In the current cannabis market, dispensaries sell marijuana for smoking, vaping or eating … but what about drinking? Liquid cannabis would seem like a natural extension of existing products, and there are cannabis drinks available in recreational states, but it’s been a long time coming.
Why? Essentially because oil and water don’t mix. The active ingredients in cannabis in liquid form are lipids, and they don’t blend with water. One industry executive describes early efforts as being sort of like salad dressing; they had to be shaken, and even then the smell and taste weren’t very appetizing.
Now, however, nanotechnology has made it possible to make cannabis oil – which is almost a solid at room temperature – not exactly soluble, but water-compatible. The oil is bombarded with sound waves, enabling the molecules to separate and better mix with other ingredients.
The results include everything from CBD-infused sports drinks to support recovery from a workout to THC-laced drinks that resemble beers or high-end liquors.
One thing you won’t find: drinks containing both THC and alcohol. While that might seem like an interesting combination, the problem is this: nausea and vomiting are the body’s natural response to too much alcohol. THC works to reduce nausea and therefore might mask the effects of alcohol, with dire results.
Most of the largest beer companies have indicated their intent to produce alcohol-free weed beers (Exhibit A: Constellation Brands, owner of Corona and Modelo, invested some $4 billion for a 38 percent stake in Canadian industry leader Canopy Growth), but whether those products ever gain much traction is an open question. In markets where infused beverages are legal, they constitute only 2 to 3 percent of total sales. Anecdotal returns on the beer-type products says there’s work to be done on the dosages, as users often feel they have to drink either far too much or far too little to achieve a comparable high to smoking.
Perhaps people prefer in general to drink their alcohol and smoke or eat their marijuana.