This post has been updated for 2019, visit tincture.recipes
Making a cannabis tincture using grain alcohol is quicker and easier than many people think. Get familiar with these top 4 alcohol tincture mistakes that will save you time, energy, and money when making your next herbal cannabis tincture.
Myth #1 - Tinctures require a long time to infuse, and the longer you let them infuse, the better.
Reality: Most cannabis tinctures are finished infusing after approximately 20 minutes.
100% of the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc) of the cannabis plant exist on the outside of the leaf, specifically in the white crystals, or trichomes. Trichomes are the plant's factories where cannabinoids are produced, and by dissolving them into 190 proof alcohol, all of their cannabinoid benefits and properties will also be transferred.
Cannabinoids are super-duper soluble in 190 proof alcohol, which means they only require a couple minutes to fully dissolve into solution. On average, your cannabis tincture has fully dissolved all cannabinoids after about 20 minutes.
Users interested in enhancing the flavor of their tincture can do many quick washes vs one long soak. A quick wash can last anywhere from 20 seconds to 3 minutes. Each wash uses new solvent, and the reduced total contact time with solvent and cannabis is an effective way minimizing the amount of chlorophyll and vegetable waxes in your finished tincture.
If you happen to be one of those folks who has a tincture going from 30-60 days ago, you can go it right now, it's most definitely at full cannabis potency, I promise.
Myth #2 - Shaking the heck out of the tincture while it infuses.
Reality: Infusing is a chemical process, not a mechanical one. No benefit is gained by mechanically agitating the alcohol + cannabis mixture.
A gentle shake to mix and ensure that your solvent has covered all of your cannabis is all the agitation that is necessary. If you are using very dense material, or a low ratio of solvent to plant material, an extra shake or two spread out across your wash is sufficient.
Myth #3 - Applying heat to your tincture will improve results.
Reality: Cannabinoids are soluble in alcohol, even at very cold temperatures. Heat only aids solubility of non-cannabinoid components like chlorophyll and vegetable waxes.
Your tincture can be made at room temperature, or even at temperatures below freezing, but should never be heated in an attempt to improve results or potency, be smart.
As a handy reminder, alcohol should be kept away from all heat sources at all times.
Myth #4 - Thinking all alcohol solvents are equal.
Reality: Despite all measuring in at 190 proof (that's 95% ethyl alcohol and remaining 5% water and raw material carry over), not all alcohol solvents are not created equal. There are 2 important things to look for when sourcing your next batch of alcohol solvent.
1.) What raw material did the alcohol originate from? Choices typically include corn, wheat, grapes, and cane. Each raw material produces a different 190 proof grain alcohol with its own unique flavors and aroma profile. Cane (sugar cane) is typically the lowest price raw material, and with it aromas of burnt sugar or molasses. Wheat produces an alcohol with a bready body and aroma. Grapes are known for their up front fruity aroma and flavor. Of all the raw material options only corn produces a neutral alcohol base, most entirely void of flavors and aroma.
2.) How was the alcohol distilled? Specifically, Column Still or Pot Still? Most alcohol today is distilled using the Column Still method, a large industrial operation which is capable of creating large volumes of alcohol, but at a trade off of product quality. Pot Stills, on the other hand, trade off batch volume for far superior distillation quality. Pot Stills are capable of obtaining this superior quality in their inherent design that isolates impurities and non-ethanol alcohols from the final batch of refined spirit.