When I wrote my book on medical cannabis, I interviewed people with a range of medical conditions. One interesting finding was the number of different formats by which they administered cannabis.
Standard pharmaceutical medicines are mostly taken as pills, but they can also be liquids, or injected. Cannabis has many more options and one I had not considered was taking it in tea form.
Hot liquid infusion drinks are a common way to take herbal products, and cannabis is well suited to this method. A survey of 953 participants from 31 countries performed by the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM), asked about modes of cannabis administration. Smoking, vaporizing, eating or sublingual were the most common methods of administration, nearly a quarter of those surveyed had taken cannabis as a tea.
The Netherlands are in many ways the pioneers of medical cannabis use. The Dutch Office of Medicinal Cannabis (OMC) advises patients to consume medicinal cannabis, preferably by vaporizing or in the form of a tea.
Why would some people prefer to take cannabis in the form of tea? It could be their preferred method as maybe they do not want to smoke or inhale cannabis products. It can also be safer, as smoking cannabis can have some of the same consequences as smoking cigarettes, such as an increased chance of emphysema and lung cancer.
It can also potentially be easier to take cannabis this way - just let it brew then drink it. No need to prepare inhaled formats or foods to be eaten.
The main limiting factor to consider is whether this method gives reproducible amounts of active cannabis components. There are a number of variables involved in making tea compared to taking a tablet, or placing a measured dose under their tongue.
This issue has been addressed in a detailed study and the results are reassuring.
When variables in the study change, including volume of water added, infusion time and the amount of tea used , no differences were observed in the amount of main active components delivered.