Making Cannabis Tea Is Harder Than You Think, But Still Pretty Easy

If you’re creative enough, you can work cannabis into almost any everyday food item. As weed increases in legality and popularity, we’ll see even more cannabis cookbooks on the market than ever. But not all of us are foodies. Not all of us are professional chefs. Some of us are… novices in the kitchen. Some of us have to start slow.

So if you’re not Julia Child, but you want to try working weed into your recipes, a good place to start is making cannabis tea.

Why make cannabis tea at all? People have plenty of good reasons for consuming tea instead of smoking or vaping. Maybe they’re asthmatic or have other respiratory problems. Or maybe they just don’t enjoy their weed that way. 

Consider your strain. If it’s flavor you’re looking for, something sweet like Berries ’n Cream might be redolent of a softer herbal tea. But there’s a better chance you’re choosing a strain based on its mental and physical effects. Is this a morning tea? Try a sativa-dominant hybrid like White Fire to get you amped up for the day. A nightcap? Doc OG will help you relax. An afternoon pick-me-up? Try Blue Dream, which relaxes while invigorating. The effect you’re looking for will determine your strain, which will in turn determine parts of the rest of your tea-making process.

Will you be adding actual tea to the mix? Blending your cannabis with tea is a great way to experiment with flavors. Try mixing and matching tea types, contrasting and complementing their flavors with the terpene expressions in your bud. Try blending Sour Diesel with Rooibos for a sweet, bold contrast that’ll keep you moving. Or blend Blueberry Kush and Decaf Early Grey for a relaxing bedtime vibe.

If you do add tea, be careful to keep in mind that cannabis tea steeps differently from regular tea. Mixing the tea directly with the cannabis is probably not a good idea, since cannabis tea steeps differently from regular tea (see below). Better to keep the tea and the cannabis in separate steeping containers during the entire process, or better yet, brew the tea separately and just add it to taste at the end of the process, like seasoning.

Decarb the weed. If you want. The process is called decarboxylation, and it’s necessary to “open up” your cannabis so the THC can get out. It’s easy to do – simply bake it on a cookie sheet at 225 degrees for about 40 minutes. But! But! If you properly follow the rest of the steps in this process, you won’t need to decarb; the fat and the boiling (see below) will do the work for you.  So this isn’t a necessary step, but it’s good for peace of mind, since activating the weed is probably the most difficult step here. And unless you forget you left the weed in the oven and burned it to cinders (don’t do this), there’s no danger of over-decarboxylation. 

Pot, not kettle. Since you’re making tea, your first instinct is gonna be to use a teakettle to boil your water, but for this project it’s better to use a saucepan. Having the wide open top of a saucepan will allow you to keep a better eye on your boil.

Grind the ganja. Separate out all the seeds and stems from your flower, then place the good bud into a food processor and grind. Start with a little under a gram of weed and grind it as finely as you can.

Activate, activate, activate! This is the part of the process that separates making cannabis tea from simply making tea – and it’s the part where you’re most likely to make a mistake. THC needs to bind with fat, otherwise your body can’t process it. So you’ll need to blend your ground bud with coconut oil or butter and stir it together so that everything is equally coated.

Once you’ve basically got a mixed ball of weed and fat, put it into a tea strainer and drop it into your saucepan with water, and bring it to a low boil. Double or even triple the amount of water you’d normally use for a cup of tea, since you’ll lose a good deal of it to evaporation.

Steep. Longer than you think you need to. Normal tea needs to steep for three or four minutes, maybe five if you want it strong. This tea is gonna need a lot more than that – something along the lines of 30 minutes. As with the fat, this step is necessary to activate the TCH in the cannabis – otherwise it won’t have any effect on you. This is also where keeping any actual tea separate from your cannabis is important – if you blend them, you remove your ability to control the strength your tea adds to the flavor. 

ENJOY. After all that work, you earned it. When you’re waiting for the effects, remember that cannabis tea is essentially an edible – meaning it’ll take longer to feel. Give it an hour or so to kick in. If you don’t feel anything at all, there’s a good chance you didn’t activate your cannabis, so you may have to go back a few steps. You’ll get the hang of it.

A note on CBD tea. It’s a lot harder to make CBD-only tea, since the process of extracting the CBD on its own worth an entire how-to article. Using this process, the best approach might be to choose a CBD-balanced strain of cannabis, but even that will have some THC. 

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