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Cannabis Tinctures and Topicals: A How-to Guide

Cannabis Tinctures and Topicals: A How-to Guide

Cannbis Tinctures And Topicals

We often have the misconception that cannabis is often consumed recreationally or medically by either smoking or eating it. But, did you know that cannabis tinctures and topicals exist and present as a viable preparation for a myriad of purposes?

What is a tincture?

Tinctures are a kind of preparation that is made from a high content of alcohol. They often come in glass bottles. Most of the time, it is the most efficient way of dosing cannabis as it allows for ease of administration.

Take, for example, if you need to consume cannabis either medically or recreationally, you can add 1 ml of cannabis first under your tongue, evaluate its effects, and assess whether you need an extra dose of cannabis tincture as long as you don’t get excessively high.

Just like with the process of extracting cannabis oils, cannabis tinctures use solvents to extract the plant secondary natural products like terpenes and cannabinoids like THC and CBD from the entirety of the whole plant. The main difference between tinctures and oils is that tinctures have alcohol as their final product.

THC vs CBD tinctures

Before delving in and using such preparations, you must know what is its composition. A ratio of the two plant secondary natural products are often displayed and advertently placed on the container containing the tincture. It may vary from 1:1 or 2:1 depending on the manufacturer or dispensary where you got that tincture.

CBD is touted to have the same health benefits as THC without having the notoriety of the infamous mind-altering high of THC. With research backing this claim up, CBD is facing less scrutiny than THC.

Benefits of cannabis tinctures

Tinctures are often underrated methods of cannabis administration because it has become antiquated. 

Here are just some of the benefits of cannabis tinctures:

Tinctures are an age-old remedy for various medical conditions

According to Green Flower, an online cannabis blog, cannabis tinctures were an extremely popular pain remedy in contrast to aspirin which is known to cause gastrointestinal bleeding when used concomitantly.

However, tinctures have lost their glimmer and have fell out of fervor due to the prohibition of cannabis.

Nonetheless, cannabis-infused extracts are touted to be remedies for commonly painful conditions like arthritis, gout, tetanus, menstrual cramps, and a lot more.

Patented cannabis tinctures were even sold as over-the-counter medications in pharmacies in the early 20th century.

Tinctures provide dosage control

Tinctures are often preferred over other preparations of cannabis due to its ease of dosage control. You can simply titrate your dose gradually to achieve your desired effect.

Oftentimes, tinctures are administered sublingually (under the tongue), this makes the extract to be immediately absorbed in the body due to the rich capillary network under the tongue. 

Because of the higher concentration gradient of cannabis in the area under the tongue, it will simply diffuse to the capillary network, thus carrying it to your blood for circulation.

If in case you consume the tincture orally, it will have the same peak time as edibles as it is still processed in your digestive system.

Tinctures are low calories

If you are into edible cannabis desserts, then no doubt they are delicious, however, they could pack a lot of calories.

Depending on the ingredients used to make a typical cannabis-infused brownie, the typical caloric output is approximately 150 calories or more per brownie! That’s a lot!

Tinctures are a low-calorie alternative especially if you are watching your caloric input and your weight.

Tinctures offer optimal terpene and cannabinoid absorption

When you take tinctures sublingually, the medicine is immediately absorbed into your bloodstream in about 15-20 minutes depending on your metabolism.

Therefore, effects could be felt in about the same time and could peak in about 90 minutes after administration.

This is the best administration method as opposed to edibles or by smoking a joint.

Keep in mind that every human is different, therefore the results of the tincture may vary.

What are topicals?

Topicals are lotions, balms, oils, and creams that are absorbed through the skin for localized relief of pain, soreness, or inflammation.

These cannabis preparations are often employed in individuals wanting the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the cerebral euphoria associated with cannabis consumption.

Cannabis topicals, despite containing THC, at most will only produce a tingling sensation. No euphoria is associated with using cannabis topicals. This is suitable for patients only wanting to isolate cannabis’ therapeutic effects.

How do topicals work?

It may be strange for some to understand the mechanism of action topical preparations of cannabis. However, to digress from all the scientific jargon, let’s try to make it simple.

Whenever a topical preparation is applied to your skin, the lipophilic receptors on your skin will absorb the oils present in the topical preparation. This, in turn, produces the desired therapeutic effects of cannabis topicals.

This is also the rationale behind in traditional and herbal medicine practitioners often use plant poultices to treat pain and inflammation using other herbs.

What symptoms do topicals treat?

Topicals are often employed in chronic pain sufferers that require only a topical formulation to treat pain. These include conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory disorders and conditions.

Anecdotal evidence is beginning to sprout as to the efficacy of the use of cannabis topicals in conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and pruritus.

Different topicals have varying compositions, therefore it is best to do research and even do trial-and-error on various compositions and find your sweet spot. Finding the appropriate formula for your condition may take time.


Cannabis has gained traction these past few years due to its legalization in the Canadian market as well as some states in the US passing state laws approving cannabis use for medical purposes e.g. Colorado.

Cannabis tinctures and topicals have been underrating perhaps due to its antiquated origins. Nonetheless, these preparations have gained utmost credibility because of its ease of dosing and administration, immediate effects, minimal side effect profile, and as in the case of topicals, its localized effects.

A lot of individuals need to be aware that smoking a joint or eating cannabis-infused brownies is not the only way of consuming cannabis.

Cannabis tinctures and topicals are here to cater to your needs.


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