Cannabis drinks are some of the most convenient ways to dose cannabis. They’re affordable, tasty, and you know exactly how much THC you’re taking! Not only that, but cannabis drinks also tend to have a shorter onset of effects compared to other forms of edibles
In spite of their benefits, many people are still hesitant to try them out or are just plain ignorant of their existence.
So, do cannabis drinks deserve all their hoopla? Should you start drinking your weed instead of eating? You can find the answers to all these questions and more right down below!
What are Cannabis Drinks?
A cannabis drink is a beverage infused with THC or CBD found from cannabis plants, hemp plants, or both. Depending on the cannabinoid used to create the infusion, the drink may have varying effects.
For instance, something infused with hemp will be more likely to help you relax, given the high concentration of cannabidiol (CBD). On the other hand, plant material with lots of THC will probably give you the “high” marijuana is known for.
Because of these differences, cannabis-infused beverages have had many ceremonial and medicinal purposes for millennia.
For example, consider the drink “bhang.” Communities in India have consumed bhang for thousands of years, especially during the religious spring festival, Holi. They make the drink by drying, grinding, and soaking most cannabis plant material
The best bhang comes from female cannabis plants since these are known for having higher cannabinoid levels, particularly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). (Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds in the plant.)
Apart from its ceremonial uses, bhang is also a fundamental component of Ayurvedic medicine. Practitioners use it to heal various sicknesses and symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and pain.
Today, cannabis-infused drinks vary much more widely and have made their way over to Western cultures.
Admittedly, the market growth has been a bit slow in Canada. After all, the country only legalized cannabis-infused drinks in December 2019.
In any case, people view cannabis drinks much more casually nowadays. Cannabis beverages are rarely treated with the same social significance in many places, and you can buy them easily at an online weed store or make them at home yourself!
Plus, drinks with THC and CBD are excellent for symptomatic relief. Studies show that a 1:1 THC: CBD ratio helps soothe pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and protects nerve cells!
What do Drinks Infused with Cannabis Taste Like?
What your cannabis drink tastes like depends on its ingredients. Unlike traditional bhang, cannabis beverages today typically contain more elements than the plant material alone. For instance, you buy infused teas and sodas.
In some places, you might even be able to find tequila or vodka infuse cocktails – some companies even make cannabis-infused wine! IIn this case, your drink would taste like either of these spirits with just a hint of the earthy, grassy, oddly sweet flavour you’ve come to expect from cannabis. Just be careful to not get crossfaded!
On the other hand, some cannabis products are heavily flavoured.
An infused sparkling water or tea might be naturally or artificially flavoured with fruits, sugar, or artificial flavouring. So, your drink might only taste fruity or another flavour the producer intended. Some companies have mastered the art of masking the cannabis flavour entirely.
All this is to say that having cannabis in your drink does not necessarily dictate its taste. There are countless recipes for making beverages that can either hide or enhance the herb’s presence.
Here are a few of our favourites for you to try and learn more about!
How Strong are Cannabis Drinks?
Like the taste, the strength of the cannabis beverage depends on how much THC has been infused. Since THC is fat-soluble, there needs to be at least one kind of “fat” inside the drink for it to properly bind. This fat can take the form of various food oils such as rapeseed that are infused with THC before being added to the drink.
Companies that sell ready-to-drink cannabis beverages will have varying cannabinoid concentrations, ranging from 0.05-2 mg of THC or 10-20 mg of CBD a can. Be sure to look at the label to ensure you’re not buying something too strong for you.
Most dispensaries will offer drinks with a maximum THC content of 5mg to 10mg. However, you can find stronger weed drinks as well, with some offering 1000mg of THC per bottle!
Obviously, this isn’t something you’d want to drink in one sitting, but you always have the choice of downing something a bit more potent if you’re looking for an extra kick!
How do Cannabis Drinks Work?
One of the biggest differences between cannabis edibles (which includes drinks) and herbal cannabis is how they behave in the body.
When you ingest delta-9-THC (aka, THC), it goes through a process known as the “first-pass effect” in the liver. This mechanism breaks down THC, reducing the amount of the compound the body can use by the time it spreads through your system.
This effect is mostly associated with the liver since that’s what scientists call a “major site of drug metabolism.” However, it can also happen in the lungs, blood vessels, intestines, and other tissues that can break the chemical down, or “metabolize” it.
After delta-9-THC is metabolized, it becomes 11-Hydroxy-THC or 11-OH-THC. 11-OH-THC is a metabolite of THC created by the human liver it metabolizes cannabis. After its conversion, the metabolite travels to the brain. There, it can more easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier to work its effects.
In other words, it hits harder and way more easily. One of the main differences between 11-OH-THC and regular THC is that the former is magnitudes stronger than the latter.
This can be bad for drinks with THC.
The effects can take a while to set in, so people might mistakenly drink too much, wondering why they’re not feeling anything. Eventually, it ends up in an overwhelming high – otherwise known as a green out.
On the other hand, some might appreciate the first-pass effect for medical reasons or when using CBD.
Either way, exercise caution when consuming cannabis-infused drinks, especially if you’ve never eaten (or drank!) infused edibles. The heightened effects can interact with medications and may cause unexpected issues if you’re not careful!
Medicating Made Easy
Cannabis drinks are an underappreciated segment of the cannabis market and for no good reason other than the fact that most people don’t know they exist! With that being said, cannabis drinks present an easy, accessible and quick way to medicate with cannabis.
If regular edibles aren’t working for you, consider giving weed drinks a try! We personally think our edibles are better but hey, it’s a free country!