Cannabis-based beverages have become increasingly popular in recent years and are even becoming available at liquor stores, breweries and bars and restaurants (see here).
More and more people are turning toward cannabis as a way to relax and unwind.
With so many options available on the market, it can be challenging to know what to look for when choosing a cannabis beverage.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of cannabis-based beverages, how to evaluate their quality, and how to determine the right dosage for your needs.
Understanding Cannabis-based Beverages
Cannabis-based beverages come in many different forms, which can vary by package type (e.g. glass vs aluminum can), liquid type (water, fruit inspired, teas, etc) and THC type and quantity.
These drinks are infused with cannabis in the form of either THC or CBD, two of the most common active ingredients found in the plant.
While THC is known for its psychoactive effects (it can give you a buzz), CBD is typically used for its therapeutic properties. CBD beverages were popular in 2018-2020 but most beverage distributors and stores have moved away from them because they don’t sell as well as other categories.
Types of cannabis-based beverages
There is a wide variety of cannabis-based beverages available in the market, each possessing unique characteristics worth considering. Every individual and occasion is distinct, so there is no definitive answer.
Several emerging categories include:
- Lightly flavored seltzers.
- Boldly flavored fruit-inspired beverages.
- Teas and iced teas.
- Alcohol-inspired options like paloma or margaritas.
Since most of the aforementioned categories are familiar to general consumers, the primary aspects to focus on for each type of drink typically revolve around the ingredients, both cannabis and non-cannabis components.
For instance, teas often contain caffeine, which can result in a more energetic buzz. However, this may not be ideal for most people in the evening, as caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns.
Another example pertains to sodas, which typically have high sugar content (30+ grams). Those who wish to monitor their sugar intake should check the label. Significant amounts of sugar are often used to mask the bitter cannabis flavor, so it is advisable for individuals seeking lower sugar options to review all labels.
Difference Between THC and CBD Beverages
As discussed earlier, there are typically two main types of Cannabis-infused drinks: THC-infused and CBD-infused.
THC has psychoactive effects, meaning it can make you feel a buzz. How intense the buzz will depend on the person and the amount of THC.
In contrast, CBD doesn’t have these same psychoactive properties and is typically used by those not looking for an immediate effect.
When choosing a cannabis-based beverage, it’s important to consider whether you’re looking for psychoactive effects or just the therapeutic benefits.
Note: Some cannabis-based beverages may contain a combination of both THC and CBD. These products can impact different people in different ways, again depending on the dosage. Some find that CBD can make them feel sleepy, while others find that it can help with body aches.
Legal Considerations and Regulations
Did you know? Not all cannabis-based beverages are legal in all states.
Before purchasing any cannabis product, it’s essential to research the laws in your area to ensure that you are following all regulations.
It is also important to ensure that the products you’re buying are lab-tested and certified, which can help to ensure their safety and quality.
Many states have strict regulations in place when it comes to cannabis-based beverages.
For example, some states may only allow THC-infused drinks to be sold in licensed dispensaries, while others may require all cannabis products to be labeled with specific warnings and dosage information.
Despite the challenges associated with navigating the legal landscape of cannabis-based beverages, many people find that the potential benefits of these products make them worth the effort.
Whether you’re looking for a way to relax after a long day or to manage chronic pain, there’s likely a cannabis-based beverage out there that can help.
Evaluating The Product Quality
When it comes to buying cannabis-based beverages, evaluating the product quality is an essential step. Here are some things to look for:
Checking for lab testing and certifications
Lab testing can reveal important information about the product, such as the cannabinoid and terpene profile, which can help you to better understand the effects that the beverage may have on your body and mind.
Certifications, such as those from the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), can also provide assurance that the product has been grown and produced using safe and sustainable practices.
Pro tip: Look for lab-tested cannabis that has been certified for factors such as cannabinoid content, potency, purity, and absence of contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, and microbial impurities.
