Brewing a batch cannabis stem tea is a great way to use all the dregs that are left over after you’re done picking your marijuana buds apart.
Plus, it’s a quick, easy, and environmentally friendly way to pull all the cannabinoids out of every inch of your plant matter.
In this article, the all-things-cannabis experts at Honest Marijuana introduce you to the world of stem tea. Along the way, we’ll reveal the history, benefits, and side effects of this wonderful weed drink and give you an easy recipe for brewing stem tea at home.
What Is Cannabis Stem Tea?
Cannabis stem tea is weed tea made exclusively with leftover stems that you can’t use in other methods of ingestion.
As you’ll see in the recipe section of this article, all it really takes to whip up a pot of tea (pun intended) is boiling water, patience, and, of course, weed stems.
Weed tea has been around for a LONG time. Chinese emperor Shennong is rumored to have discovered the health benefits of weed tea more than 4,000 years ago.
From there, the tradition of boiling various parts of the marijuana plant for medicinal and recreational benefits spread to India, Egypt, and eventually across the pond to the Caribbean.
It remained a popular — albeit, often-overshadowed — method of consumption because it’s easy to do, it’s discreet, and it doesn’t require any complicated tools like a bong, a dab rig, or even rolling papers.
The benefits you’ll feel from this tea depend on what type of marijuana strain you use during the boiling process.
For the most part, regardless of whether you choose a THC or CBD strain, you’ll experience a calming, sedative effect from your stem tea.
You might also feel other benefits, including relief from:
- Low appetite
Stem tea really is a quick and easy way to get the medicinal perks you need to make it through the day.
Will Stem Tea Get You High?
The simple answer is…maybe — and only if you use a THC strain to steep your brew. Whether or not you get high depends on a number of factors, including:
- Your body composition
- Your tolerance to THC
- The amount of stems you use in the boiling process
- Whether or not you use a binding agent
- The quality of the cannabis plant you got the stems from
- The THC percentage in the original plant
Obviously, if you use a high-CBD strain in your stem tea, you won’t get high at all (only THC creates a psychedelic effect).
Chances are, even if you use a high-THC strain to brew some tea, you may only feel a slight difference in reality. Stems contain a lot less THC — and we mean A LOT less — than other parts of the plant.
So if you’ve been hitting the chronic on a regular basis, you probably won’t feel a thing. If this is your first time dating Mary Jane, your reality might shift a bit.
But it certainly won’t be as earth-shattering as it would be if you smoked a blunt or gnoshed a brownie.
And if you forego the binding agent completely and just steep the stems in hot water, there’s zero chance you’ll get high. Actually, there’s zero chance you’ll feel anything because the cannabinoids won’t reach your brain.
We’ll clarify that in the next section.
How To Make Cannabis Stem Tea
- Stems from your favorite THC or CBD strain (1 ounce per cup of water)
- Pot (the kitchen kind) for boiling water
- Binding agent (more on this below)
- Coffee filter, cheesecloth, or strainer
- A teapot, cup, bowl, or second cooking pot to strain the liquid into
- Your favorite loose tea or tea bag (optional)
It Won’t Hurt To Decarboxylate
The jury’s still out on whether you absolutely need to decarboxylate your stems before brewing a cup of stem tea, but we say, “What can it hurt?”
The answer, by the way, is nothing.
The dominant theory in the stem tea decarboxylation debate is that the heat from the hot water is enough to activate the cannabinoids.
But, as you’ll see in the instructions below, normal decarboxylation occurs at temperatures higher than the boiling point of water (212 degrees Fahrenheit) and over a much longer period of time than the usual stem tea steep (which we’ll discuss in the Recipe section).
For example, you’ll heat your tea water until it boils (212 degrees Fahrenheit) and then soak the stems in that water for 10 minutes at the most.
But decarboxylation doesn’t get going until the temperatures get closer to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. And then it takes 30-40 minutes for full cannabinoid activation at that consistent temperature.
You won’t get that from normal stem tea brewing.
So why risk it?
Take the extra half hour or so, decarb a big batch of plant matter, and you’ll be set for all your stem tea needs for a while.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to decarboxylate your stems (or buds or any other plant matter).
- Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115 degrees Celsius for those of you across the pond). Oven temperatures can vary quite a bit, so if you have access to an oven thermometer, use it to find an accurate inside temperature.
- Break your stems into small pieces making sure they don’t overlap on the pan.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the stems are golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow the stems to cool.
Now, you can be sure your stem tea will produce the effects you’re looking for in a weed-based drink (either medicinal or recreational).
For an in-depth guide on decarboxylating your marijuana, take a few minutes to read our article Marijuana Decarboxylation: Why And How To Decarb Your Weed.
To Grind Or Not To Grind…
We always recommend grinding your weed for smoking or cooking purposes. But in the case of stem tea, we say leave those suckers whole.
