How To Convert Cannabis in Alcohol
Learn to drink your cannabis on the rocks in this Baked: Cooking with Mary Jean exclusive tutorial on conversion in alcohol.
For those of you disinterested in smoking or even vaporizing your marijuana, have no fear––alcohol conversion is here! Converting cannabis in alcohol is an essential process in creating any marijuana driven cocktail or shot. And no––your drink won’t turn out bright green (unless you want it to!).
Since the popularity of edibles has exponentially increased in the 21st century, more and more marijuana driven recipes have been created, refined, and perfected for the medicated public. That being said, marijuana is not limited to the staple comfort snack of “pot brownies” anymore; We’re exposed to an array of foods, drinks, desserts, and everything in between. While baked goods and grilled meals are a great (and ideal) alternative for hiding the taste of cannabis––avoiding smoking it completely––while still experiencing the benefits of THC, the shelf life of baked goods is finite. In the long run, baked goods pale in comparison to alcoholic extraction. It’s time to introduce the concept of a Tincture.
Tinctures are a form of medicine created by dissolving a drug or herb in alcohol. Typically, tinctures are liquid extracts made from herbs that can be taken orally. Alcohol is the most popular base to dissolve cannabis in to create the tincture.
By extracting the THC (which activates its psychoactive effects as THCA) from your cannabis, you create a tincture with a high shelf life––possibly up to one year. For more on this complicated process, visit our decarboxylation tutorial. With marijuana tinctures, you can control your dosage more carefully and precisely than other methods of ingestion. Baked goods are notoriously difficult to perfect the proper dosage of marijuana with and oftentimes it is not evenly distributed. With the tincture, all is controlled and all is easily measurable.
The most important piece of advice in using tinctures in any Baked: Cooking with Mary Jean recipe is this: plan ahead. Alcohol conversion with marijuana is the most important aspect of liquid recipes to master. Once you’ve got it down, there’s no stopping you. All in all, it takes about two to four weeks for the alcohol and the cannabis to beautifully blend together into the concoction of your liking. Trust me, it’s worth the wait!
Know Your Limit
With tinctures, or converting cannabis in alcohol, you can easily self-titrate. In layman's terms, this means discovering which dosage is appropriate for yourself and your body. In order to self-titrate, ingest five to 10 drops of your prepared tincture (which we’ll create in just a few paragraphs) into half of a glass of water. Allow up to an hour to feel the effects, and determine for yourself whether or not that is the proper level of effectiveness for you. If this is not effective, try again the following day, as trying again the same day may skew your results.
A tincture’s strength will vary based on the quantity, amount, and type of marijuana. Be careful, and monitor your dosage!
The Science of Alcohol Conversion
You’ll need three ingredients to start:
- One mason jar with a tight fitting lid
- Decarboxylated cannabis
- One bottle of your favorite alcohol (higher proof=higher potency)
In terms of how much cannabis to use, fill your mason jar to the top, so it still has a little breathing room to add alcohol. Include the twigs and the sticks (parts I’m sure you throw away all the time). Everything counts in this conversion tip! Make sure that you use clean cannabis as well. Phant Extracts is the clean, natural choice when determining what to use.
Once you put the marijuana into the mason jar, pour the alcohol in the jar until it fills the container. The higher the alcohol content, the better the conversion. Make sure you pour the alcohol over all of the botanicals.
Once you’ve tightened your lid (and you’ve double-checked to make sure it is tight) shake the mason jar with all of the contents inside of it. Then––and this next part is the easiest––put it away for a few weeks. Two to four weeks is the recommended conversion time for this technique. Every few days, shake the mason jar once or twice to make sure everything is equally distributed.
What happens if you’re impatient and you don’t want to wait three weeks for the perfect alcohol-cannabis convo? I have an alternative method for you: heat. Put the mason jar in a double boiler. This speeds up the conversion time... yet at the same time it burns off a portion of the alcohol. I recommend patience—wait the two to four weeks!
Once the conversion is complete, unscrew the lid of the mason jar and pour the contents out through a sieve into a glass bowl. You’ll be left with a dark brown cannabis infused alcohol liquid. Now you’re ready to make the drink of your choice.
Tips and Tricks
Once you seal the jar and shake it, you’ll notice a change in color immediately, especially if you are using a clear alcohol. Over the next few days, this will develop into a black-hued green color.
Shake the jar often! Once you tighten your lid, make sure that over the next two to three days you shake you cannabis/alcohol mixture several times a day. This aids in saturating the cannabis into the alcohol solution.
In terms of straining, you may like to choose a funnel lined with a cheesecloth to separate the contents. Don’t forget to ball up the cheesecloth and squeeze out the solution that may be caught between it. Thou shalt not waste!
Cooking and Cannabis: the greatest marriage since the discovery of food. From cocktails to hamburgers, desserts to eggs, Baked: A Marijuana Cookbook explores the vast and highly anticipated world of cooking with everyone’s favorite green ingredient: weed. With easy to follow instructions, engaging photographs, and a fool-proof “you-can-read-this-even-if-you’re-high” approach, Baked makes a great gift for first time chefs, stoners, food aficionados, and grandmothers. Presented by Potent, powered by pot, Baked makes any cooking occasion a smoking hot one.
About the Creator
Mary Jean Dunsdon
Also known as Watermelon. A Vancouver personality, pin-up model, and cannabis expert. She is the star of Potent’s series Baked: Cooking with Mary Jean.
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