Have you toyed with the thought of adding cannabis to your cocktails? If we’re being honest, there are more than a few of us that may have had a puff or two of a joint while enjoying a beer or cocktail before, but now that many states in the U.S. have legalized some form of marijuana use, the conversation about mixing alcohol and cannabis is entering a new frontier. The difference between mixing your inebriates and creating a mixture that combines them is huge. So let’s take a closer look at what cannabis-infused drinks mean for you, the consumer.
Before you mix up a cannabis-infused cocktail, there are a few things you should know. This is not a matter that should be taken as casually as the average cocktail or smoking a joint. If you choose to combine the two into a single glass, a new level of responsibility and moderation is needed.
A Word of Warning
Most cannabis users know by now that there are two primary compounds found in marijuana: THC and CBD. THC is the chemical that produces the high that many users seek from marijuana, while CBD has no psychoactive effect though this is where the medicinal value lies. While cannabis strains vary in their THC and CBD values, most contain at least some concentration of each chemical.
You know that cannabis can get you high and that alcohol can get you drunk, those are clear facts. Yet, the two cause different reactions within your body and that is where the concern lies.
Those who drink know that liquor can hit you relatively quick. When we talk about cannabis ‘drinkables,’ it will take longer to feel the effects than when it is smoked. The timing is similar to edibles and, depending on your personal metabolism, regularity of use, and other factors, it can take up to an hour or two to feel the high from a cannabis drink.
The cannabis high from drinking can also stick around longer or be more intense than you would expect or necessarily enjoy. On average, five to six hours of feeling high is not uncommon and some drinkers report feeling its effects into the next day. So it’s important to proceed with caution, much like the person that ties one on the night before, sleeps a few hours, and then hops in the car to head to work, the fact that you’re still inebriated can escape you. Catching a little sleep or taking a shower won’t help you sober up.
In his book, “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics,” Warren Bobrow has great advice for easing into cannabis drinks. Overall, the message is to take it low and slow. Essentially, this means a low dosage and a single drink.
The unpredictability of drinking cannabis drinks leads to a few precautions:
When beginning to experiment, do so in a safe environment such your home just in case you do get too high.
– Do not drive, it’s just not cool (or legal).
– Start with non-alcoholic drinks and small dosages of cannabis-infused ingredients such as tinctures, syrups, and creamers.
– Wait! Just like edibles, your stomach needs to absorb the cannabis compounds, so don’t think that you need a second drink after 15 or 30 minutes. Practice patience.
– Limit how many cannabis drinks you have each day. Bobrow recommends playing it safe and sticking with a single infused drink per night.
A Matter of Taste
If you have any experience with cannabis, then you will have an idea of its unique flavor. It will add an herbal undertone to any drink you mix it into, no matter the ingredient you use.
The exact flavor will vary greatly with the strain of cannabis you use. In general, it can be likened to a bright green and leafy, yet floral herb. With alcohol — even in a tincture — it can almost have a sunflower-like flavor.
Cannabis will mix well with a variety of ingredients and most liquors. It’s a surprisingly versatile flavor pairing.
If you would like to taste cannabis in alcohol without homemade infusions or the THC high, Humboldt Distillery’s Humboldt’s Finest Vodka is the best choice to date. It is made from hemp and is THC-free, which is why it is legal in all states, though distribution remains limited.