Not Just Another Tincture Thread

Introduction
Before prohibition in the 1930’s, many of the medicines used were tinctures derived from cannabis and other healing herbs. A tincture, by definition, is a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol. When I make a cannabis tincture, I will refer to it as a Green Dragon tincture or simply GD for short. This is Not Just Another Tincture Thread. This thread will be devoted not only to the Green Dragon tincture recipe, but also on how to use the tincture for edibles and topicals. The methods taught in this thread, were pioneered by PsychedelicSam over at Grass City (@PSam here). I have spent well over a year studying these methods, and now I bring them to you here at OG.

Decarboxylation
The main psychoactive compound in cannabis is known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The plant does not actually produce THC, but rather the acid version refereed to as THCA. When cannabis is smoked, the material is combusted. The high heat frees the acid (carboxyl group) making THC which in turn gives the psychoactive effect often sought out for recreation use. There are many benefits to THCA, and it can be utilized medicinally without getting the psychoactive effects. When ingesting cannabis, there is no heat and the carboxyl group must be removed (decarboxylation) prior to use if the psychoactive effects are desired. Other cannabinoids, such as Cannabidiol (CBD) are also found in their acid forms. Many medicinal effects can be created by mixing cannabinoids and their acidic forms.

The simplest way to decarboxylate the cannabis is to cook it in the oven, uncovered, at a temperature of 240°F for 40 minutes. This temperature is low enough to prevent the vaporization of the THC, yet high enough to remove the carboxyl group as well as any excess moisture. Some of the aromas and flavors (terpenes and flavonoids) are lost during this process. It is suggested to use an oven thermometer to verify the actual temperature in the oven.

Directions
[ol]
[li]Preheat the oven to 240°F. Use an oven thermometer to verify the temperature for best results.[/li]
[li]Break up the dried cannabis flowers to a joint rolling consistency and spread a thin layer on a cookie sheet.[/li]
[li]Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes uncovered.[/li]
[li]Allow to cool for five minutes before using.[/li]
[/ol]

Decarboxylation using a toaster oven.

Green Dragon Tincture
The Green Dragon tincture is a cannabis extraction using ethanol. Because ethanol is a polar solvent it has a tendency to extract chlorophyll. This usually gives the tincture a green or golden color as the name suggests. Because chlorophyll is bitter, this recipe uses the freezer to limit the amount of chlorophyll picked up by the ethanol. Green Dragon can be used as is using a dropper bottle, it can be added to beverages and drank, or it can be transferred to other mediums and used in recipes. Because this is alcohol extraction, we want the purest alcohol we can find. We will need at least 95% alcohol (190 proof) in order to reduce to potent levels as well as transferring to other mediums without adding extra water. Lower proof alcohol can be used, but will require an additional step before ready for use. Additionally extra water in lower proof alcohol will pull more of the water soluble chlorophyll. Let’s start off with the basic recipe, then we will go through the steps in detail.

Ingredients
[ul]
[li]1/4 oz (7 grams) of dried cannabis flowers[/li]
[li]6 oz. 190 proof grain alcohol, divided[/li]
[/ul]

You will also need
[ul]
[li]Oven thermometer[/li]
[li]Pint size canning jars[/li]
[li]Cheese cloth[/li]
[li]Coffee Filters[/li]
[/ul]
Directions
[ol]
[li]Decarboxylate the cannabis in an oven at 240°F for 40 minutes uncovered.[/li]
[li]Place the cannabis in a canning jar and place the jar in the freezer for at least 24 hours.[/li]
[li]Place the alcohol bottle in the freezer for at least 24 hours.[/li]
[li]After 24 hours, measure and pour 3 oz. of freezing cold alcohol into the jar of cannabis and shake for five minutes.[/li]
[li]Place jar back in the freezer for 2 hours.[/li]
[li]Remove the jar from the freezer and shake for another five minutes.[/li]
[li]Strain the jar through the cheesecloth into a separate container, and then return the plant material to the jar in the freezer.[/li]
[li]Filter the strained alcohol thorough a coffee filter to remove the fine plant material.[/li]
[li]Pour the remaining 3 oz. of frozen alcohol in the with the plant material, and then shake for five minutes.[/li]
[li]Strain and filter as before.[/li]
[li]Combine the alcohol from both runs. there will likely be only 4 oz. or so due to spillage and absorption.[/li]
[/ol]

Alcohol and cannabis after 24 hours in the freezer.

