Any drinkable product that contains cannabinoids or cannabis-derived terpenes. Cannabis elixirs include tinctures and infused sodas, wines, and any beverage recipe that is infused with cannabis to bring out its medicinal and intoxicating effects.
Cannabis-infused beverages are digested by the body in much the same way that edibles are; the cannabinoids in a cannabis elixir enter the bloodstream through the stomach and liver, incurring a longer time before its effects are sensed by the brain. As with edibles, an elixir's intoxication can last between four (4) to six (6) hours.
Can you Drink Weed? More About Cannabis Elixirs
Cannabis tinctures — the predecessor of elixirs — were first introduced to the Western world in the mid-1800s by Dr. William O'Shaughnessy. In 1843, O'Shaughnessy, an Irish physician who lived and worked in India, published “On The Preparations of Indian Hemp, or Gunjah,” on the various medicinal benefits of cannabis, with numerous mentions to tinctures. O'Shaughnessy's writings on cannabis caused a significant increase in the popularity and use of cannabis tinctures, first in Britain and then throughout Europe and North America.
Cannabis was added to the United States Pharmacopeia, a comprehensive journal of approved medicinal drugs, in 1851. Then after, tinctures and elixirs were manufactured to treat such conditions as tonsillitis, sleep disorders, alcoholism, and even tetanus.
What is the difference between tinctures and elixirs?
The main difference between tinctures and elixirs is how cannabis is dissolved.
While a cannabis elixir can be made by dissolving cannabis in a variety of solutions, tinctures are a specific form of cannabis elixir that is made by dissolving cannabis in alcohol. Most elixirs that are not considered tinctures dissolve cannabinoids using syrup, which leads to a much thicker texture.
How to Make a Cannabis Elixir
The first step to making an effective THC elixir is for cannabis to be decarboxylated, which means heat is applied to break down tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to give the cannabis elixir its intoxicating effect, or mixing it with alcohol to make a tincture. Once your tincture is complete, put it in a double boiler over electric heat and reduce the volume by half. A note on heating your tincture: A few bubbles around the edge of the container during the reduction process is fine, but don't let the tincture come to a boil. You'll lose THC and reduce the potency of your cannabis elixir.
Once your tincture is reduced, add half of the reduced volume into honey or another syrup. For example, if the volume of your reduced tincture was eight fluid ounces (8 fl. oz.), or about 237 milliliters, add four fluid ounces (4 fl oz.), or about 118 milliliters, of syrup.
During this stage of the process, you may also want to infuse additional herbal remedies for specific medicinal effects, such as chamomile for stress relief or elderberry for colds or flu. Once you've added the syrup and any additional herbs, continue heating the elixir until it's reduced by half again.
At this point, your cannabis elixir is ready to go. Pour into a bottle and let it cool before consumption.
How to Use a Cannabis Elixir
Technically, elixirs can be taken straight or used sublingually, or under the tongue, just like a regular tincture. But because elixirs are typically syrup-based and therefore have a thicker texture, many cannabis consumers prefer to mix their elixir into various liquids for consumption.
You can mix your elixir with any beverages, including sodas, sparkling water, and alcoholic beverages. Elixirs are also a popular additive to coffee, tea, and other hot beverages. The syrupy texture makes elixirs a great substitute for honey. And for many people, mixing a cannabis elixir into another beverage is the preferred method for drinking marijuana.