Weed Tea is one of the most iconic methods to consume cannabis in beverages. It’s a time-honored, sacred traditional medicine that can serve many causes and has been in circulation in many different cultures across the world. You can brew weed tea in a few different ways depending on what you expect from the herb.
In this article, we’ll give you a complete guide to brewing your own weed tea, with some historical background, a pinch of science, and 3 basic recipes for both psychoactive and non-psychoactive weed tea.
The History of Weed Tea in Different Cultures
Weed tea is one of the world’s oldest therapeutic beverages. In fact, cannabis has a well-documented record of medicinal use for thousands of years across different parts of the globe.
Weed was present in four of the world’s oldest civilizations — China, Egypt, India, and the Carribean. All those cultures used cannabis to treat a range of illnesses and diseases. Let’s dive deeper into the history of weed tea, starting from ancient China.
Weed Tea in China
Traces of cannabis has been found all over neolithic archeological sites in China. In other words, weed was already in use in different forms between 10,000 and 2,000 B.C. — that’s plenty of time if you ask us.
One of the most revered Chinese emperors, Shen Nung, discovered the psychoactive and medical benefits of cannabis nearly 5,000 years ago. Not only that, but Shen Nung also pointed to cannabis as an invaluable source of food and textiles.
Although the exact origins of cannabis are shrouded in mystery, the concept of weed tea is much better documented. There’s a story — generally accepted by anthropologists — that weed tea was discovered by Emperor Shen Nung. He once asked his servants to boil some water for him but a leaf fell into that water, and Shen Nung didn’t notice that his drink had turned brown after he discovered how revitalizing the new beverage was.
Since then, Shen Nung became fixated on tea. He eventually perfected his weed tea formula, using different ratios of leaves and buds and listed it in the Chinese pharmacopeia for more than 100 health conditions, including rheumatism, gout, absentmindedness, and malaria.
Weed Tea in Egypt
There are several historical sources describing how cannabis was used medicinally by the Egyptian civilization.
Ebers Papyrus, a document from around 1500 BCE, describes cannabis being used as a suppository to fight hemorrhoids. Although we prefer different routes of administration, we aren’t here to judge.
Medical cannabis shows up in several other ancient documents from Egypt, such as Ramesseum III Papyrus (1700 BC), the Berlin papyrus (1300 BC) and the Chester Beatty Medical Papyrus (1300 BC). These papers all prove that cannabis was used as a medicine for various afflictions, from glaucoma to inflammation and swollen uterus.
Archeologists have also found cannabis pollen on the mummy of Ramesses II (it was covered in the pollen), indicating that the legendary pharaoh was buried with weed in his tomb. Experts believe that weed tea was used at that time to treat pain and was rather perceived as a medicine rather than a recreational drug.
Weed Tea in India
Similar to China and Egypt, weed tea has a deeply rooted tradition in India. In fact, cannabis is considered a sacred plant in the Hindu culture, so weed products are highly regarded there, although it’s officially illegal there. Weed tea isn’t any different.
In India, there’s a special beverage known as Bhang. While it’s not necessarily tea per se, it’s a strong psychoactive drink that was allegedly consumed by Shiva himself. Bhang consists of crushed cannabis buds, leaves, milk, ghee butter, and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and honey.
The first records of Bhang in the Hindu culture date back to around 1000 BC. Interestingly, this “weed tea” is still the official drink of the spring Holi Festival of Colors in India. Bhang has been used to relieve anxiety, phlegm, low appetite, sunstroke, digestive issues, and stammering.
Bhang is still used by certain groups. For example, Sadus drink it as part of their rituals in impersonation of the god Shiva, also known as “Lord of Bhang.”
Weed Tea in the Caribbean
Rastafarians have created the epicenter of the cannabis culture. They use the herb spiritually by smoking it in joints and passing them in a circle while talking with one another, meditating, and undertaking moral quandaries.
In addition, many Jamaican families throughout the country and the neighboring islands use cannabis for medicinal purposes in the form of weed tea.
Weed tea is commonly made from young cannabis plants that aren’t mature enough to be harvested. Given this, their weed tea is less potent than smoked cannabis.
According to anthropologist Dr. Melanie Creagan Dreher who has conducted a study of rural working-class families in Jamaica also noted cultural differences between drinking low-potency weed tea and smoking the herb.
All of the mothers who participated in the study gave their children weed tea to drink — typically 2–3 times daily — in order to keep their kids healthy for school and farm work.
This was in contradiction to what teachers and school officials warned them about, but in our opinion, it just proves that mothers know best!
How Does the Weed Tea Work?
Before you make your first weed tea, make sure to get yourself familiar with the cannabis chemistry fundamentals — otherwise, you may continuously fail with your beverage, ending up frustrated.
The first thing to remember is that raw cannabis contains THCA and CBDA — not THC and CBD. These cannabinoids are the acidic forms of their “active” counterparts.
THCA doesn’t have psychoactive properties — the reason why you can’t get high from eating raw weed. It also won’t relieve the symptoms for which you take cannabis. Of course, THCA has plenty of health benefits on its own, but it won’t have the same effects as a product bought at a dispensary.
