I remember the first time someone gave me cannabis tincture. “Put this under your tongue,” he said, squirting a couple droppers full of “Green Dragon” into my mouth. I had to resist spitting it out, as it reeked of Everclear and weed trim, and to quote Ralph Wiggum, “It tastes like burning!” In the years that have passed, I’ve come to accept that a burning feeling and horrendous taste in my mouth are part of the tincture experience—much like, say, life.
So I was skeptical but polite when I recently sat down with Dave Wolfe, lead chemist, co-owner, and co-founder (with his wife Frea) of Cascadia Herbals. He handed me a small bottle and suggested I place a few drops under my tongue for 30 seconds. I smiled wanly, which must be a look Wolfe was used to seeing. “It won’t burn and it tastes good, really,” he said, the way you might assure a small child reluctant to take cough syrup.
I squirted a few drops under my tongue, and a few more on top, then waited for the inevitable burning.
It did not come.
Then came a rush of flavor, which tasted of Purple Hindu Kush, as if I were vaporizing a bowl on a low temperature. It was like doing a rosin dab, with terpenes bursting out all over the place. It was all I could do to not guzzle the entire bottle—which, as it contained 200 milligrams of THC, would perhaps not have been the best idea. (Or would it? No. It would not.)
Cascadia Herbals was the state’s first licensed cannabis tincture producer, and they are hands down making the tastiest tinctures I’ve yet to try in Oregon. Wolfe says it’s because of how they process and refine.
“We start with clean cannabis, and use ultra-cooled organic cane alcohol to craft our mother tincture. We utilize our house-developed terpene retention system to ensure we preserve the amazing flavors our cultivation partners have worked so hard to grow,” he said. “We complete the formula with organic glycerin and organic lecithin to achieve a consistent strength, mouthfeel, and flavor. Our ultra-cooled process allows us to grab a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, and leave behind plant wax and chlorophyll. We don’t add any flavors or terpenes.”
Dosing is easy: 20 drops equals a serving size of five milligrams of THC, and each 20-milliliter bottle provides 40 servings. “Our tinctures can be held under the tongue for 90 seconds for a quick-onset delta-9 effect similar to smoking or vaping. The tinctures can also be added to your favorite beverage or food and processed by your liver, giving you a slower onset and a longer lasting 11-hydroxy THC effect.”
The who-what-now effect?
“I often talk about being able to control your experience via the sublingual Delta-9 effect versus the 11-hydroxy effect through the gut and liver, and the ability to control your dosage from micro to macro,” he said. While I’m personally all about the “macro” cannabis experience, a lot of people aren’t, so being able to dial in your dose and effect can be extremely valuable for patients and partakers.
The bottles are very small, and can easily fit into the coin pocket of your jeans. I carried mine around for a day and used it in place of my vape pen,adding it to my cold brew, to a bottle of water, and putting some under my tongue. Sure enough, the effects varied depending on whether I swallowed it or used it sublingually. I tried three different bottles, and found each one truly represented the flavors of the strain from which it was made, and the effects varied, too.
Best of all, no one looked at me and yelled, “What’s THAT guy doing?”
The tinctures come in strain-specific flavors in four categories—indica, sativa, hybrid, and CBD, the latter providing a one-to-one ratio of five milligrams of THC and CBD each. The lineup of strains changes frequently, but includes Durban Poison, Amnesia Haze, Nurse Jackie, Gorilla Glue #4, Purple Trainwreck, and others. You can check ’em out at cascadiaherbals.com.