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30 Nov 2017

Cannabis Tinctures – The Underrated Way to Medicate

Patients who utilize and benefit from cannabis for medical reasons and do not wish to smoke can often find themselves in a bind. The best known solutions are to turn either to vapour or edibles. Often overlooked yet highly respected, tinctures are not new; in fact, until cannabis was banned in Canada in the late 1920’s, tinctures were the primary method of administration for cannabis medicine.

Tinctures are alcohol extractions of the whole cannabis plant, meaning the flowers and the trim leaves are used. The process preserves THC, as well as all 80+ of the essential cannabinoids including CBD, which we know as the most medicinal and non-psychoactive compound. Depending on the strain used, these will be found in the tincture at varying concentration levels.

The best way to use tinctures is sublingually (under the tongue), where it is absorbed by arteries into the blood flow within seconds. Using a dropper, titration (dose control) is easily achieved by the number of drops used. It can also be administered in the same way using a very small spray bottle. A patient would simply use a few drops, wait approx. 15 minutes for the desired effects, and either use more or stop accordingly. Tinctures are designed to address the problem of effective delivery and consistent dosing.

When consuming edibles, the stomach gradually absorbs cannabis over the course of 1-2 hours. It is first processed by the liver, and requires 4-10 times the amount as a tincture in order to reach the same effects. This can present a problem in achieving the required dose in a consistent way. If a tincture is swallowed, such as when adding it to juice, absorption will be achieved in this same manner. While absorption on an empty stomach can be accomplished within minutes, conversion in the liver remains, as does the difficulty in titration.

Patients who require consistent use due to their condition may be surprised to find tinctures to be not only effective, but also a discreet and non-time consuming solution to their medication needs. Regular users of medical cannabis will find the same effects and health benefits in a tincture as other delivery methods.

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