First wash after two hours in the freezer.

Strain and filter second wash.

Reduction, Potency, and Dosing
The recipe as given needs to be reduced by at least one half to increase potency. When discussing potency there are lots of variables that can play into THC content. Instead this guide will use the “whole plant scale”. this scale tells us the amount of dried cannabis flower used per ounce of alcohol. In the recipe given, the potency is 1.75 grams/ oz. This is no a very potent dose. By reducing the volume in half to 2 oz. the potency is now 3.5 grams / oz. This is the standard potency used in the recipes unless otherwise noted. At the standard reduction, a single dose would be between 0.5-1.0 ml. So a single ounce (30 ml) of Green Dragon represents 30-60 servings or doses.

Caution should be used when reducing the alcohol since it is quite flammable. Open flames and smoking should be completely avoided.

You will need
[ul]
[li]Electric heating source[/li]
[li]Double boiler[/li]
[li]Ventilation[/li]
[/ul]

Directions
[ol]
[li]Setup the double boiler on the heating source under the ventilation hood.[/li]
[li]Add Green Dragon to the double boiler[/li]
[li]Continue to boil the alcohol until the volume has reduced to the desired level.[/li]
[li]Remove from heat and allow to cool before using.[/li]
[/ol]

Reducing Green Dragon using a rice cooker as a double boiler.

Potency can be estimated fairly accurately using the following formula:
(THC% * mg* efficiency)/ml = mg/ml

For example, let’s assume that the flower potency used in the basic recipe is about 20% THC. We used 7 grams in the recipe which is equal to 7000 mg. The extraction efficiency with this method is approximately 75%, and the total volume is about 60 ml (2 oz.):
(0.2 * 7000 mg * 0.75)/60 ml = 17.5 mg/ml.

As with any cannabis product, it is best to start low and go slow. The suggested starting dose at this potency is about 1/2 ml. This is about a dropper full in a standard dropper bottle. The quickest way to get an effect would be sublingual or buccal dosing. That is placing the Green Dragon in the mouth or under the tongue and allowing it to absorb. This can be quite painful due to the high proof alcohol. Instead, take a shot glass and add a dropper full of the Green Dragon. Take that and swish it in your mouth for as long as you can before swallowing. The effects can be felt in as little as 20 minutes, but may take longer depending on the person. I suggest waiting at least a couple of hours before consuming more cannabis until you are accustomed to the effects. If you are not finding the relief you are looking for, you can always reduce the tincture another 1/2 oz. and increase the potency. Once you find your personal preference, make a note of it for future use.

72 Likes
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herbal tinctures are still popular today! Cannabis and opium are the most powerful ones but many others are useful

11 Likes

Lower Proof Alcohol
It is recommended to use a 190 proof grain alcohol for a better extraction. The additional water in lower proof alcohol will have a tendency to pull more chlorophyll and other polar compounds. Lower proof alcohol can still be used, but an additional step is required to remove all the water.

You will need
[ul]
[li]Electric heating source[/li]
[li]Double boiler[/li]
[li]Ventilation[/li]
[/ul]

Directions
[ol]
[li]Setup the double boiler on the heating source under the ventilation hood.[/li]
[li]Add Green Dragon to the double boiler.[/li]
[li]Continue to boil the alcohol until the until it begins turn a milky color and the THC oil begins to separate.[/li]
[li]Continue to boil the water out until it is a dark, viscous oil, this is usually referred to as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO).[/li]
[li]Now add 2 oz. of low proof alcohol to dissolve the oil.[/li]
[li]Remove from heat and allow to cool before using.[/li]
[/ol]

Natural Decarboxylation
Using the oven to decarboxylate the cannabis is quick and effective, but there is a cost. Cannabis contains many terpenes and flavonoids that give each strain it’s unique character. These terpenes and flavonoids have medicinal benefits as well as modulating the effects of cannabis, thus creating an “ensemble effect”.

