Ask Old Hippie: How Do You Make Green Dragon?

Dear Old Hippie: For a while now, I’ve heard rumors about the legendary Green Dragon that can get you high anywhere without smoking, yet I’ve never heard of anyone selling it. What can you tell me about this fabulous beast?

A: The Green Dragon — and his consort, The Gold Dragon — are indeed real. The reason it’s hard to buy from your typical weed dealer is that generally you must make it yourself. Medical Marijuana patients with access to well-stocked dispensaries can find such products on the shelf. So what’s the big deal about it? Read on.

You can’t just smoke anything anywhere any more, and most edibles are too strong to use on a regular basis for many people. So the appeal of the Dragons is that you carry around a discreet little brown bottle, put a dropper in your favorite drink, and you’re comfortably medicated. Consider the recent popularity of liquid-based natural sweeteners like Stevia and you’ll realize that you can safely medicate even in a restuarant with two large CHP officers watching you, as I once did.

Dropped in your drink, it will generally take effect in anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. But if you take it sublingually — under your tongue — you will feel it within 30 seconds, with the full effect coming on in 5 to 15 minutes.

Green and Gold Dragon are technically tinctures or extracts of cannabis. You’ve heard of tincture of iodine and vanilla extract? Both are made by simply soaking or dissolving the material in alcohol. That’s what we’re doing here. You may be interested to learn that Tincture of Cannabis was a standard pharmacy item in this country for far longer than it’s been illegal.

Of course, you have to use the right kind of alcohol, which is ethanol (the kind you drink). The higher the alcohol content, the more efficient the process will be, so most people use Everclear, which is available in 190 or 151 proof, depending on your state of residence. Here in California, you can get good results with the 151 proof, or visit any neighboring state for the “real stuff”. Any liquor of 80 proof or more will work, but most people prefer to use vodka or Everclear because they don’t add any additional taste of their own. You can always add some flavoring later if you want.

There are a number of non-chemical problems with using alcohol. For one thing, alcoholics can’t use it, and for another, it burns like hellfire if you put it under your tongue. If you use this method, I recommend holding your mouth open until the burn goes away, and perhaps having a drink of something else handy. This burning sensation is why some people prefer using lower-proof tinctures based on vodka, or else vegetable-based glycerin (which also solves the problem for alcoholics). My experience with glycerin-based Dragons is that they barely work at all, but some very careful people have had good results with them.

What’s the difference between Green and Gold? Green simply uses fresh marijuana, and Gold uses marijuana that’s been decarboxylated. Green Dragon often tastes of chlorophyll and other things found in and on the plant. Decarboxylating cannabis only involves baking it in a 200°F oven for an hour, but it can make your kitchen smell like the proverbial pot party. Gold Dragon is generally stronger and tastes mellower in my experience.

You don’t even have to use your precious buds to give this stuff a try. If you have access to dried fan leaves, they will work fine for Green Dragon. AVB (Already Vaped Bud, also known as Already Been Vaped or duff) is what’s left in a vaporizer after it’s been used. Since vaporizing also decarboxylates the weed, you can use this to make Gold Dragon.

You obviously have to use more AVB than normal bud (start with 50% to 100% more depending on how dark you vape your weed) for the same highness level, since AVB has lost much of its THC, but AVB tinctures are generally preferred for some medical conditions (pain or anxiety, for instance) for that very reason. Both fan leaves and AVB are often thrown away by people who don’t realize how useful they can be, so it’s an excellent example of recycling!

So here’s the safe and easy way to make Green Dragon:

  1. Crush, crumble, or grind up your cannabis, however much you want to use. I recommend at least an 1/8 ounce.
  2. Put the material in a suitable size glass jar with a tight-fitting top. I use a Mason jar for larger quantities, but cleaned condiment jars (think pickles, relish, mustard) are perfect for normal use.
  3. Pour enough of your chosen drinkable alcohol into the jar to easily cover the cannabis.
  4. Close the cover, and shake it up, baby!
  5. Now comes the hard part: put the jar in a warm, dark place for at least a month. I’ve found that the longer you go (I try to go 8 to 10 weeks), the stronger and better it will taste, up to a point. Shake it every day for at least two weeks.
  6. When the time is up, simply filter it through a coffee filter to remove the dregs (and squeeze hard to get every last drop out).

