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Cannabis tea can be brewed and flavoured in a variety of ways. Learn how to brew the perfect cannabis-infused cold weather drink.
As legalization 2.0 dawns, it’s becoming clear that you can put cannabis in or on just about anything. Candies? Check. Coffee? Affirmative. Chocolate? You’d better believe it.
And those are just the Cs.
To that end, “cannabis tea” seems like a no-brainer. Though it sounds like the sort of thing an edgy downtown café might brew to drum up publicity, cannabis tea has been making the rounds for centuries.
It has a rich history, with traditional roots in China and India dating back thousands of years, where the tea and other cannabis beverages were used for therapeutic and spiritual purposes.
The history of cannabis tea
Cannabis-infused tea has its historic roots entwined with "bhang," a spicy, milky, leafy beverage. Mythology suggests that Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, discovered the plant while avoiding his family (how many of us discovered cannabis, surely) and emerged from a particularly restful nap under its leaves. Today, bhang is usually consumed as a milk or yogurt-based beverage, such as bhang lassi or bhang thandai, particularly during the spring Holi Festival in India.
Ancient Chinese literature makes mention of cannabis tea specifically, where legend suggests Emperor Shen Neng (or Shennong), known as the "father of Chinese medicine," used to prescribe such a tea for gout, rheumatism, malaria and forgetfulness.
How to make cannabis tea
Depending on how the tea is prepared and how long it steeps, there’s a lot of room for variation in how cannabis tea goes down. According to Gwenelle Parks, who owns Maryland-based canna-friendly condiment company Saucier Willy with her husband Will, there’s no cap on creativity with infused teas.
“That first sip of my first infused matcha latte was so tasty and warm, I knew my day was definitely going to be a little easier,” says Parks, who was prompted to try the tea to help symptoms of a maturing disability. “As my disability progressed, I had less time, dexterity and energy to make infused treats.”
She’s since developed several recipes for cannabis tea that she says helps relieve inflammation and keep lethargy at bay.
“It’s now one of my favourite ways to medicate,” she says.
Comparable to edibles, cannabis tea is said to provide a calmer, less-psychoactive body high that a consumer might experience with a high-CBD plant. In typical edible fashion, it’s likely to last a few hours as well.
Several cannabis companies are releasing their own teas on the Canadian market. Here, Parks shares her recipe for cannabis-infused matcha tea.
Cannabis matcha tea recipe
- 1 tbsp matcha tea powder
- 8 oz milk (or any milk substitute)
- Sugar or any sweetener to taste
- A pinch of sunflower or soy lecithin powder or a 1/4-1 teaspoon of liquid lecithin
- Cannabis-infused coconut oil or any prepared cannabis/hemp concentrate (use as much as you need to reach your required dose)
Note: To speed up the process, add all your ingredients (make sure your milk is already hot) to a travel mug and shake vigorously until combined. Shake from time to time to keep the mixture homogeneous.
- Heat the milk in a small sauce pot/pan.
- Before the milk boils, turn off the heat or remove from burner.
- Add matcha tea powder, sugar, lecithin (if using, add canna oil here) to the milk.
- Whisk gently or use an immersion blender in the pot until it becomes foamy on top.
- Pour into your mug and enjoy.
Adam Barski, aka "the Budder Chef," is the culinary director of the High End Dinner Series, where he organizes and executes cannabis-infused food events. Barski shared a traditional recipe for bhang with Lift & Co. Magazine.
- 2 cups water
- ½ oz cannabis
- 3 cups milk
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground fennel
- ½ tsp ground anise
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp rosewater
- ½ cup honey rose petals, mint, chopped almonds or pistachios for garnish
- Boil the water, take it off the heat and steep the cannabis for about 8-10 minutes. Strain and reserve both the cannabis and the water separately.
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cannabis with small amounts of warm milk, straining it out and reserving it and repeating until you have about a ½ cup of what will now be cannabis-infused milk.
- Using the mortar and pestle again, grind the garnishes you choose to use, i.e. rose petals, mint, nuts, with small amounts of milk, reserving just the liquid.
- Mix all the liquids together, including the remaining milk, the ground spices, rosewater and honey. Chill and enjoy.
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