Cannabis beverages are not new. They have been around for years. However, they are finally starting to see a rise in popularity. As a former Dispensary Manager at one of the busiest dispensaries in the Bay Area, I’ve seen the progression that cannabis beverages have gone through. There was a time when these products would just sit on the shelf. There were several reasons for this, in my opinion.
First, most beverages are considered “low dose”, meaning they contain 5mg of THC or less. For a long time, the majority of edible/beverage consumers were “seasoned” cannabis users with a higher tolerance. Edibles were seen as “scary” or “intimidating” to a lot of novice users, as they had heard horror story after horror story of consumers overdosing on edibles (yes, you can overdose on cannabis, just not FATALLY overdose). Even the idea of a 2mg THC beverage was too much for novice consumers. However, as the stigma of edibles has started to disappear, and the concept of “microdosing” has gained popularity, cannabis beverages have seen a resurgence. Second, many beverage companies were not marketing the advantages of their product. Today, the successful beverage companies are doing a great job in promoting the benefits of their product. Finally, many budtenders were not familiar with the advantages and benefits of cannabis beverages, and therefore they were not recommending these products to their customers. Budtenders may not have been consuming beverages themselves, and many budtenders like to recommend products they are familiar with. It also could have been the result of the beverage companies not educating dispensary staff about their product. Today, the most successful beverage companies are doing a fantastic job of making sure both dispensary staff and consumers are educated and excited about their product. All of these changes have helped cannabis beverages begin to rise in popularity, but there is still a long way to go.
As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of advantages to using beverages as your preferred method of consumption over edibles. First is “consumability” and the ability to titrate your dose. Let’s say your edible tolerance is somewhere between 5mg-10mg THC. This means that if you want to consume your cannabis via edibles, you would consume 1-2 pieces of a 5mg dose edible, be it gummy, chocolate, or cookie. You consume that edible, and then you wait. And wait. And wait. Sometimes up to two hours. Sometimes those edibles start to take effect after 20 minutes. The uncertainty of onset makes it difficult to time exactly when you will feel the effects. You may need relief from symptoms you are experiencing quickly, and if it takes the edibles two hours to take effect, you are not getting the relief you need in a timely manner. With beverages, however, the effects can be felt in as little as 10 minutes. This is due to multiple factors. First, most beverages use nano-technology in their production, meaning that the THC molecules are so small that they are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream. In addition, because beverages permeate the entirety of the mouth, they are absorbed sublingually to a greater extent than edibles are. This also leads to more rapid absorption into the bloodstream, and therefore faster onset of effects. Another consumability advantage with beverages is the social aspect. More and more people are abandoning alcohol for cannabis, and cannabis beverages are a natural substitution. If a person decides that they are only going to consume cannabis at the party or social event they are attending, a cannabis beverage is a very discreet way to be able to enjoy drinks throughout the event, without consuming any alcohol. Many cannabis beverage brands, such as Cann and Artet, provide low dose beverages containing 5mg THC or less, meaning that people with a low tolerance for cannabis edibles can still enjoy multiple beverages. Sipping these beverages throughout the event will also allow for a more even, steady onset, as opposed to eating a gummy or two at the beginning of the event, only to sit around waiting for the effects to kick in, and when they do, they can hit all at once.
Another great advantage of beverages over edibles is versatility. There aren’t many things you can do with a gummy or cookie other than just eat it “as is”. Granted, if you’re making your edibles using infused butter or oil, then the sky's the limit in terms of what you can make and consume. Most people, however, are purchasing their products directly from the dispensary, and they are consuming them in the form they were purchased. Cannabis beverages allow for great versatility without much doctoring needed. As a Certified Ganjier and founder of my own company, Fog City Cannabis, I have hosted cannabis beverage Happy Hours as well as “Bubbly Brunches” where I have made craft cannabis cocktails using easy to find ingredients. Due to the versatility of cannabis beverages, there are myriad cannabis cocktails that can be created. It’s fun to get creative with different flavor profiles. At one Bubbly Brunch, we made Bloody Marys using a standard Bloody Mary mix and a cannabis tincture. Using tinctures is a great way to dose out your cannabis easily, while not really adding any additional flavor. That makes a Bloody Mary a great vessel for cannabis, as most of the desired flavor is coming from the mix, not the alcohol (or in this case, the cannabis tincture). When using the brands I mentioned earlier, Cann and Artet, as mixers, you can get a little more creative. Cann, for example, comes in many different unique flavors. Their three staple flavors are Lemon Lavender, Blood Orange Cardamom and Grapefruit Rosemary. These flavor profiles definitely lend to being used as mixers to create some amazing craft cannabis cocktails. Also, with only 2mg THC and 4mg CBD in each can of their beverage, people with a low tolerance can enjoy several beverages throughout an event.
Combine one part fruit juice or soda water with four parts Grapefruit Rosemary Cann Beverage. Shake juice/soda water and Cann beverage in a cocktail shaker and pour into a highball glass over ice.
Simply combine one part chilled sparkling cider or orange juice with one part chilled Blood Orange Cardamom Cann Beverage. The addition of the cardamom really gives this beverage a pop that is lacking in a normal mimosa.
Typically, a Bellini is a beverage that consists of two ingredients; Prosecco and peach puree. In a cannabis bellini, we are simply replacing the Prosecco with a cannabis beverage. For this beverage, you will mix one part peach puree with two parts of your favorite flavor of Cann Beverage. I find that the Lemon Lavender mixes well with the flavor of the peach puree, but you can use any flavor of Cann to make a Bellini that gives you the flavor profile you’re looking for.
For special events (like 4/20!) cannabis consumers are looking for new and fun ways to celebrate. Making a batch of cannabis cocktails for yourself and/or your guests is a great way to create a social atmosphere while getting to try something new. If you’re interested in hosting a Cannabis Beverage Happy Hour or Bubbly Brunch of your own, or if you have any questions about cannabis beverages, please visit fogcitycannabis.com, or reach out to me at email@example.com.