190 Proof vs 200 Proof for Cannabis Tincture

You might not think it makes a big difference, but the 5% water in your 190 proof alcohol can be having significant effects on your cannabis tincture and extraction process. Read more to find out why 200 proof is the best choice for cannabis tinctures and extraction recipes.

When it comes to extraction of cannabinoids, alcohol does all of the work.  Literally responsible for all of the extraction action during the infusing stage, the alcohol contained within a solution will actively dissolve cannabinoid trichomes, while the water molecules just hang around. 

190 proof vs 200 proof alcohol for tincture and concentrates

Alcohol and Water solutions explained.

When alcohol and water are mixed, they create a mixture known as a solution. This solution can dissolve certain substances, like oils and cannabinoids, but how much it can dissolve, known as its solubility limit, varies. Essentially, the more alcohol there is in the mixture, the faster it can break down and absorb these oily substances. This process of dissolving lipids can be sped up with higher alcohol concentrations. Additionally, by controlling the temperature, it's possible to prevent unwanted elements, such as chlorophyll, from dissolving into the solution.

Does 200 Proof make a better tincture than 190 proof?

As for an oral or sublingual tincture goes, you will not see a noticeable difference when using 190 proof food grade ethanol vs 200 proof food grade ethanol.  Everclear 190 Proof and other familiar or locally available 190 proof beverage brands included. Both strength alcohol bases will "burn" when placed under the tongue due to the very high alcohol concentration.  Mixing with water or honey 1:1 or more will reduce the burn at a tradeoff of increasing volume (and calories). 

Does 200 Proof Make a Better Cannabis Concentrate?

Yes, without question 200 proof is preferred when making cannabis concentrates, including RSO.  

Why does 200 Proof Make a Better Concentrate?

Because 200 proof ethanol contains 0% water, less water introduced to the system results in less water that must be taken out to reach a concentrate.

Where does water "enter the system" when making cannabis concentrates

Unless you take measures to deeply dry your cannabis before tincturing, even "very dry" cured cannabis and hemp flower can contain 6%-9% moisture by weight.  Cured cannabis ready to smoke may have a moisture content as high as 14% depending on the flower and preference of the grower.  6%-14% by weight of water can represent a significant "volume" of liquid that is very soluble with 200 proof ethanol.  This water mixes with the alcohol during the infusion phase, effectively lowering the total ABV of your tincture liquid by the amount of water dissolved. 

How does water presence affect the concentration step?

To obtain a concentrate, as much liquid as possible must be removed from the tincture.  Ethanol and water will both naturally evaporate away, however each will do so at different rates.  The higher the percentage of water in solution during the evaporation phase, the more time and energy will be required to fully evaporate.

More Resources and Continued Learning 

Alcohol for Herbalists Guide

Everything to know about buying and using food grade alcohol for herbal tinctures, botanical extractions, and more.

Alcohol for Herbalists Guide

All About Alcohol for Cannabis Tinctures

Tips, techniques, best practices for making quick and potent tinctures use cannabis and hemp flower.

Cannabis Tincture Guide

How to buy food grade alcohol for making tincture.

Buying pure, food grade alcohol for tinctures online is quick and easy. Use the "buy" link at the top of the page, or view our step-by-step guide here.

Step by Step Guide
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