All About Tinctures

Tinctures are one of the many available options from which Illinois medical cannabis patients can choose from when developing their ideal treatment plan with their patient care specialist. In the simplest definition, a tincture is an alcohol infused with cannabis oil. Tinctures offer one of the easiest cannabis products to consume without any combustion, smoke, or even vapor.

Historically cannabis tinctures were the main single form of medical cannabis. During the rough time period from 1837-1937 cannabis tinctures were produced by major pharmaceutical companies. These products were consumed to treat a wide variety of ailments. Even the Queen of England used a cannabis tincture in the treatment of her menstrual cramps and discomfort. These tinctures were sold in the retail pharmacies and drug stores of that era.

Tinctures can be absorbed into the body via two avenues. First through the inside lining of the mouth, especially under the tongue, due to the fact that it is covered in small blood vessels which can transfer the tincture directly into the bloodstream. This type of absorption is referred to as sublingual. If the tincture is swallowed it will be absorbed via ingestion like a classic cannabis edible. The main advantage which tinctures offer over other ingestible forms is a more rapid onset of effects via sublingual absorption.

Sublingual absorption results in a much quicker onset of effects than ingestion because the chemicals are short-cutting the GI-tract and the liver to get into the bloodstream directly through the lining of the mouth. Generally speaking, ingestion will take anywhere from 1-2 hours for effects to be felt, whereas sublingual absorption will take 15-45 minutes.


Another nuance between oral absorption and ingestion is the ultimate form of THC delivered to the bloodstream. When sublingually absorbed THC will retain its delta-9 form, but when passed through the liver (the organ which connects the GI-tract and the bloodstream) it will be converted into 11-hydroxy-THC. This form of THC is widely believed to be more psychoactive and thought to cause more intense mental effects than delta-9-THC.

Heat and light will degrade the chemicals inside the tincture. Tinctures are best stored in a cool dark location. Be sure to vigorously shake your bottle prior to dosing to ensure the tincture is thoroughly mixed. Tinctures can, in theory, be made to include either acidic or activated cannabinoids. Many may not be aware that cannabis naturally produces cannabinoids in the “acidic” form, qualified by having an included “-a”. The “-a” is removed when the molecule is properly heated, which activates the molecule and allows it to fit into the body’s endocannabinoid system CB1 receptors located in the brain. The connection of THC with CB1 receptors in the brain causes euphoria or psychoactive effects, known generally as feeling high. The process of removing the “-a” from THC is referred to as decarboxylization.

Cresco Labs produces tinctures with activated cannabinoids. The extract is purged of the solvent, winterized, and filtered multiple times. The oil is then blended with food grade ethanol to create the tincture mixture. Our Tinctures are produced in three different formulations including THC only, 1:1 CBD:THC, and 2:1 CBD:THC. Simply squeeze the soft top on the bottle to draw up liquid into the built-in eye dropper. When the cap is unscrewed and removed, the dropper can be expelled directly into the mouth, or into a food or liquid of the patient’s choosing. Each dropper is printed with a graduated scale to allow for easy dispensing of a precise amount of liquid, so patients can easily control their dose.

Cresco Labs is now offering tinctures to Illinois medical cannabis patients. If you are interested in incorporating a tincture into your medical cannabis click here to find the dispensary nearest to you.

Posted In: Science

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