Tinctures are an ages-old method of delivering the medicinal benefits of marijuana to patients of all ages. While cannabis that is high in psychoactive THC and, thus, relatively potent can certainly be used to create a tincture, historically this extraction and consumption method has been limited to purely medical applications and was often considered a “hemp extract” or “hemp oil.”
Another way of describing a tincture is an alcohol infused with cannabis resin. According to The Weed Blog, an online publication out of Oregon, many seasoned marijuana smokers aren’t even aware of the humble tincture, let alone have ever partaken of such an extraction. Said the blog in one of its posts:
“Tinctures are perhaps the least popular and beloved way of consuming marijuana. They don’t have the ritual that comes with smoking, nor the fun of edibles.”
While not the type of concentrate that captures headlines and results in petabytes of pot porn floating amongst the internets, tinctures are, without a doubt, the oldest mass-market way of extracting and consuming the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the medicine-bearing trichomes of the cannabis plant. During the majority of the 19th century, physicians from throughout North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe dispensed, recommended, and prescribed cannabis tinctures for a wide variety of common ailments.
In fact, during the period of 1837 to 1937, which some writers have referred to as the golden age of medical cannabis — and the century preceding its federal-level prohibition in the United States — a mild cannabis tincture, typically manufactured by a large pharmaceutical company, was the home solution administered to adults and children suffering from everything from skinned knees and headaches to sore muscles and menstrual cramps.
In 1890, British physician J.R. Reynolds published his 30 years of experience with cannabis, recommending it for multiple conditions. In his position as the court physician to Queen Victoria, he infamously administered a tincture-infused cannabis tea for her menstrual cramps. During this period, it was rare that a tincture of “cannabis sativa” was not present in the medicine cabinets of everyone from wealthy downtown debutantes to prairie ranchers to middle class suburbanites.
According to the book Understanding Medical Marijuana, “…one museum has identified more than 600 medical products involving marijuana as a chief ingredient prior to its prohibition in 1937.” Most of these would have been packaged and distributed through retail pharmacies, drug stores, and physicians as tinctures.
More including: How Tinctures are made, THCA, CBD and How to make Tinctures at Whaxy