THC syrup

THC Syrup: What It Is and What Are Its Benefits and Risks

THC syrup is a simple, sweet way to use cannabis. You can use it as you would any other simple syrup: in cannabis mocktails, to glaze deserts, or simply take it by the spoonful like cough syrup.

You wouldn’t think a simple edible product would be so controversial. But unfortunately, THC syrup can sometimes intentionally or unintentionally get confused for Lean, a.k.a. Sizzurp, a.k.a. Purple Drank, which is one part of the growing opiate crisis. The drink made from codeine and promethazine cough syrup has caused untold damage, and yet, some are confusing cannabis users by naming their products after this drug craze.

Why would someone want to advertise cannabis products like a narcotic? What are the dangers, if any, of THC syrup? Spoiler alert: there are very few. You can make it yourself at home with no problems. So before wondering what is THC syrup, let’s see what it is not. THC syrup is not Lean.

Now that we got that out of the way, here’s a quick breakdown of THC syrup and how you can use it.

What is THC Syrup?

While not quite a simple syrup, THC syrup is like a cough syrup chock full of cannabinoids that don’t have that medicine flavor you’re used to in regular cough syrup.

It’s essentially a cannabis-infused simple syrup made of cannabis concentrate or cannabis extract. What adds a different layer is the addition of coconut oil or vegetable glycerine as a thickening agent.

It has the same texture, so it can often be marketed like cough syrup. Similar packaging can help make it simple to understand the traditional delivery method of taking it by the spoonful. After all, a spoonful of cannabis helps the medicine go down. Many say this delivery method is faster acting as it can be absorbed both orally and sublingually. If you buy the syrup from a dispensary, you will see the label mentioning the THC content for easier dosage.

That being said, THC syrup can end up being high in sugar, so be careful if it is something you’re trying to avoid in your medicinal cannabis. Beginner cannabis users and people with diabetes should pay attention to sugar-laden products. If you can consume medicinal cannabis any other way, try the alternative methods before using sugar-rich THC syrup.

How to Take THC Syrup?

Sublingual Use

Sublingual is simply the scientific term for under the tongue. THC and other cannabinoids can often work faster when absorbed sublingually as they don’t have to be digested before gaining access to the bloodstream.

When taken sublingually, drugs get absorbed by blood vessels and directly enter the bloodstream. Given the high THC content of some THC syrups, this can sometimes ensure a quicker “high” when taken by the spoonful.

Use a dropper to place the desired amount of syrup under your tongue. Wait a few moments while holding the drops in your mouth before swallowing them.

Oral Intake in Drinks

You can drink THC syrup easily, but most people mix it with drinks. Measure the desired quantity and use it as a sweetener for your favorite beverages: juices, teas, water, or other drinks that might use a sweeter punch.

Oral intake produces slower effects than sublingual intake but faster results than solid edibles.

In Homemade Recipes

You can use THC syrup to make edibles, but you can also use it with your food. For example, some people mix it with maple syrup for their pancakes, while others use it in salad dressings, marinades, cake toppings, etc. Just measure your dosage right.

How to Make THC Syrup at Home

THC syrup is simple enough to make at home.

The main ingredient is simple syrup. It’s called simple syrup as it’s equal parts sugar and water. It’s a common ingredient in many alcoholic beverages and desserts.

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a low boil on the stove.
  2. Add 3 cups of sugar and whisk until fully dissolved.
  3. Add a cannabis concentrate or extract to the mix. You can also use decarboxylated cannabis in a tea strainer. Decarbed cannabis is simply cannabis that has been slow-heated to convert the cannabinoids like THC from CBD from their acid form into a form your body can use. Read a simple decarbing method here. Using the tea strainer will save you the hassle of straining it later.
  4. Leave on the lowest heat setting for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add two tablespoons of vegetable glycerin to thicken.
  6. Remove the tea strainer or strain the syrup to remove any cannabis plant matter.
  7. Store in a container that will block out the light. Light can cause THC and other cannabinoids to degrade.
  8. Enjoy responsibly.

Photo by Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash

How Long is THC Syrup Good For?

Homemade THC syrup will have a shelf life of about three months, while store-bought THC syrup can vary based on its production method and often come with an expiration date.

What Can You Use THC Syrup For?

THC syrup offers the same appeal as any other cannabis edible. You can enjoy THC and other cannabinoids for their medicinal properties. However, it does offer the potential to be faster acting and a bit more discreet.

