One of the issues with extracting with ethanol and then using the alcohol mixture as a tincture, is that as extracted, THC-a does not readily pass the blood brain barrier to reach the CB-1 receptors in our brains, so isn’t psychoactive.

That leaves us with a couple of standard solutions to the conundrum, which are to decarboxylate the plant material before extraction, and the second is to remove the alcohol after extraction, decarboxylate the concentrate, and then add back ethanol to make a tincture.

Decarboxylating the plant material leaves us with mixed results because all plant material is not created equal with regard to total cannabinoids, even from different areas of the same plant, nor can we know the exact state of the carboxylic acids due to natural decarboxylation, so typically we use average time at temperature records.  That means we over cook some of the material and under cook others.

Decarboxylating the concentrate is way easier, because we get immediate visual feedback in the form of CO2 bubbles from the process, but we have to remove the alcohol first and then add it back for a tincture.

Check out the following analysis comparing flowers, decarboxylated flowers and concentrate in ethanol over a three day period, during which the ethanol concentrate mixture is held at 150F.

Note that during that three days, the THC-a in the ethanol concentrate held at 150F decarboxylated fell from 74.6% to 1.86%, while the THC rose from 5.9% to 76.9%, while CBN rose from a trace, to 0.22%. 

From a percent decarboxylated standpoint, In three days, the material went from 7.34% decarboxylated to 97.64%, without significantly driving up the CBN.

Hee, hee, hee, that means that you can use the tincture as is orally or even remove some of the alcohol to increase its potency per unit volume, without having to remove it all to decarb!

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