For people considering drinking their cannabis, in the form of tea, rather than smoking it or eating pot-infused edibles, here is the truth about the health benefits of the hot brew.
If the thought of sipping a delicious cup of weed tea intrigues you, then count yourself amongst a growing number of people looking to learn more about brewing cannabis tea. With the consumption rate of marijuana tea increasing globally, now is the time to educate yourself about this drink, particularly if you have medical concerns or are a weed enthusiast. This particular type of tea has many health benefits and, interestingly, it does not typically result in as deep of a high as smoking the leafy plant instead. But, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s start with a general definition of cannabis tea.
What is Cannabis Tea?
Cannabis tea refers to the infusion of cannabis in hot water. Proper preparation and decarboxylation are necessary for the tea if it is to have the desired medical or recreational effects.
Drinking this herbal tea provides an alternative way to consume weed, rather than eating marijuana-infused edibles or smoking dried buds. The practice of drinking cannabis tea is not new, though; in fact, it has a lengthy history.
The Origins of Marijuana Tea
Weed-infused tea dates back to ancient times. It was used differently across cultures, mainly being consumed for medicinal or ceremonial purposes, or simply just for the pleasure of getting high. One of the earliest communities to embrace cannabis tea was Jamaica; the pregnant mothers there often used weed to help combat worry, anxiety, and morning sickness.
In Jamaica, the drink was and is today still called ganja tea. Ganja tea is a common medicinal remedy nowadays in this island country, particularly in the rural areas. If a person has a cold, for instance, he or she might consume the special beverage to help improve the health condition. Ganja tea is usually made from young plants that have not fully developed yet for harvest, which means the brew is less potent than if it was later smoked from dried mature buds.
Another country where cannabis tea can be traced back many generations is India, where the beverage was first used in 1000 B.C. Today, the hot drink is still widely used in India, and it is often simply called Bhang. The primary reason for consuming Bhang is for ceremonial reasons; this activity makes sense given that cannabis is a sacred plant in the Hindu religion.
For example, Indian families often serve Bhang at dinnertime to important guests in their home. Other uses of weed tea in this particular country are as an offering to the Lord and as a medicinal supplement for a person with a fever, sunstroke, or digestive difficulties.
Cannabis Tea and the Law
The “green” tea is still illegal in many countries, including the United States. As cannabis tea is a derivative of Cannabis Sativa, which is a Schedule I drug under the federal government, it is illegal to buy, possess, or sell the tea there.
While some American states have legalized weed, these state laws conflict with federal legislation. So, the legality of the beverage depends on where you live in the U.S. or other parts of the world.
What Goes into a Cup of Cannabis Tea?
The contents of the brew depend on the user’s reason for consuming it. In other words, the best recipe to follow will depend on the benefits that someone wants to receive from it.
While the brew is available pre-made for purchase at e-shops and in some local dispensaries, it is fairly simple to make it yourself. However, if you are not familiar with some basic chemistry about cannabis, the home-brewing process may be frustrating.
It is important to understand that the THCA and CBDA compounds are both naturally occurring in raw cannabis. To achieve their medicinal benefits, though, you must slowly convert them into the cannabinoids THC and CBD. The scientific name for the conversion is decarboxylation, and this process is achievable by heating cannabis before adding it to the tea.
Of course, as with most things, decarboxylation of cannabis can be affected by many external factors. Some of the most common ones are the level of moisture in the marijuana, the amount of product that you use, and whether your oven is electric or gas. Also, by altering how you make the tea concoction, you can make it as weak or as strong as you like to achieve the desired benefits, whether they be medicinal or recreational.
Health Benefits of Cannabis Tea
The cannabinoids in the tea, which are a distinctive feature of the cannabis plant, are responsible for the health benefits of the brew. For many people who consume the hot drink, it is a natural pain reliever. The tea provides more of a therapeutic experience than smoking weed. Patients drink cannabis-infused tea for many reasons, including relieving aches and pains or for relief from respiratory illnesses.
The drink is also a gentler alternative to smoking as typically it does not result in stoned or heavy feelings. Instead, tea drinkers typically feel mildly euphoric and a sense of renewal. Another reason for preferring tea as the pain relief method is that if you have sores or a disease of the throat or mouth, which would make smoking weed an unpleasant experience.
Rather than the results of the tea blend being felt by the user within only minutes, as is the case when smoking a joint, the build time is longer. The tea’s effects can be felt in as little as 30 minutes after consumption or can take as long as 90 minutes to appear. The reason why weed tea takes longer to take effect is that the brew is being swallowed rather than smoked; the active ingredients are immersed in the digestive tract rather than being inhaled directly into the lungs.
Interestingly, the brew’s effects usually last between four to eight hours, which is longer than if the weed was smoked instead. This length of time is long enough to get a good rest, which is exactly why sleep-deprived patients may be drinking the cup of tea.
As the tea has a more potent effect than smoking pot, in terms its longer-lasting effect, a significant number of patients consume weed in tea form rather than smoking it so as to maximize the benefits. That being said, smoking is still by far the most popular way to ingest weed.
In terms of dosage, one cup of bud tea is typically equal to one smoked joint. Do keep in mind, though, the previous point about the effect lasting longer. Also, there are variations in how people respond to the tea; the same blend may have a stronger effect on one person than another.
Variations in Cannabis Tea
There are many simple marijuana tea recipes online. Often, the recipes call for the leaves, stems, or buds to simmer with a fat, such as butter, for half an hour. The strongest effects are with buds, while the milder teas use stems and leaves.
Obviously, as with any cannabis consumption method, the type of strain used to create the tea is a big factor in the effect on the user. Also, the length of time you steep it will affect the potency; a longer steep makes for a stronger brew.
Looking to the Future
The body of research on how storage, preparation, and handling of the tea factor into the achievable benefits is growing but there is still a long way to go toward getting definitive, reliable answers. Examples of questions for researchers to ask in future studies include whether the boiling time of the cannabinoids affects the outcome when varied and whether refrigerated storage helps or harms the buds used in tea?
We encourage researchers to conduct more studies on tea under different conditions as a way to make stronger conclusions about its effects and consistency in producing these effects. While marijuana is widely consumed around the globe, there is still much to learn about its use as an herbal tea for medicinal purposes.
In the meantime, if you wish to try cannabis-infused tea, starting small to determine which dosage is right for you is likely the best approach. Through a trial-and-error process, you can decide exactly how to brew the tea, and in what quantity, to produce the desirable results.