Assessing the source of cannabis
Another essential step in evaluating the quality of a cannabis-based beverage is to assess the source of the cannabis used in the product.
This is more important for beverages that market their product as “full-spectrum” or strain-specific. Because the extraction process can remove many of the non THC constituents, it’s important to also understand the extraction process used for those marketing their beverages as more than just THC.
THC is the ingredient that will get you the buzz. You can reference the lab test to make sure that that’s what you’re getting, and also to verify the other cannabis/plant ingredients that are claimed to be there as well (e.g. terpenes).
Identifying quality ingredients and additives
When choosing a cannabis-based beverage, it’s also important to look for quality ingredients and additives.
The beverage should be made with natural, high-quality ingredients that not only taste great but also have beneficial effects on the body and mind.
Some common ingredients and additives found in cannabis-based beverages include fruit juices, natural sweeteners, and herbal extracts, nootropics or adaptogens.
These ingredients can not only enhance the flavor of the beverage but also provide additional health benefits.
For example, some herbal extracts, such as chamomile or lavender, can help to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Overall, evaluating the quality of a cannabis-based beverage involves considering a range of factors, from the source of the cannabis to the ingredients and additives used.
By taking the time to evaluate these factors, you can ensure that you are buying a safe and high-quality product that meets your needs and preferences.
Determining the right dosage
One of the most critical factors to consider when buying a cannabis-based beverage is determining the right dosage. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Factors affecting individual dosage
The dosage of a cannabis-based beverage can vary depending on many factors, including body weight, individual tolerance, and the type of product being consumed.
It’s important to start with a low dose and work your way up gradually until you find the right dosage for your needs.
Body weight is an important factor to consider when determining the right dosage of a cannabis-based beverage.
Generally, the heavier a person is, the more they will need to consume to achieve the desired effects.
However, this is not always the case, as individual tolerance can also play a significant role.
Individual tolerance refers to a person’s ability to handle the effects of cannabis.
Some people may have a higher tolerance than others, which means they may need to consume more of the product to achieve the desired effects.
On the other hand, those with a lower tolerance may only need a small amount to feel the effects.
Starting with a low dose
When trying cannabis-based beverages for the first time, it’s always a good idea to start with a low dose.
This can help to prevent any unwanted side effects, such as dizziness or nausea.
It’s important to remember that the effects of cannabis-based beverages can take some time to kick in, so it’s best to wait at least an hour before consuming more.
Also, more established beverage companies will use emulsification or nanotechnology to help increase onset speed. Look for this on the label to be aware that you may start to feel the beverage within 15 minutes.
This can help to prevent overconsumption and ensure that you don’t accidentally take too much.
Starting with a low dose can also help you to get a better idea of how the product affects you.
This can be especially important if you plan on using the product for medicinal purposes, as it can help you to determine the right dosage for your needs.
Adjusting dosage based on personal experience
As you become more familiar with cannabis-based beverages, you can start to adjust your dosage based on personal experience.
It’s important to pay attention to how the product affects you and adjust accordingly to achieve the desired effects.
For example, if you find that a certain dosage is too strong, you can try reducing it slightly to see if that provides the desired effects without any unwanted side effects.
On the other hand, if you find that a certain dosage is not strong enough, you can try increasing it gradually until you achieve the desired effects.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with cannabis-based beverages will be different, so it may take some trial and error to find the right dosage for your needs.
Comparing flavors and formats
One of the great things about cannabis-based beverages is that they come in many different flavors and formats.
Consider these when choosing the right product:
Popular flavors and taste profiles
As with any beverage, taste is an integral factor to consider when choosing a cannabis-based drink.
Some of the most popular flavors include fruity, herbal, and spicy options.
Fruity flavors can include tropical fruit blends like mango and pineapple, while herbal flavors may include hints of lavender or rosemary.
For those who enjoy a little spice, options like cinnamon or ginger can add a kick to your drink.
