One of the best things I have ever incorporated into my “cannabis smoking” was harvesting the stems and excess leaf and putting it into a jar filled with 100% proof alcohol. Every time I break up a bud, I toss that excess into the jar, give it a shake, and place it back into the dark closet in my kitchen. But why do this at all?
This stem-infused tincture is filled with cannabinoids. It’s an alcohol-based tincture, meaning it helps disinfect and clean out wounds, bites, and scratches. When you combine it with the cannabinoids your extracting from the leaf and stem, you’re adding medical properties to the mix.
For example, here’s a short list of some of the medical properties you add to the tincture;
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Anti-viral properties
- Anti-bacterial properties
- Anti-anxiety properties
- Anti-tumor effect
The point of today’s article isn’t to show the long list of medical benefits of cannabinoids (not to mention terpenes and flavonoids), rather, we’re going to take our classic cannabis tincture and begin to create variety.
At the end of this article, you will be able to not only create a classic cannabis tincture such as the Green Dragon, but you will also learn how to infuse other essential oils into the tincture to take your holistic effectiveness to a whole new level.
First, let’s take a quick recap of the process of making Green Dragon or your basic cannabis tincture.
Cannabis Tincturing 101: Edible vs. Non Edible Tinctures
I think it’s important to mention that there are two main types of tinctures available – those that can be ingested and those that can’t. The Green Dragon is an edible tincture since it uses a high grain alcohol such as 100-proof vodka or any other consumable alcohol with a high proof rating. Preferably 90-proof and higher.
Here’s the recipe for the basic Green Dragon. You can find an alternative method right here.
- The first thing you’ll want to do is to grind up your herbs as finely as possible. With Green Dragon, it doesn’t matter if you grind up stems, the extraction process will take care of any unwanted elements.
- Once ground up, you’ll move onto decarboxylating it. To do this, you’ll place it in the oven at 170º F and keep the cannabis in there for no more than 15 minutes.
- Quickly remove your herbs and set it aside. Now, take your jar and fill it with the alcohol. Fill it about ¾ of the way. Then, simply add your herbs and close the jar. Make sure to shake it up.
- For the next week, you’ll keep the jar in a dark place and you’ll give it a shake once a day. It’s best if you wait more than a week (closer to 2-3 weeks), however 1 week is enough to get a lot of cannabinoids in the tincture.
- After you’ve soaked your concoction, you’ll need to strain it into a new jar using the cheesecloth. Make sure to remove all plant matter. You can strain it again if the first time didn’t do the trick.
- Once more, transfer it into a sealable jar.
- If you have a dropper on hand, then you can simply pour out some of the Green Dragon into the dropper.
In order to create the “topical only” you can use any type of high proof surgical alcohol. These can be purchased virtually anywhere. As you could imagine, this type of tincture is not to be consumed. If you are planning on consuming the tincture, you will have to do the Green Dragon Method or the alternative recipe provided in the article linked above.
RELATED: Marijuana Tinctures: What Are They And How Are They Made
Let’s Get Creative
The next thing on our list will be to begin extracting the essential oils from these other flowers, herbs, and weeds.
The tincturing process is virtually the same for all of these herbs and plants, and I would recommend creating specific jars for each extraction. That way, you can mix and match different oils and create specific effect-inducing tinctures. For example, making a tincture that makes you go to sleep and another that picks you up.
Today, I’ll be walking through a few concoctions you can make at home.
First, let’s talk about the main extractions you’ll want to make; You can also NOT make them and head out to an apothecary near you to find all of these essential oils without the effort. However, I’m the type of guy who likes to get my hand dirty and understand the process of extraction. For me, I find it far more satisfying to have a bunch of jars with different extracts sitting in a closet, where I can mix and match my own concoctions as I see fit.
If you are going to be doing the extracts, make sure that you do it right for each one of them. For example, making an extract from orange peels follow the exact same protocol as the Green Dragon infusion – using high proof alcohol and a jar – however, the time of infusion is different.
When you’re extracting the essential oils from the peel, it will take between 1-2 months to have a full extraction.
