Whether you’ve heard it called THC oil, tincture, or juice, THC liquid is a potent fluid containing extracted tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for causing cannabis’ psychoactive effects. While cannabis flower is bred to contain 12-30 percent THC, this psychotropic concentrate can contain up to 90 percent of the cannabinoid.
The reasons for consuming such a potent substance vary. Some cannabis enthusiasts enjoy the powerful high. However, some liquid THC consumers say they use the concentrate to medicate chronic pain or nausea.
There are multiple ways to use liquid THC. It can be inhaled with a vaporizer, swallowed as a sublingual tincture or oral spray, or infused with an edible. Although liquid THC has medicinal effects, it can—like all medications—cause adverse reactions in consumers as well.
Liquid THC for Vaping
A common way to use liquid THC is to vape it. This method heats the liquid just enough to create a vapor without combusting the concentrate. The vapor is inhaled, so the cannabinoids produce effects quickly—often within 30 minutes.
A word of caution: although vaping avoids smoking-related respiratory and toxicological issues, the inhalation method is under intense bipartisan scrutiny. In response to a frightening wave of e-cigarette related lung-disease, lawmakers are looking to crack down on THC vaporizers. The lack of federal oversight over the cannabis industry and the paucity of vaping-related research leave a lot of unanswered questions about the safety of using vape cartridges.
In early October, the Center for Disease Control released its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report making these observations and recommendations:
- As of September 24, 2019 there have been 805 cases coming from 46 states reporting lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use
- In 76.9 percent of these cases, patients reported using a THC-containing product in their e-cigarettes/vaporizers
- The cause of the outbreak is unknown. Consumers should avoid using vaporizers until the investigation is complete.
If you’re still interested in inhaling cannabis but want to avoid the risks of smoking combusted cannabis, there are ways to mitigate risk associated with vape cartridges. Fortunately, there is more than one way to consume THC liquid for those who would rather not take the risk of vaping.
THC Tinctures and Oral Sprays
Squeezing a few drops of THC tincture sublingually (under the tongue), letting it sit for a few seconds, and then swallowing it is a popular way to consume liquid THC.
A tincture is made by letting decarboxylated cannabis soak in high proof, consumable alcohol until the cannabinoids are dissolved into the liquid. The potency of the tincture will depend on the flower. Flower containing higher levels of THC will produce more potent THC liquid than flower containing less THC.
While vaping THC liquid provides some control, using a tincture or oral spray provides patients with a way to precisely titrate their dose.
Infusing Food with Liquid THC
Another way to use THC liquid is to infuse it with food and beverages. Liquid THC is easier to manipulate and disburse throughout a food or drink than cannabis flower or wax. You can use liquid THC to make any dish, from cookies to lobster bisque. It is also simple to add to a beverage from your morning coffee to a healthy smoothie.
However, it is much more difficult to titrate an edibles dose. There are several reasons for that. First, heat from the cooking process may degrade cannabinoids enough to decrease the potency of the finished product. Second, ingested cannabinoids are metabolized very differently than inhaled cannabinoids. In fact, the THC metabolite synthesized during the digestive process is more potent than the THC metabolite formed from inhalation. Edibles can produce a range of effects that may be much less than what the consumer anticipates, or much more than the consumer can handle.
How to Make Liquid THC
There are multiple ways to make liquid THC, but these methods can be dangerous. Additionally, the final product may not meet the quality standards experts are able to produce. Your safest option is to buy THC liquid from a reputable brand selling at a licensed cannabis retailer.
The safest way to make liquid THC is to make a tincture.
How to Make a THC Tincture
- 1/8 oz of a high THC strain (try Gorilla Glue or Northern Lights)
- 2 ounces of pure grain 190 proof alcohol (do not use rubbing alcohol)
- 1 mason jar
- 1-2 coffee filters
- A measured eye dropper
- Decarboxylate finely ground cannabis flower.
- Combine the decarbed cannabis and the alcohol into one of the mason jars. Cover and let it sit for 3 weeks. Shake the mason jar once each day.
- Use the coffee filter to remove the plant matter from the liquid. Try 1 mL of the tincture at a time.
Caution: Do not vape this tincture—the alcohol will damage the respiratory tract and lungs.