THC Syrup: Ultimate Guide

For thousands of years in every part of the world, countless elixirs have taken the form of syrup. This helps them go down easier and provides fast relief for various ailments. However, often these syrups also provide a powerful effect. This same dual efficacy applies to THC syrup, a potent and unique way to ingest cannabis.

But what do we mean by THC syrup? First, though, we should define what it isn’t.

THC syrup is not THC lean!

Lean goes under various names, including Purple Drank, Texas Tea, Barre, and Sizzurp.

Over the last two decades, Codeine and a cough syrup called Promethazine have been a go-to across the United States. But the concoction first came to prominence before that in the South and Hip Hop culture.

Lean, however, can trace its roots back to the Houston blues clubs of the 1960s. Then, you usually mixed it with Jolly Ranchers or Sprite in a styrofoam cup. This brew produced a powerfully intoxicating and euphoric effect that appeared to slow the world down and slur your speech. Often you would sit sideways and lean your body over, hence the moniker.

Lean became a feature in the soundtracks and lives of endless hip-hop artists and, sadly, often their untimely deaths.

THC syrup, on the other hand, does not cause lean’s level of danger or intoxication. This is because THC syrup does not contain any opiates. However, this does not mean you can be careless with THC syrup. Like any new edible, you want to start with a small sample to test it out.

Also, you should not confuse THC syrup with THC lean. The latter is THC infused with codeine and promethazine cough tonic and known as THC lean.

Another common confusion is mistaking THC syrup for cannabis simple syrup, produced by infusing weed and simple syrup.

THC syrup is, therefore, an excellent way to both sweeten and mix THC into a variety of cold drinks such as iced tea. Or to give your cocktail an extra kick. Cannabis simple syrup is straightforward to make and potent but deserves a separate article.

Now that we know what THC syrup isn’t, what is it precisely?

what is thc syrup

THC (cannabis) syrup has the same properties as many other edible marijuana products. The only difference with THC syrup is that the onset of the effects is much quicker.

THC syrup is essentially marijuana in a liquid form. You can make it by infusing cannabis concentrate and vegetable-based glycerine with sugar and other types of sweeteners. Alternatively, you can use cannabis oil instead of cannabis concentrate. 

A quick search online will uncover thousands of recipes for THC syrup. Many promise that you can make a syrup with the same sugar-sweet taste and viscosity as a regular cough syrup, but without the ‘nasty medicine’ flavor.

You can buy THC syrup at dispensaries in states where cannabis is legal. That said, it can often be challenging to find and expensive to purchase.

So what uses are there for THC syrup?

This is a good question, especially if you already have THC gummies, other edibles, a bong, or some rolling papers within easy reach. What use, then, would you have for THC syrup when there are so many alternatives?

The unique selling point for THC syrup is two-fold. Firstly, THC syrup has the exact same properties as other edible marijuana products. Secondly, and most importantly for many people, the onset of these effects is far faster than other edibles.

A hash brownie, for example, or a THC candy can take more than an hour to work. However, the web has abundant stories from users adamant that the effect of THC syrup kicks in half the time or even sooner. However, these stories are anecdotal. There is no evidence-based research on whether the onset is faster or not.

Like any cannabis-based tincture or edible, THC syrup is an alternative to smoking and is much more discreet.

The following cannabis syrups we would like to highlight now do not contain any THC. However, they have their uses, and you should definitely check them out.

I Am Joy

I Am Joy is a CB2 Activating Terpene Syrup that’s farm-grown in the USA and certified as organic hemp oil by the USDA. It is also certified by an independent laboratory.

Use it for:

  • pain relief
  • easing stress and anxiety
  • treating depression
  • treating inflammation.

Nature’s Script 

A CBD Syrup Fruit Punch that packs the benefits of CBD into a liquid.

It comes in 100 mg packets of premium hemp extract with the addition of encouraging wellness from top-quality botanicals.

Hemp Bombs 

Another CBD Syrup Fruit Punch. This one is formulated specifically to supply you with maximum relaxation.

It comes to you in a super-handy 300 mg bottle. The CBD it contains can be taken as is or added to your favorite beverage if you prefer.

Why, though, did THC syrup/cannabis syrup become so popular, you may ask.

There are several reasons behind this popularity, primarily because THC syrup can produce the same all-over body intoxicating high associated with other edibles.

The cannabis syrup producers, meanwhile, are somewhat piggybacking on the notoriety of lean in Hip Hop and popular culture.