This is why I highly recommend that you keep good records when you start infusing and also to do mass infusions in a single day. Get as much of the ingredients you can and try to do as many infusions as you can. It’s far more worth your time to spend an entire weekend infusing and creating your tincture system than it is to do it over time.
Of course, not everyone will have all the ingredients listed here on hand, and so, perhaps you start with the most accessible first and then work your way to infusing more “rare” elements.
The point here my fellow cannabis enthusiasts, this is almost as addictive as growing your own weed. When you master advanced tincturing, you’ll open up a whole new world of possibilities for yourself. At the end of the article I’ll be supplying a few blends for you to start you off on your journey.
Let’s go full tincture.
Lavender – Lavender is considered an “all purpose” extract and can help for calming you down, releasing muscle tension, clearing the mind of mental fog so that you can focus. Lavender can be extracted in a similar fashion as the Green Dragon and the process takes roughly a week to complete. The longer you leave the concoction, the better. For my personal extractions, I wait between 3-5 weeks at least.
Orange – You’ll want to start your Orange extraction sooner than later. This is because you extract the essential oils from the peels themselves and this takes a long time. Make sure to remove all the white pulp and only leave the orange peel to extract. The pulp makes the tincture turn bitter, which defeats the point of this aromatic and energy inducing tincture. Just smelling this tincture will wake up the nervous system and get a jolt of energy in you. It takes about 2-months to fully extract it, so be sure to make a bunch!
Lime – Similar to the orange extract, lime is an “upper” and can help you clear up mental fog, boost energy levels, and just perk up your day. Just like with the orange extract, this takes months to complete so it’s best to make a lot of tincture from the get go. Yes, this might make the whole process of extracting the properties more expensive, but you’ll thank me when you only need to do this once or twice a year.
Basil – Basil is another super plant you’ll want to add to your garden. Recently, I was walking my dog when he came by this bush. After he pissed all over it, this whiff of sweet aromas came up and I realized it was the plant. I snapped a bit and took it home to clone. When I researched what it was, it turned out it was Basil. I then proceeded to check out the medical benefits of Basil and this is what I found;
- Alleviate Nausea
- Anti inflammatory
- Helps with indigestion
- Helps with constipation
- Helps with respiratory illnesses
- May alleviate asthma symptoms
- May have antibacterial properties
- Possible insect repellent
- Possible anti-fungal agent
- Stress Relief
- Improve blood circulation
- Pain Relief
It isn’t recommended for people who are pregnant or breast feeding. I’m not sure why, but virtually every source I checked recommended the same.
There are two ways to extract essential oils from basil, the extraction method or the infusion method. The Green Dragon is an infusion method.
RELATED: 5 Things You Can Make With Leftover Marijuana Stems
Here’s a snippet from DIYNatural.com where they talk about the extraction method using a Crockpot.
Ingredients & Supplies for DIY Essential Oils
- a crockpot with a lid
- distilled water
- enough fresh plant material to fill the crockpot about half full (at least 3-4 cups, chopped)
- Place the plant material in the crockpot and cover it with water. The water shouldn’t fill more than ¾ of the volume of the crockpot. Put the lid on upside down. (The concave structure will allow any steam that forms to condense and fall back into the pot. If you don’t have a lid, you can use a plate.)
- Turn the crockpot on high to heat the water. Once the water is hot, turn it down to low. Simmer on low for 3-4 hours.
- After the plant material is cooked down, turn it off and let it cool. When it is cool, place it inside of the crockpot into the refrigerator. If your crockpot doesn’t come apart, you can place the whole unit in there, or transfer the liquid into another container. Leave it in overnight.
- The next day, pull the crockpot out of the refrigerator. A thin film of oil will form on the top and will be hard after cooling. (These are your DIY essential oils!) Carefully lift the oil off of the water. Work fast – it will start to melt quickly!
- Place this into a bottle and cap. Label contents well. There may be a small amount of water-based liquid on the bottom. You can gently heat the oil to turn the liquid to steam and release it from the oil. Don’t heat the oil for too long as it can lose its potency.
- Store in a colored glass container away from light and heat.
