Weed tea is an ancient, time-honored, sacred and highly effective traditional medicine for many different purposes in many different cultures across the globe. Weed tea can be made in a number of different ways depending on the desired effects. This post will present you with some weed tea historical anthropology, with just a small dash of cannabis tea chemistry, and five different yet straightforward weed tea recipes to help you create the perfect cup of pot tea for your lifestyle.
Weed Tea History From Around The World
Weed tea is one of the world’s oldest medicines. Cannabis itself is found all over neolithic Chinese archeological sites. That means it was already in use in one form or another between 10,000 and 2,000 B.C.! The mythical Chinese sage emperor Shennong, who was said to have taught the Chinese agriculture and medicine nearly 5,000 years ago, is rumored to have first discovered the myriad textile, psychoactive, and health benefits of the hemp plant. We say “rumored” because records from this time are sparse and unreliable. For all we know, the cannabis plant was a gift from the same aliens who built the pyramids and drew the lines at Nazca.
So though the origins of cannabis use are forever lost to the ravages of time, the concept of tea, or ‘cha’, is much more well-known. Here’s the generally-agreed upon story: Tea was discovered by Emperor Shennong who had his servants routinely boil his drinking water to make it safer to consume. A servant supposedly didn’t notice a leaf fall into the emperor’s boiling water and Shennong himself allegedly didn’t notice that his water had turned brown until he discovered how refreshing the new drink was. After that, Shennong became obsessed with tea. He eventually grew to be known for studying the properties of many plants, boiling them into teas, and experimenting with them on himself. Shennong’s cannabis tea was likely made from a combination of leaves and buds and recommended in the Pen Ts’ao Ching pharmacopeia for more than 100 afflictions such as gout, rheumatism, malaria and absentmindedness.
Unfortunately, Shennong died from eating the flower of a yellow weed that ruptured his intestines before he had time to swallow an antidotal tea. Despite this rather miserable death, Shennong is revered and worshiped as a medicine king in China for having sacrificed his life for humanity.
India, like China, has a long and storied relationship with cannabis and cannabis products. In fact, cannabis is a sacred plant for Hindus, so cannabis products are held in high regard. Weed tea is no exception.
In India, this homebrew is known as Bhang. It’s is a strong psychoactive Ancient Indian weed tea made from crushed cannabis buds, leaves, milk, ghee butter and typically spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and a bit of sugar or honey – although there are many recipes. Bhang was first used around 1000 BC and is still the official drink of the spring Holi Festival of Colors in India. Bhang is described as providing relief for anxiety in the Atharvaveda and it is widely used in North India for fever, dysentery, sunstroke, phlegm, digestion problems, depressed appetite, and even for numerous speaking imperfections. Sadus still use Bhang as part of their rituals in imitation of the god Shiva “Lord of Bhang” while meditating and practicing yoga to achieve transcendental states.
Rastafarians use cannabis spiritually by smoking it as ‘herb’ in joints and passing it in a circle while discussing and meditating on moral quandaries. But the cannabis use doesn’t stop there. Many families throughout Jamaica and the islands use cannabis medicinally in the form of ganja tea. Ganja tea is commonly made from young plants that aren’t fully ripened for harvest. This usually makes it less potent than smoked herb. Anthropologist Dr. Melanie Creagan Dreher’s study of rural working class families in Jamaica also revealed cultural differences between smoking herb and drinking minimally-psychoactive ganja tea. All of the mothers in her study gave their children ganja tea to drink, often two to three times a week and sometimes daily, in order to help keep their kids healthy for the backbreaking farm work and school work they were subjected to. This was in spite of warnings from teachers and school officials. This just adds to the truth found in the old adage that mother knows best!
The Chemistry of Cannabis Tea
When it comes to making weed tea, at first glance it can be a bit daunting, frustrating and unsatisfying if you don’t understand a few cannabis chemistry fundamentals.
The first thing to keep in mind is that raw, live cannabis contains delta9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid or THCA for short) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). These cannabinoids are the precursors of the more well-known THC and CBD that are so famous for their psychoactive and medicinal effects. THCA, however, is non-psychoactive which means that it cannot get you high. Similarly, CBDA is much less non-medicinal than CBD which means that it won’t relieve the symptoms for which you take it. So ingesting any part of a live cannabis plant will only get you the THCA and the CBDA and will not have the same effect as the product you buy at your local dispensary. So how does cannabis go from a non-psychoactive, non-medicinal plant to the psychoactive, medicinal powerhouse that we know and love? Good question. Here’s the answer.
When the cannabis plant is harvested and begins to dry out, the THCA and CBDA slowly convert to their non-acidic counterparts, THC and CBD (remember, the “A” in THCA and CBDA stands for acid). But this conversion is only partial. You won’t get all the cannabinoid goodness possible if you just let the plant dry out naturally.
