Posted on September 21st, 2022
Hemp tea is well-known for its potential calming effects on the heart and mind.
Many people who use other hemp products or incorporate other hemp foods into their diet also enjoy sipping on a mug of warm hemp tea.
Still, many people wonder whether hemp tea is safe — or legal — to drink, given that hemp comes from the same plant as cannabis (“marijuana”).
This article examines what hemp tea is, including its uses, benefits, and potential downsides, as well as whether you need to be concerned about psychoactive (high-inducing) compounds.
What is hemp tea?
Hemp comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, and different parts are used to make a variety of culinary and personal care products.
For instance, you may have eaten hemp seeds or used a hemp-based soap before. You can also use the plant to make hemp tea, which many people enjoy for its calming effects.
Hemp tea is similar to any other herbal tea in that dry hemp is steeped in boiling water to make it. You can use either dry hemp leaves or flower buds, though sometimes people will add seeds or even parts of the root as well. Strain out the solids to leave a flavorful liquid behind.
The resulting tea has a greenish-brown color and is described as having a slightly bitter or earthy flavor. Some people like to add flavoring or sweetening agents to their hemp tea, like lemon, honey, or sugar.
Does hemp tea contain THC?
One of the most common questions many people have about hemp tea is whether it contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the main psychoactive cannabinoid in the Cannabis plant, which is where both hemp and weed come from. THC is what makes people high after smoking or ingesting weed.
Sometimes hemp is confused with cannabis, but they aren’t the same thing.
Hemp and cannabis are both rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is often used to reduce anxiety, alleviate pain, and help improve certain markers of heart health.
While hemp can contain trace amounts of THC, weed contains significantly more. The amount of THC in hemp is not enough to promote psychoactive effects or get you high. More specifically, hemp is required to contain no more than 0.3% THC
Because of this, hemp is grown for recreational and herbal healing purposes, such as for making teas or including in other culinary and personal care uses.
Rest assured that hemp, and thus hemp tea, are legal to use as long as they consist of trace amounts of THC — .03% or less.
As long as you’re not consuming enormous amounts of hemp on a daily basis, you’re at very low risk of seeing a positive drug test from using it.
Uses and potential health benefits of hemp tea
Hemp tea is primarily used to help bring calmness to the mind and body. Its ability to promote relaxation is largely due to the non-psychoactive CBD and other bioactive compounds it contains.
However, remember that hemp tea likely contains much smaller amounts of CBD than the amounts researched in studies analyzing CBD’s effects. Drinking hemp tea alone may not produce strong effects.
Hemp tea has been studied for its potential to offer the following benefits:
Hemp tea is a great, caffeine-free way to enjoy the benefits of CBD for specific purposes like better sleep and pain relief — as well as for general relaxation.
Potential downsides and side effects of hemp tea
If you’ve never consumed hemp before, it’s best to introduce it slowly and in moderation, since new foods can affect everyone differently.
Hemp and CBD are largely considered safe with low risk for serious side effects. However, some studies have reported side effects like diarrhea, tiredness, or unintentional changes in appetite among participants consuming CBD.
You should avoid hemp tea if you’re taking certain medications, as it may interfere with them.
For instance, heart failure medications like digoxin can be used to improve heartbeat strength but slow down overall heart rate. Hemp may further slow your heart rate, which could become dangerous for someone on these medications.
Additionally, since hemp may reduce potassium levels, you should avoid it if you’re using diuretics, which can also promote potassium losses. Diuretics like furosemide reduce the amount of fluid in the body.
CBD may also interact with medications used to manage seizures and electrical activity in the brain, like clobazam, which is used for epilepsy.
Furthermore, CBD may interfere with certain antidepressants and pain medications.
It’s always best to speak with a healthcare professional before adding hemp tea or other sources of CBD to your diet or health routine. They can help identify potential risks for interaction or let you know if there are other reasons that it may be best for you to avoid these products.
Where to buy hemp tea
Hemp tea is becoming more widely available. You can either purchase pre-made hemp tea bags or dried hemp leaves or buds to prepare your own tea. You can find loose hemp leaves for tea and purchase some fillable tea bags to place them into.
You can find both of these options at many online retailers. There are also specialty stores that will sell the exact ingredients you need.
At grocery stores, you can find hemp tea near the other herbal teas and coffees.
How to prepare hemp tea
Hemp tea is easy to make, especially if you’re already seasoned in preparing other types of herbal teas.
To make hemp tea, all you need is water and hemp. The hemp will either come in the form of dried leaves or ground hemp flower buds, unless you’ve purchased a pre-made hemp tea bag that’s ready to steep.
The first step is to bring your water to a boil. If using a tea bag, pour boiling water into a mug and allow the bag to steep for 3–5 minutes before removing.
If using dried hemp leaves or buds, all you have to do is place them in the hot water to boil briefly, add any flavoring or sweetening agents you like, and then strain out the solids.
Here’s a quick recipe for homemade hemp tea:
However you choose to prepare your hemp tea, the end result will be a flavorful, warming, and nourishing beverage.
The bottom line
Hemp tea is a beverage made by steeping dried hemp leaves or flower buds in boiling water, in a method similar to preparing other herbal teas. Hemp tea is naturally caffeine-free and rich in beneficial non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD.
Hemp is required to contain no more than trace amounts of THC, so it won’t make you high and is unlikely to cause a positive drug test when consumed in moderation.
Many people enjoy preparing their own hemp tea at home, but you can also purchase hemp tea bags from online retailers and many grocery stores.
Due to its CBD content, hemp tea may have a calming effect and may offer benefits for anxiety, heart health, sleep, and possibly chronic pain.
More controlled human research is needed to determine whether the relatively small amounts of CBD — like those present in hemp tea — can produce measurable health effects.
While CBD and hemp are generally considered safe, they can interact with a number of medications. It’s best to speak with a healthcare professional before adding hemp tea to your health routine.
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