I’ve tried some delicious cannabis kombucha brands here in California, where adult use of cannabis is legal. Commercial brands mix a THC-infused emulsion into kombucha that’s already brewed. I hadn’t heard of anyone including cannabis in the fermentation. I wasn’t sure what would happen. Would the SCOBY be okay, or would it get paranoid and climb out of the jar? Would it ferment? I usde vegetable glycerin to emulsify the THC into the simple syrup. I read that glycerine is bacteriostatic (a compound that freezes the metabolic action of bacteria, without killing them). Would this throw off the fermentation in any way? Only one way to find out!
In order to test whether the fermentation affects THC content, I tried a scientific-ish experiment. I tasted a spoonful of cannabis syrup mixed in with regular kombucha, and then studied the effects. Then I tried an equivalent amount of syrup in the fermented-with-cannabis batch. The effects of the fermented batch were indeed more mellow. So it appears that the fermentation process reduces the THC content at least a little.
The effects of the cannabis when it’s been fermented in with the kombucha are noticeably more subtle than when consuming the syrup without fermentation. The finished kombucha has a really nice aroma (subtle terpenes), and is quite tasty. Many testers report that they couldn’t detect any flavor of cannabis. I’ll keep working on the recipe. Most would therefore argue that it’s not a good technique because it is loses potency during fermentation. That could well be true. I still enjoy drinking the kombucha and its light effects. I will continue the experimentation again using more and stronger syrup.
The syrup I made used some old trim for which I did not know the THC content, so I had to estimate the THC content.
Part 1: Make Cannabis Syrup
The recipe below creates a finished kombucha with about 10mg THC per 8 ounce serving.
Part 2: Make Kombucha
- 7.5 cups/60 fl. oz/ 3.5l filtered water
- 3 black tea bags and 2 green tea bags (or any combination tea bags adding up to 5)
- 175 g canna-syrup
- 1 SCOBY (kombucha culture), 4-5 oz/110g or larger by weight
- ½ cup/125 ml starter liquid (mature kombucha from a prior batch)
- ½ gallon or 1-gallon glass jar or ceramic container (preferably with spigot at bottom)
- Swatch of cloth to cover the opening-- dish towel, tea towel, or paper coffee filter to cover the container's opening (not cheesecloth)
- Rubber band or twist ties
- Boil 1 pint of filtered water.
- Add tea bags (or if using loose tea, add tea to muslin bags or tea ball) to a heat-proof container and pour near-boiling water over them. Let steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove tea bags from conatiner.
- Stir cannabis syrup well, then immediately add syrup to container.
- Pour remaining (unheated) filtered water in. Wait until the temperature drops to 100°F/38°C or below (otherwise you might kill the SCOBY). Tea is now ready
- Dispense tea mixture into its fermenting container.
- Rub your hands with vinegar or some of the starter liquid before handling SCOBY. Carefully add the SCOBY to the container.
- Pour the starter liquid on top.
- Cover with cloth and secure with a rubber band. Store in a dark, well-ventilated area (keep out of direct sunlight). If using a transparent container, wrap a towel around it to minimize light exposure.
- Taste a bit after 7 days. If container does not have a spigot, gently move the scoby to the side and insert a straw to taste. If it's too sweet, let it ferment longer. If you like the taste, it's ready.
- Transfer to bottles and move to refrigerator.
- Enjoy within 1-2 months.
Storing the SCOBY
We are still studying the long-term effects of the cannabis on scobys (i.e. do they lose their viability after making a few batches with THC?) Regardless, always store scobys used in this recipe separately from other “non-cannabis” scobys. Best is to store them in their own jar (always at room temperature– never in the refrigerator!) in a little of the reserved liquid from the last batch you make. Keep a cloth lid on top of the jar to keep out flies and allow the scoby to continue to breathe. It doesn’t need much liquid to hang out– just enough to keep it submerged.
- Meet the Cannabis Kombucha Guru, herb.co. Accessed Mar. 20, 2018
- Cooking with Cannabis: Delicious Recipes for Edibles and Everyday Favorites. Wolf, Laurie.
- How to Calculate Edible Potency, keytocannabis.com. Accessed Mar. 12, 2018.
- How to calculate THC dosage in recipes for marijuana edibles, thecannabist.co. Accessed Mar. 12, 2018.
- Dosing Homemade Cannabis, Cooking with Cannabis, Part 4. Leafly.com