To really maximize the effects, you need to add heat (decarboxylate). That bud you smoke, it’s been dried using low heat to continue the THCA-to-THC conversion. The full release, though, comes when you add a flame into the mix. This high temperature converts the majority of the THCA (and CBDA) into the stuff that makes you feel better. But you don’t just have to burn it to get the benefits.
Psychoactive THC and CBD can be dissolved without losing their medicinal qualities. These cannabinoids can be dissolved in water, alcohol, butter (we’ll discuss these two in a section below), and even milk. In fact, THC and CBD dissolve more effectively in the fat from butter and milk when compared to water. As you practice making your own marijuana tea, you’ll begin to intuitively learn how to make your weed tea as mild or as potent as you like. To get you started, here are 5 cannabis tea concoctions for your drinking pleasure. We suggest sticking to the recipes to start so you gain some experience. After that, by all means, please experiment and tailor the instructions to your liking. Ready? Let’s go!
How To Make Raw, Non-Psychoactive Cannabis Tea
Raw Chinese and Jamaican style herbal cannabis tea is one of the easiest ways to experience the miraculous long-term medicinal benefits of non-psychoactive THCA as a dietary supplement from raw marijuana without getting too high off of it. We highly recommend juicing your raw cannabis cola buds directly into mouthwatering juices and smoothies if you want to get your THCA without getting high at all. We suggest boiling any left over stems, leaves or shake you may have into a tea that delivers a relaxing, mellow, mildly sedative body high without too much cerebral euphoria in order to get all the cannabinoids you possibly can from your plants.
- Cut, crush and grind about half a gram of cannabis stems, leaves and/or buds as thoroughly as you can for a single serving of mild herbal medicinal cannabis tea.
- Spoon your ground cannabis into a metal tea ball or pack it into a folded coffee filter.
- Place the tea ball or coffee filter into a mug.
- Bring some water to a low boil. The low boil keeps your cannabis from decarboxylating and turning from THCA to THC.
- Pour the hot water into the glass with your ground cannabis and steep for five minutes. You can adjust the steeping time to make your tea as weak or as strong as your tastes dictate.
- Serve your cannabis tea in a mug along with a blend of your favorite regular tea and condiments for flavor. Avoid adding milk or cream to keep your tea less psychoactive.
As tea goes, some experts swear by the fact that the more contact the water has with the tea material, the better. These experts claim that using a tea bag, tea ball, or coffee filter interferes with the steeping process and can affect the final flavor of the tea. We don’t know about all that, but their idea does hold water (pun intended). To really get the full effect and flavor of the tea, they suggest pouring the hot water directly on to the plant matter. Steep as usual and then pour the tea through a strainer to separate out the plant matter. We place our ground plant matter in a two-cup Pyrex measuring cup for steeping and then pour the finished tea through a metal mesh tea strainer into the mug from which we’re going to drink.
As you can see, there are myriad ways to make tea—be it cannabis or regular—so we suggest experimenting with the different methods in order to find the one that works best for you.
Simple, Psychoactive Weed Tea
Weed tea is a much quicker way to catch the same long lasting 11 Hydroxy THC body buzz you get from edibles. A half a gram is typically all you need to feel long lasting relief kick in about 45 to 90 minutes after you finish your tea.
- Grind up half a gram of high-quality cannabis buds. You can also include any leftover stems and leaves—there are still trace amounts (up to 1%) of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in that shake.
- Mix your cannabis grounds with just enough butter—about half a gram—to keep them completely coated. Try to avoid saturating the grounds. Just a nice surface layer will suffice.
- Add the mixture to a metal tea ball, coffee filter, or an emptied tea bag. You can also try the direct steeping method and then strain away the plant matter when you’re finished.
- Place the tea material in a pan with 1-2 cups (8-16 ounces) of water. Later, you can adjust the amount of water to fit your tastes. Keep in mind that some of the water will evaporate during the boiling process so you might want to start with a bit more water than you want to drink.
- Simmer the mixture on medium high stove top heat at a low boil for 30 minutes to decarboxylate the cannabis. Keep an eye on the mixture and add a bit more water if the level gets low.
Turn the heat off, let your weed tea cool down, and add any extra tea or flavoring you may desire.
We like to mix this weed tea with our favorite regular tea and a bit of honey for a tasty afternoon (or anytime) treat. After you’ve separated the cannabis plant matter from the hot water, pour the tea over the new tea bag and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove the new tea bag and add honey to taste. Yum!
Turn the heat off, let your weed tea cool down and add any extra tea or flavoring you may desire.
