Cold Method (recommended)
Here is the recipe for highest quality tincture. This method does not use heat so keeps the integrity of the cannabinoids intact. From WAMM
- Fill jar ¾ full of herb
- Fill rest of jar with alcohol; leave some room at top, stir.
- Shake jar [vigorously] one or two times a day for 2 weeks [or leave it until there is no green color left in the plant matter]
- Strain through metal tea strainer or silkscreen.
You can use whatever kind of clean glass, not plastic, jar you have with a tight lid. One-quart mason jars are ideal. Grind the herb thoroughly in a blender. It should be well ground but doesn’t have to be a powder. You can use leaf, bud, shake, joint leftover, or stems. Too many stems will wreck your blender and a weaker tincture. Leaf work fine but for higher potency use shake or bud. Fill the jar ¾ full of herb; it does not have to be exact. You can use anywhere from ½ to 2/3 part herb but ¾ will make a full strength tincture. Use the highest proof alcohol you can, Everclear, which is 180 proof, but hard to find. So just use the highest proof Vodka you can find. Pour alcohol over the herb, filling the rest of the jar. Leave just enough space (an inch or so) at the top so that you will be able to shake the jar. Stir the mixture; the herb will absorb some of the alcohol so you may need to add more. Put the lid on tightly; label the contents and the date you started. It takes two weeks for the alcohol to extract all the active elements from the herb. Shake the jar once or twice a day for 2 weeks. The alcohol will rise to the top and a deep green/red color will develop. After 2 weeks of aging you can strain the tincture through a metal tea strainer or a silk screen into a small tincture bottle with a dropper. You can leave the rest in the jar if you want, it will age and mellow in flavor and you can strain off as much as you want at a time. Alcohol is a strong preservative it will hold for a long time, be careful when handling the tincture, it satins and will turn everything it comes in contact with green. Use Ultra Palmolive anti-bacterial dish soap, the orange kind, to clean the glass, metal or other ceramic utensils, (do not use plastic) sinks and counter tops works best at dissolving THC residue.
Dosage varies per individual but start with half a dropper dissolved in hot tea or water. Hot tea will dissipate some of the alcohol and activate the THC a bit. It can be taken straight but may burn the tongue and has a very strong herbal taste. [If you cut it with equal parts water, you can hold the dosage under the tongue without burning. Takes effect in seconds.]
Go here for the recipe: Green Dragon
Here are some notes on the Green Dragon method:
Process details—references and rationalizations (Source)
1. Chop the cannabis—more surface area gives means a faster and more efficient extraction. [You can literally chop it into a powder.]
2. Bake the cannabis (decarboxylate).
In whole-plant cannabis, THC content is expressed as THCA (tetrahydrocannabolic acid) prior to decarboxylation into THC, which takes place when cannabis is heated during cooking, and smoked or vaporized ingestion. THCA is a mild analgesic and anti-inflammatory but does not have good affinity with our CB1 receptors, so in order to make a THC-rich tincture that has many of the same therapeutic effects as smoked ingestion (including rapid absorption, quick relief and ease of self-titration), we must convert the THCA in the plant matter into THC prior to extracting it through an alcohol soak. (from Vancouver Island Compassion Society)
THC vaporizes at about 380°F. We want to heat the cannabis to convert THCA to THC, but keep the temperature under 380°F. That is why 325°F is used. Between four and five minutes your oven (and house) will start to smell very strong. This the time to remove the cannabis from the oven.
Notice also that there is considerable misinformation regarding heating the cannabis. It is true that you don’t have to heat it to extract both THC and THCA, but the amount of THC in whole plant preparations is relatively small compared to after decarboxylation of the THCA. So if you want to maximize the strength of your tincture you must heat the cannabis prior to extraction.
3. Use the highest proof alcohol available. In my area this was Bacardi 151. The more alcohol the more efficient the extraction will be.
4. Simmer the mixture.
This is one of the areas that seems to be most debated. Many recipes call for placing the cannabis (unbaked of course) into the alcohol and waiting 2 – 6 weeks. The main concern with heating the alcohol is that it is “explosive” (not exactly true…it is however flammable).
The purpose of the simmering is to heat the alcohol mixture to improve extraction rates and efficiencies. Heating during extraction increases the motion of the molecules (basic physics/chemistry) and drastically decreases extraction times. The boiling point of pure ethanol is 173°F (78°C). We will use the water bath to heat the rum/cannabis mixture to just below the boiling point of ethanol.
Heating the alcohol mixture can be done very safely using a hot water bath. You will need an accurate candy or quick read thermometer. Place about 1 inch of water in a wide, vertical-edged pan (9” wide x 3” high). Bring the water to a low simmer. The rum/cannabis mixture should be in a small (1 pint) mason jar. Do NOT cover the jar.
Put the thermometer into the mason jar and place into the simmering water bath. Bring the temperature of the rum/cannabis mixture to about 165°F (I maintain it between 150°F and 165°F). You want the alcohol mixture to be just barely moving (not boiling, but showing active convection within the mixture). If the mixture starts to bubble too much, just turn down the water bath.
You should have the oven fan on high. You will notice that any alcohol fumes are mixed with water vapor from the water bath and vented out the fan. This combined with the fact that you are trying not to boil the ethanol makes the process quite safe.
5. Strain, titrate, and store.
When you are finished with the extraction you will be left with about 1oz of green dragon tincture. Note that one ounce of the alcohol has evaporated.
Now you should test your eyedropper. In my test 34 full droppers equaled one ounce of liquid (this is a little less than one gram of liquid per dropperful as 29g equals 1ounce).
The liquid should be dark green and smell like cannabis. 1/8oz of good cannabis yields about 30-34 doses of tincture.