Updated on September 3, 2021.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Have you ever traveled to another state and tried cannabis drinks? They are available in states that have legalized adult use (recreational) and available in Canada. You can order them online for home delivery North of the border.
Whether you are celebrating a long weekend, or just enjoying some chill time at home, getting creative in the kitchen is fun. While cannabis-infused beverages are not legal in every state, that doesn’t mean you can’t try them at home.
If you have your medical card, you can purchase some cannabis from your local dispensary for cooking at home. And experiment with making your cannabis-infused wine, ciders, and cocktails at home.
Getting Impaired on Cannabis Beverages Feels Different
Edible cannabis provides a different kind of ‘high.’ The effects on your body and brain after consuming edible cannabis are much different than other intake methods, like smokables, for example. And one of the things you should know is that the uptake of THC is faster with a beverage than an edible.
It makes sense when you think about it. Cannabis drinks that you buy can have special nanoemulsions. It’s a process of distilling THC into tiny particles that can be quickly absorbed. Which also reduces the amount of time to feel the effects after drinking to around thirty minutes. Most food edibles take hours to start.
When you make your cannabis-infused beverages at home, consider how you want to feel after drinking them. For example, if you want to feel relaxed and drift over to the couch or your balcony hammock for a nap, avoid using caffeine in your recipe. Plan on hanging out (or going out) after a couple of drinks? Consider a low sugar caffeine recipe that might deliver the gentle buzz + pep you want before your Uber arrives.
Like smoking cannabis, the psychoactive effect you get will depend mainly on the strain you choose. Decarboxylating a Sativa strain will likely produce that happy, energetic, possibly creative, and talkative mood you want. However, let’s say that you plan to ‘stay in’ and want to create a cannabis-infused wine. Delicious! You may want an Indica hybrid instead for a light sedative effect.
Are THC Beverages Healthier to Drink Than Conventional Alcohol?
Traveling across Canada and the United States, I have personally tried some cannabis beverages. I got to taste a wine in California that was mind-blowingly delicious. And a couple of canned beverages that were like premixed cocktails. Cannabis-infused no-booze margarita? It was as awesome as it sounds.
The buzz that you get from a cannabis drink is different than when you consume alcoholic beverages. And my personal take is that if you are celebrating, cocktails or wine (or even iced coffee!) with THC is more fun. And practical for several reasons.
One of the first things most people appreciate about a THC beverage is that you can consume lower carbohydrate (sugar) drinks. Sure, that’s not a big deal to most people, but for those who have diabetes, finding a glass that is G.I.-friendly (glycemic index) is challenging. If not impossible sometimes.
For people like me, celebrating often means abstaining (which is not fun) or taking a hit on the carbs. Only to wake up the next day feeling crummy with a high blood sugar reading. I felt happy to have a different choice that would not jack up my blood sugar levels.
Alcohol itself is a carcinogen linked to several types of cancers, including liver, esophageal, and stomach. Frequent consumption can also damage kidneys, pancreas, and even bone density. Alcohol isn’t friendly to the human body. Cannabinoids win hands down. After all, we have built-in cannabis receptors. What does that tell you?
Why You Don’t Want to Mix Weed Drinks with Alcohol
One of the most common mistakes that many people make when they are consuming edible cannabis is to under-anticipate the effects. When you smoke or vape cannabis, you start to feel the effects within less than a minute. That wave of happy and potential perma-smile arrives quickly after you inhale.
But edibles are way different. First, some of the cannabinoid content is lost when it is absorbed into the body. For people who have been long-term users of cannabis, that could lower the intensity of the effects. And might warrant using a higher potency edible (or extract) to balance it out.
However, for people who have a lower tolerance for cannabis, the physical and psychological effects of edible (or drinkable) cannabis can sneak up on you. That is because the absorption of THC takes longer. So, there can be a delayed effect, and it may be over an hour before you feel the full impact.
The potential to have too much THC is much ‘higher’ with edibles. And that is because of the delayed effect. People can be tempted to eat more of the edible cannabis and then find themselves uncomfortably high.
If you are exploring drinkable cannabis, stick to one thing for the day. Choose your conventional alcohol beverages or THC-infused homemade cocktails, but don’t try crossfading. But some studies have shown that consuming cannabis before alcohol can reduce intoxication. So, if you are going to enjoy both, try the THC-infused beverages before drinking any alcohol.
Economize on the Cannabis and Buy Seeded Weed for Your DIY Infused Beverages
Top shelf? Sure, if you have the budget for it. But most people know how to save money when they visit a dispensary. And when you plan to be making edibles or drinkables at home, you don’t have to buy the ‘perfect flower.’
Dispensaries offer discounts on seeded cannabis. Most people avoid the stuff because you can’t pack your bowl with it. If you try to smoke seeded weed, it can quickly turn into a loud snap, crackle, and pop like fireworks show in your bowl. It’s kind of scary.
But seeded weed is the perfect choice for making cannabis beverages at home. The reason is that the seeds can also be toasted and ground up. Cannabis seeds may not be relaxing to smoke, but they offer several benefits.
When consumed in edibles, decarboxylated cannabis seeds provide:
Essential amino acids (cysteine, methionine, and lysine)
When you visit your local adult-use or medical dispensary, ask for seeded cannabis. And it doesn’t matter if it is available in shake (loose) or whole flowers (nugs). Roast it then toast it in the cannabis drinks you create in your own kitchen.
While you are at the dispensary, you may want to check for some concentrated terpene extracts. Sometimes they are sold to people who wish to augment THC tinctures with healthy terps. They are also great to add to your homemade THC beverages.
Getting Started and Some Recipes for Cannabis Drinks
If you have never made edibles (or drinkables) before, remember that you will need to decarboxylate the cannabis. That is a simple toasting process that activates the THC. If you skip the decarboxylation step, you will not get the psychoactive effects. In other words, you aren’t going to get a buzz.
Looking for more cannabis drinks and recipes, you can try at home? At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we’ve been curating easy and delicious recipes on our website since 2010. Check out our recipe section for more cool cannabis culinary inspiration.