At least one manufacturer – if not more – includes the word ‘lean’ in their brand name.

Another company, Cannavis, has unashamedly used hip-hop imagery in its marketing and branding. Indeed, its website homepage prominently features a young Black man sporting a red New York Yankees top. Predictably, in the image, he is pouring tropical punch flavor THC syrup into a soft drinks bottle. The audience naturally assumes that he is mixing up a Purple Drank Sprite.

Meanwhile, to add weight to this subliminal messaging, Cannavis also states that its THC syrup is usually mixed with a beverage of some sort. You can see this marketing message on its About page. (We reached out to Cannavis to explore this marketing approach but have yet to receive a reply to our email.)

Meanwhile, companies marketing cannabis syrup and weed syrup are the ones most likely to call their products lean. This strongly suggests their marketing strategy is to target people interested in the vibe and feel of lean, but without the risk or high price point.

How is THC syrup different from smoking?

syrup vs smoking

Anyone who has experimented or dabbled with cannabis edibles will all tell you the same thing. They will state that the high off of an edible not only lasts significantly longer than smoking but it is also more intense.

Generally speaking, cannabis edibles like THC syrup and cannabis syrup gain popularity because they produce a high. But this high is quite distinct from a high obtained from smoking or vaping. 

The divergence between THC syrup and smoking cannabis lies in how the THC gets into the user’s bloodstream. When you smoke cannabis, the THC reaches your bloodstream almost instantaneously. The outcome is a very rapid effect onset.

With edibles, on the other hand, it is a somewhat different picture. Edibles deliver their THC payload via the digestive tract and then onto the liver. Once THC reaches the liver, it is metabolized into 11-hydroxy-THC. This journey through your insides explains why edible cannabis products take longer to reveal their effects. It also accounts for the markedly different high that is produced by edibles compared to smoking.

The key to this difference is your metabolism. Various scientific studies have conclusively demonstrated that 11-hydroxy-THC is markedly more potent than THC.

Speak to anyone who has consumed edibles in the past, particularly larger doses, and they will tell you the same thing. They will say that the effects you experience last longer and are often more intense. These effects are dual in nature. They will frequently produce a potent and robust physical high as well as an efficacious cerebral impact.

If, however, you decide to mix your THC syrup into a soft drink, you can create a very passable cannabis-laced drink. The result can vary significantly as there is always a certain amount of inconsistency in THC syrup production.

Cannabis syrup and THC syrup drinks likewise have a lengthy onset time, just like other edibles. This can easily be in the neighborhood of an hour or more. However, much money and R&D are being invested by the industry to cut the onset time and make beverages produce faster effects.

But is it entirely safe?

Who doesn’t want to know the answer to this one? But first of all, let’s clarify something straight off the bat. THC syrup is not dangerous per se, much in the same way that THC lean is.

However, there are caveats. Like lean, it’s comparatively easy to add too much from the bottle into a soft drink. There are no bar measures involved here. Instead, just as with any other cannabis product, undesired side effects can happen due to too high a dosage.

Yet another potential issue is if you mix your cannabis syrup or THC syrup with hard spirits, such as whisky or bourbon. This can often produce a highly intoxicating and time-slowing effect almost identical to that of lean. Mixing THC syrup with hard liquor is never a good idea. It will either make you feel nauseous or produce a high effect that’s too potent and uncomfortable.

An Israeli cannabis product developer, Tal Lupo, is often cited as he says some forms of THC syrup may appear novel. However, he expands that today’s THC syrups echo centuries-old cannabis tinctures. So today’s tinctures may appear new, but their roots are steeped in the pharmacies of old.

Though this harking back to the tinctures of yore is undoubtedly true, new technology is also playing a pivotal role. Innovative technology improves production methods and changes the way cannabis syrup and THC syrup affect users’ bodies.

For example, micro and nano-emulsification techniques are creating new cannabinoid pharmacology profiles that enhance users’ sensory experiences.

Lupo also contends that further pharmacological study is required to learn more about how cannabis-infused beverages affect metabolism. Research is also needed to predict better the strength, onset times, and length of the effects.

Lupo is also concerned that mixing alcohol and THC syrup often produces severe and unwanted side effects. A 2013 study, he points out, has asserted that ingesting alcohol and marijuana together simultaneously can lead to potentially addictive or interactive psychological and pharmacological effects.

The takeaway

Don’t mix your THC syrup with booze. 

And always start using cannabis syrup and THC syrup at low doses until you know what works best for you.