Many countries, including Canada and many U.S. states, have legalized pot use for medical or recreational purposes. Have you considered adding it to your cocktails? Cannabis drinks are not just about getting high. A lot of marijuana users are interested in the medicinal benefits.
Mixing up a cannabis-infused cocktail is not as simple as throwing some weed into your favorite drink. Although an alcoholic drink, a joint, or CBD oil can affect us differently than other substances, they are not as risky in absolute terms. If you choose to consume alcohol, it is important to follow these guidelines so that you can be responsible and moderate.
THC and CBD
There are two main compounds found in marijuana: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC creates the marijuana “high,” while CBD is used for medicinal purposes.
Marijuana contains varying amounts of THC and CBD compounds as well as other chemical compounds. CBD is derived from hemp, a plant in the cannabis family that does not contain THC. Products with CBD bars and oil are often made from hemp-sourced CBD. However, there are also cannabis products containing both compounds, which are derived primarily or in whole from cannabis.
Marijuana and Alcohol Precautions
The facts are that marijuana will make you high and alcohol will make you drunk. Both are sedatives, and there may be some concern because they have different effects on the body.
Those who drink know that liquor can quickly catch up to you. Drinking or eating cannabis “drinks” takes longer to feel the effects than smoking marijuana. It can take up to two hours for a person’s metabolism and frequency of use to feel the effects of marijuana-infused drinks. The feeling from drinking alcohol may last longer or be more intense than you would at first expect. Professionals have even reported some people to feel high for up to 6 hours after they drink, and some report that their level of paranoia is not typical of normal marijuana use. THC generally produces more intense effects than CBD, but some people experience different effects with an all-CBD cocktail.
Within the bartending community, there is a concern and conversations about serving cannabis cocktails. The majority of CBD oil users with its natural taste don’t use it for any other reason. Though laws are in flux, it is illegal to combine cannabinoids and alcohol for commercial purposes, whether at bars or in alcoholic products like beer, liquor, and wine. Cannawine, a cannabis-based product, is brewed using hemp seeds for flavor.
Starting Your Canna Drink Experience
Drinking weed isn’t as easy as drinking a glass of wine. Using different strains of marijuana or types of CBD, and drinking different types of drinks will impact your body in various ways. Drinking anything can have an array of effects on your body or no effect at all.
Warren Bobrow’s new book, “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics,” is a valuable resource for learning more about this cannabis-based drink. Bobrow is well-experienced in mixing cannabis and alcohol, making him the go-to “authority” in the canna cocktail world. When speaking with him, you can tell he’s knowledgeable about this topic, so anything he says should not go unheard.
The overall message is to take it slow. Due to the unpredictability of cannabis drinks, Bobrow offers these precautions:
Consult with medical staff to see what dosage is appropriate for you. It can be as simple as Bobrow’s Turkish coffee recipe, which contains a dollop of cannabutter in a take on Vietnamese coffee. To continue easing into it with minimal side effects, you can also add a dose of CBD tincture to soda or drink cannabis-infused tea.
Bobrow’s book is good for finding recommendations on cannabis cocktails, but it will take time to experiment with these recipes and see what has the desired effect. Do not stray from the recipe or overpour alcohol or weed ingredients until you know how they affect you.
Drink your first cannabis drink at home, or in a safe environment if you’re not sure what level of intoxication you’ll achieve. Do not drive or you will be arrested and it’s unsafe.
Wait! Just like edibles, your stomach needs to absorb the cannabis compounds before you can drink more alcohol, so don’t think that you need a second drink after 15 or 30 minutes. Practice patience and give it a few hours.
For the whole day, do not have more than one cannabis drink per person in the household. Bobrow recommends playing it safe by sticking with a single infused drink per night.
When Drinkables Are Too Much
Bobrow passed on an anxiety-relieving trick during a recent interview. If you have too many drinks and find yourself feeling anxious, try drinking some fresh lemon juice or chewing on peppercorns.
Creating Cannabis-Infused Mixers
Cannabis-infused drinks are often made with cannabis oils that include cannabinoids, like THC. Many of these may be made at home, though the potency and dosage required will vary with each batch. Dispensaries can provide these ingredients and may have a better ability to control potency.
For cannabis to mix well in drink ingredients, it needs to be decarboxylated. Compared to most drugs, marijuana only becomes active with heat. Smoking is often the best option for it because of this property. Decarbing can be an easy process depending on your kitchen setup. It, however, is a pungent and popular cooking method. If you are worried about leaving a strong odor for your neighbors or other visitors, find an alternative method involving less odor.
After decarbing, you can mix up a variety of drink mixes to add to your drinks.
Cannabis-infused liquors are created in a similar way to other homemade liquor infusions, but they require heat. Bobrow’s book contains tips for the process and recommendations for strain-liquor pairings.
Cannabutter, cream, or syrup: These are popular ways to drink cannabis medicine in any beverage. When you mix cannabis with lecithin, it boosts your body’s ability to absorb the compounds in marijuana more quickly.
Cannabis tinctures and oils are popular among medical marijuana patients. THC and CBD content are much different, so tinctures with only CBD or just THC are available. Tinctures can pack quite the punch, so one drop is frequently sufficient for drinking.
Like the bitters often used in bars, cannabis bitters are also very concentrated and mostly require a few dashes to deliver their full flavor.
How Do Cannabis Drinks Taste?
If you already know cannabis then you understand its unique flavor. No matter the cannabis ingredient, it adds a latte undertone to any drink you mix it into.
The exact flavor and aroma of the marijuana will depend on the strain chosen. The taste of chamomile can most easily be described as a bright green and leafy, floral herb. Alcohol, even when it is contained in a tincture, can have a sunflower-like flavor.
Grilling with cannabis is a surprisingly versatile flavor pairing that combines well with a variety of condiments and most liquors. Brews often taste amazing with fruits, cream, and sweets like chocolate.