The wider availability of diverse weed strains, concentrates and vaping liquids means there’s never been more choice when it comes to getting stoned in Britain.
One of the latest is THC syrup. Essentially weed in liquid form, it has the same thickness and consistency as cough syrup and is designed to be added in spoonfuls to your lemonade, so you can get high without having to worry about omitting any suspicious smells or sharing a joint (eww… corona).
What is THC syrup?
It’s a liquid form of cannabis typically made by mixing cannabis concentrate with vegetable glycerine or coconut oil and sugar. The logic is that by putting high levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, into liquid form you will get a faster and longer-lasting high than a conventional edible, partly due to the speed in which it is absorbed into your bloodstream.
Who is using it, and why?
I first heard about THC syrup through a friend. Before long, it became something that my weed dealer was offering me. For £40, I bought a 1000mg bottle of apple-flavoured THC syrup with no real instructions other than “shake well before use”. I started adding small teaspoons of it into my cans of 7-Up Zero, and felt an immediate buzz. Not only from the enormous high, but also the idea of getting stoned in a different fashion.
Co-signs from popular emcees like Slowthai and Smokepurpp, who is launching his own THC syrup line with the political motivation to fight against America’s opioid crisis, have undoubtedly helped to raise its profile and cool.
Is it an alternative to lean?
In the US, THC syrup, despite its very different effects, has been marketed as a safer alternative to “lean” – also known as Sizzurp, Dirty Sprite and Purple Drank – which is a popular drink among the rap community, consisting of prescription-grade codeine cough syrup mixed with soda.
However, Professor Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey, says the lean connections are marketing hype. “THC syrup is just another form of edibles,” he tells me. “Saying it is a healthy alternative to lean is like saying weed is a healthy alternative to heroin. Lean is a dangerous concoction of an antihistamine in promethazine, an opioid in codeine, and often alcohol too. You can’t draw a parallel between a cannabis drink and an opioid drink, other than them being drinks that get you high. It’s all just marketing bollocks.”
How to use THC syrup?
The beauty of THC syrup is that you can use it in very different ways.
You can administer in the mouth, similar to how you would use a cannabis tincture. Either sublingually or directly on the tongue and mouth. Just apply the desired dosage and leave it for up to two minutes for the concoction to get absorbed in the mouth cavity, then swallow.
You can use THC syrups also in drinks. Add small doses of the syrup in non-alcoholic beverages such as any soda, or ginger beer, stir the concoction, and take one drink at a time.
Be patient with drinks because your stomach needs to digest the THC, and don’t immediately assume you need another drink after 15 minutes or half an hour.
If you are doing cocktail nights with friends, where you’ll experiment with more fancy drinks that contain pot syrup, it’s best to stay at home. A couple of drinks will likely get you too stoned.
Another way to take your THC syrup as “alcohol” is you do it in shots. Just like you would go with tequila shots.
As a food supplement, THC syrup can be your new magic ingredient to dozens of sweet recipes. It can be put in pancakes, waffles, jello shots, ice cream, or you name it.
Always clutter the bottle with your hand before you open and sip from the syrup.
How to prepare THC syrup?
From apple to watermelon, dispensaries sell THC syrups in all the different flavors. But in case you can’t find syrup from the place you supply your stash, you can always make it yourself. The recipe is easy.
- Hash oil, wax, or cannabis flower (per choice)
- Vegetable glycerine (2 tablespoons for every 3 cups of liquid)
- Additional flavor extracts such as vanilla, apple, coconut, hazelnut, lemon, etc. (per choice)
Step 1: You can prepare a syrup using either cannabis concentrates such as hash oil or wax, or cannabis flower. If you opt for the latter, you first need to decarboxylate the amount of pot you will use for the syrup. It’s the same process you would use for preparing other weed-infused treats such as cannabis peanut butter.
Step 2: Mix equal amounts of water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the sugar has softened and dissolved in the water, reduce the heat to medium-low.
Step 3: Next, add the cannabis concentrate or the decarboxylated pot and heat together for about half an hour.
Step 4: Continue cooking on low heat and add vegetable glycerine. For every 3 cups of liquid, add 2 tablespoons of glycerine.
Step 5: Stir the concoction with a spoon on very low heat for 5 more minutes, then remove from the heat.
Step 6: Transfer the concoction into a jar. In case you’ve used cannabis flower as the basis of the pot syrup, filter out the flower before you add the liquid into a jar.
Step 7: Before storing your THC syrup, add additional flavor solutions such as vanilla or any flavor you prefer personally. If you don’t add flavor, the syrup will taste rather neutral. If you are not sure, you can experiment with adding trace amounts of flavor solutions.
If you can’t find THC syrup in the local dispensary and if you are too lazy to cook one yourself, perhaps your dealer already has some.
Is THC syrup different than lean?
THC syrup has widely been billed as a safer alternative to ‘lean’ in the U.S., however, weed liquid is something entirely different than the hip hop culture bouncing-back-to-popularity drink.
There have been different types of Lean drinks for the last 50 years, and these can be quite dangerous, unlike pot syrups.
So, to clear the slate, THC syrup is not Lean, is not Sizzurp, is not Purple Drank or Dirty Sprite as the other nicknames of the drink go. The syrup is just another type of cannabis edible.
Saying that THC syrup is an alternative to Lean is like saying that cannabis is an alternative to potentially lethal and harmful substances such as heroin.
Lean stirs codeine cough syrup, antihistamine promethazine, soda, and sometimes alcohol in its contents. For a matter of fact, codeine, although a weaker type, is an opioid and belongs to the same class of painkiller drugs such as morphine. Its use in lean drinks is misused and often in higher amounts than safe to consume. Taken like that, it’s very unhealthy for the body and highly addictive.
The whole fuzz why some people may think THC syrup and lean are similar is that some pot syrup manufacturers advertise their products that way. On the other hand, others avoid mentioning the dangerous practice of leanin’ when they talk about their syrupy product.
Is THC syrup safe to enjoy?
Since it’s an edible substance, THC syrups are healthier than smoking weed is. So if you are going to get high by syrup, it’s a healthier, safer way to do it than using weed and tobacco. That’s, of course, a matter of choice. Some like their weed well rolled in a king-size paper—end of discussion.
Nevertheless, the fad of THC syrups seems it’s going to stick with us for a while. For many, it’s a great affordable product than buying hash or flower, and it’s incredibly convenient in markets where weed is still not made legal and where users often reach out for products that can guarantee discrete use.
One thing to remain aware of is that THC syrup strength can significantly vary depending on whether it was made with flower or hash oil as the basis. So, 5mg of flower-based or oil-based syrup might come with noticeable potency differences. It should mostly concern novice users who do not have the experience and might feel sick after getting stoned too much.
It’s always best to purchase clearly labeled bottles where it says the content of THC and how the syrup was made. When you have such a product in your hands, it’s definitely safer as you know what’s in it.