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THC Syrup Explained: What Is THC Lean & How to Make It

27 May 2022
Learn about this delicious and discreet form of cannabis consumption and how you can produce it on your own
27 May 2022
12 min read
THC Syrup Explained: What Is THC Lean & How to Make It

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  • 1. What is thc syrup?
  • 2. What can you use it for?
  • 3. Who is using it and why?
  • 4. Is thc syrup an alternative to lean?
  • 5. How to use thc syrup?
  • 6. How is thc syrup made?
  • 6. a. Ingredients
  • 6. b. Instructions
  • 7. How potent is thc syrup? how do you dose it?
  • 8. How do you get the best experience from thc syrup?
  • 9. What are the benefits of thc syrup?
  • 10. Is it safe?
  • 11. Why did it become so popular?
  • 12. Popular pre-made thc syrup brands
  • 12. a. Baked bros
  • 12. b. Liquid karma
  • 12. c. Qualitech’s og diggs thc syrup
  • 13. Could it become a mainstay in the uk?
  • 14. How thc syrup is different than smoking
  • 15. Faq
  • 15. a. What is pourable thc syrup?
  • 15. b. What is liquid karma thc syrup?
  • 15. c. What does liquid karma do?

There’s hardly been a more exciting time for a weed consumer than the legal cannabis environment of today. Among many new wickedly creative products that are seemingly churned out on a daily basis, THC syrup stands out as a novel and rare drinkable form.

Cannabis-infused syrups, which you can add to drinks and food or swallow neat, are sometimes confused with notorious and dangerous cough syrups called lean but are nothing like them. They are more like marijuana edibles and create a long-lasting full-body high without the drawbacks of smoking. Just bear in mind a few precautions that you should take while making and using them.

What is THC Syrup?

If you know the meaning of both words separately, you can imagine what they mean together. THC syrup is a thick sweet liquid that is infused with cannabis oil or some kind of concentrate like shatter, distillate, rosin, etc. When you ingest it, you get roughly the same high as from any other marijuana product, especially edibles.

What Can You Use It For?

Like any other form of marijuana, THC syrup can be either medicine or a recreational drug that people ingest to have a good time.

The non-smokable method of consumption makes it a much healthier alternative to bongs and joints. Some medical patients, especially older ones, find the idea of smoking as a form of treatment unacceptable. Indeed, the smoke can irritate and harm your airways, and decades of heavy use may lead to chronic bronchitis. Oral use of marijuana, on the other hand, doesn’t have these drawbacks.

Also, some patients may feel so ill that they cannot swallow one morsel of food. For them, edibles are no-go while drinking the medicine is much easier.

Who is Using It And Why?

Of course, cannabis syrup is not only for those with medical conditions. It has a growing fan base among recreational users too. There are dozens of situations when you want to get high but smoking is not allowed. So you can enjoy your vice in a perfectly discreet manner.

Granted, you can use THC gummies or any other forms of edibles, but they have one big disadvantage compared with syrup — they take forever to kick in. Usually, you’ll have to wait more than an hour, sometimes two. But pour some syrup into your drink, gulp it, and you’ll feel the effect much faster, probably in half an hour or so.

THC Syrup Explained: What Is THC Lean & How to Make It: A drink in a transparent glass with greenish foam and a fresh cannabis leaf on top

Drinks with cannabis not only act faster but can be also very stylish.

However, it’s not only a matter of convenience but of lifestyle as well. There’s something wickedly irresistible about the familiar image of some rapper or club-goer adding something from a small bottle into his styrofoam cup drink and then slumping at a bar totally wasted.

That’s how cough syrup, or lean, was abused at clubs for more than half a century now. Some manufacturers of marijuana syrups steer clear of such associations, others actively use this imagery in their marketing campaigns.

Is THC Syrup an Alternative to Lean?

Only in the sense that both provide intoxication. But here the similarities stop. Lean is a slang name for cough syrup that contains promethazine and codeine. Codeine is an opiate, similar in action to heroin, morphine, and oxycontin. So its abuse can easily lead to addiction. If you take too much, especially with alcohol, you risk an overdose and death because codeine slows down your heart rate and breathing and may stop them altogether.

In contrast, cannabis syrup only contains THC and other cannabinoids. If anything, they increase heart rate and don’t affect breathing. So, what makes THC syrup different from lean is that there’s never a risk of a deadly overdose.

And the action of these two syrups on the nervous system is totally different. While lean is a depressant (the same as alcohol), weed’s action is varied and paradoxical. It is neither a depressant nor a stimulant, but creates all kinds of interesting distortions in the way you perceive things, feel, and think.


THC Syrup Lean
Contains cannabinoids Contains codeine and promethazine
Doesn’t affect vital functions Slows down the heart rate and breathing
Carries no risk of a deadly overdose May lead to an overdose and death
Is fat-soluble Is water-soluble

How to Use THC Syrup?