Warmth helps the process along, and darkness (or using a dark-colored jar) protects the THC from degrading. The perfect place is in the exhaust path of a computer fan, because you’re recycling heat. If you have a completely opaque jar, it’s also cool to leave it in a sunny window for free solar power.

If you’re making Gold Dragon from AVB or decarbed bud, it’s much easier and faster. Just use steps 1 through 4 above, leave it overnight, then strain…you’re all done!

When you try it, start with 1/4 dropper under your tongue. Wait 15 minutes, and if it’s not strong enough, try another 1/4 dropper, and so on until you feel it. You’ll quickly figure out your own correct dosage. If the liquid isn’t dark, or it takes more than a dropper to feel results, it might be too diluted. In that case, leave the jar open overnight so some of the alcohol will evaporate, and try again.

As you can see, this isn’t all that hard to do. Actually, the most difficult part might be next: finding a 1 to 4-ounce, dark-colored glass dropper bottle to carry your Dragon around in. You may have to make the rounds of drug stores, or recycle a bottle of Stevia, but you have a month to do it!

Got a question for Old Hippie? Send in your questions to him here or post a comment below.

About Old Hippie Old Hippie is a father of two boys and thankfully living in California where all this kind of thing is legal. He started smoking marijuana in 1967 in high school, experimented with mind-expanding drugs of all kinds, and then straightened out 15 or so years later to become an airplane pilot. After being diagnosed with depression in 2000, he lost his job and most of the following decade to prescription medications (such as antidepressants) which sapped his energy and will. Finally, a chance conversation with a friend led to a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana (MMJ). This changed his entire life, health, and outlook for the better. is his continuing story. It’s also his way to provide experienced advice on using medical marijuana effectively and responsibly, as well as advocacy, activism, and support for others. Old Hippie teaches about safe use of cannabis edibles, Canna Caps, vaporizers, dosing, and even microdosing.


Thanks for this. I’m going to begin my first tincture on Wednesday.

It’s my first jaunt into the world of mmj. Still having seizures. I see the dr on Thursday and will tell him I still “someday” want to do this and gauge his reaction. Three plus seizures a week for a million years after trying everything else (including 3 brain surgeries and a brain “pacemaker”) is enough.

I was approved for SSDI first shot, no appeal. That says something, I think. Very rare. I’m thrilled.

OldHippie, why do you say alcoholics shouldn’t use tinctures? In your experience, could you actually get drunk if you take a full dropper? It’s just that I don’t enjoy my high as much when it gets all muddly with alcohol.
Thanks, great guide!

It’s just that in my experience, alcoholics are adamant about not touching alcohol again in any form. The ones I know won’t even eat rum cake, even though all the alcohol is obviously cooked out! Just another reason we’re working on a glycerin tincture recipe that does work. Nugs and hugs!

this looks like a great method. I was thinking about heating the jar with warm water and get the alcohol to the boil level. I don’t want my house to smell and this looks like a smell free method. Once I make the mix, I will leave the jar in the attic for a month and hopefully it works.

Thanks for your really useful site. I paid way too much for an oz of Hemp oil CBD extract. It helps with pain, sometimes, but it could be stronger. If I WANT the THC to degrade, and just leave CBD, would it do to use a clear bottle? Or, does light harm CBD, too?

Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately, you are working under a number of misapprehensions. THC degrades to CBN, not CBD. Also, if you have CBD extract, there shouldn’t be any THC in it anyway. Finally, although CBD does work against “generic” pain without psychoactive effects, it is most effective against neuropathic pain. If you don’t have this specific type of pain, then THC is generally considered to be much more effective in general.

I’m not sure if UV light degrades CBD, but it’s safer to assume that it does.

