I have been using and making cannabis edibles off and on for about 15 years. At first, I would make the typical boxed brownies that would send my friends into space while I’d be sitting there pissed off that I wasted all that flower. Now that I’m approaching my 10,000 hours (I have to be close, right?), I have learned that I just need to focus on edibles that are primarily absorbed through my mouth rather than my intestines, especially if I want to feel that silly kind of high most of us associate with taking edibles.
Learning this has redirected me to focus more on making drinks and hard candies, like lollipops, with alcohol-based tinctures. And not only that, but I don’t need as much THC as I thought I did to loosen up (but still a lot more than a standard recreational dose). 25mg of THC in a drink plus a joint, in the right company, feels just like having a beer.
There is still room in my life for savory-infused buttery dishes and sweet pastries, but it is clear that the effect is dampened. That same 25mg in a cookie feels like I might as well have eaten a cookie with no cannabis. It does not pack quite the same kick as a mocktail. But I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum, and my body is no different.
Knowing all this about myself, and learning from others what works for them, is also why I don’t typically spend a lot of time talking about the specific doses in my Pot Lunch recipes. It’s so personal. And not as it relates to privacy. Each person metabolizes THC differently, that to me, it’s more important that you spend the time to figure out what dose and consumption methods work specifically for you (is that another blog post?). If I make a 100 mg cookie, you shouldn’t feel like you also have to eat a 100 mg cookie. It is not a competition.
It was not a short path to finding out that drinks and lozenges were my best options. I didn’t even know that making infused drinks at home was possible until about 5 years ago, so… there’s that. Additionally, I’m a little slow on the uptake, and it took 2 years for me to finally Google search why the 10 mg lollipops from the dispensary worked better than the 10mg chocolates. I had assumed all edibles were absorbed equally, but I was wrong.
Lollipops, hard candies, and drinks spend much more time in your mouth than edibles you chew and swallow. Especially the first two on that list. If you’re like I was a couple of years ago, you’re probably thinking, so tf what? It still goes to your stomach like every other edible, right? Well, yes, you are right. But also, the tissue and skin in your mouth are super absorbent. And alcohol-based cannabis tinctures are the perfect vehicle to send a preliminary hit of THC into the bloodstream. That also makes the effects kick in faster while the rest of the THC enters the bloodstream through your digestive system.
My favorite dinner combo is to have a 25 mg mocktail and another 25 mg or so incorporated into my food. Get the 1-2 punch combo with a quick onset from the drink and a more mellow ride a little later from the infused meal to carry me through the night. Topped off with a 1:1 THC: CBD mocktail before bed to fall asleep hard like I drank too much, without the spins or the headache.
The Benefits of Infused Drinks
While I’ve discussed all the reasons I love and use infused drinks and edible mocktails, I’d like to touch on some universal benefits of infused drinks and mocktails.
No hangover like a cocktail
THC is an excellent replacement for traditional alcohol in social settings. When I don’t want to drink alcohol, I love to bring a small vial with a few milliliters of tincture to drop into virgin drinks. However, I do not recommend mixing alcohol and THC edibles personally; it makes me throw up no matter how little I combine.
Try this out at home or at a friend’s house first. It is essential to know what a functional dose is for you before you take this idea out on the road and in public. You do not want to put yourself in an unsafe or uncomfortable situation because you don’t know how to take your own homemade drugs. So stay calm, be wise, and don’t ruin it for the rest of us. Please.
Easy to customize dose on a day-to-day basis
I love making cookies. I love creating my own weird recipes, and I love putting weed in them. At the time of writing this, I have a half dozen or so infused “Super Girly Sleepover Cookies” (strawberry flavored sugar cookie dough with infused caramel corn, white chips, and nonpareils) in my freezer just waiting, nay begging, for me to bake them so they can bake me. However, they are giant cookies. I cannot eat more than one, no matter how much weed I smoke. And so they’re static at 25 mg a piece. And so am I with that dose if that’s all I had on hand.
On the other hand, cannabis-infused drinks open up a lot more possibilities and flexibility in terms of dosage. For example, on a day I have to work, if I’m experiencing a lot of pain, I might only want to take 25-50 mg, but if I have a day off, I can risk a nap in the middle of the afternoon, and I might bump it up to 100 mg. Drinks made with tinctures allow me to decide every day how much I want to take without having to only eat cookies that day.
In many ways, all edibles are discreet if you think about it. Onlookers won’t pay you attention if you’re just sitting in public munching on some infused treats. “Oh hey, look at that weird witchy lady eating oily Cheezits,” they’ll probably say as they walk by. I don’t know what you look like. But, on the other hand, they might look at you a little strange if you break out that same bag of snacks at a restaurant or bar. Not cool, my friend. You don’t bring outside food to an establishment that sells food. That’s where drinks come in.
A few milliliters in your water bottle, lemonade, or tea. Nobody’s going to know! How would they know? And if no one’s life is in your hands, does anyone need to know? If they ask, you can say that it’s essential oils and would they like to learn about joining your team.
