What is a green dragon tincture?
Green dragon tincture, or golden dragon tincture, is a term referring to cannabis tinctures in general. Cannabis tinctures are liquid cannabis products made with high-proof alcohol. Tincture making is one of the most ancient cannabis processes still used today, and it’s particularly popular with medical cannabis users. Tinctures are made by soaking plant materials in alcohol to dissolve the cannabinoids and terpenes and infuse them in the liquid.
Typically, cannabis tinctures are made with alcohol between 50-to-120 proof, or 25-to-60% alcohol content. The higher the proof, the better, as the higher alcohol content both more effectively dissolves the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material and has a higher shelf life, up to 10 years. Other solvents such as vinegar or glycerin also can be used, but they’re typically less effective at removing the cannabinoids from cannabis plant matter.
While green dragon can refer generally to any type of cannabis tincture, many online sources point to Master Wu’s Green Dragon recipe — a specific tincture-making process that creates a final product in significantly less time than other methods. Many tincture recipes require weeks for the alcohol to extract cannabinoids from plant matter — Master Wu’s Green Dragon takes 20 minutes total.
Edible vs Topical
Some tinctures are made to be ingested while some are made to go on your skin. The difference comes from how the tincture was made. If you make tinctures with food-grade materials like Bacardi 151, Everclear, Glycerin, etc., then tincture is going to be edible. If you’re making it with isopropyl alcohol (or something else that isn’t safe to ingest), then you’re making a topical tincture which should be applied to your skin instead of being eaten. Don’t make edible tinctures with isopropyl alcohol, it’s really bad to eat that stuff!
Alcohol vs. Glycerin
Simply put, alcohol is better for making tinctures because it’s better at bonding to THC than glycerin.
Alcohol makes tinctures faster than glycerin because alcohol bonds with THC easier. Any alcohol being used for tinctures should be high-proof which isn’t as easy to get as glycerin which can be found in many craft stores. Still, a high-proof type of alcohol like Bacardi 151 can be used, and it’s pretty easy to find in all states.
Glycerin is a plant-based solution that is great for tinctures when you don’t want any of the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Although Glycerin is a great vehicle for tinctures, it’s not as good at bonding to the THC in your cannabis. Therefore, it’s better to make your tincture with alcohol, then add glycerin afterward. If you want your glycerin tincture to be stronger, you can evaporate some of the alcohol and add glycerin in its place.
Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures
Before learning how to make a tincture, let’s go over the reasons for using potent drops of hemp over other forms of the cannabis plant.
- Easy medical use by placing drops under the tongue known as sublingual dosing
- Fast acting as it absorbs quickly
- Simple to store and odorless
- Controls dosage amount
- Long-lasting and is preserved in the alcohol or other bases
- For sale at the dispensary or online shops
- The healthy alternative to smoking
- Can be used for edibles
Choosing the right type of alcohol for tinctures
When picking alcohol for making tinctures it is important to find high-proof alcohol that is safe for consumption. The higher the alcohol content, the better it will dissolve cannabis resin. When making tinctures, Everclear (In California max of 120 proof available, outside you may be able to get 180 Proof) is my alcohol of choice although I also like using Bicardi 151 Proof, since it is safe to consume and highly potent.
WARNING! Products such as isopropyl alcohol are not intended to be consumed and should never be used when making a tincture! Always check the label to make sure it is safe for consumption!
How to Choose a Strain?
Choosing a specific stain can affect the potency and after-effects of a tincture. This tincture will take on the medicinal properties of the strain. If you choose an Indica plant, then you will experience a relaxed state through a body high. This can help with insomnia, body pain, nausea, and depression. A Sativa strain will have the opposite effect of high energy and an appetite stimulate. A hybrid can combine both of these qualities depending on the need of the tincture.
There is also the option of a CBD strain that is used to make purely medicinal, non-psychoactive tinctures. Making your own CBD tincture will allow you to increase the number of beneficial cannabinoids, which will be much higher than tinctures for sale at dispensaries.
