digestive track and the liver, and taking up to two hours to reach peak effect.

When tinctures are taken sublingually, they work almost immediately, allowing consumers to quickly gauge their effects. To achieve this experience, simply place your tincture dose under your tongue, and leave it for a little while, allowing it to absorb directly into your sublingual tissues. Avoid swallowing, as this will produce a delayed, edibles-like effect.

What’s my ideal tincture dose?

As with any cannabis product, the best way to find your ideal dose is to start low and go slow. Start with the minimum possible dose, and see how you feel. If the starting dose produces the effects you’re looking for, stop – that’s the right amount for you. Otherwise, increase in increments over each session until you hit your ‘sweet spot.’

Cannabis tinctures vs. other modes of consumption

Tinctures vs. edibles and oils

Both tinctures and edibles (cannabis-infused oils or foods) offer discretion without combustion. The biggest difference between the two modes is that edibles can take much longer to reach peak effect. Since the full results of tinctures are often achieved within minutes, tinctures offer the potential for more confident dose adjustments.

Tinctures vs. smoking or vaping

There’s no contest – tinctures offer a much healthier way to ingest than smoking. Tinctures are also odourless. Although vaping cannabis is also a fast way to achieve effects, and is generally believed to be healthy, it requires special equipment, while tinctures do not.

-By Julie Raque

Julie Raque is the vice president of marketing at Cannabistry Labs ® where she is responsible for developing and implementing the company’s marketing and communications strategies. She has over ten years of marketing experience at both established and emerging pharmaceutical and biotech companies, including Horizon Pharma, GILEAD Sciences and Avexis Pharmaceuticals. Raque is an expert in developing and executing go-to-market plans; leading product launches in highly regulated industries; and overseeing the development, management, maintenance, distribution and product application in both domestic and international markets. Raque earned her master’s degree in pharmacology from University of Cincinnati, and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Kentucky.