Cannabis Chai Latte
This recipe makes a tasty Indian Bhang-inspired drink that is reminiscent of the chai latte you can get at your local coffee shop. Here’s how to whip one up.
- In a blender, mix half a gram of ground cannabis with half a gram of butter, 1 cup whole milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Blend the ingredients until everything is mixed together and you’ve created a smooth, milk-shake-like liquid.
- Let the mixture sit for an hour after you’ve blended it (if you have the patience) to allow the aromas to mingle together. If you just can’t wait, skip this step and move on to step #4. We understand completely.
- Bring half a cup of water to a low simmering boil in a stovetop pan and add your mixture into it. Carefully monitor and stir the mixture for 30 minutes. Gradually add more water to keep the mixture from evaporating and burning.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add a chai tea bag to the mixture as it cools. Let the chai tea bag steep for 3-5 minutes. You can steep for shorter or longer depending on how strong of a chai flavor you want.
- Remove the chai tea bag and strain your mixture through a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth, or coffee filter to remove any big weed chunks that didn’t get ground up in the blender. Be sure to put a glass or a bowl under the strainer as you pour. It would be a shame to lose all that tasty tea!
- Pour your tea into a mug, stir in more milk, sugar, or even whip cream, and enjoy!
Cannabutter and Cannabis Tincture Teas
Want to add a bit of cannabinoid goodness to your regular tea, coffee, other hot beverages, or even soups? Why not whip up some cannabutter or a cannabis tincture? With these cannabis products on hand, you can turn any edible into a tasty cannabinoid-infused treat. We’ll start with the cannabutter and then outline the process for making cannabis tinctures. We’re not going to go into great detail, we’ll just give you the broad strokes, but you can find full recipes by visiting the links in the previous sentence.
To make cannabutter, first melt some butter in a sauce pan or crock pot. Next, grind up your favorite weed and add it to the butter. Allow the mixture to simmer on low heat for 24 hours. This is where a crock pot comes in handy. You can set the temperature, put on the lid, and walk away. You’ll need to stir it occasionally, but you won’t have the risk of leaving your stove on all day. When you’re done, you’ll have weeks worth of cannabutter you can add to any cup of your favorite regular tea to transform it into a quick cup of medicinal cannabis tea.
Cannabis tinctures can take a little more time, but require much less effort, to distill a big batch of cannabis out of alcohol which you can also easily add to your normal tea anytime you want to make it highly medicinal. Just add decarboxylated, ground cannabis flowers to a mason jar almost-full of high-proof alcohol (like Everclear). Close the jar (a screw-top lid works well), shake it for a minute or two, and then place the jar on a shelf in a dark, cool closet or cabinet. Let the mixture sit for two weeks but be sure to shake the jar at least once a day. When the two weeks are up, you can strain the tincture through a coffee filter to remove the plant matter, and store part of it in a dropper bottle for easy use. Then, when you feel the need to add a bit of zing to your tea or other edibles, you can administer a drop or two into the mix.
How To Make Pot Stem Weed Tea
We already mentioned using stems and other shake as a supplement for all your weed tea needs, but this is a nice recipe that makes exclusive use of the leftovers. Weed stem tea is an ideal option for serious stoners who want to transform all of their extra stems into a refreshing recreational supplement.Break about 5 grams worth of stems up.
- Break up about 5 grams worth of stems. Yes, we know that’s a lot, but the stems are so dense, and so low in THC and CBD, that you’ll need that much to get anything done. We just wait until a small mason jar is full of stems and then get to brewing.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add two tablespoons of butter into the boiling water, and reduce the heat to a low simmer.
- Add the stems, cover the cooking pot, and let simmer for an hour until the water turns brown – add more water if necessary.
- Uncover and add one cup of whole milk.
- Turn the heat back up and bring the mixture back up to a boil while continuing to stir for about 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, allow the mixture to cool, strain the mixture, pour some into a teacup or mug, and add sugar, cinnamon, honey or chai seasoning for a truly righteous flavor. Enjoy! You should feel a long lasting 11 Hydroxy THC body high kick within 45 to 90 minutes.
The Weed Tea Way of Life
There’s no single right way to make weed tea as they are all equally great. Many consider the processes of making reefer tea a relaxing act in itself. The main thing to remember is that you can control how potent the psychoactive THC becomes by how little or how much you decarboxylate. The more you pre-heat (decarboxylate) the ganja, the more psychoactive it will be. If you’re just looking for medicinal benefits, skip the decarboxylation all together and just use the raw plant matter.
You can also control the flavor and the potency by using water for a mild tea, or butter and/or milk for a much more kick-in-the-face brew. Regardless of how you do your brew, weed tea is an ideal way to enjoy ganja no matter what your lifestyle may be.