How to Make Cannabis Tinctures
The basic science behind making cannabis tinctures, otherwise known as a golden dragon for its rich yellow-green color, is the fusion of the flavor and potency of alcohol or oil with cannabis. The alcohol or oil base acts as an extraction machine to absorb the cannabinoids and terpenes. This will make liquid THC drops that can be used in recipes or by itself in small doses.
If the intention is to get high from the tincture drops, then decarboxylation is necessary prior to start any recipe. Heat the cannabis bud, trimmings, or stems in an oven at 250 degrees F for at least 30 minutes to activate the THC. If this is not done, then the tincture will not produce a high.
If you are wondering how to make weed alcohol tincture, this is the most potent green dragon tincture recipe as it contains grain alcohol. Other liquors like vodka can also be used based on your flavor preference. This is how to make a THC tincture: the longer you steep your cannabis in alcohol the more potent it will become. This golden dragon recipe can be adjusted according to how long you want to soak your pot, anywhere from 2 weeks up to a year.
- 1 quart of grain alcohol
- 1 ounce of cannabis
- One-quart mason jar
- Grinder or food processor
- Brown or dark glass eye dropper
- Baking sheet
Step 1. Grind the cannabis into small pieces using a grinder or food processor.
Step 2. Use the decarboxylation pre-cooking method above using a cookie sheet.
Step 3. Place 1 quart of grain alcohol and your marijuana in a mason jar.
Step 4. Close the lid tightly, so no air can get it.
Step 5. Store in a cabinet or a cool dark place.
Step 6. Shake the jar every few days.
Step 7. Wait a least 2 weeks, then strain the mixture using a cheesecloth.
Step 8. Place the tincture in the eyedropper and keep it in the refrigerator or a cool location.
How to Make Cannabis Tincture with Coconut Oil
Any vegetable oil can be used as a base, but coconut oil has the highest amounts of fatty acid, which binds with the cannabinoids the best. It is also a magical substance to use in cooking and can be stored as a hash solid for other uses like lotions or to add inside capsules for easy consumption.
- Double boiler or saucepan and a small pot
- Jar or container for storage
- 1 cup of coconut oil
- 1 cup of cannabis
- Grind the bud, stems, or trim into small pieces.
- Add the cannabis and coconut oil to the double boiler.
- Heat for 6-8 hours stirring occasionally and adding a little water if needed. This will be the decarboxylation process.
- Drain and strain your oil using a cheesecloth once cooled.
- Place it in a jar or container.
- The tincture will last for 2 months or longer if refrigerated.
How to Make CBD Glycerin Tincture
If you do not want to use alcohol and prefer not to get high, a CDB tincture using glycerin will include neither. Glycerin is a chemical that is safe to consume and is used to absorb and lock in liquid. It has a sweet flavor, so it is perfect for cannabis syrup as well. This makes it a great mechanism for extracting CBD cannabinoids from a marijuana plant. This type of tincture treats several ailments like seizures, anxiety, and severe pain.
- 1-quart mason jar
- Grinder or food processor
- Brown or dark glass eye dropper
- 1 ounce of CBD cannabis
- 8-ounce bottle of glycerin
- Grind the CBD bud to a powder using a grinder or food processor.
- Place the weed and enough glycerin to almost fill the mason jar.
- Set the jar on a window sill or near natural light.
- Let it sit for 4-5 weeks, shaking it once a day to release the cannabinoids.
- Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth.
- Pour the tincture in an eyedropper.
- Keep it refrigerated for best results.
How to Cook with Cannabis Tincture
Golden dragon tinctures come in handy when you want to add a concentrated dose to your meal. You can also use it to make cannabis butter instead of using full buds to infuse your magic brownies. Tinctures work well for home-made gummy edibles or infused cocktails as well.
Cannabis extracts like tinctures save time and money, and their usefulness is endless. The price of using a small amount tincture is a fraction of the cost of smoking or vaping weed, plus its effects last longer.
How to Avoid Overdose
Making your own golden dragon tincture is exciting and rewarding, but it is important to review your dosage requirements before consuming. If you are new to cannabis, then small amounts are recommended. Start with one drop under the tongue, wait 15 minutes, and monitor its effects. You can always increase the dosage afterward.