I wonder what my teenage pot parties would have been like if my friends and I had been consuming cannabis tea instead of smoking joints. I’m sure we’d still have been listening to The Grateful Dead and staring at LP covers (yes, that’s how far I go back). But perhaps we would have been a little less freaked out when our parents arrived home and the whole house smelled like reefer.
Nowadays, people are gradually waking up the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana. Put simply, cannabis appears to be an amazing compound with numerous health benefits. For example, it is a natural analgesic that can mitigate nausea and stimulate the appetite in cancer patients. It has also shown promise in treating epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease.
In addition, researchers are discovering that cannabinoids in marijuana have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and even antitumor properties. No wonder that Dr. Ethan Russo, a leading cannabis researcher, says that marijuana “is the single most versatile herbal remedy and the most useful plant on Earth. No other single plant contains as wide a range of medically active herbal constituents.”
Still, smoking any substance entails some health risks. Thankfully, there are ways to derive the health benefits of marijuana without lighting up. Edibles and cannabis-infused beverages are arguably a safer alternative to toking or vaping. With that in mind, let’s look at five specific advantages of brewing your own cannabis tea.
1. Cannabis tea provides powerful pain relief
Marijuana is a powerful analgesic and has been used for centuries to treat painful conditions such as arthritis and other chronic illnesses. In fact, scientists have since discovered that cannabinoids bind to pain receptors in the central nervous system, which can help dampen pain signaling.
Cannabis works quite differently than traditional painkillers such as opiates. For one, cannabis is not addicting the way codeine, morphine or Oxycontin are. Therefore, cannabis users do not suffer physical cravings or withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue the herb. In fact, there has never been a single dose-related fatality from using marijuana. Indeed, medical experts increasingly agree that it is a safe and effective way to manage many painful conditions including fibromyalgia, migraines, cancer and sickle cell diseases.
Cannabis-infused tea is an especially ideal delivery method because when marijuana is absorbed via the digestive system it’s effects are much longer-lasting and holistic (that is, spread throughout the entire body).
2. Cannabis tea is effective for autoimmune disorders
Cannabis is particularly effective as a medicine for at least two reasons. First, cannabinoids have been proven to reduce inflammation. Therefore, marijuana is especially efficacious in treating rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Second, cannabis works by having a modulating effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is central to maintaining homeostasis. If the endocannabinoid system is in overdrive or not functioning properly, then the immune response can mistakenly target the body’s own cells, which leads inflammation and diseased tissue. So, cannabis work by tempering both immune response and the endocannabinoid system.
3. Cannabis tea has a neuroprotective effect
In the past, Drug War hysteria tried to link marijuana use to memory problems and even brain damage. The evidence, however, is just the contrary. Recent studies have found, for instance, that cannabis appears to have a neuroprotective effect. More specifically, THC appears to slow or block the production of beta-amyloid proteins, which are believed to be the precursors of Alzheimer’s.
To date, most research on marijuana and memory have involved lab animals. In particular, older mice given low doses of cannabis did better on memory tasks (remembering mazes) than mice given placebos. The upshot, researchers now believe that cannabinoids could offer a novel strategy for combating age-related cognitive decline.
4. Cannabis tea promotes digestive health
There are endocannabinoid receptors throughout your body, even your skin. When you smoke marijuana, most of the beneficial cannabinoids go straight to your brain (which explains the herb’s mind-altering effects).
On the other hand, drinking a cannabis-infused beverage allows the cannabinoids to be absorbed by receptors in the digestive tract. This can help reduce cramping, constipation, acid reflux disease and diarrhea. In fact, marijuana has been used as a folk remedy to treat gastrointestinal problems. So, if your gut is giving your problems, you might want to consider brewing a cup of cannabis tea.
5. Cannabis can relieve anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression can be caused by many factors. Neuronal inflammation, persistent triggering of the “fight or flight” response, or a deficiency in neurotransmitters like serotonin can all impact mood. Thankfully, cannabinoids can help address all of the three major factors that can fuel anxiety and depression.
By the way, when cannabis is infused in a beverage and digested — as opposed to being smoked — the THC is converted into a form that seems to produce a mellower and more total-body high. As a result, most people who drink cannabis tea insist that this method of consumption is more relaxing and invigorating. However, the effects of drinking cannabis tea can be longer lasting.
Cannabis tea recipe
Cannabis tea is a great way to enjoy the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids, but without the risks of smoking. They say a cup of tea makes everything better. That may be doubly true when it comes to a brew of cannabis tea. Cannabis tea is relatively easy to make.
Here’s simple do-it-yourself recipe.
- 1/2 gram cannabis
- 1/2 tsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 spoon
- 1 knife (or herb grinder)
- 1 empty teabag plus string (or metal tea ball)
- 1 stove pot
- Remove stems and seeds from your cannabis buds. Use a weed grinder or kitchen knife to further chop up your cannabis. You don’t want to powderize your weed, but you do want it broken up and diced a bit.
- Add cannabis and butter to mixing bowl. Mix until all cannabis is covered with butter, but avoid over mixing. The butter is necessary because THC cannot be absorbed by the digestive system without a fat-soluble medium.
- Add cannabis/butter mixture to an empty tea bag and tie the bag closed.
- Bring pot of water to a slow simmer over a medium-high heat. Steep tea bag or metal tea ball in water for about 30 minutes. Avoid boiling the water and add additional water if too much liquid evaporates.
- Turn off the stove, remove the pot and pour yourself a nice hot cup of cannabis tea. You can add raw honey or milk as desired.
As a general rule, it takes at least 30 minutes for a cup of cannabis tea to take effect and the high can last up to eight hours. Be sure to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while high.
— Scott O’Reilly