Marijuana tinctures are liquids that are taken sublingually under the tongue. Tinctures are alcohol extractions or glycerin infusions of cannabis flowers and trim leaves. Tinctures contain all of the essential marijuana plant oils, or cannabinoids. Until cannabis was banned in 1937, tinctures were the primary type of cannabis medicines.
Marijuana tinctures address the problems of rapid medicine delivery and consistent dosing. The medicine is rapidly absorbed into the arterial system and is quickly transported to the brain and body. Usually, a tincture dose is delivered by means of a medicine dropper or a teaspoon. Titration or dose control is easily achieved by the number of drops a patient places under the tongue.
A rule of thumb on dose is that patients receive benefit from 5-7 drops to a couple of full droppers depending upon the potency of the tincture and the patient’s own unique requirements, among other factors. Absorption by the arterial blood supply under the tongue is completed in seconds or minutes.
Experimentation with dosage control is quite easy to achieve with a little attention and practice. If swallowed, absorption will occur more slowly in the GI tract.
Many patients add tincture to a cup of tea or cranberry juice for easy delivery. When tincture is used in a beverage, absorption will be slower than if absorbed under the tongue. While tincture absorbed in an empty stomach is accomplished in minutes, conversion in the liver remains, as does the difficulty in titrating dose.
GW Pharmaceuticals has performed clinical trials and is marketing a sublingual spray in England that decreases muscle spasticity. The company has recently applied for clinical trials in the US for a product that minimizes severe epileptic seizures in children.