To get the most out of your weed tea, you need to decarboxylate (heat) the plant. The bud that you usually smoke has been dried using low heat to trigger the THCA-to-THC conversion.
The full activation, though, happens when you add a flame into the setting. The high temperature causes the majority of THCA to transform into the stuff that gets you high and relieves desired symptoms. However, burning your cannabis isn’t the only way to activate cannabinoids.
Decarboxylated weed can be dissolved without losing its medicinal properties. You can use water, alcohol, or butter for the job — even whole milk should do the trick. In fact, both THC and CBD dissolve more effectively in saturated fats than in water.
Basic Weed Tea Recipes
As you practice brewing your weed tea, you’ll begin to understand how to adjust its potency to your preferences. To make your weed tea classes easier, we’ll get you started with 3 simple recipes for your green tea.
We recommend sticking to the recipes until you gain some experience. From there, you can experiment and modify the instructions to your liking.
Let’s brew some weed tea!
Non-Psychoactive Weed Tea from the Raw Plant
Raw cannabis tea is one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of non-psychoactive THCA as a food supplement from raw marijuana without getting high. Some people just don’t handle the psychoactive effects of THC very well.
For the raw weed tea, you’ll need any leftover stems, leaves, or shakes that you will then boil so that they get infused into your tea, delivering a relaxing, slightly sedative body high without the cerebral euphoria in order to get all the non-psychoactive cannabinoids from the source plant.
Here’s how to make your raw weed tea:
- Start by cutting, crushing, and grinding about half a gram of cannabis leaves, stems, shake, and buds, as finely as you can for a single serving of non-psychoactive weed tea.
- Scoop your ground cannabis into a metal tea ball.
- Place the tea ball into a cup.
- Bring water to a low boil. Hard boiling cannabis initiates decarboxylation, so you want to keep the heat as low as possible.
- Pour the hot water into the cup with your ground weed and steep for about 5 minutes. You can extend the steeping time to make your tea stronger when it comes to taste.
- Enjoy your raw weed tea!
Some experts argue that the more the tea material spends in the water, the better. Using a tea ball or coffee filter disturbs the steeping process, affecting the final flavor of your weed tea. You can try it yourself to see if this theory is legit.
However, when you pour hot water directly over your tea material, you’ll need to pour the tea through a strainer to get rid of the plant matter.
Psychoactive Weed Tea
Psychoactive weed tea will get you the much desired marijuana buzz, similar to the one you get from edibles. A half a gram is typically enough to provide a long-lasting high combined with symptom relief. The effects should take hold within 45–90 minutes after you finish your tea because it has to pass through the liver before it gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
Below we share a simple recipe for psychoactive weed tea:
- Finely grind your favorite cannabis strain. You can also add any leftover stems and leaves as they still contain trace amounts of THC (up to 1%), CBD, and other cannabinoids.
- Mix your ground weed with some butter — use just half a gram — to coat them completely. Try not to soak them too much, you’ll just need a nice surface layer.
- Add the weed/butter combo do a metal tea ball or an emptied tea bag. You can also directly steep the tea material and then strain away the cannabis when you’re done.
- Submerge your weed tea in a pan with 2 cups of water. Some of the water will evaporate during the boiling process, so you might want to add more later on.
- Once you’ve brought your mixture to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the weed tea for 30 minutes to decarboxylate the cannabinoids. Stir the mixture every now and then, and add a bit more water if it gets below the desired level.
Now, turn the heat off and set your weed tea aside to let it cool. You may also add any extra flavoring that you think will fit into your beverage. We like to add some white tea to our mix and a little bit of dark honey for a more complex taste.
Weed Chai Latte
This recipe is inspired by the aforementioned Indian Bhang drink that tastes similar to the chai latte you can get at your coffee shop from around the corner.
Here’s how to make one at home.
- Grab a blender and add half a gram of ground weed with the same amount of butter, 1 cup of whole milk (the more fat, the better), and 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.
- Blend the ingredients to a smooth consistency that resembles a milkshake-like liquid.
- Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the aromas to soak into your beverage.
- Bring half a cup of water to a gentle simmer in a saucepan and add your mixture into the dish. Gradually add more water to prevent the mixture from evaporating and scorching the bottom of your pan.
- Take the pan off the head and add a chai tea bag to the combo as it cools. Let the tea steep for 5 minutes — or adjust the time to your liking, depending on how strong you want that flavor to be.
- Dispose the chai tea bag and strain your weed tea mixture through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve to remove the remaining plant matter.
- Pour the tea into a cup or mug, add some whipped cream, sprinkle with dark cocoa or cinnamon, and enjoy!
Final Thoughts on Brewing Your Own Weed Tea
As you can see, weed tea can be prepared in a variety of ways. The process of making tea is relaxing in itself, so try to focus on the benefits of your weed beverage rather than seeking the best brewing method — it all boils down to how you like your regular tea.
The most important thing to remember is that you can control the potency of your weed tea. The more you preheat the herb, the more psychoactive it will get. If you’re just looking for the benefits of raw cannabis, skip the decarboxylation step and just use the living plant.
How do you like your weed tea? Share your tips in the comments!