How to Make Stem Tea (Everything You Need to Know & More!)
Green tea has become highly popular amongst people who like to drink tea; for cannabis consumers, green ganja tea can be made from leftover stems and pieces of their prized pot plants! Why let go to waste any part of your marijuana plant after you have harvested your nugs, when there’s still all kinds of cannabinoids in the leaves and stems of the plant that could be smoked as ‘shake’ or brewed into a potent pot of pot tea? Edible marijuana treats like cannabutter brownies and weed cookies have long been staples of the cannabis community and you get a longer, sometimes more intense high from consuming cannabis digestively versus sucking it into your lungs. Cannabis beverages like ‘cool aid’ and cannabis coffees (ganjava) are quite common, and there are even cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages (as you might suspect, when consumed together with pot, alcohol increases THC concentrations, making the effects of your weed feel stronger than usual); these drinkable edibles can be found in a number of dispensaries and provisioning centers. Or you can make your own medible beverages at home; so, if you fancy yourself a spot of weedy tea, we are going to show you how to steam up your stems to brew yourself some bodacious tea!
(Weed nugs and a tea cup, image from Nipple Squirt 420 on Instagram)
Weed Steam Tea Background:
Doing a little internet research, we found that tea as a drink itself probably originated in the Yunnan region of China during the Shang dynasty - 1556 to 1046 BC - as a medicinal drink; cannabis stem tea could certainly be considered a medicinal beverage.
The buzz or benefits you get from your cannabis stem tea depends largely upon the specific type of weed strain stems and trimmings that you use. Stems do contain smaller amounts of the same cannabinoids that are in your indica, sativa or hybrid buds - trim leaves and stems contain around 2 to 3% THC - and thus should have similar, if somewhat milder, effects as the flowers of the pot plant. You may not necessarily get high from your weed stem tea alone, but you can increase the potency of your ganja stem tea by adding some kief or decarboxylated ground buds, that’s entirely up to you!
Medical marijuana patients have reported some remedy from such diverse conditions as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, body aches, migraines and headaches, nausea, autoimmune disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, and even asthma from drinking cannabis-infused herbal tea. What pot stem tea does for you depends on what weed strain you put in it.
(Cannabis and tea in a cup, image source: Boss Bros Inc on Instagram)
Actual Recipe for Weed Stem Tea:
Okay, here’s what you need to get started making your own cannabis stem tea:
⅓ or ¼ cup of stems from your favorite strain of weed.
3 cups water.
Regular tea of whatever kind you prefer, to add some flavor.
A coffee filter
(Optional) 2 to 3 teaspoons of your favorite alcohol, as a binding agent (explained below).
(Also optional) kief or ground decarboxylated buds or nugs to add some heft (potency)
(Not optional) a binding agent! if you don’t want to use alcohol, either a 1/2 cup of milk, a half teaspoon of butter, coconut milk, or coconut oil work great as binding agents. Cannabis isn’t really water soluble, meaning you can't simply add your weed stems and let them simmer; the properties inside the plant matter won't be unlocked this way. You'll have to have a fat or alcohol to separate THC from the cannabis plant itself. Whatever binding agent you choose will help do this.
(Tea cups and a plate of pot stems, image source: Bi Polar Diaries on Instagram)
1) Grind or break up your stems, it makes no difference which you do.
2) Pour your 3 cups of water into the tea kettle, or a saucepan works just as well, whichever one you have on hand. After adding your water, then add your binding agent - either alcohol, milk or butter. Not only will these turn your non- water soluble stems into willing change agents, but these ‘binder agents’ can also improve the overall potency of your stem tea during the natural decarboxylation process that happens as it steeps. If you do choose to go with alcohol as a binding agent, it’s better to add it after your pan or kettle water reaches its boiling point, so that your alcohol doesn’t evaporate away.