You can infuse any drink
It’s the versatility that really sells it to me. Any drink can be infused (minus the alcohol, as I mentioned before, proceed with caution when mixing the two). While I maintain that is true, I strongly prefer non-carbonated drinks both in taste and due to compatibility with THC oils.
In my experience, carbonated drinks tend to cause the oils in the tincture to separate from the alcohol. The cannabis oil then clumps up in the ice and on the sides of the glass in a sticky tar-like substance. This seems wasteful to me. I think more acidic drinks do best. So I lean towards fresh squeezed lemonade flavored with various homemade syrups.
If I take the tincture out to a party or something, I like to order things like lemonade or iced tea to mix into.
How To Infuse Drinks
I think the best way to make infused drinks is to use an alcohol-based tincture, dosed per drink as needed from a dropper bottle or plunger syringe for precise dosing. At the end of this article, you’ll see my super quick alcohol tinctures method using high-proof grain alcohol (Everclear).
Can I use Cannaoil to make infused drinks?
Technically you can use cannabis-infused oil to make drinks, but there are some things you should keep in mind. If you don’t blend it in a blender, cannabis-infused coconut oil or butter will seize up and solidify in any cold drinks. The oil will float on the top if you put it in a hot drink.
That is the major downside, in my opinion. You can use fractionated or liquid coconut oil to combat the solidification in a cold drink, but it’s a sub-par infusion choice for drinks. Again, in my opinion. I’m sure someone will read this and think I’m wrong, but again, this is my opinion. I’m not saying you can’t use coconut oil; I’m just telling you that you probably shouldn’t. Unless it is a frozen blended drink. Then I think you can avoid the problems of using coconut oil in an infused drink.
How to measure tincture for infused drinks
My preferred method for dosing drinks is to use a small plunger syringe. Depending on the potency of the tincture, it may be a 3 mL syringe or a 10 mL syringe. Syringes are more precise than just measuring with a teaspoon, tablespoon, or my heart.
But if you’re wondering about how to translate mL to teaspoons and tablespoons, here’s the conversion:
- A teaspoon is almost 5 mL (4.92892)
- A tablespoon is nearly 15 mL (14.7686)
- A tablespoon is about half an ounce
If your tincture is potent, like the one I am currently using is, about 20 mg of THC/mL, then making single drinks could be a challenge if you prefer a lighter dose without a small syringe. You can dilute with more alcohol, but I say the less high-proof grain alcohol you have to use is better.
The Pot Lunch Quick Tincture Method
As tinctures have become a main staple in the pot pantry, I had been hunting for shorter infusion times. My initial aversion to even trying these brews is that many methods needed an incredibly long steep time. If you’ve done this research, you know what I’m talking about. The prized methods require you to leave the alcohol and cannabis mash mixture in a cool dark place for weeks. Then, gently shake once per day. Who has time for all of that? Who can even plan like that?
My method takes under an hour from decarb to straining. For real. For really, really real.
- 3.5 grams cannabis
- 4 ounces Everclear, or other high proof (ideally 190), clear, grain alcohol
- Baking sheet
- Gem scale
- Tin foil/oven safe cover for baking sheet
- Mason jar
- Mesh strainer
- Small dark glass jar for storage
- First, you need to decarb or activate the cannabis flower. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit/149 degrees celsius. If possible, double-check your oven’s temperature with a thermometer.
- Weigh cannabis flower and break them up into uniformly sized pieces, about the size of popcorn. Spread the flower on a baking sheet and cover it with tin foil. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes.
- Allow the pan remain covered while cooling on a counter for 15 minutes before moving on to the next step.
- In a 8 or 16 ounce mason jar with a clean lid and band, add the alcohol and cooled decarboxylated flower. Tighten the cap so that nothing will leak.
- Shake and stir the jar for 15 minutes continuously. Swirl and oscillate it in a steady motion, but no need to treat it like a maraca. Slow and steady wins this race. Don’t forget to set a timer and switch arms as needed.
- Strain the tincture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, giving the cheesecloth a gentle squeeze at the end.
- Store the tincture in a dark, opaque glass jar in a cool dark place (a cabinet, the fridge, or freezer all make excellent options).
Alternative options: if you are familiar with the Green Dragon method of tincture making, you can freeze the alcohol and activated flower before combining (and, therefore, another day before you can test the final product). However, in my testing, I’ve found that it doesn’t make that much of a difference in potency.
Ultimately, as much as I could go on about my love of THC-infused mocktails, it’s a personal preference, and what works for me may not work for you. But I think if you like tinctures and hate the time it takes, you should try that method and let me know how it works for you. And if you’d like an even easier way to infuse drinks, or to replace alcohol in social settings, check out Flora Hemp Spirits in both CBD and Delta 8 varieties (affiliate link). Using my code: JUST2HIGHLO, you’ll also get 10% off your purchase.