Materials & Use

What is a Tincture? What You Need to Know

Gabi Antunes

Sep 13, 2019

When looking into the different types of cannabis products on the market today, one word you might frequently encounter is “tincture.” In the cannabis world, tinctures are often associated with hemp-derived Cannabidiol (CBD), though there are cannabis tinctures with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) sourced from cannabis. Outside the industry, though, tinctures have a long history in the use of herbal extracts.

While tinctures are well-known and celebrated by those who regularly use them, the term may be foreign to the broader community. This is especially true in the diverse legal cannabis markets, where people come in search of products and may be surprised to learn they have many more consumption options beyond smoking. So, for those of you who have been baffled by the word “tincture” when searching for cannabis products like flower or concentrates, let’s take a look at what tinctures are, how they work, and why people use them.

What is a Tincture?

Tinctures are the liquid extracts of herbs dissolved in a solvent of some kind. These extracts are typically stored in a bottle that includes a dropper, often 1mL in volume. In traditional herbal extracts, tinctures are often made with alcohol as a solvent because alcohol tinctures were the easiest to preserve, but vinegar-based and glycerin-based tinctures are available as well..

Cannabis tinctures were among the most common forms of medicinal cannabis products prior to the 1937 prohibition of the plant in the U.S. Today, tinctures have largely fallen out of fashion save for among the herbal extracts community. Thanks to the legalization of cannabis in multiple U.S. states, though, tinctures are gaining visibility among medical and recreational cannabis consumers alike.

Difference Between Herbal Tinctures and Cannabis Tinctures

While herbal tinctures and cannabis tinctures are often considered different because of cannabis’ unique legal status, they are generally the same thing. Herbal tinctures, like cannabis-derived extracts, preserve compounds in a concentrated form. Herbal tinctures include extracts from virtually any plant or herb you could think of: propolis, elderberry, turmeric, echinacea and more. Cannabis simply offers another type of plant extract that can be used in a tincture.

While they are generally similar products, each type of tincture is used for different purposes. Every cannabis tincture mimics its source plant’s compound profile closely, so naturally people use tinctures based on the compounds they contain. For example, many tinctures are hemp-derived and contain high levels of hemp CBD but virtually no Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is found in cannabis. If a consumer is looking for a non-intoxicating product that provides a substantial amount of hemp CBD, they would benefit from hemp extract tinctures like these.

When using a tincture, people fill a small dropper (typically inside the bottle already) with the liquid and sublingually take a certain number of drops. This allows the compounds in the extract to absorb directly into the bloodstream.

How much do Tinctures Cost?

The cost of tinctures ultimately depends on several factors. The size of the bottle and the amount of liquid it holds is a major consideration, of course. Second, the potency of the extract inside the bottle could influence the cost substantially. Finally, the source plant or herb used in the creation of the tincture can affect the price as well.

Cannabis tinctures vary greatly from one to the next, but you can generally expect to pay between $30 and $100 for a tincture. However, because this range includes tinctures of many different sizes and potencies, a more effective measurement of a tincture’s cost is to determine its price per milligrams.

Price per milligrams is calculated by dividing the total cost of the tincture by the milligrams of the primary compound contained within the tincture. This can help you compare prices across sizes, brands, and types. The common price per milligram of THC in cannabis tinctures, according to Marijuana Business Daily, ranges from $0.25 per milligram to $0.41 per milligram depending on your local market.

What to Look for in a Cannabis Tincture

Cannabis tinctures are a big part of the newly emerging legal cannabis industry in the U.S.

When purchasing a cannabis tincture, whether looking for a marijuana-derived THC extract or a hemp CBD product, it is important to confirm that the product is being sold by a licensed and reputable seller. Most genuine retailers and brands won’t hesitate to publicize their third-party lab testing results, so if there are no published lab results ready, be sure to ask to review them. Failure to produce these results should be considered a red flag.

In some cases, products might be covered by well-known certifications, such as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. Finally, check for any available customer reviews of the product to see what other peoples’ experiences with the brand were. If there are none or they are largely negative, that should also serve as a warning sign.

Once a tincture is chosen and purchased, store it carefully as to not degrade the product. Tinctures should always be stored in a cool, dry place where they won’t receive any direct light. Storing tinctures in this way ensues their quality for the long term.