The tincture: it’s the most common cannabis product of them all. 

So common, in fact...that it can be easy to forget what a tincture actually is. Let’s take a closer look. 

What Is a Tincture?

A tincture is a liquid cannabis extract that is usually made with alcohol, glycerol or a carrier oil. Tinctures are meant to be taken orally or sublingually, just like CBD oil. Tinctures usually feature a single-serving dropper that makes dosing easy. 

Tinctures are used to simply and effectively deliver cannabis compounds into one’s system. Depending on the cannabis chemotypes and extraction methods used, tinctures may be high in THC, CBD or both. In fact, CBD oil is technically a type of tincture. Tinctures can even include targeted terpene blends.

Tinctures can be used to promote general health and wellness, restorative sleep, a stable mood, and more. Because of their high strength and unique blends, tinctures can even be used to address specific health problems. 

Most tinctures are comprised of two main parts:

  • A cannabis extract (rich in cannabinoids)
  • An alcohol base or carrier oil

How Are Tinctures Made? 

Traditionally all tinctures were made with strong alcohol as their solvent. It’s true: a plant’s ‘essence’ can be captured just by letting it sit in alcohol for a few days. Strain out the plant material, concentrate the liquid...and you’ve got a tincture!

Many traditional herbal tinctures still feature plant matter in a base of ethanol or liquor. This was mostly out of necessity, as back in the day herbalists didn’t have access to advanced solvents like CO.  

The History of Cannabis Tinctures

Many people don’t realize that cannabis tinctures have been used for centuries. Tinctures themselves go back even farther — the ancient Egyptians were using them as far back as 1,000 AD. 

And it didn’t take long for cannabis-infused tinctures to become a favorite. Even in the Western world, cannabis tinctures were adopted by the medical world as far back as 1850. It was the tincture that made renowned physician William O’Shaughnessy declare hemp an “anticonvulsant of the greatest value.” [1]

By the time hemp was banned in the late 1930s, over a dozen pharmaceutical companies were producing cannabis extracts and tinctures intended to be taken for a wide variety of diseases. One can only hope modern medicine will come full circle. 

Tinctures Today

But the cannabis industry has evolved, and today the definition of a tincture has broadened to include alcohol-free products. Tinctures may now contain a carrier oil (olive oil, coconut oil, and hemp seed oil are common ones) or even a water or glycerol base. At Toast, we use Organic Fractionated Coconut oil as our carrier. One study showed that MCT-based CBD had a longer shelf-life than any other type. [2]