We can’t know for sure, but this form of consumption was probably inspired by cough syrup, so the most natural way to use it is to add it to some kind of soft drink like Sprite. Pour, stir, and you’re ready to go.

The one thing we don’t recommend is to mix it with alcohol. Experienced smokers know how dangerous it is to chase weed with booze. It can make you nauseated and disoriented and turn the party into a disaster. Even more dangerous is to add THC to the real cough syrup, although some thrill-seekers do that too. This is the kind of fun that can prove fatal.

If you’re at home, you can also take it like medicine — with a teaspoon. It’s not even necessary to down the syrup at once. You can hold it in your mouth or, even better, under the tongue for a couple of minutes. You’ll feel a light buzz almost instantly because there are lots of blood vessels under your tongue and they absorb some of the THC. Then the buzz will vanish or subside and come back with a vengeance in about half an hour.

The effect doesn’t peak at once but takes some time to build up. This means that you should never be in a hurry to take some more. If you’re new to this, better wait two hours after the first dose. And like with all edibles, the effect lasts much longer than when you smoke your weed.

How Is THC Syrup Made?

If you already have your concentrate or dry herb, the rest is straightforward and easy.


  • Marijuana (oil, concentrate, distillate, 1 gram, or dry buds, 2 grams)
  • Water, 3 cups
  • Sugar, 3 cups
  • Vegetable glycerine, 2 tbsp
  • Flavoring

THC Syrup Explained: What Is THC Lean & How to Make It: An infographic showing what you need to make THC syrup at home

All you need for making THC syrup in one infographic.


Step 1: Decarboxylation

Cannabis needs to be decarboxylated if you want to activate THC and other mind-altering chemicals. Without it, your syrup will be a dud. To decarboxylate, simply heat your product at 250°F (121°C) for 25–30 minutes.

Step 2: Making Simple Syrup

Mix water and sugar in a saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Make sure the sugar dissolves completely.

Step 3: Adding Weed And Glycerine

Add the concentrate (or dry and ground-up buds), cook and stir for 30 minutes. Then add glycerine and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Glycerine is important because it will bind THC molecules and then mix with water to make an emulsion. THC in itself is not water-soluble.

Step 4: Filtering (If Needed) And Adding Flavoring

Filter out the plant matter, if you were using buds. Add flavorings, such as vanilla or other aromatics. Without them, your syrup would taste a bit tangy from cannabis but otherwise rather bland.

How Potent is THC Syrup? How Do You Dose It?

The potency of the product depends on the source material and how much of it you have used for production. That’s why it’s very unfortunate that in many countries, such as the UK, only homemade syrups are available. So, when you take a teaspoon of a thick sweet liquid, you never know for sure how much THC you’ll consume with it. Maybe enough to cause you a highly unpleasant overdose. So start slow.

The products from licensed manufacturers, on the other hand, always specify the exact amount of THC in a bottle, and sometimes there is a dosage bar that lets you pour exactly the right amount. The recommendation for newbies is 5mg of THC.

Please note that edibles, including syrups, provide a more intense and long-lasting high than when you inhale smoke or vapor. It’s probably because THC doesn’t go directly to the bloodstream but is first metabolized in your liver and turned into 11-hydroxy-THC — a much more psychoactive compound. It means that you shouldn’t make any plans for at least 4-5 hours or up to 12 in some cases — you’ll be too stoned to function.

How Do You Get the Best Experience From THC Syrup?

If you try the liquid form of marijuana for the first time, “go low and slow”. You don’t want to ruin your night with effects so intense you can’t handle them. If you don’t feel any immediate buzz after the first sip, it doesn’t mean you should take more. Remember that a cannabis syrup takes at least 30 minutes to start acting, and for novices afraid of ingesting too much, we recommend waiting full 2 hours before taking another dose.

Also, when the high has really kicked in, it’s not the peak yet — the effect is likely to ramp up some more and for quite a while. And try not to add other substances, like alcohol, on top of that. You may not like the combination. And don’t plan any activities where you need to be at the top of your game. The full-body high characteristic of edibles usually makes you way too relaxed to do anything useful.

What Are the Benefits of THC Syrup?

Like any other edibles, syrups are a golden standard for the medical consumption of cannabis products. They provide long-lasting relief and don’t have the downsides associated with smoking.

The longer period of action is also useful to recreational smokers who get ready for a concert, a game, a party, or any other event where you won’t be able to smoke more when the effect wears off. Syrups are also a very discreet way to medicate in public because your sipping a soft drink will never raise eyebrows.

THC Syrup Explained: What Is THC Lean & How to Make It: A brownish soft drink with ice in a tall transparent glass with a fresh marijuana leaf on top

Remove the telltale weed leaf, and your THC drink becomes as innocuous as cola with ice.

Is It Safe?

