Dos And Don’ts of Vegetable Glycerin
Vegetable glycerin is a sweet, thick liquid that is popular in a variety of foods and often used in cannabis tincture making. Because it is pleasant tasting and doesn’t burn when you swallow it or put it under your tongue, many people prefer a tincture that has vegetable glycerin as a base instead of alcohol.
Here’s the catch – VG might taste great, but since it doesn’t contain fat or alcohol, it is not an effective infusion medium.
In other words, the VG does not do a good job of pulling the THC, CBD, CBG or other cannabinoids from the plant material.
As a result, you don’t want to use VG as your infusion/extraction solvent.
In fact, compared to alcohol and oil-based solvents, which can extract over 90% of cannabinoids from the plant, VG only pulls out less than 10%! That means if you are trying to extract cannabinoids from the activated flower into VG, you are missing out on over 85% of the available THC and will end up with very few of the cannabinoids in the final tincture. So don’t expect a strong tincture if you use VG as a solvent for your extractions.
You can see in the example above, using 19.8% THC decarbed flower (198 mg per gram), the vegetable glycerin (VG) was only able to extract 11 mgs of the 198 mgs available. See the detailed test results here:
- 1 gram decarbed flower using the Nova
- 1 gram of decarbed flower infused into 1 ounce VG in the Nova
So why is VG so popular, and how do you use it the right way?
VG is popular because it is mild tasting and doesn’t burn your mouth when you hold it under your tongue or swallow. This makes it ideal to use as a mixing ingredient with alcohol-based extractions or with decarbed concentrates in order to make a tincture that tastes better and doesn’t burn when administered.
Using Glyceric To Soften Alcohol Extractions
You can do an alcohol extraction with Everclear, which is a quick and easy process. Just decarb your flower, add Everclear and the decarbed flower into a jar and shake.
Let the Everclear and decarbed flower mixture sit for an hour or so and then strain. You’ll have an active alcohol tincture that has extracted most of the THC or CBD from the plant, because alcohol is a very effective solvent. But again, this tincture will be very overwhelming taken directly, with a stinging and unpleasant taste that can also lead to alcohol intoxication if you drink too much.
In order to make an alcohol extraction taste more smooth and contain less alcohol, VG can be mixed in to lower the alcohol content and make the tincture taste better. You could also let your alcohol mixture stay out overnight to allow the alcohol to evaporate and then add the VG. The more alcohol you let evaporate, the more concentrated and potent the extraction will become. You can mix that concentrate with the VG to make a very smooth and more potent tincture.
Using Glycerin To Make Tinctures With Concentrates
If you are starting out with a concentrated form of cannabis like wax, shatter or rosin from the beginning, VG can also come in handy to transform the concentrate into a tincture. After you decarboxylate your concentrate, you can mix the decarbed concentrate with the VG in order to create a custom tincture. Make sure that you are mixing the ingredients warm so they can blend well for a consistent dose. Adding a small amount of coconut oil to the decarbed concentrate before mixing with the VG can help with blending.
Decarbing and blending concentrates is an easy way to make potent tinctures.
As long as you remember that VG is not a good vehilce for infusing with flower (it does a poor job of extracting the THC or CBD from the flower) but is a good option for mixing to make a tincture with an alcohol extraction or a cannabis concentrate, you’ll do just fine.
Dos And Don’ts of Vegetable Glycerin Vegetable glycerin is a sweet, thick liquid that is popular in a variety of foods and often used in cannabis tincture making. Because it is pleasant tasting
How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture
Introduction: How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture
A glycerin tincture is a cost effective and safe way to medicate with cannabis. It’s alcohol free, which is great for those who are sensitive to it. It’s also entirely customizable, just like cannabis coconut oil. You can choose to use only sativa strains for daytime medication, high CBD strains for mood improvement, or indica strains for help with sleeping or pain relief.
The dosing for tinctures is a little more all over the place because chances are you’ll be mixing several different strains and cuts of cannabis to make it or not be entirely sure of the THC content of everything going in. It’ll take a bit of experimenting to figure out the best dose for you and your tolerance.
This tincture will take at least 60 days to finish but it takes very little effort during that time.