3) Heat on high, then once your water plus whatever binding agent you are using (except alcohol, which is not added until this point) has completed its boiling process, then add your stems and let them boil and simmer for between 7 to 10 minutes. If you want, you can put the stems inside a large teabag, or maybe a couple tea balls, to simplify the straining process. Now is also when you would add in with your stems some of your kief or ground bud to add more kick to the potency of your tea, if you wish. Stir loose or bagged stems continuously to make sure that your cannabinoids separate from the plant matter and have enough time to bind with the fat (or alcohol) molecules of the binding agent in your water.
4) If you used a tea bag, then boom, you are done and your tea is ready! However, if you skipped tea bags and just boiled loose stems (and kief or decarbed weed or whatever) without a teabag, then the next step is, of course, straining the tea. This is where the coffee filter comes into play. If you boiled your water, binding agent and stem mix in a kettle, then secure the coffee filter around the spout with a rubber band; if you instead used a saucepan, then you can band the coffee filter around a mug to strain your tea as you pour it in – or you could pour out through a cheesecloth into a jar or bowl, before pouring it into your cup.
5) This is the easy step – after an easy 10 minutes, now you just need to sit back and enjoy!
(Weed stems and a pot to make pot tea Ricch Hippee on Instagram)
But Wait There’s More:
Thought we would just leave you with a simple pot stem tea recipe? Here is a recipe we adapted from Weed Seed Shop for iced cannabis tea for you to consider:
2 to 3 grams of hash or leftover kief.
1/4 ounce of your favorite marijuana stems, decarbed.
A full pitcher of your favorite premade tea.
A bag of ice.
3 to 4 tablespoons of water
4-6 ounces of honey or agave syrup
(Stems grinder tea box and teapot, image from Indigo Chyld on Instagram)
1) Mix your water and honey or agave syrup in a saucepan and bring to a simmer while stirring constantly.
You know it’s ready when your honey and water are completely mixed, leaving a thinner, watery honey.
2) Add your kief or hash (make sure it’s the powdered kind; if not, it will be harder for the hash to dissolve) to the boiling water mix and stir for at least 10 to 15 minutes straight, until your ingredients completely dissolve into the honey mixture.
3) Once dissolved, run your honey through the cheesecloth and squeeze out the filtered honey back into your saucepan. Let your honey rest for a bit to regain its thickness.
4) Brew a pitcher of your tea of choice and let that cool.
The following teas pair great with marijuana:
- Blueberry or mixed berry
- Black Tea
Once all your ingredients are cool enough for a hot summer’s day, you’re ready to serve your tea.
Simply fill your glasses with your favorite tea and add at least 1 to 2 tablespoons of cannabis honey to each. Stir in your honey until it’s completely dissolved, and serve with ice.
(A line of cannabis nugs and tea, image from CBD Mission on Instagram)
So there you have it, two weed stem tea recipes for the price of one! Pot stem tea is a great way to use up the leftover weed stems from your cannabis cultivation. The effects of drinking your cannabis in tea form will be milder than smoking cannabis or consuming standard medibles, because there are far fewer cannabinoids in the stems and leaves than in the flowers or buds. You could tailor the effect of your cannabis stem tea by using stems from a sativa marijuana strain – like Alaskan Thunder Fuck or Sour Diesel - if you want your tea to be uplifting and energizing, say in the morning; or use the stems of an indica weed strain – like Blue Cheese or Grand Daddy Purple - if you want a more soothing, relaxing tea that you could drink at night.
The steps for turning your cannabis stems into stem tea are fairly simple and straightforward, and don’t require much in the way of supplies, so it should be a snap for you to reclaim those pot plant scraps and put them to good use. We included a little bonus content for you with an extra cannabis iced tea recipe, that utilizes your favorite tea sweetened with cannabis-infused honey, because everyone loves bonus content! So don’t throw those ganja plant stems in the wastebasket, because you could be brewing yourself up some mighty fine tea with that plant matter instead!
Written by Megan Medeiros (BA)
Megan Medeiros has a bachelor’s degree in English and is currently working on a master’s in English at James Madison University. She's the owner and operator of Medeiros Writing, and has been working as a cannabis writer for the past three years, mostly following the legal climate of marijuana, especially in areas like California, Colorado, Oregon, Canada, and other legal areas.
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