Marijuana Tea vs. Smoking: Which Is Better For You?

As more and more research is conducted and released, more states are beginning to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use. With its newfound acceptance into popular culture, more dispensaries are opening up, and more consumers are looking for the safest way to reap the health benefits of cannabis. The most widely known ways to use marijuana is via smoking or edibles. However, there has been a surge of interest in using parts of the cannabis plant to make cannabis-infused tea instead. 

Marijuana tea vs. smoking: which is better for you? Marijuana tea has a more therapeutic effect than smoking and is a popular alternative for consumers that experience adverse side effects or want to avoid throat and lung damage when smoking marijuana. Consuming marijuana in the form of tea vs. smoking is seen as a safer and healthier alternative. 

When deciding which method of marijuana consumption is right for you, it is important to understand how drinking and smoking a substance interacts with your body. You will also want to keep in mind that everyone experiences slightly different effects when consuming cannabis, so it is recommended that you take things slow, so you know proper dosage and methods of consumption. 

Marijuana Tea vs. Smoking Marijuana: Which Is Better For You?

In order to determine which method of marijuana consumption is appropriate for your health needs, it is necessary to understand both the benefits as well as the possible side effects of either method. 

The therapeutic health benefits of cannabis, no matter how it is consumed are derived primarily from the cannabinoids present in all cannabis plants. TCH and CBD are the cannabinoids most widely discussed and used and can be found in different levels within both marijuana and hemp as well as within the different parts of the plants themselves. 

The way you experience the effects of the cannabinoids will differ depending on how you consume cannabis. 

Marijuana Tea Benefits

Brewing marijuana into a tea for medical treatments is not a newfound idea or practice. As with many herbal teas, marijuana and hemp have been used in tea form for centuries to treat an array of ailments. Some historical uses have since been deemed unsafe, but many of the other applications still are effective and apply to us today. 

One primary benefit of consuming marijuana tea instead of smoking is that the tea has minimal impact on the respiratory system. There have been a number of new scientific research studies released discussing the benefits of marijuana tea, along with extensive historical evidence of marijuana’s use specifically as a tea for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.

It is important to note when reading any scientific research that you consider who funded the research, if the study has been peer-reviewed, and how old the study is as it could have been disproven in recent years. While many blogs and websites offer great information, conduct personal research, and consult a physician before using cannabis as a medical treatment.

While there are a number of claimed benefits of marijuana tea, every person can have slightly varying experiences. Some of the most commonly claimed benefits that come from drinking marijuana tea include:

  • Pain Relief (x)
  • Relieve Digestive Issues (x)
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties (x)
  • Manage Mood Disorders (Anxiety/Depression) (x)
  • Improved Metabolism Management (x)
  • Boosts Creativity 
  • Insomnia Treatment

Now, not all of these benefits can be isolated to cannabis-infused teas. Using edibles, capsules, or smoking can have some similar side effects. However, these effects are often seen as more prominent when consumed as a tea due to the rate and method of absorption and lack of adverse side effects. 

Marijuana Tea Side Effects

In most cases, when following proper consumption and dosage, consumers have not experienced adverse side effects when drinking marijuana tea. Adverse side effects have occurred when taking too large of a dose or when consumers injected marijuana tea into their bodies instead of drinking it. 

According to the National Medical Association, “Adverse effects occurred in four youths after intravenous injection of an aqueous cannabis-seed tea, which was prepared by boiling the seeds. The effects were immediate and included nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, watery diarrhea, chills, fever, hypovolemic shock, hypotension, and non-oligemic transitory renal failure.”

Similar but less severe side effects may occur if consumers drank too high of a dose of tea in too short a period of time. Follow proper dose recommendations and always wait an ample period of time to allow the tea to take effect. It takes longer to activate but will stay in your system for a longer period of time, as well. 

As always, consult a trusted medical professional before using marijuana tea as a medical treatment. 

Benefits of Smoking Marijuana

The cannabinoids, TCH, and CBD, within marijuana and hemp, are what have allowed the Federal Drug Administration to allow for medicinal use in many states and even for use in a couple of pharmaceuticals. However, the plant as a whole and all of its has not yet been approved by the FDA due to other risk factors.

While marijuana can be consumed via smoking, it is not the safest or most effective option. Many users smoke in order to achieve a faster high feeling while it often does not last more than an hour or two. When using medicinally, other methods care more effective. 

Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana

For many, the dangers of smoking marijuana far outweigh the benefits, which is why many consumers now turn to edibles and/or tea for consumption. The primary worry is that by burning and smoking weed, you are inhaling an irritant that can damage your lungs and throat. Now, this method of smoking has been proven to be less severe than that of cigarette smoking or vaping, yet it can cause damage. 

You can still acquire tar in your lungs when smoking marijuana, and if you are an avid marijuana smoker, you will likely experience some level of shortness of breath and phlegm build-up in your throat and lungs. (x) However, there is no conclusive evidence that smoking marijuana can cause lung cancer in the same ways that cigarette smoking does. 

Beyond lung health, ongoing use in the form of smoking marijuana has been linked to memory loss as well. This is largely due to the changes in blood flow, the parts of the brain that control memory and attention. Keep in mind that these findings are from consumers that use it in excess and often recreationally, not for medicinal purposes. (x)

Adverse Side Effects of Marijuana in General

As with all substances, it is possible to be allergic or intolerant to them. Before you use marijuana, it is important that you are in a safe space and are in a stable psychological state. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to marijuana no matter how it is consumed and to go into anaphylactic shock. 

If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, consult a medical physician before beginning use or before you begin using a new strain. New methods of consumption can interact with your body in various ways, and the different rates of absorption can affect how you react. 