THC syrup can help with nausea and low appetite. This is a great way to help people take cannabis medicinally who may not feel up to smoking, eating, or wanting to consume high-fat edibles or use cannaoil or cannabutter.

THC syrup is said to produce effects a lot faster than regular edibles like brownies or gummies. However, the timing depends on our individual differences, so it is best to wait for half an hour before you consider taking a second dose.

THC Syrup Benefits

  • Inflammation and pain relief – THC syrup provides the same level of pain relief in chronic pain and inflammation situations as other high-dose or high-concentration options. In addition, compared to smoking, edibles, or concentrates, it has a quicker effect, especially if you use it sublingually.
  • Nausea related to eating disorders, digestive disorders, IBS, chemotherapy for cancer treatment, and so on. There is extensive research highlighting the positive effects of THC and other cannabinoids (and, therefore, THC syrup) in nausea and vomiting regulation in certain circumstances, so you can use this product to alleviate some gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Boosting appetite. Like many cannabis products, THC syrup can encourage a boost in appetite, especially in people with some eating problems.
  • Relaxation. Most THC syrup consumers agree that they enter a relaxed, stress-free state relatively quickly after consuming the product.


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Is THC Syrup Safe?

THC syrup is safe. The only issue would be the potential for consuming too much. Like anything involving cannabis, low and slow is the key to ensuring you find a dosage that meets your needs. Consult your doctor about the proper THC syrup quantity for their specific conditions, needs, and physiology. Also, talk to your doctor if you feel some common THC and other cannabis side effects.

The only concern would be sugar content if you or any family members have a history of diabetes. However, there is an added concern when mixing with alcohol. There has been a study that’s shown that mixing cannabis and alcohol can prove to be more addictive and dangerous.

THC Syrup: Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to learn more about THC syrup, read the answers below for detailed information!

Is THC syrup the same as lean?

Despite being used medicinally and recreationally for centuries, the War on Drugs and the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 made cannabis use and possession a crime. This made cannabis an integral part of drug culture.

Despite the countless ways cannabis can work with the body for various medicinal and therapeutic purposes, there’s still some street appeal for branding THC syrup like the opiate/narcotic known as lean.

With the huge cannabis boom, there’s a need for products to stand out. So there are novelties like high-THC moon rocks, and some people are trying to tie THC syrups to the criminal appeal and various hip-hop references made to lean.

Different THC products and syrups are given names like lean or sizzurp, and one product is even called Protenazine, as a play on pretend and promethazine. Whether clever or problematic marketing, THC syrup should not be confused for lean.

What is lean?

You may have heard the terms Sizzurp, Drank, or Dirty Sprite in a rap song. It’s been referenced by rappers from ​​Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz to even Justin Beiber. But lean is causing countless addictions, major health issues, and even deaths.

Lean is a drink made with a cough syrup that contains promethazine and codeine. It’s mixed with Sprite and jolly ranchers and served in a styrofoam cup. This drink is dangerous, considering codeine is a highly addictive narcotic and can interact negatively with other sedatives like alcohol.

Rapper 2 Chainz was arrested for possessing promethazine, multiple celebrities have admitted severe addictions, including Bow Wow, and it’s even attributed to Lil Wayne having seizures. It’s highly addictive and potentially deadly as the odds of overdose increase when mixed with alcohol.

Aside from some marketing similarities due to some unscrupulous salespeople, there are no direct connections between THC syrup and lean. While some THC syrups may have slightly sedative effects, and you may not want to mix them with alcohol, the similarities stop there.

Can I bake with THC syrup?

It’s not the best idea to bake with THC syrup. The reason is that it will lose potency the longer you cook it. Not to mention, the sugars have been broken down and can potentially burn.

Considering you decarboxylated your cannabis, then cooked it while making the syrup, baking may break down more cannabinoids and terpenes than you want to. It also increases the potential for burning, whether it’s terpenes, cannabinoids, or the sugars in the syrup.

You can bake with it, and there may be no issues with flavor, but if your goal is cannabinoid edibles, consider baking using cannaoil or cannabutter.

Get the Best THC Syrup

Cannabis culture is expanding as decriminalization and legalization expand across the country. That being said, there are still some ties to its old “drug” days. THC syrup is a simple and effective way for patients to get medicinal marijuana and for people to safely consume a fixed amount of cannabinoids.

Don’t leave it to chance, if medicinal marijuana is legal in your state, apply online for a medical marijuana card today to make sure you only get the best THC syrup!


Dr. Anand DugarThis article is reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist and pain medicine physician.  He is also the founder of Green Health Docs.  Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.