Are tinctures stronger than edibles?

woman taking a tincture

In the cannabis community—or This Thing of Ours, as they say in the underworld—there has been much discussion of late about the various forms of ingesting weed, and how each measures up against the others. For example, smoking vs vaping: Which is better? Which is healthier? Which gets you higher? Given that vaping is still relatively new, we will probably have to wait a while for any cut and dried answers.

Today we will take a look at marijuana tinctures and comparing them with edibles. Most of us have experience with edibles. Tinctures are a little more obscure, but they really shouldn’t be, and probably won’t be for much longer. Lots of people are seeking out information about them. If you’re one of those people, you’ve come to the right place.

What are tinctures?

First things first. Marijuana tinctures are a form of liquid cannabis that have been extracted and concentrated with the help of alcohol. An age-old method of administering cannabis, tinctures have been used for centuries for both medicinal and recreational purposes. They are also rather easy to make and, when stored properly, will keep for years.

Versatility is a defining feature of tinctures. While dropping a bit under your tongue is standard, the possibilities with regard to food and beverages are limitless. Once you start to infuse your cooking with cannabis tinctures, it’s hard to stop.

Tincture high vs edible high

Opinions on edibles vary widely, which isn’t surprising given all the variables that can affect how you experience them. It’s hard to know what to expect from edibles. A lot depends on which food you put them in and whether you ingest them on an empty stomach. They’re also hard to dose precisely.

One thing we can all agree on is that edibles require patience—sometimes several hours’ worth. That’s because edibles are digested along with our food, going through the same slow and steady process. Eventually the THC is converted by our bodies into 11-hydroxy-THC, a metabolite considerably more potent than THC itself. This accounts for the intense effects of edibles.

When added to food, tinctures go through the same process and, in time, deliver you a robust, enduring high. With that said, research has found that, when ingested on an empty stomach, tinctures tend to absorb more THC than edibles (18 percent more, to be exact). So there is evidence that, under certain circumstances, tinctures offer a stronger high than edibles. Something to keep in mind.

Do tinctures take as long as edibles to kick in?

No. Tinctures will almost invariably supply the effects of THC faster than edibles do. The size of the discrepancy depends on how you choose to administer them. As we mentioned earlier, tinctures are incredibly versatile—that is one of their major advantages. If you’re in need of immediate relief, simply place a few drops under your tongue. You’ll be high in a matter of minutes.

That rate of absorption isn’t possible with edibles. Moreover, according to a study done alongside the one referenced above, even when taken with food, tinctures introduce THC to the bloodstream more quickly than edibles.

In addition to the foregoing, bear in mind that, on their own, tinctures contain almost no calories. In that sense they are a great option for those of us who are trying to take a couple inches off our beltlines.