One of the hottest products in the Hemp Industry are infused beverages. Cannabis-infused beverages come in a tremendous variety of strengths and cannabinoid combinations. Some are sugar free; while others contain fruit juices and plant-based terpenes for “strain specific” effects. These beverages offer a convenient and discreet way for consumers to enjoy the benefits of cannabis while avoiding the undesirable aspects of smoking. In this article, we will explore the advantages of cannabis beverages, delve into the onset of water-solubility, and touch on the nanotechnology being utilized in cannabis extracts.
Why Cannabis Beverages?
Cannabis beverages have gained significant popularity in recent years due to their unique attributes and health benefits. By incorporating cannabis extracts into beverages, manufacturers can offer a more controlled and precise dosage for consumers. The variety of beverage options available, such as teas, sodas, energy drinks, and even alcoholic beverages, cater to different preferences and lifestyles.
One of the most significant advantages of cannabis-infused beverages is the avoidance of harmful by-products produced during smoking. Smoking cannabis releases not just the cannabinoids, but the toxins and carcinogens in the plant material into the lungs, which can be detrimental to respiratory health. In contrast, cannabis beverages are ingested and metabolized through digestion, bypassing the respiratory system entirely.
The Benefits of CBD and THC Beverages:
Unlike traditional cannabis edibles, which can take up to an hour to kick in and two hours for full effect, water-soluble cannabis beverages offer a much faster onset of effects. Consumers may feel the effects within 15-30 minutes. This is similar to the speed of alcohol intoxication.
Many of our clients enjoy the social aspects of getting together with friends for an evening beverage, but want to avoid alcohol. Those wishing to remain completely sober, but relaxed might enjoy CBD beverages. For those who do want a touch of euphoria, they may choose a THC beverage. THC options are intoxicating, but they avoid some of the less pleasant effects of alcohol. They are typically lower in calories (or calorie free), come in sugar free options, are not harmful to the liver, may be more uplifting, and are not associated with hangovers. Just as with alcohol, please consume responsibly.
Cannabis beverages provide accurate and consistent dosing, which is important for both recreational and medicinal users. Each beverage contains a predetermined amount of cannabis extract, making it easier for consumers to control their intake and experience the desired effects.
One of the great advantages of cannabis beverages is that, unlike smoking, you don’t announce to the world you are consuming cannabis. There is no strong odor, no ash cleanup, and no unwanted second-hand consumption. Many of our customers choose to enjoy cannabis this way in social settings so they don’t draw unwanted attention.
Long-Lasting Effects (compared to smoking):
The effects of cannabis-infused beverages typically last longer than inhalation. This is because the active compounds are released gradually as the beverage is digested, providing a more sustained and controlled experience. However, because of the water-solubility of the infusion, absorption is more rapid than edibles. Thus, CBD and THC Beverages are a great “in-between” solution. Onset is typically 15-30 minutes and effects often last 3-4 hours.
Cannabis infused beverages do not carry the strong, sometimes bitter, taste associated with many edible products. Beverage makers are creating products with a huge range of appealing flavors. Seltzer waters, juice infusions, very flavorful soda like beverages and even mocktails often provide the base for cannabis infusions.
How Water-Soluble Cannabis Extracts Work:
People frequently ask us if they can just add their CBD oil to beverages. The answer is that you can, but the effects won’t be the same as drinking an infused beverage. This is because cannabis compounds have limited solubility in water. THC and CBD, the two primary cannabinoids in cannabis, are hydrophobic. This might appear to mean that they are afraid of water. And silly as this sounds, it isn’t far from the truth. Hydrophobic simply means they do not dissolve in water naturally. This limited solubility results in inconsistent and delayed onset of effects when if you simply add oil to a beverage. Additionally, some of the oil may actually simply stick to the sides of your glass, meaning you ingest less in the first place.
So, how do beverage manufactures infuse cannabis compounds into their products? The simple explanation is that they make water-soluble cannabis extracts. These extracts employ innovative technologies to help them dissolve in a beverage. This process may also enhance bioavailability (how much the body can absorb), which may improve the overall experience for consumers.
The basic principle is that they use an emulsifier. These are substances that help stabilize and facilitate the mixing of two or more substances. Oil and water would typically separate into distinct layers (think oil and vinegar dressing). Emulsifiers like soy lecithin, dextrin, and acacia gum are naturally derived and deemed completely safe for consumption. They are used to coat tiny droplets of cannabis extracts and allow them to remain dispersed throughout any liquid. This creates a homogeneous mixture, which means that every sip is the same as the last and no shaking is required. Emulsifiers play a common and vital role in the food industry and are used in products such as mayonnaise, salad dressings, and ice cream, where they improve texture, appearance, and shelf life.
What is Nano Technology and is it helpful?
Nano technology (especially in beverages) is often touted as the greatest thing since the discovery of electricity. We are less excited about it than that. However, we recognize that it may be helpful with solubility and absorption of cannabis compounds in water-based solutions. Notably, we do not believe that it makes any difference at all in oil. This is because for nano tech to work, an emulsifier is required.
Clarification - We Are Not Doing Nuclear Fission
Many websites run by even reputable cannabis companies claim that nano technology breaks apart the cannabinoid molecules. This always makes me chuckle and shake my head at the same time. Molecules are unchangeable short of a chemical reaction or a nuclear reactor. Altering a molecule changes the nature of the substance itself.
No one in the hemp industry is doing that (at least I hope they aren’t). Nano-tech is not nearly so complex. All it does is break up the droplets of cannabinoids. This is like what soap does – it coats the oil on your skin in soap particles and then water washes it away. Creating tiny droplets of cannabinoids allows them to disperse more evenly in a liquid and creates more surface area so your body can absorb more of the cannabinoid. However, a huge caveat to this is that an emulsifier must be employed. If the tiny little droplets are not coated in some kind of emulsifier, they will find each other and, bind back together and separate out of the liquid (like oil and vinegar).
When nanotech is used, some enhanced absorption may occur; certainly, stability and homogeneity (every sip is the same) may occur. However, the simple employment of a good, safe emulsifier seems to accomplish the same thing. The bottom line is while we certainly don’t think nanotechnology is harmful, it may not be all that helpful either (except as an appealing marketing claim).
So, Should you Drink Your Cannabis?
Cannabis beverages are giving people an exciting and tasty way to consume cannabis. They provide a safer and more accessible alternative to smoking. The benefits of these beverages, including precise dosing, discreet consumption, and longer-lasting effects, have contributed to their rising popularity among consumers.
As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, cannabis beverages are poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of cannabis consumption, attracting new users, and further normalizing the plant's integration into modern society. However, it is essential to remember that the use of cannabis, regardless of the form, should always be approached responsibly!
Here at Blue Lotus, we are working to expand our beverage selection. Look for additional information in the coming weeks. Feel free to stop in, give us a call (407) 235-0653 or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.