Friday, June 30, 2017

What's the Deal With: Industrial Hemp Tea?

If you spend a lot of time browsing online auction sites like I do, you may have noticed an influx of edible hemp products.  Not just hemp SEED; actual hemp BUDS, leaves & stalks.  The stuff that looks a whole lot like low-quality marijuana.  Some products claim upwards of 5% CBD per serving.  Many are grown & shipped from Lithuania, Slovenia or other foreign countries.

So what's up with these hemp products?  Are they legal?  Do they work?

First, legality.  Since the passage of The Farm Bill of 2014, hemp--defined as Cannabis sativa that contains less than 0.03% THC--is legal to possess in all 50 states.  It can only be legally grown in a handful of U.S. states, but possession is legal as of 2014.

As to whether these products have any beneficial effects:  maybe.  It depends on what effects you're looking for.  If you already have a huge pot tolerance, you're more likely to determine these products to be "bunk".  But if you're like me and prefer other cannabinoids to THC, these teas & tinctures will be a novel addition to your ethnobotanical collection.  (I also don't live in a state with legal marijuana, so hemp is the best I can get through legal channels).

Most of the whole hemp items are sold as "tea".  To get maximum mileage out of your hemp leaves & buds, use a fatty substance like butter, whole fat milk or whipped cream in your tea.  Here's my own thrice-tested recipe (with the necessary tools & accessories in bold):

- Crush buds & leaves (remove seeds) & put in large cup or glass
- Melt butter or margarine in microwave for 15-30 seconds
- Pour melted butter/margarine over crushed hemp in glass
- Heat a bowl of water in the microwave for 6 to 9 minutes; long enough for a vigorous boil
- Carefully remove bowl from microwave & pour into tea glass with hemp
- Steep for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Strain tea through sieve or coffee filter into second cup or glass
- Add lemon, honey or a flavored tea bag for taste
- (Alternately, add hot chocolate mix to the second cup instead of tea).  
- ENJOY!

You can also make the tea with just water, but you won't get as much psychoactive effect since fats are required to extract cannabinoids.  If you prefer, you can also smoke the buds.  But don't expect much more than a grassy taste & harsh smoke.  And remember to remove the seeds first so they don't catch fire & pop out of your bowl or joint!  :}

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