Why Isn’t My Cannabis Tincture Working?

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Dear Mary Jane Doe,

My local supplier got busted and the cops took all of the extracts. I was using a vegetable glycerin extract to calm my nausea. The bottle I used to get worked great to make my breast cancer treatments (kinda) bearable. A friend gave me some of her own supply – a bottle of stuff that looks and tastes exactly the same but didn’t do much of anything at all.

Is this new stuff not concentrated enough?


Dee from Scottsdale


Hi Dee,

Bummer. Sorry to hear that you’re suffering.

Glycerin extracts can be tricky. Using vegetable glycerin to make Cannabis extracts is akin to using water to make coffee. Take the beans out of the “cherries” of a small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea (arabica, if you’re lucky), dry them, roast them carefully, grind them up, make a hot soup out of them, drink the squeezin’s. Voila. Coffee. (Clearly, I’ve oversimplified… but not by much.)

Take the flowering tops of the annual, dioecious herb of the genus Cannabis, put it in a bucket of heated food-grade vegetable glycerin and bottle up the squeezin’s. Voila, Cannabis extract. (Again, I’ve oversimplified… but not by much.)

Saying that either the coffee OR the Cannabis extract is either “concentrated” or “diluted” in this context is somewhat meaningless. There’s only a finite amount of coffee that will go into a cup of coffee, by which I mean, you can go ahead and make your coffee with coffee, but that just makes slightly stronger coffee, and not by very much. There’s only so much caffeine that will fit into a particular volume of fluid…and maximizing concentration by such a rudimentary process would result in very little forward progress. Similarly, there’s only so much of the constituent cannabinoids in Cannabis that will go into a glycerin solution. It’s virtually impossible to “concentrate” a glycerin extract, you can go ahead and extract your Cannabis WITH Cannabis extract, I suppose, but again, stronger? By how much, really?

It’s akin to a “second hopping” of a hoppy beer. OK, that’s a really hoppy beer, but keep on hopping and you’ll simply never end up with a bottle of meth.

Extracts only contain the compounds that were present in the original Cannabis. It sounds like you’re in need of a different extract – one using different source plant material.

Good luck, Dee. Be safe. Stay strong.


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