Cannabis Infused Beverages: What You Should Know Before Taking A Sip

When you want to quench your thirst, you might not think of reaching for a sip of cannabis, but that’s quickly changing in Michigan and around the U.S. Curious about cannabis infused beverages? This guide explains what they are, how they work, and why you might want to give them a try.

What’s a cannabis infused beverage?

A cannabis-infused beverage is any drinkable product that contains activated cannabinoids ready to be consumed right out of the container. When consumed this way, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) absorbs into your bloodstream through your mouth, esophagus, and stomach tissue. Cannabis infused beverages generally take about 30 minutes to digest, enter your circulation, and begin to take effect.

Beverage options include sparkling waters, flavored seltzers, juice-based drinks, mocktails, tonics, kombuchas, sodas, and much more. There are also tinctures, liquids, and powders available that can be mixed into beverages to create your own cannabis-infused drinks. No matter your preferences, there’s an option for you!

Why are activated cannabinoids so important to cannabis infused beverages?

Activated cannabinoids are those that have gone through a process known as decarboxylation, or the exposure of cannabis to low levels of heat to change cannabinoids from their acidic form into their activated form. For example, THC-A turns into THC once decarboxylated. Without the decarboxylation process, you won’t feel the effects of cannabis.

How much THC is in a cannabis beverage?

Cannabis-infused beverages vary significantly in potency. While some low-dose options offer as little as 2mg THC, higher-dose drinks can contain much more. The legal limit for cannabis-infused beverages in Michigan currently stands at 10mg THC per beverage and 100mg THC per package for medical and adult use. 

What about CBD beverages?

Just as the name implies, CBD beverages are drinks containing the phytocannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD). Unlike THC-infused beverages, CBD beverages are non-intoxicating, meaning they won’t make you feel high. CBD-infused beverages may still offer therapeutic benefits, though, and are generally intended to aid in relaxation. While some CBD products may contain 0.3% or less THC, this amount is not enough to produce the same type of intoxication that a high-THC cannabis beverage would.

Keep in mind that there are CBD beverages that come from high-THC marijuana and some that are made from CBD that comes from industrial hemp. If you see CBD beverages sold at health food stores, convenience stores, and other places outside the dispensary, they’re made from industrial hemp.

Why would you drink your cannabis?

Whether you don’t want to smoke or don’t want to feel out of place at a party, the following are some common reasons for trying cannabis beverages:  

  • Fast acting: If you’re a fan of edibles but want a faster-acting option, cannabis drinks may be the thing for you. Cannabis-infused beverages generally absorb faster and take effect more quickly than other types of edibles.
  • Alcohol alternative: If you don’t want to drink but want to blend in at a gathering, a cannabis-infused beverage is an excellent alternative.
  • Flavor: Cannabis beverages offer various flavor options that appeal to any taste. This also makes them perfect for kicking off your shoes at the end of the long work day and sitting down for a different kind of “cold one.”
  • Discretion: Cannabis infused beverages offer an easy way to consume that can be very appealing if you enjoy feeling high, but don’t want to break out a joint or a vape. Bring a cannabis-infused beverage with you on your next beach trip or barbeque to inconspicuously sip your cannabis.

Thanks to these benefits, demand for cannabis-infused beverages is booming in Michigan and beyond. According to a Market Analysis Report, the cannabis-infused beverage market is projected to be worth $2.8 billion annually by 2025

How do cannabis infused beverages stay mixed?

Oil and water don’t mix. So how do cannabinoids, a fat-soluble substance, stay mixed in liquid? The answer is thanks to science. 

Phytocannabinoids such as THC or CBD tend to cluster up when mixed into liquids. That means they naturally don’t distribute evenly in liquid, which makes it harder to predict how much you’re consuming. To prevent this clustering, cannabis-infused beverages are created through a process known as nano-emulsification. 

A common process in the food and beverage industry, nano-emulsification was recently adopted by the cannabis industry as a method of blending oil and water to create homogenous beverages. Nano-emulsification ensures that each serving contains equal amounts of cannabinoids for a consistent, predictable experience. It also helps to increase the bioavailability of cannabinoids in infused beverages, improving absorption and shortening the time it takes for the effects to kick in. 

Cannabis infused beverages are new in Michigan

Michigan announced in April 2022 that it would begin allowing cannabis-infused beverages in the state. These products must gain agency approval and must be tested by an independent testing lab for potency and contaminants before heading to market. You’ll find cannabis-infused beverages from Tonic available exclusively at our Iconic Wellness locations in Gaylord and Lowell, and they’re available at Iconic – Sturgis as well.

Sip your cannabis with certainty 

Ready to try a cannabis-infused beverage? Head to Iconic Wellness & Provisioning to pick up something new. Sign up for rewards to get points on your next purchase!

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