We found out about these tinctures originally from Subcool and MzJill – if you’d like to learn more about them, please click through and read the whole High Times article. There’s a lot of argument about this method in the comments, but I think it’s great.
Step 1: Tools + Ingredients
- food-safe vegetable glycerin
- decarboxylated sugar trim, kief, buds – even hash!
- quart size mason jar
- canning strainer stand + bag
- glass bottles to store the tincture (something with a dropper will make it easy!)
In this tincture, we used homegrown Cheesequake. We chose to grow Cheesequake because it’s a very good indica – not a super hard hitter, but very relaxing and it has a good effect on my mood. We used hash (3-4 grams), bud and some trim.
Sadly we weren’t thinking about posting instructables when we started this tincture so we don’t have photos of the dried material that went in. Instead, here’s a nice photo of some vegetable glycerin and some beautiful Doctor Who buds.
Step 2: Prep Work
It’s always a good idea to decarboxylate beforehand, so click here to learn about that. Decarbing will keep you safe and make your tincture more potent.
Subcool ground his cannabis quite fine his tincture and we did not (just a chunky grind), but go with whatever you think is best.
You’ll also want to sanitize a large glass jar (we have a quart size mason jar for this) and any measuring or funneling equipment.
Because this tincture will be taken orally it’s very important to be careful about sanitation! You never want to make yourself or someone else sick.
Step 3: Combine and Let Sit
Fill the jar at least 3/4 off the way to the top with your decarboxylated cannabis. Don’t pack it in, just let it settle naturally.
Once it’s in, pour vegetable glycerin over the top until the cannabis is entirely covered.
Step 4: What to Do During the 60 Day Waiting Period
While you don’t need to do much, it’s a good idea to at least rotate the jar once a day if you remember.
We flipped the jar every now and then so it was constantly going between sitting upright or lid down.
(Full disclosure: we kinda forgot about our tincture. It was hiding in the closet. We took it more than 60 days. I don’t even know how long it went!)
Step 5: Bonus Decarbing
Before you strain your tincture you can do one last thing: decarboxylate.
Subcool suggested doing it this way:
Put the whole mason jar, lid and all, into the oven and set it to 170 F. Once the oven is preheated, set a timer for 45 minutes and let the tincture warm up. (I personally think the temp here is too long and the time is too short – but since it’s already decarbed I’m not too worried.)
Once it’s up, turn off the oven and let the jar hang out until it’s cool to the touch. (I don’t recommend taking it out of the oven until it’s cool – setting it on too-cool a surface could cause the glass to crack.)
If you’re worried about your jar breaking, I’d say it might be best to pour the tincture into a small crock pot or pan on low heat and heat it that way.
Step 6: Straining
Using a canning strainer stand and bag is one of the simplest ways to do this. Just set up your stand and attach the straining bag firmly with a couple knots – it will be weighted down by the tincture and you don’t want it to fall into the bowl below.
Pour the entire contents of the jar into the strainer bag and let it sit overnight if you can. It will take a long time to drip through!
Either wrap around the bottom vessel with plastic wrap to keep it free from debris or place it in a clean, cool place where it won’t get knocked over.
Step 7: Storage + Use
Vegetable glycerin has a shelf life of 14-24 months, so I expect to store this for at least a year easily! We ended up with about 12 oz of tincture. We’re keeping it in the fridge.
To use, simply take a bit orally. You can take it straight OR add it to tea, coffee, or whatever else you’re drinking. The vegetable glycerin gives it a crazy sweet taste, so it works well in drinks and smoothies. 🙂
I take my tinctures straight and so does my mom – she uses a tincture daily to help with pain from a hip replacement, and I use mine for anxiety for the most part.
Remember to try it out the first time when you don’t have anywhere to be for a while! I started with about half a dropper and worked my way up to 1-2 droppers. I’ve seen other folks reporting they take up to 2 tablespoons a day!
The strength of your tincture will really all depend on what you put in, so remember to keep playing around with your dose until you find one that works for you. 🙂
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How to Make an Alcohol Free Cannabis Tincture: A glycerin tincture is a cost effective and safe way to medicate with cannabis. It's alcohol free, which is great for those who are sensitive to it. It's also entirely customizable, just like cannabis coconut oil. You can choose to use only sativa s…