Sorry; I’m in so much pain and the Lyrica makes me stupid. Not clear. I meant that I wanted the THC to degrade, IF I made Green Dragon. That remark merely followed the comment about the CBD extract working but me wishing it could be stronger, which I opened with as a way of indicating why I want to find a a way to maximize CBD and minimize THC……in a duff extract. The steam distilled Hemp CBD extract is too expensive, so I was thinking of making an extract of my own. Yes, I know the Hemp extract has no THC; that’s kind of the point of it. I have pot I can vape, if I want some THC or just have to put up with it to get the rest of whatever helps the pain. Also, the Hemp CBD extract does have a psychoactive effect (dare I write that, lest the feds find it?); it relaxes me (and my friend who tried it) in a pleasant, slightly trippy, way. She felt the relaxation, but it didn’t help her overall horribleness, diagnosed as fibro, but really very complex (as is fibro,I guess).

Also, I do have terrible neuropathic pain, evidenced by several things, including that both Gabapentin and Lyrica take it down from mind-bending to merely horrible (900 of Gabapentin let me garden from time to time, but to get that much pain relief, I had to weather gnarly side effects), not to mention the neuropathy that’s begun spread over that side of the body.

The CBD extract sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t correlate strongly with activity, which would indicate a possible connection to non-neuropathic pain. I had a low-frequency laser ablation of the nerves from the SI Joint last Wednesday, and underwent 5.5 days of exacerbated pain. Two days ago, despite the 2x Naproxen dose (okay with a lot of water, if not all of the time according to the doc), Norco (nearly useless, but you know how Dr’s are these days), Lyrica, Taurine (small but noticeable effect for about 2 hrs, and it has been healing the neuropathy), and Tibetan Pain Tea (really works, btw, it’s called Loong Tea, but in my condition, it’s a barely noticeable improvement….It worked up to about a year ago, so some of your readers might benefit from it. You can google and order it.)…..I was lying in bed, still, controlling my breath to prevent panic from the pain (which describes 80% of my time for the past 1.5 years.), and then moaned. I draw the line at moaning. So, I had a dose of the Hemp CBDs made by Dixie something. Within 45 minutes, the pain melted a bit and the panic subsided. I was sane all night and could move without inwardly wincing. It does help neuropathic pain. I have no idea where you got your data on that.

Anyway, now I have one more question: Is it any more effective to make the Green Dragon than to just vape the heck out of the weed? I’m still in too much pain to do anything extra (actually ATE today, which is something extra, if that gives you any idea what I mean by that.) If it were just for convenience, I wouldn’t make it. I just want to find a way to avoid having to dig up $160 for the next bottle of CBD’s, when I’m not even on disability, yet, and my house is going into foreclosure.

OK, sorry for the misinterpretation! I see what you are trying to do now, but you can’t destroy one cannabinoid without hurting another, unless you’re going to try fractional distillation. And I’m pretty sure that you and I are having some severe communications problems, but I’m going to chalk that up to Mercury being in heavy retrograde right now. Even though I don’t believe in astrology, I’ve seen this kind of thing happen over and over again with Mercury!

I’m really sorry to hear about all the terrible pain you’re in, but you’re way past my knowledge curve when you’re talking about most of that other stuff.

As far as your last question, vaping is probably more efficient…also, if you have good temperature control, you can “burn off” some THC so that what’s left has a higher CBD:THC ratio. Hope that helps. Nugs and hugs!

How would you go about flavoring the tincture afterwards? Also do you have to make it super concentrated with thc to feel a drop under the tongue? The reason I ask is because when I use 1/2 oz in a fifth of everclear, I need to take a full shot to feel the effects. Does it hit you harder if you drop it under your tongue or do I just need to make mine stronger for that method?

I’ve never flavored tincture, but I’ve made it with 151 proof rum!

Also do you have to make it super concentrated with thc to feel a drop under the tongue?

Tincture is not supposed to be that strong, frankly, because then it’s almost impossible to get a safe dose. Strong tincture is stuff that works by the dropperful (still not that much!).

