THC Edible Vs. Tincture: What's The Difference?

Cannabis consumption has soared in popularity over the more recent years. As a result of this exciting and entirely progressive growth across the country, there has dually been a reinvigorated investment by talented teams and individuals alike to introduce new, state-of-the-art ways to consume cannabis. Of the various ways that one can consume cannabis, tinctures and edibles in particular have taken up residency as crowd favorites. With that being said, what exactly are the noteworthy differences that arise between these two differing forms of cannabis consumption? 

brownies with chocolate chips

Throughout this article, we'll do an easily digestible, yet helpfully through deep-dive on what kinds of differences there are that you can trace between marijuana tinctures and edibles, as well as the potential pros and cons associated with the different consumption methods, and ultimately which consumption method might align best with your current lifestyle. We'll additionally look at the best possible methods you can adopt for properly consuming cannabis based on your consumption method choice. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Tinctures are liquids that are taken orally.
  • Edibles infuse cannabis extracts into food products like gummies or chocolate.

What exactly are tinctures?

Tinctures are either alcohol or oil-based liquids that can be easily infused with a series of cannabis products. Tinctures have in fact been used avidly throughout history as either highly sought after medical or herbal remedies. The first reference point in time where THC tinctures were used was actually in a medical journal tracing back to 1843. THC tinctures can either be consumed by leaving the THC tincture liquid under your tongue so that it can absorb into your mouth's mucus membranes (think of this as the crucial entry point) for between 10-15 seconds. However, you can also try out adding your THC tincture liquid into your food or beverages. 

What are the different categories of THC tinctures?

There's an array of differing categories when it comes to tinctures. There is full-spectrum, which contains all types of cannabinoids and terpenes (THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, myrcene, caryophyllene, etc). Then, there is broad spectrum, which is very similar to full-spectrum, but with the essential differentiator being that it doesn't have the THC. Broad spectrum is also less common than full-spectrum because it only includes a single cannabinoid, which is usually either THC or CBD. 

What are the notable differences between marijuana tinctures and edibles?

Both tinctures and edibles are highly accessible, wonderfully convenient ways to consume cannabis. The most marked difference between THC tinctures and edibles is their actual unique ingestion processes. Tinctures are presented in the liquid form of THC, consumed orally, and most often by having you carefully use a dropper or even a spray bottle. On the flip side, edibles are actual marijuana-infused food products, that can come in the equally enticing, dangerously tasty forms of gummies, brownies, cookies, etc. You should note that in general, tinctures are absorbed by your body significantly faster, and will thus provide much more immediate effects as opposed to THC edibles. Edibles will oftentimes take up to 2 hours to kick in, and perhaps even more importantly, their actual effects can have a lifespan of up to 6 hours. 

Are THC tinctures and edibles more effective than smoking cannabis?

THC tinctures and edibles have oftentimes been praised by enthusiastic cannabis consumers for being more effective than the more traditional method of smoking THC due to the lengthier period of time that the effects can last, as opposed to the shorter lifespan of the felt effects from just smoking cannabis. Also, the effects experienced from a THC tincture or an edible will generally be much more concentrated, and thus innately possess a stronger effect. 

Lastly, THC tinctures can even act as a highly effective way to get at the unheated acidic cannabinoids like THCA, CBDA, and CBGA. These various acidic cannabinoids possess remarkable healing attributes, and THC tinctures can be a great cost-efficient way to consume cannabis as well. 

What are the pros and cons associated with using THC tinctures and edibles?

The pros of experimenting with a THC tincture are that it will right off the bat provide you the ability to more precisely measure out your intended THC dosage. Additionally, THC tinctures generally have lengthier shelf-life compared to other cannabis products, and are oftentimes easier to transport with you compared to certain edibles. The potential cons of experimenting with a THC tincture are that the tincture flavor can on occasion be more bitter, sour, and simply might not be a flavor that you personally enjoy. Additionally, the effects will require that you wait with a bit more patience to experience them in their full capacity, before you consider upping your dosage. After all, the last scenario that you want to find yourself panicked by is one in which you took more of your THC tincture than planned because you didn't "feel" the effects early on.

Next, the advantages of consuming THC-infused edibles are that they are naturally extremely easy to consume, and can even provide you with a notably lengthier high than that of which you'd experience when consuming a THC tincture. However, the potential cons of consuming edibles are that the process of accurately measuring out your intended dosage can be one that is prone toward mis-measuring, they can require a longer period of time to adequately kick in, and they can be less smooth when it comes to transporting them around with you. 

What are the common recommended dosages for THC tinctures and edibles?

Usually, the recommended dosage for both THC tinctures and edibles will be based on the individual in question's established tolerance level, and also the actual THC level in the cannabis product. As with so many new experiences (especially one's that will impact your body and mind), it's strongly advised that you begin your THC tincture and/or edible experimentation in "baby steps" with a low dosage (think 5-10mg of THC) to sufficiently note the array of effects, and then you can tinker around from a relaxed headspace from there. Last, you should always keep noted in the back of your head that the myriad of effects from consuming THC edibles won't be experienced for as long as 2 hours. 

What are common side effects from consuming THC tinctures and edibles?

Even when consumed in its tincture form THC is still very much so a psychoactive drug that by its very biological makeup can ignite an array of reactions. The most common side effects from the overconsumption of THC in its tincture form is anxiety and paranoia. Additionally, the THC tincture can result in overall decreased coordination and cognitive impairment. However, rest assured in knowing that these effects will pass you by quickly. You can also always take the added prudent measure of consulting your physician first, before you actually experiment with a THC tincture or edible. 

Next, you should note that cannabis edibles and many other cannabis products can end up interacting with alcohol and other prescription drugs that you may be taking, in addition to blood thinners. A reaction between these substances can manifest in an amplification of the effects brought on by THC, or even implicate the overall effectiveness in terms of how the drugs are actually working. 

Closing Thoughts

These potential adverse reactions to consuming THC tinctures or edibles are in no way intended to paint an unsettling picture of what you can expect from consuming a THC tincture or edible. In fact, great side effects from THC tinctures and edibles include deepened states of relaxation, euphoria, the infamous "giggles", muscle relaxation, bursts of creativity, and an overriding sense of well-being. It's simply important to note what you might be able to expect with side effects from both ends of the spectrum. Your physician will also oftentimes be able to answer any and all questions that you still might have. The clearer your mind is of any stressors before you consume a cannabis product, the better that you can expect your experience to go. 

Lastly, if you do feel that you might've accidentally consumed more THC than you initially intended, your best bet is to get yourself into a peaceful setting. From there, if its available or you have a friend with you that can make a quick field trip, you can use CBD as an effective, partial antidote. It's generally recommended that the ideal range for CBD in this context is anywhere between 10-50mg of CBD, with minimal levels of THC, to be consumed every 2-4 hours, or if you prefer, inhaled CBD-dominant cannabis as its need will work as well.

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