Yes, grinding does create more surface area. In all other instances, that’s a good thing because it gives the solvent (e.g., water, alcohol, oil) an opportunity to come into contact with more of the plant matter.
So, theoretically, your tea will be better if you grind your stems.
In our experience, though, logic doesn’t apply in this situation (it is weed after all, and logic seldom applies). We’ve tried it both ways and there’s really no significant difference between the final brews.
Plus, grinding your stems makes everything messier. With tea, we just want a quick, easy, clean, and relaxing cuppa without all the stress and strain.
Break the stems into small pieces with your fingers and you’ll be fine.
A Bit About Binding Agents
Cannabinoids are not water-soluble, which means that when you eat, drink, or absorb them through your mouth, they need to bind with some other chemical.
That’s where binding agents come in.
What are binding agents? As the name suggests, they absorb other chemicals (in this case, cannabinoids) and basically transport them to places in your body that they couldn’t normally go.
Without a binding agent, cannabinoids can’t cross into your bloodstream. If they can’t get into your blood, they can’t make their way to your brain. And if they can’t get to your brain, you won’t experience any of the beneficial effects. Bummer!
Thankfully, binding agents are easy to come by. Chances are you’ve already got a variety of options in your kitchen cabinets.
Fats make excellent binding agents, as do all types of alcohol. But not all fats and alcohols taste good in tea. Shocker, right?
Here are our suggestions for the best binding agents:
- Whole milk
- Coconut milk
- Coconut oil
As you’ll see in the recipe below, you’ll add all the fat-based binding agents right from the start. If you choose an alcohol-based binding agent, you’ll add it later on in the process so it doesn’t boil off.
For an added kick, consider using cannabis butter or cannabis coconut oil as your binding agent.
- Weigh your stems if at all possible. You’ll need 1 ounce of stems per cup of water. If you don’t have a food scale, break up your stems until they fill a ⅛ measuring cup. So, for example, if you want to brew 2 cups of stem tea, you’ll need 2 ounces or ¼ cup of stems.
- Pour the water into a pot.
- Measure in your fat-based binding agent. If you chose an alcohol-based binding agent, skip this step. You’ll add the alcohol later. Here are some useful amounts for your fat-based binding agent:
- ½ tsp of butter or coconut oil per cup of water
- 2 ½ tbsp of whole milk, half-and-half, or coconut milk per cup of water
- Turn the burner on high and bring the mixture to a boil.
- When the water’s boiling, add your stems.
- Boil everything together for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. If you have the patience, stir the mixture gently for the entire 10 minutes. This exposes as much of the stems to the boiling water as possible. If you can’t stop to stir for 10 minutes straight, move the mix around every 2 to 3 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the pot from the burner.
- If you chose an alcohol-based binding agent, add 1 tablespoon per cup of water now. We like rum in our tea because it adds sweet notes to the bitter, grassy taste of the stem tea itself.
- Pour the stem tea mix through a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or strainer to separate the liquid from the solid plant matter.
- You’re ready to go!
- Optional: Add a bag of your favorite tea to enhance the flavor. Let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Optional: Stir in some cannabis honey, regular honey, agave syrup, lemon, or raw sugar to create a unique experience.
How Long Will Stem Tea Stay In Your System?
Don’t play coy with us. We know exactly what you’re thinking when you ask how long the cannabinoids in a cup of stem tea will stay in your system.
You’re wondering if you should be worried about that drug test coming up next week.
Honestly, this is a complicated question that involves chemistry, biology, physiology, body mass, individual differences, types of drug tests, THC metabolites, testing sensitivity, and more.
For a full discussion of this fascinating question, check out this article from the HMJ blog: How Long Does THC Stay In Your System? The Definitive Guide.
In the meantime, we’ll give you the gist in the next few sections.
CBD Stem Tea
If you’re imbibing stem tea made from high-CBD/low-THC strains such as Charlotte’s Web, Cannatonic, or Sour Tsunami, you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about.
Even if you wear a CBD patch while popping CBD pills and guzzling a 64-ounce CBD coffee at work in front of your boss, you’ll be fine.
No one really cares how much CBD you take because that particular cannabinoid won’t get you anywhere near stoned. In fact, it might actually make things clearer for you thanks to its numerous medical benefits.
On top of that, there’s not a drug test on the planet that looks for CBD. So, unless you’re abducted by aliens with a penchant for cannabidiol, you’re good. Obviously, if that does happen, you’ll have more to worry about than how long the CBD stem tea stays in your system.
The only real point to keep in mind is that some high-CBD strains do contain trace amounts of THC (the stuff that does get you stoned).
Even if there’s not enough THC in your stem tea to make you feel even the least bit different, it can collect in your system to the point that a drug test will detect it.
How long will that THC stick around? Read on to find out.
THC Stem Tea
Most tests look for the metabolite THC-COOH (a byproduct of THC’s trip through your body), but one test — the saliva variety — looks for THC directly.