This method can be used for other sources on this list.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon is another thing that can make you feel alert and focused. I personally prefer to do an alcohol infusion with cinnamon since it’s fairly straightforward. Also, if you’re going to be fusing on extracting the most medical benefits from a plant/peel, I’d focus my energy rather on limes and oranges, over cinnamon. An alcohol infusion is more than enough to mix with your cannabis tincture.
Ginger – Ginger has a lot of medical benefits. It can help with inflammation, it has antioxidant properties, helps with nausea, helps with weight loss, helps with osteoarthritis, may help drastically lower blood sugars, can help with chronic indigestion, may help lower cholesterol, contain substances that may prevent cancer, helps fight infections. You can extract it similar to Green Dragon waiting between 3-5 weeks.
Peppermint – Peppermint is said to help with, IBS, nausea, digestive issues, common colds, headaches, reducing inflammation, and much more. You can make the infusion or extraction method here. I personally always work with infused tinctures first, and then make essential oils later since they take more time to complete.
Frankincense Essential Oil – Frankincense is known as the “King of Essential Oils” and for good reason. It helps boost the immune system, regulates Cytokine production, slows hypersensitivity, Increases immunoglobins, Improve T-cell interactions, fights pain and inflammation, prevents and treats cancers, and much more. In order to make an alcohol tincture from Frankincense and Myrrh, you’ll want to follow this detailed process here. It takes about 8 weeks for a full extraction.
I only wrote about these because I found them most fascinating, however, there are plenty of other extractions one can do. This is only meant to whet the appetite for this exploration. Getting into this kind of tincturing will make you feel like an Old Timey wizard of sorts…and the result will be potions of health!
Let’s Make Some Blends!
Alright, now let’s get into some basic blends. Please note, I am NOT an expert in this. At most, I’m an amateur learning. But this is what I’ve found thus far;
(All of these will be for 10 ml bottles)
Alright, you’re in need of a JOLT of energy. Try this blend;
- Cannabis tincture 2.5 ml
- Orange or Lime Tincture (or a combo) 2.5 ml
- Ginger 1 ml
- 1 ml Basil
- 1 ml Rosemary
- 2 ml Peppermint
This will have a very peculiar taste, however, it gets the job done. Typically, you’ll want to have a “Sativa Cannabis Tincture” or a strain that gives you a boost. If you have an all purpose cannabis tincture, this will work too since you’re going to be adding the citrus, Gingerol, basil, etc. All of these are designed to keep you going, keep you focused, and relaxed in the process.
Take 3-5 drops in the morning and see how you feel. Take 3-5 drops every time you need a pick me up.
The next one on the list is meant for mental focus and motivation.
- 4 ml of Cannabis Tincture
- 3 ml of Frankincense
- 1.5 ml Black Pepper essential oil
- 1.5 ml Lime Tincture
This one is great for being creative, studying, remaining focused on your work. Simply take 3-5 drops of this in the morning and you’ll feel rather quickly the creative juices flowing.
THE CHILL SPILL
The final tincture recipe on the list is the “Chill Spill” which is a tincture to get you calm and relaxed, ready to get some R&R.
- 5 ml Cannabis Tincture
- 3 ml of Cinnamon Tincture
- 2 ml of Orange Essential Oils
- 1 ml of Ginger Tincture
If you want to curl up and feel warm and cozy, this will do the trick. The good thing, is that the taste of this one is awesome. So you can make a warm tea, drop in 5-10 drops into it, and sip yourself to Lala Land. If you’re a person who is also very anxious all the time, this blend could be perfect for you throughout the day. Simply take 2-3 drops whenever you feel anxious, give it 10-15 minutes, and you should feel relaxed afterward.
Mark my words, this is a rabbit hole that has a lot of return on investment. Yes, it takes time and some dedication, but once you have your potions on hand and travel through your day balancing your emotional and physical wellbeing, you’re going to thank yourself for sticking with the discipline.
Of course, if you don’t have the patience, then just go ahead and buy the essential oils. Just be warned that it might turn out to be slightly expensive.
Fortunately, now you know how to make it yourself at home. Do you make your own blends? Let us know which blend works best for you!
BONUS: By saving all of your stems and soaking it in alcohol, you are still infusing cannabinoids. The time for extraction just takes a bit longer, at least 8 weeks.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.