At one point, infused beverages fell under the umbrella of edibles. And while you still can find drinks considered edibles, the sector can certainly stand on its own two feet now.
Today, the drinkables sector boasts an array of drinks from tea, coffee, and sparkling water — some being developed by the world’s top alcoholic beverage creators. Products span both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, although some jurisdictions are banning the former.
Thanks to various methods of infusion, the drinkables market should only continue to grow as it meets the specific demands of more and more consumers. In addition to THC and CBD, this includes the likely focus on cannabinoids like CBN, CBG and others.
That said, access varies within each region due to local and federal regulations. Oregon, for instance, banned cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks — including those including only CBD — as of January 2020.
What Makes Cannabis Drinkables So Popular?
Slower Onset, For Now
Unlike smoked cannabis, you usually won’t feel the effects of a drinkable right away. Most of the time, you should expect to feel something between 30 to 90 minutes after you’ve had your drink. The peak effect may only occur after two-to-four hours.
That said, the industry has made strides to shorten the onset time of beverages. Some companies now boast that you can feel the effects of their products in around 10 minutes. The benefit of a slower onset may one day become a selling feature and less a fixture in cannabis drinkables.
Longer Lasting Effects
The wait is worth the reward with drinkables. Like an edible, you’ll need to wait a bit longer for the effects of your THC or CBD. When you do begin to feel the results, they should last much longer than smoked or other products. With drinkables, you can expect to experience its effects for anywhere from four to eight hours on average. This might make drinkables, like edibles, preferable for medical cannabis patients seeking longer-lasting results.
Cannabis edibles creators have gotten much better at creating an even distribution of cannabinoids across their products. That wasn’t always the case, however. Not too long ago, it wasn’t surprising to find a batch of brownies suffering from uneven distribution. All too often, you could find one piece double-dosed while another in the batch had only miniscule amounts of cannabinoids. As such, some states have required companies to ensure even distribution of their products.
Due to the more easily mixable properties of liquids, that isn’t nearly as much of a concern. Instead, you can consume your beverage, knowing you’ll get more or less the same dose with each sip.
May Help With Sleep
While this is not a universal result, many anecdotes suggest a good night of sleep with cannabis drinkables. That is, as long as you are in a proper spot for sleeping and aren’t wound up with anxiety or similar emotions.
Be aware of new developments from continued research. As one recent study found, THC may decrease sleep latency while it could also hinder the quality of sleep over time.
Where to Find Cannabis Drinkables
Buying cannabis drinkables varies depending upon your location and what you want to buy. If you are in a legal adult use cannabis market in the United States, then you can purchase infused drinks at dispensaries in most states. Those looking to order their products from out of state, however, aren’t going to be able to participate.
Although hemp became legal on a federal level in the United States in 2018, the FDA made clear recently that adding even hemp-derived CBD to food or drink products remains illegal — at least when it crosses state lines.
In Canada, the legalization of recreational cannabis did not originally include drinks, edibles and many other products. That changed in late 2019 and early 2020 (depending on which Canadian state), and now edibles and drinkables are legal and available for purchase.
Potential Side Effects
Cannabis drinkables carry no more risks than any cannabis product, and can be compared to other edibles. Consumption of edibles leads to disproportionately more ER visits as compared to other forms of ingesting marijuana. As such, one should start with a small amount and wait at least an hour before consuming more — start low and go slow.
Because they are made from concentrates, the side effects of orally consumed cannabis may be stronger than if you were to smoke flower. In this case, you may experience higher interference with cognitive and motor functions, including your memory and coordination. Others may feel tired, experience dry mouth, red eyes, anxiety, and a myriad of other adverse effects. For some, addiction is possible over time.
Be sure to practice safe consumption when drinking your cannabis, or in any other form. There’s no need to rush yourself. Go at your pace, see how you feel and enjoy the experience.
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