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Aug 21, 2021

Cannabis-Infused Beverages, Explained: What to Know About Drinkables

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You’ve successfully dabbled in edibles. Maybe you’re a seasoned smoker and occasionally dab, too. A vape pen is always within reach. Now, you’ve interested in trying drinkables, aka, cannabis-infused drinks. And you wouldn’t be alone – the market for drinkables is growing as more consumers are introduced to the idea. But, what exactly are they?

Humans have been creating cannabis-infused beverages likely as long as they’ve been making edibles of any kind. Simply put, a drinkable is a liquid substance meant for sipping (as opposed to tinctures, which you would place under your tongue or in your mouth via a dropper) infused with cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD). They’re difficult to create successfully due to THC, CBD and other cannabinoids being fat-soluble and better to mix with oil rather than water, and it’s illegal to combine alcohol (a better-suited carrier) with cannabis for a beverage.

How are cannabis-infused beverages made, then?

Dosage is particularly important for cannabis beverages. For novice manufacturers or home-brewers, the problem that tends to happen is that the cannabis oil and water separate, making a beverage that’s – well – not only less than tasty, but also with each sip containing differing amounts of cannabinoids.

One way around this is by making cannabis-infused milk drinks, like lattés and milkshakes. (Remember that cannabis is fat-soluble.) For those making THC or CBD seltzers and beers, you’ll need to properly emulsify the cannabis oil using specialized technology.

Are cannabis-infused beverages healthier than alcoholic ones?

This is entirely dependent on what is meant by “healthy.” With any mind-altering substance, whether it be cannabis, alcohol, or prescription medication, risks are involved – that’s why it’s important to always consume with caution. However, you cannot overdose (at least to a deadly degree) with cannabis as you can with alcohol, and there are much less linked side effects. Another consideration is that alcohol is high in empty calories, meaning there is no nutritional value. More research is needed into the long-term effects of cannabis consumption, but until then, the decision is up to you.

What are the legal restrictions of cannabis-infused beverages?

As stated above, manufacturers cannot combine alcohol with cannabinoids to create a hybrid beverage. In January 2021, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency released guidelines for manufacturers on cannabis-infused beverages, meaning we should be seeing them in our local dispensaries and provisioning centers very soon. The state has outlined that these drinks will need to meet rigorous standards, including safety and homogeneity.

Until then, you could always try following the many cannabis-infused beverage recipes available. Remember to consume responsibly!

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