How to Make Cannabis Tea (and Get Better Highs)

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The importance of taking high tea has been sadly forgotten in today’s world. But what if we made it higher?

Introducing cannabis tea: your new best friend.

Here’s some backstory: Cannabis tea (a term that encompasses any one of the various combinations of dry cannabis flower or cannabis tincture and, you guessed it, tea) has been around for a long, LONG time. We can’t know for sure when it made its first appearance, but legend has it that cannabis tea was first used around 1,000 B.C., when, in India, a mixture of milk, herbs, and ground cannabis flower was used to create a ceremonial tea called Bhang. Since then, it has been used in the country as a treat for guests, a religious offering, and, primarily, as a remedy for indigestion, sunstroke, and fever.

And they aren’t the only ones high on cannabis tea. In Jamaica, it’s common for those in rural parts of the country to sip ganja tea on a weekly, if not daily, basis in order to stay healthy through long days on the farm, and one Jamaican politician claimed the tea cured his daughter’s asthma.

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While the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis are well-known, there’s been very little research on the health effects of cannabis tea, specifically. Theoretically, someone could try any form of cannabis to treat those ailments, and drinking cannabis tea is far more time-consuming than rolling a joint or using a tincture. So, we had to ask – what’s the hype?

According to Kathryn Cannon, a Plant Medicine Integration Specialist who works with medical cannabis patients, there isn’t a lot of science behind the idea that drinking cannabis tea has any more inflammation-fighting powers than other methods of consumption, since everyone reacts to cannabis differently. There is, however, one significant benefit to cannabis tea that makes it stand out from the crowd: it can give you a 6-hour high.

“It’s because of dual absorption,” Cannon said. “When you take a sip of cannabis tea, your mucosal membranes absorb the THC (and/or CBD) through your mouth. Then, when it hits your stomach, you absorb it there. What you get is a layered effect – the immediate onset that happens 10-15 minutes after it’s been in your mouth, and the onset that happens when it bypasses your liver in the next hour and a half. Those combined effects can give you a high that lasts 4-6 hours, depending on how much cannabis is in the tea.”

So, while you may not experience a more intense buzz by sipping your greens rather than vaping them, you will, essentially, get high twice. It’s the best of both worlds: the fast effect of under-the-tongue tinctures and the long lifespan of the high you get from an edible.

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To be sure you get a double-high of the highest quality, Cannon suggests holding the tea in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing to allow the THC or CBD more time to absorb through the mouth, and pairing your tea with milk or other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can boost THC and CBD absorption in the bloodstream.

Not only is cannabis tea fast-acting and long-lasting, it also has a relatively high safety profile.

Cannon said that, while other methods of cannabis consumption can be risky (particularly in states where cannabis products are not regulated), users know exactly what is in their cannabis tea, since they make it at home and, therefore, have full control over the dose of THC/CBD in it. For this reason, she often prescribes ganja tea to her patients who are new to cannabis, or who prefer more dosage control.

“Some edibles on the market have things in them we’d never want to put in our bodies, and there’s more and more research coming out about the negative side effects of vaping and smoking,” Cannon said. “By drinking cannabis tea, you avoid the danger of vaping and smoking, and you also know exactly what will be in there, as long as the flower or tincture you use in it is grown organically and processed cleanly.”

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Ok, so now that you get why people have been sipping this stuff for 3,000 years (give or take), let’s get down to the real question: How do you put the herb in “herbal” tea?

There are actually many ways to make ganja tea, but we got this one from an expert. Here, you’ll find Plant Medicine Integration Specialist Kathryn Cannon’s easy, healthy recipe, perfect for your next green tea party.

Pinkies up!

How to Make Cannabis Tea:*

With a cannabis tincture:

1. Select an herbal blend that best aides in symptom relief. You can use a tea bag or loose-leaf tea.

Note: Teas that work well with cannabis include:

    • Cinnamon or chai (for inflammation/pain)
    • Nettle leaf (for allergies)
    • Valerian root (for insomnia)
    • Tulsi (for anxiety)
    • Peppermint (for fatigue)

2. Select the appropriate tincture for the time of day and desired effects

3. Prepare herbal tea by pouring boiling water over the herbal blend

4. Allow tea to steep 5-15 mins

5. Remove herbs

6. Add dosage, measured in drops, of an alcohol-based or oil-based tincture

Note: If you add alcohol-based tincture to boiling water and let it steep, some of the alcohol will cook off, making the taste more pleasant for some.

With cannabis flower:

1. Decarboxylate your cannabis flower before storing it for use.

Note: To decarboxylate, break up the flower by hand onto a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 220-240 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.

2. Select an herbal blend that best aides in symptom relief. You can use a tea bag or loose-leaf tea.

Note: Teas that work well with cannabis include:

    • Cinnamon or chai (for inflammation/pain)
    • Nettle leaf (for allergies)
    • Valerian root (for insomnia)
    • Tulsi (for anxiety)
    • Peppermint (for fatigue)

3. Steep with your herbal tea blend for 15-20 minutes.

4. Remove herbs.

*Note: Every person has unique needs, and there is not a one-size fits all approach to using medical cannabis. This is not intended as medical advice. For medical advice consult your medical provider.

Elissa Esher is Assistant Editor at GreenState. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Guardian, Brooklyn Paper, Religion Unplugged, and Iridescent Women. Send inquiries and tips to elli.esher@hearst.com.