When talking about the safety of any cannabis product, including this one, it never hurts to stress one important point — no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose. It’s just not possible to consume enough weed for it to have enough toxic effect on your body or to cause any vital function to stop. So don’t confuse regular cough syrup with THC syrup. One can be lethal, the other not.

However, cannabis has its dangers. We don’t advise driving under the influence or playing sports that have an elevated risk of injury. And in any situation, don’t take too much at once because you’ll be spaced out (in a bad way) for hours that will feel like ages. You’ll also be in a helpless state and could get lost or be robbed, raped, or arrested.

The form of consumption itself is much healthier than smoking which involves inhaling dozens of carcinogenic substances and carbon monoxide. The only toxic thing in a syrup could be a flavoring (and only if you’re allergic to it).

Why Did It Become So Popular?

Cannabis syrups may well be a passing fad. Many consumers probably want to feel and look badass by drinking something that resembles lean but is in fact a totally harmless marijuana product. Or maybe the popularity of syrups will endure. After all, people love sweets and sodas, and drinking your cannabis seems to provide a faster absorption than edibles.

One thing is certain: manufacturers will keep on working on cannabis drinks, probably with the stress on nanoemulsions, to give users the same experience of quick but piecemeal inebriation with every new mouthful, the same as with beers and shots.

Popular Pre-Made THC Syrup Brands

Those who have access to legal marijuana — either through dispensaries or online stores — should try one of the following delicious and potent products.

Baked Bros

Baked Bros’ juicy syrups combine real fruit, coconut oil, and 100 mg of THC in one bright-colored bottle. The flavors range from mango to raspberry, and the cannabinoid profile is specifically formulated to make you either happy or stoney or sleepy depending on the strain used. The company prides itself on delivering the exact dose of 5 mg THC with every serving.

Liquid Karma

The Liquid Karma syrups capture the power of nanotechnology by emulsifying every molecule of THC so that a cap of this thick liquid is easily miscible with any drink of your choice. The bottle is huge — 1000 mg of THC — which is enough for making 200 first-timers stoned out of their puny minds. Available in 7 flavors with names that somehow invoke the vibe of California and make your mouth water.

Qualitech’s OG Diggs THC Syrup

Qualitech sells its OG Diggs syrup in a drugstore-looking bottle, intentionally invoking the image of cough medicine. The bottle contains 500mg THC and zero CBD. The syrup is produced from agave nectar, and the strains used include Hawaiian Pineapple, Purple Drip, and Original Cherry Bomb.

THC Syrup Explained: What Is THC Lean & How to Make It: Cannabis-infused oil filtered through a metal strainer

You don't need to buy all these fancy brand-name products but can enjoy your homemade THC lean.

Could It Become a Mainstay in the UK?

Cannabis-based syrups have good potential in the UK and other countries where the plant is still illegal. The main reason is the discreet consumption method which allows you to get high in public while drawing to yourself no attention whatsoever. The other advantage is the relatively low price.

How THC Syrup is Different Than Smoking

With smoking, the onset of the buzz is immediate, or at least it doesn’t take more than a few minutes. It doesn’t last very long either — 4 hours tops and generally only 1–2 hours. Syrup, on the other hand, is a form of edibles, and so it takes at least half an hour to kick in and then doesn’t subside until the last remnants get absorbed from your stomach and intestines. It can be 5–6 hours or even 12. In cases of extreme overdose, the effect can incapacitate the user for a couple of days.

When you ingest your cannabis orally, you also don’t get all those negative effects from inhaling the smoke, such as coughing and irritation or even inflammation of the airways. The smoke also contains carcinogenic and toxic substances and may lead to negative long-term effects after years of consumption.


What is pourable THC syrup?

It’s a thick viscous liquid resembling cough medicine that you can consume by pouring it into a drink or taking a spoonful of it. Its prime ingredient is THC along with other cannabinoids which are dissolved in glycerin or coconut oil and sweetened with sugar. Marijuana syrups are sold at dispensaries with other edibles.

What is Liquid Karma THC syrup?

Liquid Karma is a brand that is available in 7 flavors with names like Strawberry Bliss, Mellow Mango, and Cherry Delight. These delicious cannabis treats are also very potent — each bottle contains 1000mg of THC. You consume Liquid Karma by pouring some into your drink or downing it neat. For your convenience, there is a measuring cap.

What does Liquid Karma do?

Liquid Karma syrups give the consumer a powerful full-body high thanks to 1000 mg THC in every bottle. The use of revolutionary nanotechnology makes sure that this powerful load of cannabinoids doesn’t get wasted and you get all of it when you swallow the syrup or add it to a drink of your choice.

External References

  1. Marijuana's effects on human cognitive functions, psychomotor functions, and personality, The journal of general psychology, Jan 1986
  2. What Is Lean? - National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 13 2020
  3. “Syrup,” “Purple Drank,” “Sizzurp,” “Lean” - National Institute on Drug Abuse, May 2015