Like most marijuana products, liquid THC has many names. There’s the hyper-technical tincture of cannabis or marijuana tincture. There’s the more common liquid marijuana or liquid THC. And then there are the myriad and inevitable slang terms like green dragon, mayzack, and tink that always seem to pop up out of nowhere like code names in some spy drama.
Regardless of what you call it, liquid THC has seen dramatic growth in popularity in recent years. This growth in popularity is thanks in large part to the introduction of vape pens and the increased presence of marijuana dispensaries across the country.
But despite its growing popularity, much mystery and confusion still surrounds liquid THC. What exactly is it? How is it made? What does it look like? How is it used? What are its effects? And what are its dangers? This article will answer those questions.
What Is Liquid THC?
Technically speaking, liquid THC is a tincture. A tincture is a liquid extract made by soaking a substance in alcohol to release its active ingredient. In the case of most tinctures, that active ingredient is going to be THC from potent strains such as Bruce Banner or Death Star. That said, you could make a CBD tincture by using a high-CBD/low-THC strain like Charlotte’s Web or Sour Tsunami.
The list of tinctures is literally endless as any plant, combination of plants, or even animal material can be used to make a tincture. Common medicinal tinctures include garlic, hyssop, and sage. As the name implies, tincture of cannabis (or marijuana tincture) is just a tincture made using a cannabis plant.
While alcohol is the most common liquid used to make tinctures, oils, vinegars, and glycerins can also be used. In addition, different types of alcohols can be used in the creation of a tincture including, but certainly not limited to, vodka, brandy, and ethanol.
How Is Liquid THC Made?
Tinctures, and liquid THC specifically, can be made in a number of different ways: the more traditional room-temperature method, the cold-brew method, or the accelerated (and more dangerous) hot method. Here’s a description and recipe for each.
The Room-Temperature Method
This traditional method doesn’t rely on any fancy technology like refrigerators or stoves. Instead, it’s very much like brewing tea: throw in your solids, add water, and let sit. The nice thing about the room-temperature method is that it pulls every last molecule of THC out of the plant. The drawback to the room-temperature method is that it takes a lot longer to produce a finished product (15-30 times longer when compared to the cold method). So if you’re in dire need of a tincture, the cold or hot method would be a better choice. To make liquid THC using the room-temperature method:
- Chop your plant matter and decarboxylate it in a 230℉ oven for 35 minutes.
- Place the decarboxylated cannabis in a quart (32 ounce) mason jar.
- Pour in 32 ounces of the highest proof alcohol you can get. Everclear works well, but by all means, avoid Isopropyl alcohol.
- Cover the jar tightly. A screw-on lid works nicely here.
- Shake well.
- Place the mason jar in a brown paper bag and store in a cabinet or closet. Storing the jar in a bag in a dark place keeps sunlight from spoiling the tincture.
- Monitor the location where you store your brew. It should warm/room temperature, NOT hot.
- Let the mason jar sit for 30-60 days (the longer the better).
- After the steeping period, remove the plant matter from the remaining liquid by straining through a cheesecloth.
- Store the liquid in an opaque bottle out of the sun to preserve its potency.
How to Make Liquid THC
Below, we have highlighted three of the most common ways to make liquid THC from dry marijuana plant matter. We DO NOT recommend you try any of these techniques, and we are not responsible if you decide to break any laws, and/or if your liquid pot-making adventure results in any kind of damage or injury to people or property. This should only be attempted by trained professionals.
Know and understand the marijuana laws of the state that you live in, and make sure to only buy liquid pot from a legal, licensed dispensary.
Liquid THC: Make It at Room Temperature
How can you make liquid THC in the simplest, most fool-proof way? Doing so at room temperature with some form of stable alcohol is probably your best bet. However, it takes really really long compared to the other methods.
Basically, all you need to do is get some marijuana (preferably nugs that are devoid of stems and seeds), chop it up into small pieces (don’t use an actual grinder as you don’t want a fine powder), and let it sit in an alcohol bath for a few weeks. Depending on the quality and potency that you desire, “a few weeks” could be anywhere from a single week or two all the way up to three months.
First, you’ll need to bake your chopped-up weed on a cookie tray in the oven for about 20 mins at 200℉/95°C (or preferably a little less). This decarboxylates the THCA into THC so you can get high.
Next, add the chopped up, decarboxylated marijuana to a mason jar, pouring just enough alcohol in to cover/saturate it. Then screw on the lid to the mason jar and let it sit, making sure to shake it up every now and again. The natural chemical properties will pull all of the THC from the flower, thus making a rich, super-potent liquid.
Some Things to Remember
Don’t just use any type of alcohol, however. For example, don’t use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol as it contains toxic compounds compared to pure ethanol. Most people who make liquid THC use either food-grade vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol (PG), polyethylene glycol (i.e. PEG-400) or pure ethanol. You can even use 190-proof Everclear, which is a 95% grain alcohol.
After you extract the THC from the weed, strain and purge the solution. This gets rid of the excess plant matter and alcohol residue, leaving only the activated THC. There are a few different ways to purge liquid THC, but none of them are really 100% effective (unless you’re an experienced chemist with access to expensive machinery).
You can vape your liquid THC, use a dropper bottle to place drops under your tongue, or even use it to cook with and make edibles. Whatever you decide to do with it, though, be advised that liquid pot is incredibly potent compared to “traditional” weed smoking. It has resulted in a lot of paranoia-filled emergency-room visits in recent years.
Also, it’s worth pointing out, both PG and PEG break down into formaldehyde (a carcinogenic compound) at temperatures above 390℉. This is a very important consideration to keep in mind if you’re going to be vaping your liquid THC, as we for one would not want to be inhaling potentially carcinogenic aldehydes.