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Dear Mama: Homemade Cannabis Tincture

Dear Mama,

I got the order from my doctor to eliminate sugars from my diet. I read an article you wrote about edibles and I still can’t find a way to use edibles and not have a bunch of sugar, or that will work the same way each time I use it.

Any suggestions? Sugar free

Dear Sugar Free,

There was a lot of response to that article. I think the edible market is growing so fast, and there are so many people talking about sugar right now that eventually the edible producers will need to meet the patients demands for a healthier option. I do have an idea for you though. I even made an online resource that you could use to follow along.

Before there were dispensaries here, I counseled patients for a few years and was lucky to learn so much from them. They were open and willing to share their outcomes with me as we tried different consumption methods and strains to treat whatever issue it was they were using cannabis for. Over the course of these experiences, I found so many patients who didn’t want to ‘smoke’ cannabis, and we had to find other intake methods for them. So I learned to make edibles. First I learned to make ‘budder’ and then I learned to make tinctures. I went on to have two edible lines in Arizona and learned even more from the patients using our edibles about outcomes and preferences. They didn’t want the sugars or the flour and carbs, but that was all we made!

I’ve always used tinctures. My husband doesn’t smoke, but he did need help with sleep, so I developed a sleep tincture for him and started using it myself. We sleep soooo good. When my patients needed help with intake methods without smoking we’d talk through how to make their own tinctures. I decided it was time to make a class so people could make their own tinctures, at home, without me on the phone talking them through, step by step. You can find a link to the free video class on my POTOFWELLNESS.COM web site (under the shop page tab).

Why tinctures you ask? First off, they are awesome for discreet dosing. You can dose a bottle of tea, your cup of coffee, and off you go. My favorite is Agua Fresca, in a fancy glass, on my patio at the end of a long work day. But you could make a nice herbal tea and add it to that, put your feet up and relax.

I’d personally rather have cannabis than alcohol at a party or fancy event, but we aren’t quite there yet. I still have not attended a gala where my joint was welcomed. I do, however, bring a small bottle of tincture in my fancy clutch, order a OJ and cranberry, chilled in a martini glass, and top it off with my tincture. Good times.

Another fantastic benefit to tincture making is that you can design your own! I have tinctures for daytime, night time, and creative time. I can combine a couple strains so I have all the qualities I like, but maybe can’t find in just one strain. I’m an Indica gal, but sometimes I have to get stuff done. I can make my own hybrid tinctures that can still control my pain without knocking me out.

It’s a great way to buy quantity and use it before it dries out on you. Sometimes I even get a strain that I realize I don’t love smoking, (I know, it’s hard to believe, but sometimes they just don’t taste that great) so I’ll turn them into a tincture. When I can’t find a favorite strain easily, I will buy more quantity when I find a great one and then turn it into tincture so it is basically preserved at that point.

You know you’re going to be going to the family holiday celebrations, wishing you could indulge so Uncle Pete’s idea of jokes aren’t as painful and Grandma’s dry turkey tastes better. Just think how nice it would be to have a couple tincture egg nogs to help take that edge off. The only time it really smells is when you make it. You can be so sly.

As for the no sugar rules, my instructions for tincture uses a kosher, food grade glycerin and I offer some instructions on how to get it online. It is a glycemic level substance, meaning it should not cause a rise or fall in blood sugar. You’ll also only be using a very small amount, so you can add it to iced tea, hot tea, coffee or pretty much anything you’d like. It has a slight sweet taste. I have used it in salad dressings too. You can add it to a homemade version or it mixes well into bottled salad dressings. It’s a great addition to a no sugar regimen.

You can buy tinctures. I have not. Mostly because I want to pick the strains that go into my medicine. It is very difficult to figure out what strains are being used in most pre-made tinctures or edibles. I want to know if I’m going to go to sleep or if I am going to want to reorganize my closet all night long. I don’t always want a hybrid, which is often used, or whatever wasn’t pretty enough to sell as flower, so it’s turned into tincture instead. I want to pick up my bottle of tincture and know it was made with nice flower buds, and exactly what to expect every time. I like a surprise but not in my medicine, so no surprise sativas at bedtime. In addition, the cost savings in making your own is huge. It costs me a fifth at most to make tincture versus’ buying it pre-made.

Tincture is my number one recommendation for folks who don’t want to smoke and can’t find edibles that work with their dietary desires or restrictions. You can get creative, but it slips into most anything you can eat. I’ve even made medicated ketchup with it!

Wishing you good luck with your new eating plan! Hope this helps.

Stay lifted, Mama

Cannabis tincture Recipe:

This is not scientific, or calculated for dosing but, it’s a great way for newbies to cannabis to start working out ways to utilize the plant for wellness while avoiding any unwanted side effects. The temps are slightly lower than what we used in large batches of professional tinctures, but they are that way to avoid harm to the plant medicine rather than the focus on high strength tinctures. I recommend starting with a very low dose for beginners, and then working your way up every three days or so, after your body is adjusted to it. I use my fave all-indica for nightime tincture and a hybrid combo for daytime.

  1. Preheat oven to 215° F and line a cookie sheet with tin foil.

  2. To start you’ll need at least 7 grams of cannabis (¼ oz) and 14 Liquid ounces of glycerin. It’s not really worth making in smaller quantities (plus the quality will be affected), but you can definitely make it in larger quantities, just multiply the recipe as necessary for your needs, keeping the ratios the same. You can also adjust the strength of your tincture by changing the ratio of cannabis to glycerin, but I’ve found this ratio to be a nice strength. You can grind the Cannabis into a coarse powder before use for this recipe.

  3. Put glycerin in a saucepan on low heat, uncovered.

  4. Place ground cannabis on cookie sheet, (you can use toaster oven too) and Bake for 13 minutes in pre-heated oven.

  5. After baking, add Cannabis to warmed glycerin in sauce pan (still on low heat). Remember to handle everything carefully with oven mitts.

  6. Monitor this slow cooking for four hours. Tips: Turn the heat source off for 30 minutes if it seems to be getting too hot, then return to low heat after 30 minutes. Many people use a small slow cooker crockpot. I have not personally tried that method but it probably works fine. I use my instincts, but if it seems to be evaporating or if I see any smoking on the surface, it’s too hot. I keep it on low heat for four hours or so. It’s not an exact science but this will produce a nice strength tincture.

  7. Use a wire mesh strainer to strain plant matter.

  8. Store tincture in a mason jar in cool/dark/room temperature.

For more letters to Mama, click here.

Laura Mastropietro

Laura Mastropietro, former cannabis co-op grower and patient advocate, consultant, Edible Chef for two edible lines, featured in ‘Cannabis Saved my Life’ by Elizabeth Limbach, currently curates a learning hub called PotofWellness.com, stays active in the cannabis community while running a restaurant and commercial bakery in beautiful Sedona Arizona. Wife, Mother, Grandmother, with a full beautiful life and toss in a life altering disease, cannabis is the magic that helps her keep it all going. Have a cannabis question? Send it to Dear Mama at potofwellness@gmail.com

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