There’s a lot of innovation happening in the legal cannabis industry, and it’s not just coming from the growers. The legal market is bringing out a lot of innovative ideas. One such innovation is THC drinks! New emulsion technology has made it possible to mix THC into an array of beverages. Now, drink makers like Pabst Blue Ribbon are creating THC drinks, and many others are following suit! Though only 2% of cannabis sales in the US come from drinks, the market is continuing to grow at an exciting pace.
How It’s Made
When you think of consumable cannabis, you usually think of cannabutters or oils infused with cannabis. But what if there were another way?
Cannabis drinks are made in 3 steps: CO2 extraction, short-path distillation, and emulsification.
CO2 extraction is a method that uses carbon dioxide to extract the cannabinoids from the plant.
The short-path distillation process takes the CO2-extracted cannabis oil and turns it into a refined extract.
Finally, emulsification is needed to create cannabis drinks; it’s a process by which droplets of liquid are dispersed throughout another liquid via an emulsifier. The refined cannabis distillate is not water soluble, so a blending agent is added. This blending agent attaches to the distillate, allowing it to dissolve in water, creating a uniform, consistent, and pleasant drinking experience. The end result is a THC drink!
Cannabis Drinks On The Market
Beer companies are getting into the weed game.
Pabst Blue Ribbon, the iconic beer, is now selling a line of non-alcoholic “High Seltzers.” And it’s not alone—other beer and spirit companies have entered this space as well. Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser; Constellation Brands, which makes Modelo Especial and Corona Extra; Lagunitas Brewing Company; and Ceria are all making weed drinks.
These drinks contain varying doses of THC—generally anywhere from 2.5 milligrams to 10 milligrams—but they’re only mixed with water-based drinks like seltzer or soda pop. The mixing of cannabis and alcohol is prohibited in most states that allow cannabis use.
Brightfield Group, a cannabis research agency, estimates that cannabis beverages overall will account for $1 billion in U.S. sales by 2025 despite only making up 2% of the industry right now.
Major beverage players are on the scene, meaning they have lots of money and drink-making experience behind them, and this could potentially transform the industry.
The Future Of Cannabis Drinks
Currently, cannabis drinks are only available at dispensaries in places where cannabis is legal. However, we don’t know what the future holds. Imagine going to the grocery store and finding cannabis drinks in the beer cave! You could potentially even go to a bar and order a cannabis drink on tap. Anticipating all kinds of new flavors, we’re looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for our favorite plant-based drinks. Maybe they will make hot and cold drinks. The future is full of possibilities when it comes to cannabis drinks, and we can’t wait to see what happens next!
As the recreational cannabis movement continues to grow, we’re seeing more and more people drink less alcohol and smoke more weed than ever before. And with major alcoholic beverage producers like PBR getting on board with THC drinks, we have high hopes for the future of this subsection of the industry.
Cannabeverages could be an excellent replacement for alcoholic drinks in the popular market—especially as it becomes more socially acceptable to do so. They provide a similar “buzz” (or lack thereof), are easier to make at home or in public, and can be consumed in a variety of ways—including through edibles and beverages. With such an enormous potential market, it’s no wonder that companies like PBR want to get in on this action!
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