It’s important to note that the taste of cannabis can also vary depending on the strain used in the beverage.
Some strains may have a more earthy or grassy flavor, while others may have a sweeter or fruitier taste.
Carbonated vs non-carbonated options
Carbonated beverages can add an extra fizzy kick, while non-carbonated options can be a more subtle way to enjoy cannabis.
If you’re looking for a refreshing and bubbly drink, a carbonated option may be the way to go.
However, if you prefer a more mellow and relaxing experience, a non-carbonated option may be a better fit.
Ready-to-drink vs mixers and concentrates
Ready-to-drink options are convenient and easy to consume, but may not be as portable in large quantities.
Mixers and concentrates, on the other hand, are easy to carry because they often take less space and have less water (and therefore weigh less).
They can also be a more cost-effective option if you plan on consuming cannabis-based beverages regularly.
When choosing a mixer or concentrate, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully to ensure that you’re using the correct dosage and mixing it properly.
This will help you achieve the desired effects and avoid any unpleasant experiences.
Finding the best brands and retailers
When it comes to buying cannabis-based beverages, it’s essential to find the best brands and retailers. Here are some tips:
Researching reputable brands
Before making a purchase, it’s important to research reputable brands that have a track record of producing high-quality products.
This can be done by looking for brands that have been in the industry for a while and have established themselves as leaders in the market.
Some of the most well-known brands include Find Wunder, Keef Cola, Lagunitas Hi-Fi Hops, and others.
It’s also important to look for brands that have a strong online presence.
This can include a well-designed website with detailed information about their products, as well as active social media accounts that engage with customers and provide updates on new products and promotions.
Positive customer reviews are another key indicator of a reputable brand. Look for brands that have plenty of positive reviews from satisfied customers.
This can be done by reading reviews on the brand’s website, as well as on third-party review sites like leafly or weedmaps.
Reading customer reviews and testimonials
When reading reviews, look for comments on the taste, potency, and overall experience of consuming the beverage.
Positive reviews should mention the quality of the product, its effectiveness, and any unique features that make it stand out.
Negative reviews should be taken seriously and can provide valuable insights into potential issues with the product.
Shopping at licensed dispensaries and online stores
When it comes to purchasing cannabis-based beverages, it’s important to shop at licensed stores that have the necessary permits and certifications to sell hemp derived THC products legally.
This ensures that the products you’re buying are safe, legal, and of high quality.
When shopping online, be sure to read the website’s terms and conditions, as well as their shipping and return policies.
Look for online stores that offer secure payment options and reputable companies like Visa and Mastercard, discreet shipping to ensure your privacy and security.
By following these tips, you can find the best cannabis-based beverages and enjoy a safe and enjoyable experience.
Enjoying cannabis-based beverages responsibly
While cannabis-based beverages can be a great way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis in a convenient and discreet way, it’s important to do so responsibly. Here are some tips:
Pairing with food and other drinks
If you’re planning to enjoy a cannabis-based beverage with food, consider pairing it with complementary flavors to enhance the overall experience.
For example, a citrus-flavored drink might pair well with a light salad or seafood dish, while a more robust drink might be better suited to a hearty steak or pasta dish.
It’s also worth noting that some cannabis-based beverages can have a strong flavor or aftertaste, so it’s important to choose your pairing carefully to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Understanding onset time and duration
It’s also essential to understand the onset time and duration of the effects of the product you’re consuming.
Depending on the type of product and personal factors, effects can range from a few hours to several hours.
For example, if you’re planning to enjoy a cannabis-based beverage before heading out for the evening, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to feel the effects before driving or operating heavy machinery.
Choosing a cannabis-based beverage can be a fun and exciting way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis in a new and unique format.
By considering factors like dosage, product quality, and flavor profiles, you can find the perfect product to suit your needs and preferences.
Just remember to enjoy cannabis-based products responsibly and always follow local regulations and laws for a safe and enjoyable experience.