Posted by Glenn Beierle on 08/08/2017 in Consumption
Updated on December 6, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Food products are infused with cannabis to combine medicinal properties with a comfortable delivery system. From a medical perspective, food and beverages infused with medical marijuana represent another option for treating patients suffering from debilitating conditions.
Cannabis concentrates can easily be added to food or beverages, and those products can be purchased at a dispensary. Most licensed dispensaries include at least a few edible products on their menu. Beverages like sodas and teas are popular, but combining beer with an alcoholic beverage adds a new dimension to medical marijuana.
What Is Cannabis Beer?
Beer is a fermented drink that uses barley, grain and yeast to create alcohol. The amount and type of hops added determines the flavor of the beer. Craft brewers experiment with various type of hops and other grains to develop different flavor profiles in their beer. Cannabis can be used in place of hops to color the flavor profile of beer.
It’s an interesting marriage between a common alcoholic beverage and a widely popular recreational drug. It’s surprising that cannabis beer took so long to catch on, but it surely has now. Cannabis beer contains the same volume of alcohol as other beers, but doesn’t give the high typically associated with marijuana.
Beverages infused with cannabis are available in most dispensaries. They’re a convenient way of consuming medical marijuana for people who choose not to smoke or have difficulty eating due to their condition. Cannabis beverages are easy to swallow and can be flavored to hide any unpleasant marijuana flavor.
How Is Cannabis Beer Made?
There are many recipes for marijuana beer, but the basic process is the same. A starch is turned into sugar, and that sugar is fermented into alcohol. In traditional beer, barley is the starch that is used, but any grain will work. The amount of starch in the grain determines the ultimate volume of alcohol in the final product.
Hops are traditionally added to the beer at different stages in the brewing process for different effects. They can be included in the original mash by adding to the grain at the beginning of the brewing process. This timing creates a well-balanced beer with little bitter flavor.
To get more bitter flavor out of the hops, you can add them to the mixture after the grains have turned to sugar. At this stage boiling water is used, and the hops may be put directly in the boiling water and remain there throughout the fermentation process.
Hops can also be added to the beer after the fermented mixture is cooled. This process is called dry hopping and tends to result in a more aromatic beer. The addition of hops is pivotal to the taste of the final product.
Cannabis flowers can be added with the hops at any stage in the brewing process. They can also be used in place of hops. The aroma of hops and cannabis is similar, although it can vary based on the strain of cannabis used.
How Does Cannabis Beer Work?
Combining alcohol and marijuana can produce an interesting affect. You’re more likely to get drunk on cannabis beer than stoned, but the combination produces a unique feeling. The content of cannabis beer is different based on the market where it’s offered. Federally approved cannabis beer beverages are made without any THC, which is why they’re legal for sale outside of licensed dispensaries.
Cannabis beer delivers the intoxicating effect of alcohol with a relaxing or invigorating undertone from the cannabis. The cannabis in beer also reduces the hangover effect of the alcohol, as well. Preliminary studies suggest the cannabis in the beer mitigates several of the negative effects of alcohol — it reduces anxiety, inflammation and protects against liver disease.
Although there’s little to no THC in cannabis beer, users can feel the effects of the CBD, which seems to lower blood alcohol levels compared to beer without cannabis. The combined effects of alcohol and cannabis may result in a more pleasant sleep than the passed-out version alcohol can precipitate. And if you wake up without a hangover after a night of marijuana beer-drinking, that’s a bonus.
Best Uses for Cannabis Beer
More research needs to be done on cannabis beer for conclusive proof of its health benefits. It seems to have the same effect as medical marijuana of the same strains. Like other cannabis-infused beverages, cannabis beer seems to deliver the medicinal properties along with some affects from the alcohol.
Cannabis oil seems to mitigate the negative effects of alcohol, making weed beer a socially acceptable means of consuming medical marijuana. Beer is another way of administering a dose of marijuana to relieve your pain, reduce your seizures or calm your anxiety. Trying pairing marijuana beer with pizza the next time you enjoy the favorite combo.
To learn more about the health benefits of cannabis beer, find a marijuana doctor in your area. A marijuana doctor can answer all your questions about cannabis beer and other cannabis infused edibles and beverages. Find out if you qualify for medical marijuana under your state’s program and gain access to the licensed dispensaries in your area.
Beer is just one of the beverages available that is made with cannabis. There are several other ways to administer medical marijuana treatment that might be convenient for you and fit your lifestyle. You don’t have to smoke marijuana to benefit from the healing properties of the cannabis plant.