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What Is Liquid THC?

Sophia Delphi May 13, 2022 - 7 min read
Fact Checked
Liquid THC vape on a table

Things just keep getting better for those who enjoy weed.

You’re not just imagining it. Marijuana has been getting stronger in recent years, thanks to improved growing techniques and cultivators focused on creating strains with 20%+ THC levels.

But the 2000s were a revelation in other ways. Vaping became a popular alternative, providing healthier and stronger tokes. Edibles went mainstream with a stronger high that lasted longer.

Then a new craze hit: dabbing concentrates with much more THC content than raw flower. Also joining the party: THC tinctures and distillates, with THC levels vastly higher than even the strongest bud.

Liquid THC is another of those alternatives that’s arrived in the latest wave of potent cannabis products. It’s extremely strong, and it can be used in a variety of ways.

Let’s learn more.

Weed and Potency

During most of the 20th century, the potency of cannabis was extremely low. It had an average THC content of no more than 5%, as measured by the U.S. government’s Potency Monitoring Program [1].

The year 2000 was a turning point. Average weed potency grew annually after that, reaching 10% by the year 2010. In 2018, it was higher than 15%. And, of course, that’s average potency. Modern hybrid strains can easily top 20% THC content, with many reaching 25%, 30%, or even higher.

There’s nothing wrong with the high you get from smoking weed, of course. But flower’s THC content can’t compete with the incredible potency levels that scientific advances have created.

Producers have perfected methods that allow them to extract only the most valuable compounds from weed plants. Those processes can create weed concentrates like shatter and wax, which are 40-70% THC, and distillate and crystal, which may have THC content as high as 99%.

Liquid THC is a slightly different product. In fact, the term is commonly used to describe several types of products, as we’ll discuss next. But high-quality liquid THC can have 90% THC content, more than three times as much as raw weed.

What Is Liquid THC?

It depends on who you ask or where it comes from.

Most of the liquid THC that you find in a dispensary has been produced by experts in a well-equipped lab. They use a complicated process that extracts THC from cannabis plants and concentrates it, often with the use of carbon dioxide as a solvent. This is the liquid product that can be 90% pure THC.

Others use the term “liquid THC” to describe a cannabis tincture made by infusing a liquid, usually high-proof alcohol, with marijuana. The alcohol breaks down the plant and absorbs its essential components like cannabinoids and terpenes.

This form of liquid THC won’t come close to 90% THC content, but it will still produce a high that’s noticeably stronger than the one you get when smoking weed.

Both types of liquid THC can be used in essentially the same ways.

What Can You Do With Liquid THC?

Liquid THC can provide several benefits in addition to its potency. It’s fast-acting since it primarily contains bountiful amounts of THC, which are quickly absorbed by the body. It’s cost-effective, because its strength means that a little goes a long way. And it’s certainly a more discreet way to get high than smoking up.

Here’s how you can use it.

Vaping

Liquid THC is used to make THC vape juice, which is designed to be heated in a vape pen or desktop vaporizer and produce extremely potent weed vapor.

Be careful, though. Most containers of liquid THC, and the tincture versions of it you can produce at home, aren’t intended to be vaped directly. They should be used to make vape juice with the addition of a carrier liquid like propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG). You can make your own vape juice at home, although you’re better off purchasing it at a dispensary.

If you try to take liquid THC and try to use it in your vape pen, it might work. There’s a much better chance that it will destroy your vape and taste awful.

Sublingual Administration

The sublingual glands are located under the tongue. Placing a few drops of liquid THC under the tongue is the fastest way to get the cannabinoid to your brain and body because the tissues pass THC into the bloodstream almost immediately. The effects hit even faster than when smoking or vaping.

Use a medicine dropper to place the liquid under your tongue and let it sit there for a minute or so before you swallow it. That gives all of the THC enough time to be absorbed.

Edibles

Most people say the only annoying thing about making their own edibles is the extra time it takes to decarb their weed. Commercially-produced liquid THC solves that problem since the THC is decarbed during the manufacturing process. If you’re making your own liquid tincture, though, you’ll have to start by decarbing your weed.

Liquid THC isn’t best suited for making brownies or cookies since it doesn’t contain any fat. You’d still have to infuse oil or butter with the liquid THC before you can bake with it.

But it’s terrific for making gummies or other infused candy. Liquid THC is also a perfect addition to dressings, sauces, beverages, soups — or just for dripping on top of your favorite meal.

How to Make Liquid THC

Just a reminder: these are recipes for making THC tincture, which won’t be quite as potent as the stuff you purchase at a dispensary. They’re not difficult, though, and the liquid will still get you very, very high.

There are three different ways to make liquid THC at home, and they all start the same way.

  1. Decarb coarsely-ground flower (bake at 225°-230° for 30-45 minutes until golden brown).
  2. Put the cooled, decarbed weed into an opaque Mason jar. Completely cover it with high-proof alcohol like Everclear. Never use a rubbing or isopropyl alcohol. If you want to make vape juice, you can use food-grade vegetable glycerin.
  3. Screw the lid on tightly and shake vigorously.

Here’s where the instructions vary, depending on how quickly you want your THC tincture to be ready.

  1. LONGEST AND MOST POTENT METHOD: Store in a dark, cool place for 1-2 months, shaking once every few days.
    FASTER METHOD: Put the jar in the freezer for 4-7 days, taking it out and shaking it every day.
    FASTEST METHOD: Put the jar into a pot filled with water and heat until the alcohol/weed mixture reaches 165°-170°, no higher (use a digital thermometer to be sure). Cook at that temperature for 20-30 minutes, then remove and cool.
  2. Strain through cheesecloth, and you’ll have liquid THC tincture.

Store the tincture in a cool, dark place, and it should last for at least a year. We’re guessing, however, that it won’t take you a year to use it up and be ready to make more.

Liquid THC: FAQ

Q: Is liquid THC dangerous?
A: It’s not dangerous in the sense that it can cause permanent injury or death, but its potency does heighten the possibility of using way too much and suffering serious side effects like anxiety or paranoia, vomiting or passing out. Be careful with any concentrated cannabis product, particularly when ingesting it. As the dosing advice always says, just as with edibles, start low and increase slow.

Q: Does using liquid THC provide the same medical benefits as smoking weed?
A: It’s actually preferred by many patients. The potency of liquid THC is so much greater than weed smoke that they find they experience greater relief which takes effect faster.