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How to Make THC Syrup and Easily Elevate Drinks and Desserts

November 9, 2022 08:00 am ET
How to Make THC Syrup and Easily Elevate Drinks and Desserts

All of the ways you can infuse cannabis into various recipes never cease to amaze me—particularly cannabis-infused syrup. THC syrup is a versatile staple for any canna-kitchen. Without any additional flavoring, THC syrup can sweeten drinks, add a twist to mocktails, add moisture to pastries, and even be taken as a daily supplement to alleviate pain and other bodily issues. Mastering cannasyrup is an easy task, and you’ll turn to this syrup again and again as a home chef and budding mocktail mixologist.

  1. What Is THC Syrup?
    1. Is THC Syrup the Same as Lean?
  2. How to Make THC Syrup
    1. Tools Needed
    2. Method 1: Glycerin-Based THC Syrup
    3. Method 2: Tincture-Based THC Syrup
  3. How to Use THC Syrup
    1. Drinks
    2. Desserts and Other Sweet Recipes
    3. With a Dropper
  4. Medical Benefits of THC Syrup
    1. Nausea Relief
    2. Chronic Pain Relief
  5. Potential Risks of THC Syrup
  6. Final Takeaway


What Is THC Syrup?

THC syrup is cannabis-infused simple syrup. All simple syrups start with equal parts sugar and water. Then, extracts, herbs, dried flower petals, or fruit are steeped in the mixture for flavor. And if you’re here, it should be no surprise that cannabis syrup also has everyone’s favorite intoxicating cannabinoid, THC. Infusing simple syrup with cannabis can be done in two different ways, which we’ll get into later.

Cannabis-infused simple syrup tastes a bit earthy, as it takes on the flavor of the cannabis flower used to make it. Primarily, though, the thick liquid will taste sweet—as it should! It’s mostly sugar. And when used as a sweetener in drinks, the cannabis flavor will be much milder than with other edibles, in my experience.

Infused simple syrups will have a slower onset but more powerful effect than smoking or vaping. You can learn more about the effects of different cannabis consumption methods, including edible cannabis products like THC syrup, in this article. While the overall experience of using cannabis syrup will be similar to using other edibles, the taste of the syrup makes it one of the few basic infusions you can ingest in its finished form without adding to another recipe (unlike cannaflour, cannabutter, etc.).

Is THC Syrup the Same as Lean?

Not at all! Lean—also sometimes called purple drank or sizzurp—is a specific drink that mixes prescribed cough syrup containing codeine (an opiate) and promethazine (an antihistamine) with soda, such as Sprite. It is potentially harmful, deadly, and addictive.

While their application and appearance may be similar, THC syrup is a far cry from lean. Cannabis-infused syrup does not possess the addictive properties nor the danger that lean does, primarily because without the infusion of THC, this syrup is nothing more than sugar water. There is also no such thing as “THC lean.”

How to Make THC Syrup

There are two methods for making THC syrup. One version uses high-proof alcohol, like Everclear, and the other uses glycerin.

There is some debate over the efficacy of using glycerin for THC extraction. In my research, I’ve found information suggesting that there’s only a 10% absorption rate when using glycerin, which could mean a potentially weak end product. For beginners, using glycerin is probably a great choice. For more experienced users, it might make more sense to use a cannabis tincture made with high-proof grain alcohol to produce a stronger syrup.

If you opt to make glycerin-based syrup, note that you will need to first decarboxylate your cannabis flower. Check out this article for a step-by-step walkthrough of the process.

Tools Needed

  • Small sauce pot
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mesh strainer*
  • Cheesecloth*


*Only needed for glycerin-based syrup

Method 1: Glycerin-Based THC Syrup

Follow these steps to make a glycerin-based THC syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-3.5 grams decarboxylated cannabis flower
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin
  • Optional: flavoring of your choice (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of extract, 1 cup of dried flower petals or herbs, etc.)


Steps

  1. Add water and sugar to a small sauce pot and heat the mixture on medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add decarboxylated cannabis flower to the pot and simmer for 30 minutes. If adding any herbs or other flowers for flavor, add those as well.
  3. Remove heat and add vegetable glycerin. If you are using liquid flavor extracts, add them. Allow to sit for five minutes before straining the flower from the liquid. Store in an airtight bottle (bonus points if the bottle is opaque and blocks light).


Method 2: Tincture-Based THC Syrup

Follow these steps to make an alcohol tincture-based THC syrup. To make your own THC tincture, follow this guide. You can also purchase tinctures at your local dispensary.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons THC tincture
  • Optional: flavoring of your choice (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of extract, 1 cup of dried flower petals or herbs, etc.)


Steps

  1. Add water and sugar to a small sauce pot and heat the mixture on medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. If adding flavor with herbs or other flowers/aromatics, add those now and let simmer for 20-30 minutes on low heat.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in tincture and any liquid flavor extracts. Store in the fridge in an airtight, dark bottle.


How to Use THC Syrup

Using cannabis syrup may be even easier than making it. From mixing it into an ice-cold glass of sweet tea to simply taking it directly from a dropper, there’s a THC syrup use for everyone and every need.

