For all the gabbing I do about ingesting, I figure it’s time to share a favorite recipe. My go-to for a good night’s sleep and a good way to deal with myriad complications from various sundry illnesses and prescription side effects has been a good, old-fashioned honey-in-my-tea-at night; cannabis infused (of course) tincture.
Though tinctures are now readily available in legally run dispensaries and collectives in medical marijuana states, if you have access to trim or bud, it’s never a bad idea to learn to make your own medicine. In fact, the one mantra I have on the politics of the plant is, to retain the right to grow and make our own.
Stovetop remedies have been created from plants and other naturally growing and found things on this planet, since an opposable thumb first plucked the first herb, with recipes handed down through generations. It’s the American way, and how this country was planted. Albeit, with Hemp as the leading cash crop back in the day.
Calming the Bunny in All of Us
Beatrix Potter’s beloved character Peter Rabbit, upon indulging in the garden was soothed by a cup of chamomile tea prepared knowingly by his caring Mum. You can easily imagine she had grown, harvested, dried, stored and steeped the tummy-soothing botanical remedy herself – knowing it worked for digestive, sleep and to calm the precocious little bunny.The process of making honey tincture is as easy as steeping tea, and though some may use a candy thermometer and a double boiler, I take the simple route and make it in a crock pot. This way, it’s a slow heat process and I can steep as much medicine out of the plant as I can in a longer amount of time, without burning the mixture.
I’ve used leafy trim with stems, sugar trim, and, as shown here, popcorn buds – small, leafy buds not worth trimming, but packed with good medicine. Typically, sativa is used for daytime energy and stimulation; indica for calming, or nighttime use. If you don’t grow your own or know a gardener, most safe access points sell leaf and trim at a discounted rate for medicine makers.
It’s perfectly fine to experiment as you learn, with the right combinations for the right strengths for your specific needs. As for dosing with the honey, or any ingestible, start with a small dose, say one teaspoon one hour before bedtime, waiting one to two hours in between dosing.
Note: This is not the cure for cancer or serious illness; this is a remedy for minor ailments; for use as a sleep aide; relief of pain; the quelling of infection, and a preventive to support the immune system. I am not a doctor, nor nurse; I am an enlightened cannabis patient sharing my own experiences.
Sharon’s Honey Tincture
Crock Pot with “Low” Setting
Cheese Cloth, String
2 Cups Bud, or 1 oz. Trim
5 lb. Container HoneyWrap bud or trim in cheese cloth, secure with string.
Place bundle in crock pot and cover with honey.
Set crock pot on “low” and cover with lid.
Steep Cannabis four (4) hours.
Stir a couple times an hour.
You want the tincture to simmer, but not boil. If mixture begins to boil, turn crock pot off, let cool down, the turn on again to continue the process until done.
This process is not an exact science. As noted, the main goal is to make the strongest medicine without burning the tincture.After four or five hours turn the crock pot off and let sit. Test for flavor and color. Tincture should be taking on some of the medicine by this time.
Once cooled, you can make the decision to stop the process and have a light tincture, or you can let it sit overnight for a stronger batch.
Once the tincture is at the desired consistency and strength, remove the bundle from the honey, squeezing as much tincture as possible from the bag. Set aside for making tea (recipe to follow).
Before honey cools or thickens ladle tincture into jars. I use a canning funnel and fill small jelly (Mason) jars.
Label With Love
Label each jar with a warning. This is important for many reasons. Someone choosing honey for their tea from your cupboard shouldn’t be surprised by the outcome, whether they are copacetic to cannabis or not. I’ve heard far too many stories of misdirected medicating to take this lightly.
Using California’s coding as an example:
In compliance with: CA prop 215, SB 420 Sections 11362.5 & 11362.7 of HSC
Do not drive
Keep out of reach of children
For medical use only
Not for resale
Waste Not Want Not
Using every bit of this plant is a tribute to its sustainability. That bundle of goodness you soaked in honey for umpteen hours still has a good deal of medicine in there.
In Hebrew the definition of “chai” is “life.” In India it’s a drink made from black tea, spices and honey – and one of my favorite drinks. Doubling up on meanings, you could say the medicated chai made from the bundle of Cannabis-infused honey is “Life Chai,” hence my endeared name for this drink.
Life Chai Tea
1 Saturated Bundle Cannabis/Honey (from Honey Tincture Recipe)
8 Cups water
Heaping Tablespoon each:
Whole Cardamom Pods
Freshly Chopped Ginger
Two Cinnamon Sticks
Four tea bags… choose black, green, or herbal tea. Since I use this at night for sleep, I use a “bedtime” tea blend, but traditional chai is made with a strong, black tea (note: black tea has caffeine).
1 to 2 Sticks Vanilla (If using extract, add 1 T. at end of cooking process)
Add bundle to water in a large kettle (with lid) with spices, and bring to boil. Immediately turn down to low and simmer until tea darkens in color. About one hour, more for a stronger brew.
Store in glass Mason jars in the fridge.
Tea keeps for several days.
Serving options: Traditionally milk or cream is added before drinking. I use Coconut Cream.
Editor’s note: Sharon Letts began her love of gardening in Southern California by her mother’s side, watching as she buried fish heads at the base of roses.
At 24, Sharon hung her shingle, “Secret Garden,” planting flower beds for dainty ladies. Gardening led to producing and writing for television with “Secret Garden Productions.”
Today Sharon continues to write about gardening and all that implies, advocating for the bud, and writing for many magazines, including DOPE (Defending Our Patients Everywhere).