The reason I ask is because when I use 1/2 oz in a fifth of everclear, I need to take a full shot to feel the effects. Does it hit you harder if you drop it under your tongue or do I just need to make mine stronger for that method?

OK, first of all, when you drink it, you’re now using edibles, which works entirely differently and involves a waiting period of 30 to 90 minutes while it traverses your digestive system. The whole point of sublingual tincture is that you can drop it under your tongue and feel it in a few minutes. It doesn’t work “harder”, it works faster that way.

Secondly, with that ratio, you’re not making it nearly strong enough. Take your weed, grind it up, use the least amount of Everclear that will saturate it, and it will be as strong as possible.

Hey O.H.
We just made Gold Dragon today on the 4 hour cycle @ 160 f. We used Potters 151 Rum from Bevmo. Almost 1/2 the price of Bacardi 151 and tastes better. After completing the batch’s (2 machines full) we had 1300 ml. We started with 2 oz’s of top shelf herb and decarbed @ 250 f for 30 minutes and used 1500 ml rum. We reduced it by 600 ml then infused natural honey and Sunflower Lecithin back in the Gold Dragon in the same amount. Before the evaporation cycle the dragon was like hell-fire in the mouth and under the tongue, like you have commented before. That’s why we decided to infuse the honey. Wow, what a result. The flavor is fantastic, the burn is very much under control and it makes us feel real good with a body high and head high. We used 3 ml each under the tongue and in the mouth. I love this darn machine O.H. Keep up the good work bro. Coconut oil caps next.

Does it have to be decarbed? I dont want our house smelling so strongly of green 🙂 If I just used green bud with everclear and let it sit for a month like you said that will work correct?

Yes, it will work. But the “self-decarb method” ideally takes several months or more for the full effect. You can do what many other people do…put the bud in a Mason jar, close it but don’t tighten it completely (prevents pressure buildup), put that into a turkey roasting bag, and put the whole thing in a regular oven (250F/30 minutes). If you’re really concerned, start some microwave popcorn at about 5 minutes in, and that should mask whatever smell makes it out of the oven, jar, and turkey bag…which won’t be much!

I will try that and thank you for your guidance 🙂 There is SOOOO much information on making tinctures available its making my head swim 🙁 I just want a good strong tincture I can use instead of smoking or vaping to enjoy myself 🙂 I dont mind waiting a couple weeks or whatever for it, but trying to understand how to do it is hard when everyone is saying their way is the best and ONLY way to get a tincture that works for recreational use!

Let me tell you a secret about cannabis prep procedures…there is not an “only” way, and there is not even a “best” way…but there are basic principles, and if you understand how they work, you can not go wrong. We publish methods that either we have used successfully ourselves or that we otherwise know will work…but they also have to be safe for you and not overly dangerous for your precious cannabis. Because there’s no feeling like “over-optimizing” to get that last theoretical percent of THC yield, only to see all your precious liquid spill all over your freezer and be lost forever!

Which is why I often say…”Stay safe! Nugs and hugs!”

Can the out mason jar/oven turkey roasting bag method be done with the bud already in the ethanol solution?

Is there a way to decarb the herb after its been mixed with Everclear withouth having to wait several weeks/months?

Well…if you have an electric oven (only!), you could carefully:

  1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting, generally 200F or so.
  2. Pour excess ethanol from the buds into a container.
  3. Put the damp buds into the oven (turkey bag optional, but definitely no jar).
  4. Prop the oven door open so the fumes escape, run every vent fan you got, and open the windows.
  5. Wait for the ethanol to evaporate completely.
  6. Try decarbing again with the dry buds, jar, and bag.

But if anything causes a spark or open flame during this procedure while you are heating and releasing ethanol vapor, you’re likely to experience an explosion. So please consider a safer method, such as covering the buds with a weighted paper towel and leaving them in the sun.

