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Tips for Sipping on your Cannabis

As Marijuana Beverages Grow, Three Reasons You Should Be Drinking Them

Cream with your coffee? Sure. But how about something even better — THC.

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Cannabis marketplaces across the country now offer everything from grams of Sour Diesel to little bags of gummies saturated with distilled THC. And increasingly dispensary display shelves, as well as glass-fronted store refrigerators, are lined with different styles of marijuana beverages as well — everything from water-soluble powders meant for smoothies and hot drinks to sparkling tonics in flavors like kiwi and mango. Coffee pods? Yep. Tea? Yes — high tea, in fact. Stores even sell individual shots of THC-infused drinks.

For wholesale marijuana companies, beverages offer yet another opportunity. Every last sip of soda or lemonade has one ingredient in common — THC, derived from cannabis.

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The beverage market has been expanding at a healthy clip so far in 2017, according to cannabis market research firm BDS Analytics. Between January and August of this year in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, sales grew by 25.5 percent, and dispensaries sold $17 million worth of thirst-quenchers. 

Maybe this solid growth helps explain why one of the largest deals in cannabis so far involved a mainstream beverage company. In October multi-billion-dollar beverage behemoth Constellation Brands, which owns such well-known brands as Robert Mondavi wine and Svedka vodka, took a 9.9 percent stake in Canopy Growth, a publicly traded Canadian company that grows a lot of weed across Canada. Canopy is the largest wholesale marijuana company in the country. News reports said Constellation plans to spend $200 million on developing cannabis beverage brands.

For now, however, weed drinks represent a fairly small nug out of the big marijuana bud. Sales of beverages are just 6 percent of the $476.7 million edibles market, on sales of $26.5 million. Meanwhile, the cannabis market so far this year in California, Colorado, Washington and Oregon alone is $3.76 billion.

Comparative data regarding beverage sales in California is not yet available, but BDS found that between March and September of this year Golden Staters spent nearly $8 million on beverages, and sales of the broad category “drinks,” which covers carbonated and non-carbonated bottled beverages, are rising fast. In March consumers dropped $645,000 on drinks but by September they had spent $1.1 million, representing a boost of about 70 percent. 

Three Reasons You Should Be Drinking THC Beverages

Because You Haven’t Yet

What are you waiting for? You DO drink, right? Cannabis beverages cover nearly all of the bases, minus the ones that contain alcohol — even kombucha. You have already given dabbing a shot. Gummies? Yes, plenty of those. You have puffed on hundreds of strains, tried concentrates from Live Resin to shatter, slathered weed lotions on your elbows and taken THC-saturated pills for sleep. Now is the time to give a drink a shot.

Because You Might Get High Faster

One knock against edibles is the groovy can take too long to take effect. People might like the idea of getting stoned from a lollipop, but they don’t always appreciate the 30 minutes or even an hour it can take for the juiciness to take over. The same sort of wait takes place with some beverages, although the onset for all is generally a fair bit faster. But others are specially formulated to hit the bloodstream quick, rather than getting stuck in traffic while the liver does its thing (which is why edibles take so long). Also, some beverages can have a sublingual effect, in which THC that goes under the tongue enters the bloodstream fast.

Because It Might Be Good For You

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And not just because of the magic plant’s role in that gulp. While the world of edibles contains plenty of healthy(ish) products, including granolas, most of the products do not fall into the health-food category: gummies, hard candies, caramels, chocolates, slices of pie, cookies, brownies. We love them with abandon, but let’s not kid ourselves about the health benefits. Beverages, on the other hand, offer plenty to crow about. Green tea and coffee come packed with antioxidants. Kombucha is a potent probiotic. Water-soluble THC granules can be added to kale smoothies. Good stuff? You betcha’. Cheers.

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