Baked goods and other food creations are a common way to deliver THC, CBD and other chemicals from cannabis without the risks of smoking/vaping.
However, there is another method of preparation that can be taken orally with great effect. Tinctures are liquid mixtures of substances (often medicines) dissolved in alcohol. Cannabis can be delivered in tincture form, or more specifically, the chemicals in cannabis (cannabinoids) can.
The alcohol in tinctures is not added for its effects on the human body, but instead acts to extract the desired chemicals from cannabis and to keep them dissolved throughout its liquid base . Despite the fact that the alcohol used is extremely high proof (many home recipes recommend Everclear), cannabis tincture dosages are typically limited to a few millimeters at a time, so virtually no alcohol intoxication should take place at all.
There are several ways that tincture can be taken . The most direct method is to place it underneath the tongue (sublingually) using a dropper. Beginners are advised to start with a single (1mL) drop on the first day to test their reaction to the potency. If desired, an additional mL can be added each following day until the desired effects are observed. Drops can also be placed on foods or in beverages if desired, as long as it is added after any cooking/heating processes.
Tincture was once one of the (if not the) most common ways to ingest cannabinoids prior to the widespread prohibition of cannabis in the first half of the 20th century (3) and it is poised for a comeback as new laws are established. Standardized production methods will allow for the precise addition of specific cannabinoids dependent on the desired effects of the tincture (pain relief, sleep aid, etc.), presenting a reliable and simple alternative to other methods of cannabis delivery.
The Rising Popularity of Cannabis Edibles
The Importance of Product Standardization in the Budding Cannabis Industry
Setting and maintaining standards will be a critical part of establishing stable and safe cannabis markets as legalization processes move forward. Standardization will come in many forms, from law enforcement to growing regulations, but at the level of product the main concern is establishing reliable measurement methods for all of the key chemicals in cannabis (aka cannabinoids). Recently, a plea for such a system was made during a meeting of the international standards society known as ASTM , where it was noted that current measurement comparisons between companies often conflict.
The amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in the product (be it plant matter, concentrate or other) is a central focus for standardization purposes. High levels of the chemical are associated with the classic “high” that is sought by most recreational users. Numeric values for THC content will undoubtedly be the go-to statistic for potency-based decisions, but things will get confusing and frustrating quickly unless a standardized measure is adopted throughout the industry. Without consistent measures, consumers may come to feel that businesses are trying to take advantage of them, potentially sowing the seeds of distrust in an emerging consumer base.
THC also has valuable medical applications in the treatment of conditions like chemotherapy-related nausea, multiple sclerosis  and neuropathic pain. However, high levels of THC may also induce seizures . This property exists in stark contrast to the observed effects of another key cannabinoid, called cannabidiol (CBD), which has been successfully used as a treatment for epilepsy . Standardized measurements based on consistent research findings will be critical to ensure that medical patients receive the most effective and, most importantly, safe dosages of each applicable chemical.
Not too long ago, standardizing cannabis by chemical content would have been expected to be simple, as researchers were only aware of THC and its contributions to the psychoactive effects of the plant. Now they know better, as over 100 cannabinoids have been found within its resins , some with potentially groundbreaking health benefits that are still being discovered. It won’t be easy or quick, but standardization must become a pillar of stability supporting the evolution of both medical and recreational marijuana markets.