What “machine” is he referring to? I recently started using cannabis after 3 spinal fusions/operations and I prefer the tincture under the tongue over smoking / vaping or inconsistent edibles. I would really like to be able to make my own due to the price and I am thinking I would like the honey and sunflower taste. The one tincture I have tried was infused with honey and some type of oil I think, either way it was very smooth.
Thank you sir for this awesome site and your plethora of knowledge.

Don’t forget to read the comments! Also, if you decarb the weed (250F/30 minutes in a regular oven), you can soak it in the alcohol overnight and you’re all done, especially if you plan to add other flavors like honey or whatever.

P.S. Yes I know this is the same article LOL.

Hey O.H.
I give you the props man. You have the creds and the experience. I cannot believe how much this honey infusion changed the outcome. I’m learning from your blog.

im trying to use everclear in my still, with frozen buds… my results have varied greatly… looking for constiency

Hi There!

Here in the UK its proving quite difficult to get hold of over proof alcohol.
I can find some Bacardi 151, but its a liter bottle and costs £80 quid, which is a bit excessive when Im aiming for 50ml of tincture.

I have come across however some 63% white rum at a local supermarket. Slightly lower than the 75.5% of the Bacardi 151, but in your opinion is it worth me giving it a try?

Thank you in advance, take care have fun be happy!

You bet! People have gotten results even with vodka, but 125 proof is more serious 🙂 You might want to try doing the coconut oil thing too, as it certainly burns less and may well be more efficient.

£80 for a bottle of rum, wow. I’m sure they think it will save chavs, but they will just go to hand sanitizers instead.

Nugs and hugs!

Haha! There’s plenty of special brew and white lighting for chavs without them having to track down Bacardi 151!

Thanks for your reply, I’ve been doing a little more research and I’ve been able to locate some 50ml miniature bottles of 151 proof dark rum online, just like th Bacardi so I think its worth while me using that instead since I have the choise?

One more question if you don’t mind, in your instructions you say decarbing increases potency and smoothness…are there any reasons other than ease one would choose the green dragon over the gold? Can decarbed bud be soaked for less time than nondecarbed? Thanks again, keep up the good work!

Sure, my first tincture was Bacardi because I couldn’t find Everclear either, but it’s the alcohol, not the brand. Even vodka will work, just not as well.

I’ve heard of people soaking decarbed bud overnight and of course it will work just fine; most of the time factor is intended for “green”, because that has to decarb naturally over time. I’ve noticed a taste difference between leaving it overnight vs. 1 month vs. 2 months, but if it’s decarbed, taste is the only change possible. Finally, remember that if you put it under your tongue, you’re not going to actually taste anything, it will just burn like crazy! Putting it in a drink like coffee or tea (hot is best because it will help evaporate the alcohol) is the best way for taste purposes.

I started some abv in vodka about 1 month ago – sounds like that might be long enough?

Hi O.H.
I love reading your posts! I bought an 1/8th ounce of Harlequin buds (11.30% CBD and 0% THC). I was hoping it would be a good painkiller. I smoked it a couple times to test it out and it barely eased my chronic muscle aches. Do you think it would still be weak as a tincture? Also, if it’s just CBD and no THC, do I still need to decarb it first?

I want to be able to use it as quickly as possible. I was planning on making a tincture using the 1/8th ounce ground buds in 1 ounce of 151 rum, doing the freezer method and shaking it a couple times daily for 5 days.

Thank you! The Harlequin we’ve gotten has some THC in it, and that might explain why it’s not working well for you. Muscle aches = THC. Neuropathic pain = CBD.

You always have to decarb to feel the effects of either THC or CBD if you are taking it orally.

I’m not sure what “the freezer method” is for making tincture, but it’s an axiom of chemistry that warmth speeds up dissolving in general, which is why the method I’ve written about has been used for decades.

As you say, here in the UK you can’t get high strength spirits without them costing the earth, however if you go to the baking section of the big supermarkets you will find bottles of lemon extract used to flavour cakes etc. Although they are 70% alcohol they don’t come under the licensing laws and cost about £5 for 60 ml. Enough to make a batch and not break the bank.

