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Your Denver Dispensary's Introduction to Tinctures

February 9, 2016

Before cannabis was prohibited in 1937, tinctures were the primary type of cannabis medicine.  Tinctures are usually alcohol or ethanol extractions of the whole cannabis plant and contain all 80 of the essential cannabinoids. The extraction secures cannabinoids while leaving out as many of the terpenes and chlorophylls as possible.  Depending on the tincture, the CBD or cannabidiol content can actually decrease the psychoactive effects of THC. The dosage is controlled by a measured dropper that is typically administered under the tongue.  

Stronger Effects
Many patients and parents use tinctures as alternatives to smoking; however, when consuming cannabis this way, it is absorbed differently and has a different effect.  When smoking, cannabinoids are absorbed in the lungs within seconds and circulate through the blood stream.  Tinctures are designed to address the problems of rapid medicine delivery and consistent dosing.  Absorption by the arterial blood supply under the tongue is completed in seconds and effects are felt within 15 minutes.  If patients want the medicine to be absorbed into the GI tract, they can add it to tea or juice for easy delivery without the strong taste of the particular solvent; absorption is slower with this method, often requiring one up to two hours, to feel the effects.   When adding tinctures to your food or drink, the effects are very similar to ingesting cannabis edibles. 

When tinctures are ingested, the effects are different than when smoking cannabis. When the active cannabinoid Delta-9-THC is ingested and processed in the liver, it is converted to 11-hydroxy-THC.  11-Hydroxy-THC is more potent as it passes through the blood-brain barrier quickly and it has a psychedelic effect. Although it may take longer for the effects to be felt when ingesting cannabis, the effects last longer, on average around 7 hours. When cannabis is smoked or vaped, it is only processed by the liver on the second pass as the THC was first absorbed through the lungs and circulates into the blood stream from there.

Not all tinctures have a high THC content; the potency of tinctures depends on the strain used.  Tinctures can be made using strains high in CBDs and low in THC.  As THC contains psychoactive chemicals, high CBD tinctures are perfect for younger children or individuals that require certain cannabinoids but do not want the cerebral effects of THC.  
Understanding Dosing
Dose control is very easy with tinctures as they come with medical droppers for dispensing. The recommended dose for tinctures vary in regards to one’s sensitivity, body weight and chemistry, and medical condition.  Everyone needs to discover what dosage works best for them; first time users should start with a small amount, and if not much is felt, increase the dosage slightly the next time your scheduled dose is.  It’s best to keep increasing your dose over one week and be sure to keep notes on how each level of dosing affected you.  It’s important to keep your tinctures closed tightly as most tinctures are alcohol-based, the alcohol evaporates if exposed to the air.  The CBD concentration will increase as the alcohol evaporates, which will make you titrate your dosage again to the higher CBD level. 

The Pros of Tinctures:
  • As the THC and cannabinoids are ingested and not inhaled, the chances of having lung and throat irritation greatly diminishes.
  • If added to food or drink, the effects will last longer than when inhaled, and less frequency of dosages are needed. 
  • Tinctures may be added directly to your tongue for effects within 15 minutes, ideal for those wanting quick relief.
  • Does not contain toxic chemicals, unlike waxes, oils, or shatter extracted with butane or hexane.
The Cons of Tinctures:
  • If using an unflavored tincture, the taste may be displeasing when administered directly on the tongue. 
  • If the tincture is alcohol-based, the alcohol can evaporate if the tincture is not securely closed.  This makes the concentration of THC rise, which will greatly affect your dosing.
You have the liberty to select which method of ingestion is right for you and here at Altitude the Dispensary, we have a wide variety of products available for both recreational and medical use.  The amazing benefits of cannabis are beginning to emerge as the popularity of recreational and medical cannabis continues to grow.  We have a wide variety of highly-potent oil of varying consistencies that allows our uses to choose their preferred method of medicating.   For more information about cannabis, contact the Dispensary Denver trusts.