It is possible to decarboxylate cannabis using time instead of heat. This preserves the terpenes and flavonoids. The Green Dragon is made according to the standard recipe without the first step to decarboxylate. For the reduction step, again heat is avoided. Place the Green Dragon in a pyrex baking dish covered with cheesecloth to prevent dust and debris from falling in. A fan blowing over the dish will speed up the process. After the reduction, place the green dragon in an airtight container and age in the cupboard for 3-4 months. After the Green Dragon has aged, store it in the refrigerator to prevent further degradation.

Winterization
Some recipes, such as the hard candy recipe, work better with a more pure extraction. The Green Dragon recipe uses ethanol which will also pull some plant lipids and waxes. While this Green Dragon recipe here is intended to minimize these impurities, winterization can be used to clean up some of the remaining impurities. Winterization is done by freezing the Green Dragon for 48-72 hours at 0°F, then filtering out the lipids and waxes that fallout of precipitation.

You will need
[ul]
[li]Glass jars[/li]
[li]Coffee Filters[/li]
[/ul]

Directions
[ol]
[li]Place Green Dragon in the freezer at 0°F.[/li]
[li]Leave the Green Dragon undisturbed for 48-72 hours.[/li]
[li]Wet a coffee filter with fresh ethanol.[/li]
[li]Filter out the lipids and waxes with a coffee filter.[/li]
[/ol]

Green Dragon with waxes precipitating out.

Using Concentrates
Green Dragon can also be made using concentrates. Concentrates often have a lot of the chlorophyll and other water soluble compounds removed as part of the process. Therefore, the freezer is not necessary when using concentrates. Additionally, when using concentrates, you can go directly to the desired potency without the need to reduce.

Concentrates can be decarboxylated in the oven just like cannabis, or naturally using time. The suggested potency to start with is about 1 gram of concentrate to 1 oz. of alcohol.

Rosin decarboxylating in the toaster oven.

Water Curing
Another technique to reduce the chlorophyll in the final tincture is water curing. Water curing can be done with either dried or fresh flowers. This technique relies on the fact that trichome heads are not water soluble while the chlorophyll and other polar compounds are.

You will need
[ul]
[li]Glass jars[/li]
[li]Cheese cloth[/li]
[/ul]

Directions
[ol]
[li]Place the flowers in a mason jar.[/li]
[li]Cover the flowers completely with distilled water.[/li]
[li]After 24 hours, gently strain out the water by placing some cheese cloth over the mouth of the jar and securing with a rubber band.[/li]
[li]Cover the flowers completely with distilled water again.[/li]
[li]Drain and refill every 24 hours for about a week.[/li]
[li]Allow the flowers to dry and use them as normal.[/li]
[/ol]

Water curing buds for a cleaner extraction.

Tailoring your own medicine
Different cultivars of cannabis can have different effects. Some cultivars will give you a burst of energy, while another may put you to sleep. These effects carry over in the tincture. A tincture of “Haze” will likely be more energizing, while a tincture of “Kush” may put you right to sleep. By making a tincture of each, we now have a morning tincture and an evening tincture, or we could combine them and get varying effects.

Occasionally, a medicinal dose is required without the psychoactive effects. Having a Green Dragon tincture that has not been activated can be useful for daytime use. A tincture with CBD/CBDA will also lack the psychoactive effects while still providing relief of many symptoms. My current favorite tincture is made with a 1:1 THCA:CBDA ratio that has not been activated. This tincture has stopped panic attacks and allowed me to go out in public multiple times. It provides no other effect than a feeling of well being.

49 Likes

I love me some tinctures. I use my dab reclaim to make mine. It’s decarboxylated during dabbing and still very potent, so I just have to dissolve it into warm ethanol and I’m good to go.

