Seedy smoke shops run by the neighborhood hippie are being replaced with sleek dispensaries staffed with knowledgeable “budtenders.” Entrepreneurs are looking beyond brownies and bongs and getting creative with high-end edibles, craft cannabis tours, and even herbal drinks.
That’s right – you can add “sipping” to the list of ways to enjoy the benefits of weed. From infused wines to health-boosting juices, here’s how to enjoy cannabis in liquid form.
1. Juice It
Health-boosting juices can be made even greener by adding raw cannabis leaves, which experts believe may improve immune system function and have anti-inflammatory properties. The key here is to use the freshest buds possible, sourced straight from a grower – nothing dry or cured. And because you’re using raw product, you don’t need to worry about actually getting high. According to Samantha Miller, president and chief scientist at cannabis-testing lab Pure Analytics, “it takes a minimum of everyday use to feel the benefits”.
2. Just Add Wine
The Denver-based Cannabis Tours company has launched a Wine and Weed jaunt in California’s Bay Area. Those who partake in the tour visit bud grow facilities and dispensaries, and sample traditional wines. Then visitors are given the chance to partake in the form of cannabis-infused wines, like those from CannaVines, a biodynamic vintage blend made by steeping raw cannabis in fermenting grape juice. Another California winery, Rebel Coast, has released a non-alcoholic version infused with THC, promising a buzz without the hangover.
3. Heady Beer Takes On A New Meaning
With concerns across the alcohol industry that legal weed could adversely affect sales, it’s no surprise beer companies are also getting in on the act.
A slew of CBD- and THC-infused beers from breweries of all sizes all over the country are in the works or on the shelves. California-based Lagunitas Brewing Co. partnered with Sonoma-based AbsoluteXtracts for its SuperCritical IPA, which is brewed with terpenes, or fragrant oils, from cannabis plants. The duo’s also doing hops-based cannabis cartridges for vape pens) Constellation Brands, which owns Corona and Modelo, has invested $4 billion into Canadian medical marijuana company Canopy Growth Corporation and has also revealed plans to release a cannabis beer. Some, like Colorado-based Ceria Beverages, are brewing up non-alcoholic versions that get you buzzed without getting you drunk.
4. Shaken or Stirred
Denver-based self-styled “budtender” Andrew Mieure runs Top Shelf Budtending, which focuses on the classy side of cannabis consumption. Mieure and his team host private events and even weddings during which he and his team infuse, sprinkle, and pipette drinks with various tinctures and strains to create mocktails, tailoring the dosage to each individual.
“Guests that have consumed alcoholic cocktails oftentimes have their favorites. These smell and taste profiles can oftentimes be very closely replicated with vegetable juice, fruits and herbs,” explains Mieure, adding that they never add more than 5mg of THC per drink.
Bars are also seeing green. In L.A., vegan Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre was one of the first to craft cocktails with terpenes and CBD (which doesn’t get you stoned), while Prank Bar serves a range of libations featuring citrus terpenes, with or without booze.
5. Tea Time
Bringing a whole new meaning to “high tea”, Kikoko is a line of cannabis-infused herbal teas tailored to specific concerns. One of a growing number of products aimed at the female market, Kikoko’s blends include varying levels of THC and CBD in order to improve mood, decrease pain, or even increase sexual desire.
Made from weed grown in California, and sold at dispensaries across the state, these organic teas are among a raft of new products challenging the stoner stereotype.