Combining cannabis with food items isn’t a new trend. Often referred to as “edibles,” cannabis has often been mixed with brownies, muffins, chocolates, and other snacks. Some people believe that the trend of edibles started during the hippy era of the 70s. However, the history of cannabis-infused food dates back millennia across various cultures.
There is evidence that ancient civilizations in India, China, and Egypt had their own versions of modern-day edibles. They were used for medicinal, ceremonial, and recreational purposes.
Interestingly, cannabis-infused beverages are also an old practice but haven’t enjoyed the same success as edibles in the West. In recent times, however, these beverages have been recognized and gained popularity.
In this article, we will seek to understand why cannabis-infused beverages have gotten more popular these days. We will also explore the different types of cannabis-infused beverages that exist on the market.
Why Have Cannabis-Infused Drinks Gotten So Popular?
One of the reasons is the fact that infused beverages are seen as a more health-conscious option when compared to smoking or traditional edibles. Additionally, when cannabis is infused with a drink, precise dosing and the incorporation of other ingredients like CBD is easier.
Discretion and convenience are other factors that have contributed to the popularity. It is easier to consume cannabis as an infused drink in public rather than smoking a joint.
Beverages can also be easily stored and consumed in a convenient manner when compared to brownies or other food items, which don’t taste that great when cold.
Many entrepreneurs are focusing on the cannabis beverage market now, and as a result, these products are being promoted more than ever. Brands like MXXN that feature non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages have been covered in popular publications like Thrillist, mg magazine, InsideHook, and more.
In an interview with Forbes magazine, Darnell Smith, the founder of MXXN spoke about their marketing strategy. One of the ways that Smith hopes to create more hype
is by “tapping into cocktail culture.” He also hopes to expand distribution with retailers, a move that will get more people to give cannabis-based beverages a try.
The market is opening up rapidly, and with cannabis regulations on the decline across the country, we are only going to see more such brands.
With that said, what exactly are these drinks? Some of them aim to be non-alcoholic beverages, and some of them are a combination of different cannabis-related compounds. There are a lot of variants, and it can be a bit confusing. Let’s clear the air.
What Types of Cannabis-Infused Beverages Exist?
Cannabis-infused drinks currently fall into three main types:
- THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) infused
- CBD (Cannabidiol) infused
- Balanced THC/CBD infused
Each category provides its own unique experience with differing potential effects and consumption considerations.
THC-infused beverages, as the name implies, contain the primary compound found in the cannabis plant. THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects that people associate with cannabis. That means you get the usual effects of relaxation, mild euphoria, altered perception, and even increased appetite.
THC beverages need to be made with proper emulsification techniques to ensure the compound is distributed throughout the liquid. Nanoemulsion and encapsulation are often used for this purpose.
As with all cannabis-related substances, there are a few questions raised about their safety.
These beverages are a great option if you want to avoid any psychoactive effects. They are usually consumed by those interested in the therapeutic benefits that come with cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant.
When CBD-infused beverages are consumed, the main effects include relaxation and stress relief. CBD-infused beverages also tend to incorporate vitamins and minerals to provide added health benefits.
The benefit of CBD-infused beverages is that they are far more legally available than their THC counterparts. The CBD compound is usually derived from hemp, which means THC levels are low or barely present. As a result, these beverages are a great entry into the world of cannabis-related substances.
Balanced THC/CBD Infused Drinks
As the name implies, these beverages contain a combination of both psychoactive and non-psychoactive compounds. The primary reason for infusing both compounds into a beverage is for the special experience it creates. When THC and CBD are combined, the effects are more nuanced and balanced.
The potentially adverse effects of THC, such as anxiety and discomfort, are mitigated by the combination of these two compounds. The ratio of compounds is often an equal 1:1 of THC to CBD. However, it is possible to find 1:2 or 2:1 ratioed beverages, depending on the experience you are looking for.
Regardless of the type of cannabis-infused beverage you pick, it is a good idea to take things slow initially. It is even more important if this is your first foray into the world of intoxicating substances. People differ greatly in their reactions and tolerance to cannabis, and being extra safe is nothing to be ashamed of.
You should also be aware of the laws in your state. While many states like Colorado have lax cannabis laws, other states like Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, and more do not. In many of these states, infused beverages fall pre-defined under consumption laws. As much as possible, try to consume these drinks keeping your state’s laws in mind.