Just been to asda they have the orange extract as well, 90% ethanol priced £3.48 for 60ml (2fl.oz). Use with a Henry and reduce by half. A dropper full in a glass of whatever you fancy and Bob’s your uncle. Should say that’s seasoned stoner dose.

Is there a point where the 190 proof cannot absorb the THC oils ???
(I mention this as it occurs in water & salt mixing.)
More thought………….
This may occur if not enough solvent is available to absorb.
Full absorption occurs when oil cannot pass into alcohol .
the volume of each is the same when absorption is arrested.

Old Hippie,
I have Charlottes Web tincture (CBD) made with vegetable glycerine in my Magic Butter machine. Why not dilute it with water instead of propylene glycol to reduce it to vaping consistency?

Cannabinoids are not soluble in water, so it would end up greatly diluting the effectiveness, as well as overly cooling the mixture to a point where you might not get the cannabinoids up to proper temperature at all.

Hey all,
Does anyone have any idea at how the effectiveness is between dacrabing and letting is sit for one night, vs longer?

I explained that poorly. I made golden dragon, but before I strain it I want to make sure I’ve gotten the best concoction. I decarbed it, and pour just enough 151 to saturate it. And it has been sitting for almost two days. Will leaving it longer, make it stronger?

Ah, now I understand. No, if you made Gold Dragon it’s already decarbed, and all you have to really do then is dissolve the cannabinoids in the alcohol, which is done overnight just fine. It’s all ready! Nugs and hugs!

Well…theoretically there shouldn’t be, but there always is anyway. In my experience, if you save 5 or 6 loads of “remains” from any extraction, there’s generally enough left for a “free run”!

Correct, even if the taste wasn’t an issue, there’s a problem putting flame near alcohol-soaked weed! And yes, heat, sunlight, and excess oxygen all tend to degrade THC. But if you’re going to use them again for tincture, no reason to dry them out really.

It won’t hurt anything, but you might have some trouble evaporating any extra off (if you want to) because it’s 30% water. Just make sure it’s truly ethyl alcohol (ethanol, the kind you drink) because that’s usually stated as “proof” (proof and % are absolutely not the same thing). The 70% alcohol sold in drugstores is generally isopropyl alcohol, which is not safe to ingest. Nugs and hugs!

You can actually give it a go with 1/8 ounce of weed and one of those little airline samplers of alcohol! But that will be used up fairly quickly, so many people wait until they have 1/2 ounce or more.

Many years ago, I bought an Iso-2 Isomerizer through High Times. I got ethyl alcohol at a local hardware store. It was in % and not proof. Made wonderful hash oil. I thought tinctures sounded pretty cool. A friend and I cooked a batch of coconut oil 5/17. I’m 4 months from 71. How old might you be good sir.

I’m using AVB with the 180 proof ever clear, how long do I need to leave it? Is there a way to concentrate it a bit or evaporate some of the alcohol off after? I saw someone say to keep it in the freezer while its soaking?

Hello Old Hippie. It’s been a while. Hope everything is going well for you and that you”ll get back in the energy of writing cause you you do have a simple and sound way to present topics often of a complex nature. In a loving and kind way, with a constant concern for safety in this experimental field! After thouroughly enjoying your Firecrackers with AVB, I’m doing my very first Golden Dragon tincture today. Since I microdose I don’t have a lot of AVB but I worked on the assumption that you cover the herb with alcool, in the present case 190 proof. I’ll let you know what’s the outcome. Peace!

Hi Old Hippie. Well another discovery. It does give an intense burning sensation that goes away rapidly though. The effect rises in real fast and is quite potent too. A more heady high than ingestion. Vigilance is called for in terms of the number of drops IMO. Again, I am amazed at what is sill available in the AVB. Do you have an idea how long this solution can be kept? In a dark bottle with such an alcool degree, my hunch would be quite a long time. Thank you again for your guidance. Much appreciated. Peace!

Yes, shelf life should be a year at least at room temperature! And don’t miss the “dropping some into coffee or cola” trick. It can also be good on the right flavor ice cream. Nugs and hugs!

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