Have you researched SkunkPharm’s ethanol Tek? Because your method and theirs is near identical and their method works gangbusters if you can keep the ethanol cold enough during extraction. I also believe some people add dry ice to the herb during the extraction to get the temperatures even lower.

3 Likes

very informative article :+1: Your report makes me want to experiment with non-decarbed tincture also. Some strains of herb actually have good amounts of non-acidic THC naturally - I"ve seen lab reports of 50-50 ratio of THC and THCa.

I prefer tinctures to edibles because you have precise control over the dosage and the medical effects on me seem better. Less irritation of my stomach than oil-based edibles.

TIncture made from high-quality trim leaves is almost as good as pure bud too, I can barely tell the difference. 190 proof alcohol seems very efficient at pulling out the cannabinoids.

14 Likes

Glad you all like it, this is just the tip of the iceberg!

11 Likes

Dragon Breath Spray
Sublingual dosing is one of the most efficient and quick ways of consuming Green Dragon tincture. While using the Green Dragon sublingually is very effective, the alcohol can burn the sensitive skin under the tongue. By cutting the alcohol with vegetable glycerine and adding some flavoring, the burning is reduced significantly. Peppermint extract works well to mask the stinging and leaves your breath minty fresh.

Ingredients
[ul]
[li]1 oz. Green Dragon[/li]
[li]1/2 oz. Vegetable Glycerine[/li]
[li]1/4 tsp. Peppermint Extract[/li]
[/ul]

You will also need
[ul]
[li]Double boiler[/li]
[li]One ounce pump spray bottle[/li]
[li]Syringe or measuring spoons[/li]
[/ul]

Directions
[ol]
[li]Reduce the Green Dragon tincture to 1/2 oz.[/li]
[li]Combine green dragon and vegetable glycerine in the spray bottle[/li]
[li]Add peppermint extract to taste[/li]
[li]Shake vigorously before use[/li]
[/ol]

Supplies for Dragon Breath Spray

27 Likes

You can also use a 240°-250°F hot oil bath to decarb the concentrate which I like better than the oven because I can see it better and it doesn’t take as long.

Good show. I’m looking forward to the rest of it.

12 Likes

Next up will be double whammy sugar cookies to demonstrate the solvent transfer. I need more hard candies too! :yum:

7 Likes

So I can use my dry ice hash in this way? I want to try this. Very cool @ReikoX.

5 Likes

You sure can, the kief won’t bubble as much as the oils will, but the process is the same. Using dry ice hash is a good way to limit the amount of alcohol needed as well.

10 Likes

Hard Candies
Not only are hard candies a tasty way to medicate, they are also great for buccal or sublingual dosing. By sucking on the candy without chewing, the THC enters the blood stream through the mouth tissue within a few minutes. The effect is similar to smoking because the THC is not metabolized in the liver.

Ingredients
[ul]
[li]2 oz. Green Dragon[/li]
[li]1 cup sugar[/li]
[li]1/3 cup light corn syrup[/li]
[li]6 tablespoons filtered water[/li]
[li]Food coloring[/li]
[li]1/2 dram (1/2 teaspoon) candy flavoring[/li]
[li]2 teaspoons citiric acid (optional)[/li]
[li]Sherbet powder or confectioners’ sugar (optional)[/li]
[/ul]

You will also need
[ul]
[li]Parchment paper[/li]
[li]Candy thermometer[/li]
[li]Candy molds (optional)[/li]
[/ul]

Hard candy ingredients

Directions
[ol]
[li]Reduce the Green Dragon down to 1/2 oz.[/li]
[li]In a thick bottomed sauce pan, add sugar, water, and corn syrup.[/li]
[li]Stir over a medium heat until sugar is dissolved.[/li]
[li]Insert candy thermometer and bring to a boil without stirring.[/li]
[li]Once the sugar solution starts to boil, add the desired food coloring.[/li]
[li]Continue boiling until thermometer reads 300°F.[/li]
[li]Remove from heat and wait for bubbling to stop.[/li]
[li]Add candy flavoring, Green Dragon, and citric acid (if making sour candies) while stirring. Make sure not to inhale the fumes as the alcohol quickly evaporates.[/li]
[li]Quickly pour into candy molds or pour onto a parchment paper lined pan.[/li]
[li]Allow to cool, then remove from molds or break into bite size pieces.[/li]
[li]Optionally, coat them with sherbet powder or confectioners’ sugar.[/li]
[li]Store in an airtight container at room temperature.[/li]
[/ol]

