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THC syrup is a sweet, viscous liquid that consists of vegetable glycerine, sweetener, and cannabis concentrate. It’s texturally similar to thick cough syrup and provides many of the same effects as traditional cannabis edibles.
A highly versatile cannabis product, THC syrup offers discretion and highly potent levels of cannabis for the discerning consumer. In this piece, we explore THC syrup in more detail to uncover its uses, how its made, and its many potential applications.
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What Is THC Syrup?
THC syrup is a liquid cannabis product made from mixing cannabis extract or concentrate with vegetable glycerine, coconut oil, or sugar. This transformation of the psychoactive THC into a liquid form produces longer-lasting, faster highs than a conventional edible, making it an increasingly popular cannabis product.
Traditional THC syrups are slightly sweet and mimic the sweetness and viscosity of cough syrups, minus the nasty medicinal flavor. These syrups are highly concentrated and full of sugar and should be enjoyed in moderation and treated carefully by newcomer cannabis users. Those suffering from conditions like diabetes should be especially careful of such sugar-laden products, where alternative consumption methods may be preferable.
Dispensaries will often sell THC syrups packaged in cough syrup-like bottles with clearly labeled THC content, measured in milligrams, to allow for easy dosing. Alternatively, consumers can make THC syrup at home with relatively few ingredients.
How It’s Made
There are many ways to customize homemade THC syrups to patient preference, but the essential steps are involved in any recipe.
1. When extracting from cannabis flower, decarboxylate your weed to convert the bud’s THCa into THC, ready for processing. If you’re already using a cannabis concentrate such as wax or hash oil, you can skip this step.
2. Create a simple syrup by combining equal parts water and sugar and bring to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low when the sugar dissolves.
3. Add your decarbed flower or cannabis extract and heat on medium-low for 30 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat and add two (2) tablespoons of vegetable glycerine for every three (3) cups of liquid.
5. Cook on very low for another five (5) minutes, then remove from heat. If you use flower, strain the liquid to remove the plant matter before transferring the cannabis syrup to an airtight jar.
Benefits and Uses
Consuming cannabis via THC syrup provides the same benefits as using other marijuana edibles. THC syrup is a smokeless vehicle for using cannabis, allowing patients to avoid the drawbacks of igniting and smoking flower. THC syrup is also a faster-acting edible than gummies or other infused foods, with effects kicking in as quickly as 30 minutes from consumption. Remember to always wait for at least 30 minutes before taking more to allow the effects to be felt. You can always take more, but you cannot take less.
Relief from chronic pain and inflammation is one of the most common reasons patients turn to cannabis use. THC syrup provides the same levels of pain relief as other high-dose consumption options and offers a lower barrier to entry than concentrates or smoking
Plentiful research also points to THC (and therefore THC syrup) as helpful in regulating nausea and vomiting symptoms in individuals. This points to THC syrup as a valuable tool in helping those with eating disorders, IBS, and other digestive diseases and those undergoing chemotherapy as a part of cancer treatment.
Side Effects and Risks
As with any cannabis product, unwanted side effects can occur when too high a dose is consumed. Patients should always consult their physician to determine the best THC syrup amount for their specific conditions and physiology. Keep in mind, too, that it’s one of the more potent THC products, and new users should start with a small dose when first experimenting.
Mixing THC syrup with alcohol can also produce severe unwanted side effects: a study in 2013 found that alcohol and cannabis use simultaneously raised concern around potentially dangerous interactive psychopharmacological effects.
THC syrup also contains high sugar levels, so take this into account when considering which cannabis product or method is right for you.
How to Use THC Syrup
THC Syrup is favored for its versatility and can be consumed in various ways by newcomers and experienced cannabis users alike. Again, new users should start with smaller doses and work their way up to find the optimal amount.
Similar to cannabis tinctures, the cannabinoids in THC syrup can be dropped and absorbed under the tongue. Use a dropper to place the ideal amount under your tongue and hold it in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.
THC syrup is easy to drink, either solo or mixed into your favorite beverage. Measure out your desired dose and easily bottoms-up or add to teas, juices, seltzers, or other drinks that could use a little more sweetness.
Drinking THC syrup acts less quickly than sublingual absorption but faster than solid edibles like gummies.
THC syrups make for a sweet ingredient in a variety of homemade recipes. Users can mix it into maple syrup for a delectable waffle topping, add to salads in the form of dressings, mix in with a marinade for entrees, and much more.
Alternatives to THC Syrup
If THC syrup doesn’t seem right for you, many alternative cannabis products are on the market. Traditional methods like smoking cannabis or eating weed edibles are always on the table, as are higher potency consumption methods such as vaping or cannabis concentrates. Tinctures can also be used in many ways syrups can be and have similar onset times.
When considering what cannabis consumption method makes the most sense for your specific concerns and physiology, always speak to your doctor and see whether THC syrup is suitable for you.
The Bottom Line: Should You Use THC Syrup?
THC syrup is an accessible, flavorful, and discreet method to reap the benefits of medical cannabis without the harmful side effects of smoking. While it’s more concentrated than other consumption options, adequately dosed, THC syrup can be a convenient and reliable method of enjoying medical cannabis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is THC syrup the same as Lean?
Lean is a term dating back to the 1960s that refers to prescription codeine-promethazine cough syrup often mixed with another drink such as soda or alcohol. THC syrup shares Lean’s roots in hip hop culture, but it is a different beverage altogether. Lean is also sometimes known as "Purple Drank," "Sizzurp," or "Dirty Sprite."
THC syrup doesn’t carry the same level of danger or intoxication as lean, as it is entirely free from opiates. Codeine, however, is highly addictive and can lead to overdose or death, mainly when mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
Indeed, THC syrup could even be seen as an alternative to opioid-based prescription medications like Lean, which can have very detrimental effects on users compared to cannabis-based syrups.
Can using THC syrup harm you?
THC syrup is simply a different way to ingest cannabis and has little to no toxicity beyond the general concerns surrounding THC’s interaction with the body. Too much THC can sometimes overwhelm users, inducing the onset of unwanted dry mouth, paranoia, and anxiety. THC syrup, in particular, also carries high sugar levels, which can be unhealthy when over-consumed.
What can I use THC syrup for?
Per existing cannabis research, patients can ingest THC syrup to soothe various medical concerns, including pain and inflammation, nausea, insomnia, stress/anxiety, skin issues, and much more.