Cannabis is an extremely versatile plant that can be used in many ways. You can smoke it, vaporize it, or apply it topically. You can also infuse it into your favorite foods and drinks, commonly referred to as edibles. Edibles are especially popular among medicinal users as they are discreet, portable, and accessible alternatives to smoking.
Edibles need not always take the form of brownies or cookies, however. They’re so versatile that nearly any food product you can think of can be turned into an edible today. You can find edibles available as sweets, sure, but you can also purchase them as infused drinks, too.
One of the most popular infused drinks is cannabis tea.
Why Cannabis Tea?
People have been using cannabis in both medicinal and recreational applications for thousands of years — as far back as 6,000 BCE, in fact. You might even be surprised to learn that figures like Queen Victoria enjoyed her fair share of the plant. The fair lady relied on a cannabis tincture — most likely delivered sublingually — to relieve menstrual cramps.
There are several ways you can make cannabis tea, and while each unique method offers its own pros and cons, we know Queen Victoria had the right idea. Cannabis has a strong affinity for fats and works better when administered with them. Adding fat to your tea will boost the effects and bioavailability of THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
Many prefer to consume cannabis in this way as the effects of cannabis tea last longer (up to eight hours) than the effects of smoking (two-to-three hours). It’s also healthier because it doesn’t utilize heat or smoke, thereby minimizing contact with any harmful byproducts of combustion.
Depending on their preparation, cannabis teas can also be very antioxidant-rich. They can also contain other herbs and spices that have their own unique health benefits such as turmeric, ginger, or black peppercorns.
Finally, tea is a very accessible way to consume cannabis that can be enjoyed by just about anybody.
How To Make Cannabis Tea
There are a few different ways you can prepare cannabis tea.
Method #1: Infuse Tea With A Cannabis Fat
The simplest technique is also the most potent. Steep your favorite tea for a few minutes, then simply add a few teaspoons of the infused cannabis fat of your choice. This can be anything from cannabis oils (usually coconut) to cannabis-infused honey. The addition of the fat will increase the bioavailability of your cannabinoids (THC or CBD), making this the most potent and psychoactive option. Onset time is 30 minutes to two hours.
You can also tweak this option to make it even more potent by decarboxylating (see below) your ground-up cannabis. This is the best option for those seeking the maximum health benefits of THC.
Another way to customize this option is to infuse your own cannabis fat. You can make your own cannabis oil or even infused heavy cream/milk. To do so, you must begin by breaking up and decarboxylating your cannabis. Once it’s cooled you can infuse it into your carrier fat of choice.
Method #2: Steep Cannabis With Tea (No Fat)
Those seeking a less intoxicating option can opt to omit the fat entirely, thereby reducing the potency of the THC. This option relies on directly steeping your tea of choice with ground-up cannabis.
In its raw form, cannabis isn’t psychotropic — it exists as the raw acid form THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and converts to THC when heated to 220 F (104 C) for 30-45 minutes. The conversion of THCA to THC through the use of heat is called decarboxylation.
Steeping the raw cannabis in tea does not bring it to the required temperature for decarboxylation. As such, the primary cannabinoid found in this version of cannabis tea is the raw THCA/CBDA (THC/CBD equivalents), depending on what your starting material is.
THCA boasts many health benefits. These include powerful anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anti-emetic properties, among others.
To make this version of tea place ground up cannabis inside a tea bag or tea ball. Bring water to a simmer on the stovetop and add the tea bag. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool before drinking.
Method #3: Infuse Tea With A Water-soluble Cannabis Extract
The fastest acting version of cannabis tea is one that uses a water soluble-based cannabinoid solution. These types of products tend to use nanoemulsions that emulsify cannabis fats within aqueous, water-based solutions. As a result, they’re absorbed sublingually and take effect nearly instantaneously, providing a fast-acting solution for patients who don’t want to wait for edibles to kick in. However, sublingual consumption tends to last for three-to-four hours rather than the full eight hours that can come with edible use.
You can purchase these water-soluble cannabinoid products online or at dispensaries. They tend to come as “drops,” most commonly as CBD drops that can be added to just about any drink.
Brew your tea as you would normally, then add a few drops of the solution to your drink.