A growing number of adults are showing support for marijuana legalization and even consuming cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes. A report by Grand View Research estimates that the legal cannabis market is expected to reach $66.3 billion by the end of 2025. The cannabis industry’s untapped potential has driven entrepreneurs to develop innovative cannabis-infused products such as topicals, tinctures, and a variety of edible products.
Cannabis edibles are one of the fastest growing and varied product markets for customers and businesses. The North American edibles market is expected to hit $4.1 billion by the end of 2022, a drastic rise from its $1 billion earnings in 2017. Within the edibles market, low-dose gummies are the most popular product. They’re typically used for relaxation and stimulation. While not as sought-out, cannabis beverages have been an increasingly popular option for consumers.
Cannabis beverages come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. You can choose from cannabis-infused coffee, tea, beer, kombucha, soft drinks, and more. Weed drinks differ from other edibles because their effects come on quicker and are stronger, according to many users. If you’re interested in trying marijuana drinks, here’s an essential guide on what you need to know to consume safely and have a great experience.
What are Cannabis Beverages?
Cannabis drinks are infused with varying ratios of two major cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is a non-intoxicating compound that can be derived from marijuana or hemp plants. Hemp-derived CBD contains trace amounts of THC that won’t get you high. Beverages with THC will produce psychotropic effects depending on a number of factors such as potency of the product.
Cannabis and hemp beverages are typically pre-made and ready to consume, although there are some water-soluble, cannabinoid-infused powders you can mix into other drinks. Hemp drinks are commonly seen in wellness products due to their non-intoxicating nature. Hemp beverages can contain anywhere from a few milligrams of CBD to up to 50 mg. THC drinks can contain anywhere from 2.5 to 10 mg of THC. THC drinks do cause mild intoxication.
Most cannabis beverages don’t have any noticeable residual weed smell or taste, but some drinks do have a slightly weedy aftertaste. Manufacturers have developed processes to remove as much of the pot taste as possible to produce a wide array of products including cocktails, teas, seltzers, coffee, juice, and beer.
Benefits of Marijuana Beverages
Recreational and medical marijuana consumers have more product choices than ever. It can be overwhelming to choose from a diverse product range. We’re here to help. Basically, if you enjoy eating cannabis-infused edibles like gummies and chocolates, you might like consuming pot-infused drinks. Beverage producers infuse your favorite types of drinks with potent cannabinoids, but you can also make your own by adding a few drops of a cannabis tincture to your drink.
Pre-made drinks, however, offer more robust and quick-acting effects than homemade tincture-based drinks. Manufacturers create water-soluble powders of a cannabinoid to add to the liquid. Water-soluble THC is quicker to absorb than an edible that has to go through your digestive system. Instead of waiting an hour or more to feel the effects, cannabis beverages can speed up the onset of effects.
The research on cannabinoids like THC and CBD show that these compounds have enormous medical potential. Most of the fanfare over cannabis beverages has come from anecdotal accounts of their strong and speedy effects. More research needs to be done, but cannabis beverages may be an alternative and convenient way to absorb therapeutic cannabinoids.
Types of Cannabis Beverages
Whether you drink water, tea, sports drinks, or soda, rest assured there’s a brand out there that has infused cannabinoids into your favorite beverage. Cannabis beverages contain THC, CBD, or both. In addition, some brands infuse terpenes into their beverages to pass on a hint of the cannabis strain’s original aroma. Here are a few different types of commercially available marijuana beverages:
- Cannabis coffee can replace your morning cup of joe and produce invigorating effects.
- Cannabis tea combines natural herbs with THC or CBD to elicit relaxation or stimulation, depending on your preference.
- Cannabis water is typically infused with CBD, so you can quench your thirst and get a few cannabinoids in at the same time.
- Cannabis sodas come in a variety of fresh and sweet flavors. Low-dose sodas allow you to enjoy your favorite flavor with a mild buzz.
- Cannabis beer combines cannabis and hops, two plants that are part of the Cannabaceae plant family. Cannabis beer makers remove the alcohol and infuse a small dose of THC to elevate your beer drinking experience.
Consuming Cannabis Beverages
If you’re thirsty enough, it’s easy to drink an entire bottle of cannabis-infused water or sparkling drink. Before you try your first sip of a marijuana drink, though, it’s important to read the directions, serving size, potency, and ingredients on the label. Novice users are advised to start off with a small dose of cannabis before building up to a higher and more effective dose. All users are advised to eat something fat-based with a cannabis beverage to increase the bioavailability of the THC or CBD. This could be anything from adding cream to cannabis coffee to eating a cookie along with your cannabis fruit punch.
Many cannabis drinks will have 10 mg of THC or under, which can cause intoxicating effect for first-time or occasional users. Experienced users can take 15 or 20 mg of THC to experience stronger effects. Beginner THC users can start off by consuming 5 mg or less of THC and waiting a couple of hours to gauge the effects. CBD beverages don’t cause negative side effects unless you drink too much!
Cannabis beverages make up a small portion of the total cannabis market potential. Major beverage producers such as Constellation Brands, Molson Coors, and Heineken are investing billions into infused beverages to stake their claim as key players. Cannabis beverages provide consumers with a relatively quick way to feel the effects of THC or CBD without smoking or vaping. New technology and regulations will shape the future of the cannabis beverage market to reach a wider audience.