Drinks

One of the most common ways to use THC syrup is by mixing it into mocktails, low-alcohol cocktails, and other beverages. You can sweeten tea and coffee with it or use it to whip up a batch of fresh lemonade. Essentially, you can replace any drink recipe that calls for simple syrup (or asks you to mix equal amounts of sugar and water) with cannabis-infused syrup.

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A note on mixing alcohol with THC syrup/edibles: Reduce your usual edible dose a lot if combining your THC syrup with alcohol. Whether you’re sipping on a THC-infused cocktail or munching on THC-infused snacks with some wine, it’s essential to start with microdoses. Alcohol can intensify THC’s effects or lead to a “crossfaded” effect, so it’s best to limit alcohol and edible intake when used in combination.

Desserts and Other Sweet Recipes

Just like with beverages, you can use infused syrups in any baking or cooking recipe instead of simple syrup. For the most part, you’ll want to use the syrup in sweet recipes. It’s excellent as a glaze on fresh fruit, a soak for cakes and other baked goods, or a sweetener in jams and jellies. After drinks, using syrups to soak cake layers is the second most common use. Since many homebaked cakes can fall victim to being a little dry, simple syrups are a great way to retain moisture. THC syrup is an excellent replacement for cake soaks.

Additionally, cannabis syrup could be an ingredient in a savory-sweet marinade for vegetables or in a salad dressing. Especially when flavored, it can add a complex layer to any recipe, and you can get as fancy or as simple as you’d like. For example, use rose THC syrup as part of a marinade for lamb ribs or thyme THC syrup made with brown sugar on sweet roasted carrots.

With a Dropper

The easiest way to use THC syrup is to drop it under your tongue. The sweetness from the sugar will remove any sting from the alcohol tincture (if that’s the method you chose) and mask the taste of the cannabis. A few milliliters taken sublingually with a dropper or medicine spoon will give you a small dose to help you get through the day without overdoing it. This method makes it super discreet and fast to get your medicine without making a big scene in the kitchen.

Medical Benefits of THC Syrup

The primary benefit of making and using THC syrup is that it’s easy and discreet. However, like many uses of cannabis, this sweet and seemingly magical elixir has plenty of other benefits. From managing pain to nausea, cannabis syrup, like other edibles, can help you live a more comfortable life.

Nausea Relief

Are you prone to nausea in predictable situations (maybe due to medication or chemotherapy)? Edibles like THC syrup are used anecdotally as a preventative, and more and more studies are supporting the efficacy of this. While active nausea is best treated by smoking or vaping cannabis for immediate relief, cannabis-infused syrup can be used as a precaution and possibly stop you from experiencing nausea in the first place.

Chronic Pain Relief

Like all infused foods and beverages, cannabis syrup can be an excellent alternative for or used in addition to a more traditional pain management plan. For some cannabis users, THC products like cannabis syrup provide relief from nerve pain, inflammation, or migraines. In addition, THC infusions can help relieve patients from the side effects of stronger prescribed pain medications by lessening their need for them.

Potential Risks of THC Syrup

I went on a hike recently, and at the trailhead, there was a sign that read, “Hiking into the canyon is a choice; hiking out is mandatory.” This is an excellent way to look at using THC syrup and other edibles. Consuming any kind of marijuana edible comes with some risk, as it can be easy to overconsume them due to their delayed-onset effects.

Luckily, that is entirely preventable. If you are completely unfamiliar with edibles and don’t use a lot of cannabis in general, start with a low dose your first time—5 milligrams of THC or less. For daily cannabis users who are new to edibles, 10 milligrams might be a better starting point. Complementing THC with CBD can also help mellow out overly intense experiences for some users. And no matter your experience with or tolerance to cannabis, always wait two hours before taking anymore.

As previously mentioned and worth reiterating, limit or avoid alcohol altogether when consuming THC-infused food and drink. Alcohol can intensify the effects of edibles and induce nausea, vomiting, and all the other things you would associate with overconsumption of either alcohol or cannabis.

If you do accidentally consume too much edible THC, whether in solid or liquid form, head here for some tips on recovery: How to Recover From Cannabis Edibles Fast

Finally, make sure to avoid THC syrup if you have a condition like diabetes that limits the amount of sugar you can have, as this recipe contains a high amount of sugar. Instead, opt for tinctures, THC pills/capsules, or homemade edibles that use infusions like cannabis-infused coconut oil or cannabutter.

Final Takeaway

THC syrup is easy to make, store, and use. It can be something you turn to for an alcohol-free twist on a cocktail, an elevated bowl of fruit, or an essential daily supplement to manage chronic conditions. The most crucial takeaway for both novice and experienced users is to consume THC syrup in controlled and precise doses. If you’re interested in adding edibles to your wellness plan, talk to a medical cannabis doctor today.

What are your favorite uses for THC syrup? Drop them in the comments!

Post Your Comments

Joseph says:

November 11, 2022 at 12:06 pm

We need it for New Jersey

Reply
Kenneth Newman says:

November 11, 2022 at 6:03 pm

buy drink syrup at store, mix with green dragon. Got it.

Reply
Cindy says:

November 12, 2022 at 9:50 am

Thank you for all your information. I have a question about how long the THC in the syrup remains “active”, meaning if I put drops of THC syrup in a bottle of seltzer and put it in the fridge, will the THC be active a day or so later? Thank you!

Reply
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