Other Effects of “Weed Tea”

While smoking allows for faster absorption of the cannabinoids when you drink a cannabis-infused beverage, the effects are more soothing as the body absorbs the active ingredients much slower through the digestive tract. Since the absorption is much slower, the effects of marijuana will usually last longer as well. 

Once ingested, marijuana tea will generally take effect within 30-90 minutes. Depending on the dosage and your body’s reaction, the effects should last up to 4-8 hours. Since the effects can linger for a much longer period of time than it will when smoking, this makes it a more effective treatment for many ailments and medical disorders.

The overall effect of the tea will be determined by a number of things, but when prepared correctly, the effects can range from a light, non-psychoactive tea to a creamier and often thicker tea that allows the consumer to experience a high similar to consuming marijuana edibles. 

Does Marijuana Tea Get You High?

To answer this common question simply, yes, it can get you high, but just not in the same way that smoking marijuana will. This is in part due to the fact that when you drink the tea vs smoking the tea the absorption rate is much slower and will stay in your system for a longer period of time. 

According to most consumers, it is possible to experience a mellow high from drinking marijuana tea. However, if you experience any type of high from consuming a cannabis-infused beverage, it will be dependant on the dosage and part of the plant utilized. 

The primary factor is going to come down to how much THC there is per cup of tea. If you are making it at home, you will need to consider the strain of the marijuana, the part of the plant you’re using, and how long you steep it for in order to determine how potent the tea will be. 

Don’t forget to equate your tolerance, as well. If you regularly smoke marijuana, you may have a different experience than someone that primarily uses edibles or even someone that is using any form of marijuana for the first time. 

Another often overlooked consideration is your body size. As with the effects of drinking alcohol, a larger person is able to consume more before feeling the effects. So, if you are a smaller individual, your tea dosage may need to be much smaller than that of someone larger than you and vice versa. 

Parts of the Cannabis Plant to Use

One of the things that are nice about making marijuana tea is that you will be able to utilize the different parts of the plant. Most consumers will choose between making marijuana tea from the buds/flowers, stems, and leaves. The primary consideration when choosing the part of the cannabis plant to use is the effect you want it to take after consumption. 

For a tea with a higher THC content, you would want to use the buds as that is the part of the plant that contains more THC. However, by using the leaves and stems, you are able to have a more mild experience with your tea time. 

You can also use CBD tea if you are looking for the calming and pain-relieving effects marijuana can give without the high. Keep in mind that while certain strains of marijuana can have higher amounts of CBD than others, that CBD is most commonly taken from hemp, another type of cannabis plant. 

The part of the plant that you use and the method in which you prepare the tea will determine the effect it has on your body. This allows for a more personalized experience than smoking as you can cater the tea to your body’s needs. 

Proper Tea Dosage and Consumption 

There is a common phrase of “start low and take it slow” when you start consuming marijuana in any form. This can be translated to starting with a low dosage while at the same time, you allow the effects to take place in your body before consuming more. This is important to remember when trying a new method of use, as drinking cannabis-infused tea can affect your body differently than smoking or using other edibles. It often takes some trial and error to know the right dosage for your body and your health needs. 

If you are not an avid marijuana consumer, you will most likely start with a much lower dosage than someone that has a higher tolerance. Since this is a new method of consumption than smoking or edibles, it is suggested that all users start at around half a cup or 125ml per day to see how their body reacts. If that is not providing the desired effect, then slowly increase either the amount or potency of your brew by steeping longer or using buds of a higher THC content. 

If you are a somewhat regular user (either smoking or edibles), or once you feel comfortable, most medical experts recommend moving up to just one cup or 250ml per day. Once it becomes a favorable experience and/or if you have an extremely high tolerance, it is safe to consume two cups a day in separate intervals, so one cup every 12 hours. 

The dosage will be very dependant per personal experiences, body reaction, and how you make the tea. Just remember to start low and take it slow when you begin any form for cannabis-infused beverage making and drinking. 

Both CBD and TCH are non-water soluble. So, when you are making a cannabis-infused beverage of any kind, you will need some sort of fat like milk or coconut oil to allow for proper absorption. If you use just water, your body will not be able to properly absorb the cannabinoids, and therefore you will not experience the effects.  

How Should You Use Marijuana?

So, should you be using marijuana only as a tea, or is it okay to be smoking it? If you are looking at it from the perspective of health and medical use, tea is a much safer way to reap the benefits that all varieties of cannabis have to offer. All forms and strains of marijuana will contain different levels of THC and CBD, so more often than not, it takes some trial and error to find what works best for your body. 

See what are the other ways for using Marijuana

Whether you are smoking marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, there are obvious dangers involved as you are inhaling the smoke from a burning plant. That is not to say that there are not some possible adverse effects one can have if consuming marijuana in the form of a tea, there is just a much lower risk. 

Complete Guide To Marijuana Smoking Accessories

Cannabis can be enjoyed a number of different ways, including through edibles and tinctures. Though there are many methods to enjoy your goods, smoking still remains the most popular way to get high. Read more…


All in all, the use of marijuana tea allows for a more personalized experience. You can brew the tea to your desired strength to achieve the best results for you and your needs. You are also able to utilize more aspects of the plant when making tea, so if you grow your own marijuana or even your own hemp, you could make tea from the often unused stems and leaves as well as the buds/flowers. 

As the absorption rate is much slower, and the effects last longer than smoking, the therapeutic applications are more desirable than that of smoking. If you are looking for a quick and potent high feeling, then smoking is a good solution. However, if you are looking for something to treat your insomnia, anxiety, or chronic pain, you want the effects to last more than an hour or two. Marijuana tea can stay in your system for up to eight or more hours, giving consumers the relief they need in a way that does not otherwise compromise their health.