Finished cinnamon hard candies

Sherbet Powder
Ingredients
[ul]
[li]4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (sifted)[/li]
[li]2 tablespoons citric acid[/li]
[li]1 tablespoon baking powder[/li]
[/ul]

Directions
[ol]
[li]Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until very fine.[/li]
[li]Store in an airtight container at room temperature.[/li]
[/ol]

42 Likes

Thanks @ReikoX! Good stuff bro.
Much Respect! I do love me some cinnamin hard candy!

1 Like

As long as you have a thermometer in the candy, make sure the temperature has dropped a little below 270°F before adding the GD to the mix. That is usually when the bubbles flatten out as described above. THC begins to degrade above that temperature. Many people complain that hard candy isn’t potent enough for them but that’s because they mixed the GD or oil in the mix then heated it to the hard crack stage.

This makes some very strong and delicious hard candies that are easy to dose. If you know the approximate potency of your GD then you can calculate the mg/g of candy. For example, using ReikoX’s potency formula:

15mg/ml final strength and you want to use 1oz of it for your candy. That would be 30ml/oz = 450mg and that will be the total for your batch, however much you made. Let’s say that your batch of finished candy weighs out to 150g total. In that case each gram of your candy would be 3mg no matter how big or small it is. If you wanted a 30mg piece then you’d ingest 10g of candy.

14 Likes

Hard candies are my jam :sunglasses: the only problem is managing concentrations between batches when you’re repeating the recipe. And it’s best to use a candy mold so you can have uniform pieces for better dosing. Lollipops are a great way to achieve this, but any hard candy mold, even diy powdered sugar and starch ones, will help make the end product easier to work with.

5 Likes

The beauty of starting with the Green Dragon is just that, predictability between batches. :thumbsup: Once you know your dose, it’s easy to estimate. If a particular batch isn’t very potent, I will reduce another 1/2 oz. and try it again. This recipe makes about 120 pieces. With 60 ml, that’s about 1/2 ml per piece, or about 10mg per piece. I prefer the molds too, they make it easier to package and dose.

10 Likes

Admittedly, molds are better but there are folks like me too disabled to really manipulate the candy into molds. I shake a lot and have tendon damage in my arms that make it difficult so I pour it out on a sheet of aluminum foil then score it into equal size pieces once it cools enough. They break apart into whatever shape I score…squares, rectangles, diamonds…for similar sized pieces. I weigh them for my dose.

22 Likes

Been eating cookies for a few years now and getting a little tired of them. The hard candy recipe looks easy enough. Going to give it a try. Now that I have a still. Plan on making my own corn liquor too. Have some banana liquor we made to try making green dragon with. It’s around 120 proof.

Thanks for the info ReikoX

8 Likes

A question about the relative quantities… Is that ratio getting close to the saturation point of the alcohol (assuming 190 proof) as far as how much THC it can extract, or could you use the same amount of alcohol to process larger batches of bud and still keep similar efficiency of extraction?

2 Likes

While that ratio is not anywhere near the saturation point, the ratio is enough to cover the material. Some will also be absorbed by the buds. Running lots of alcohol can be expensive, especially when evaporating it all away.

When processing larger amounts, we are left with several options. First, you can start with a concentrate like rosin, wax, kief, etc. This will only require a few ounces of alcohol per run. Another option would be to run the alcohol through multiple batches. For example, run a batch with the given ratios, then use that alcohol for the next batch. Finally, the optimum way would be to use a still and use it to recover most of the alcohol.

11 Likes