Fortunately, the saliva test is expensive and isn’t used very often.
Even if you are faced with a saliva test and you’ve sipped on a mug of THC stem tea recently, you’re not completely without hope.
Here’s how each test breaks down.
Trace amounts of THC are detectable in your saliva for between 24 hours and 72 hours after you last consumed the wacky weed (in whatever form).
A lot depends on specific factors like test sensitivity and how much THC stem tea you drank.
If you’re not guzzling gallons of the psychoactive elixir, a saliva swab will be ineffective after 24 hours, but more sensitive tests can detect trace amounts up to 72 hours later.
But, again, these tests are expensive so they’re not used often.
If you’re in the habit of drinking a 128-ounce-Big-Gulp’s-worth of THC stem tea every day (first of all, damn, son!) a saliva test can detect THC for up to a week after your last sip.
If you’re a light THC stem tea drinker, THC-COOH can remain in your bloodstream for one to two days. If you’re a heavy drinker, it can remain in your bloodstream for one to seven days.
On a chemical level, THC metabolites have a half-life of 7 days. This means that the amount of THC-COOH will decrease by 50% every week after you stop putting THC in your body.
Let’s say that you drink a mug of stem tea Saturday morning resulting in a bloodstream THC-COOH level of 200 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) (the typical measure of metabolites in the blood).
If you don’t drink any more that week, by the next Saturday, the THC-COOH level in your body will be 50% less than when you first smoked. That would put detectable metabolite levels at 100 ng/ml.
And just so you’re aware, the typical threshold for urinalysis testing is 50 ng/ml.
By the second Saturday (two weeks later), metabolite levels will fall again by half resulting in a reading of 50 ng/ml. That’s the threshold for the test but we’re right on the line at this point and it could go either way.
By the third Saturday (three weeks after you stopped), metabolite levels would be at 25 ng/ml and by the fourth Saturday, they would be at 12.5 ng/ml.
These levels are all but undetectable by conventional tests so we can conclude that your body needs three to four weeks to be “drug-free” if you don’t do anything to help it along.
Urine tests can detect THC-COOH for a month after consumption for light stem tea drinkers, and up to two-and-a-half months after consumption for heavy drinkers.
Urine tests are the most common because they are easy to administer and easy to test. They are also the easiest to beat should the need arise.
Want to know how to help your body eliminate THC faster? Learn a few simple strategies to detox your body in our article 13 Of Your Most Pressing Stoner Questions Answered.
A hair drug test is probably the worst option you can face after drinking THC stem tea.
Sure, a blood test is bad because there’s not a lot you can do to hurry the elimination of THC-COOH, but it will work itself out in a week.
Not so with your hair. Traces of THC-COOH can remain in the cells for ninety days or longer.
Yes, that’s three months or more. Thankfully, hair tests are not that common, so it’s not something you really have to worry about.
If you do find out that Big Brother is going to test your hair in three days and you just finished a steaming mug of THC stem tea (or any other THC product, for that matter), you’re probably screwed.
Maybe start looking for a new job.
Try Stem Tea Before You Buy
For beverages such as stem tea (and pretty much every other edible), we always recommend going DIY before you buy.
Yeah, if you look hard enough, you can probably buy stem tea somewhere.
But, when you brew your own stem tea, you can be 100-percent sure of what you’re getting (even more so if you use an organic marijuana).
You can also customize it to your exacting tastes and standards.
Plus, steeping your own stem tea is super easy. The only thing you’ll probably need to purchase is your favorite strain — although we do recommend asking your friends for their leftovers because they might not know what they can do with all those regs.
Everything else you can find on a shelf in your kitchen.
Try brewing your own stem tea and see how you like it. If it’s just not “your cup of tea”, you can always go back to getting your daily CBD or THC from a joint, bong, or dab rig.
Quality Stems Make Quality Tea
As a pot enthusiast, you may be used to looking down on the leftover bud stems as if they are completely useless. We’re here to tell you they’re not.
But not all stems are created equal. As the title of this section states, quality stems make quality tea.
If you want to brew the best cup of tea possible, start with stems from high-quality, sustainably-sourced, organically-grown cannabis plants like those from Honest Marijuana.
At our Rocky-Mountain-based grow facility, we employ world-class organic growing methodologies to provide cannabis connoisseurs with the purest marijuana experience on the planet.
We grow our plants the way Mother Nature intended: in organic soil without chemicals or pesticides. We even hand trim our plants so that they’re organic from the ground up.
Not only does that make all your smoking, dabbing, and edible experiences infinitely better, but it also means that the final step in consuming our delicious product — cannabis stem tea — is better, tastier, and well worth the effort.
So don’t settle for an inferior strain. Get the best strains on the planet — the Honest Marijuana strains — and experience cannabis the way it should be: perfect.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.