Cannabis has enjoyed extensive use throughout human history for a variety of clever and crafty purposes. Many people are aware of the use of smoked cannabis as an ancient herbal treatment, but cannabis brewed into tea is often overlooked when considering the historical uses of the cannabis herb. Curious to brew your own? Depending on the level of psychoactivity you’re comfortable with, there are a variety of ways to brew cannabis tea.
The most simple, and least psychoactive way to brew cannabis tea is to infuse any part of the cannabis plant (the flowering bud and proximate leaves are most desired) with boiling or near-boiling water. Cannabinoids, like THC, aren’t water-soluble, so brewing cannabis with only hot water will not cause a psychoactive “high.” There are several reasons to enjoy this type of cannabis tea. The aroma and flavor of cannabis tea are delightful by themselves, while the terpenes and trace cannabinoids can invigorate the senses and improve mood.
For those looking to indulge in the potent psychoactive properties of cannabis fully, steep your cannabis in a fat, like coconut oil, which combines with cannabis steeped leaves or a variety of other water-based teas. The result can resemble a latte-esque drink where the fat and water complement each other. For those who want to go the extra mile, cannabis can be infused into a heavy fat like coconut cream, which can be whipped and served on top of a tea or coffee drink.
One of my favorite techniques for brewing cannabis tea is to infuse cannabis with coconut oil and boil fresh tapioca pearls to make bubble tea. I infuse the bubble tea with cannabis oil and sugar syrup for approximately an hour so that the bubble tea can fully absorb the delicious sugary weed-infused concoction. Then, I mix the remaining sugar syrup with coconut cream and water, and whisk it for a whipped topping! It’s fun to explore how cannabis influences the flavor of the type of tea you brew. My favorites so far have been green tea, chai tea, and lavender rose tea.
Traditional cannabis teas include the Bhang Lassi, a drink prepared in India as early as 1000 B.C., in which cannabis material is ground with a mortar and pestle, infused in milk, and seasoned with a variety of spices. The resulting drink can be quite powerful, depending on the amount of material used, and is mostly reserved for annual celebrations.
A more straightforward option for brewing a low-maintenance psychoactive cannabis tea is to infuse a cannabis tincture into a pot of brewed tea. Ask your budtender for a recommendation, as some tinctures may pair better with tea than others because of the taste or ingredients.
Compared to smoking, cannabis tea lasts for a long time! Make sure you’re prepared to feel the effects of the cannabis for 4-12 hours if you choose a psychoactive brewing method.
Lastly, make sure to buy the cleanest cannabis possible, to ensure no harsh pesticides seep into the tea water. Ask your budtender for advice on finding the cleanest cannabis for brewing homemade cannabis tea.