When someone mentions edibles, your mind likely goes straight to cannabis brownies or cookies. But the word “edibles” actually refers to all cannabis-infused food, including beverages. Liquid edibles date as far back as 2000 B.C. in India. During the traditional Hindu festivals of Holi, Janmashtami, and Shrivratri, Hindus infused cannabis flowers, leaves, and stems into a dairy ingredient to make bhang, which they would drink to calm the mind for meditation, purify the body, and cleanse the soul of sins. In fact, Bhang is the name of a popular chocolate edible company.
While cannabis beverages have been around for thousands of years, the evolution of drinkables into the 21st century has taken liquid edibles to remarkable levels.
What are THC and CBD Drinks?
THC and CBD drinks are beverages infused with cannabis and are also known as “liquid edibles” or “drinkables.” Beverages infused with THC are psychoactive, which means they will make you feel high, while drinks infused with CBD are intended to help you relax without feeling intoxicated.
Unlike smoking or vaping, which both deliver cannabis effects almost immediately, edibles have to go through your digestive system to take effect. Unfortunately, there’s no way to pinpoint exactly how long it will take for that to occur. According to a study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information in 2016 on the subject of cannabis edibles, “Weight, metabolism, gender, and eating habits also contribute to how soon and for how long someone will feel intoxicated following oral ingestion.” The study goes on to say that the effects could take between 30 and 90 minutes to occur, but last much longer than the effects of smoking or vaping, with a peak occurring two to four hours after ingestion.
Because edibles affect everyone differently, it’s best to approach with the rule of “start low, go slow.” This is especially important for THC-infused drinks, as drinking too much at once could make you feel sick. There’s a little more flexibility with CBD since feeling high is not a risk, but it’s still important to practice moderation.
Types of THC-Infused Drinks
From flavored waters, seltzers, coffee, tea, and soda, THC-infused drinks have something for every taste. THC beverages can be mood-specific (sativa, hybrid, or indica) or even taste and smell like your favorite cultivar.
The bottle or can should clearly show the amount of THC milligrams inside the full container. There may also be a label stating how many doses are in the container, which is important to know if you’re a beginner. The industry-recommended single dose of THC is technically 10mg. However, if you’re new to cannabis, 10mg of THC is a lot to consume at once. We recommend a first dose much lower than that — no more than 5mg to start, or even lower if you want to play it very safe (and we recommend always playing it safe).
|THC content per dose||What to expect||Who it’s for|
|1–2.5mg|| || |
|2.5–10mg|| || |
|30mg+|| || |
You may have noticed that we did not mention THC-infused alcohol. Currently, there are laws restricting the development of alcoholic beverages that contain the psychoactive THC. This is because the mixture of alcohol and cannabis increases the intensity of both. Most, if not all, cannabis professionals will advise you not to combine the two, especially in high doses, as mixing them will often cause you to become anxious or vomit as a result of “spinning.”
Types of CBD-infused Drinks
Unlike the THC-infused drinks, CBD-infused drinks have room to be more creative and use more ingredients. This is because CBD is sourced from hemp, which is a cannabis plant, but is very low in THC. So low that even if consumed in large quantities, it will not make you feel high. The very low-THC profile of the hemp plant is what has made it the perfect herbal infusion for waters, sodas, juices, tea, coffee, and even alcoholic beverages such as beer and spirits. In fact, hemp and beer go very well together because cannabis and hops are in the same plant family.
Although CBD will not get you high, it may make you feel tired or lethargic. As with any cannabis product, it’s recommended that you practice moderation, especially if you’re in the company of others or if you’re planning to drive.
How to Shop for THC and CBD Beverages
The first step in shopping for THC and CBD drinks is to find out if the dispensary you plan to go to carries cannabis beverages. If their menu is available online and you can browse through the brands they carry, do some research on the brands and check out their reviews. Some review points to look for include:
- Whether the products are potent (if they deliver the desired effect)
- What they taste like,
- How long they last after opening (shelf life is important if you are a beginner or if you prefer to microdose or use cannabis very sparingly)
Once you’re in the dispensary, ask your budtender for as much information as you need to make a decision about drinkables. They may have specific brands or certain products to recommend based on exactly what you want. You can always lean on your budtenders for education and guidance — they are there to help you.
Can you Make THC- and CBD-Infused Drinks at Home?
While it is possible to make your own cannabis-infused drinks at home, it’s not recommended. There are certain rules and regulations imposed on the brands and their cultivations that produce cannabis-infused beverages and other products in order to guarantee their safety for application and consumption. Without these safety measures in place, you could accidentally put yourself or someone else at risk.
How to Enjoy Your Cannabis Drink Experience
If you’re curious about cannabis-infused drinks and have the urge to try something new, ask our Happy Valley Hosts for recommendations. As long as you’re informed about what to expect with drinkables and you’re careful not to over-consume, you could discover your favorite new product.
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