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Cannabis 101: Exploring the growing world of cannabis drinks

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

I’ve never been a huge fan of cannabis edibles.

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They take too much time to kick in – usually more than two hours. Dosing is a mess, because you have to wait so long before you reach the full effect. And, besides, who wants the pain of knowing you can only have one malted milk ball before you risk overdosing?

I mean, who has will power like that?

But recently I found a better way: Cannabis drinks.

Drinks give you all the non-smoking joy of edibles with an added bonus – they kick in much, much faster.

In my case, the onset is generally between 30-45 minutes after consumption, compared with the 2.5 hours it takes for standard edibles (I have a slow metabolism, which doesn’t help).

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Cannabis drinks also make it much easier to experiment with dosage amounts in a reasonable amount of time. And they’re far less frustrating for impatient stoners.

Beyond that, though, cannabis drinks are just plain fun – and a great alternative to beer at parties.

A wide variety of options have been cropping up in Washington’s young recreational cannabis market, and I hope that trend continues.

In this piece, I thought I’d run through a few options I’ve recently tried:

  1. Fairwinds Recharge RTMFairwinds Ready to Mix drinks come in powdered form in pen-sized tubes. These things are my favorite product on the rec market right now (and that has nothing to do with Fairwinds being an advertiser on this site) – these mixes are easy to carry, inexpensive, taste great and the high is perfectly upbeat, relaxed and happy. All you need to do is dump the mix in a bottle of water, shake, and you’re good to go. They’re also infused with an assortment of vitamins and minerals. And – bonus – the company is about to release an indica variety called Purple Haze and a CBD-only version called EmergenCBD. Because they’re so small and easy to carry, these things are the perfect companion on a camping trip – although I use them pretty much everywhere.
  2. Legal sodas from Mirth – These things come in a variety of flavors and combinations (Pomegranate Power Tonic (sativa-style THC only), Cranberry CBD Peace Tonic (50:50 THC:CBD blend), Lemon Ginger Dream Tonic (indica-style THC only) and a few other varieties that I haven’t yet tried. Of the pre-made soda-style drinks I’ve tried, these are the most flavorful. They’re not too sweet, they’re smooth and if you’re at a party, having one in your hand makes you feel like you’re just having a beer along with the rest of your buddies.
  3. Craft Elixir syrups – Granted I’ve only tried one of the flavors so far (Bagley Ave. Brew), but color me impressed. If mixed drinks are your thing, you’ll love these. They come in a variety of flavors (habanero smoky, blueberry, ginger, plain, blackberry lemon, strawberry peppercorn and a few others) and are easy to combine with fruit juice, coffee or any other cocktail you might dream up (you can also mix them with food if that’s your thing). I’d love to have a full line of these guys in my cannabis drink cabinet (call it the liquor cabinet of somebody who no longer drinks liquor) for some creative nights of cocktail making with friends.
  4. Cannabis Quenchers –  While not as tasty as Legal sodas (the ones I’ve tried have a bit of a weedy aftertaste), these things are compact and come with their own shot glasses for quick dosing. These also come in a variety of flavors like Lemonade, Hibiscus, Mango and Strawberry Lemonade. These are another option for campers, because of their relatively small size and weight. They’re also great if you want to do a round of weed shots at a party with some friends.
  5. Zootdrops – These little guys from Zoots are fun and easy to add to just about any other concoction, including plain old water. The palm-sized squeeze bottles come in two flavors: Lemon Kick-Back Relaxation and Mandarin Lime Yippee Ki-Yay High Energy. I’ve tried the lemon mixed with water and it’s a nice mellow lemonade flavor that’s not too sweet or overwhelming. Two capfuls is a 10 mg dose, which is about standard for cannabis drinks. These guys are also great on the go – small, lightweight and easy to carry around at parties. I also like that they use Stevia as a sweetener, rather than something more artificial.

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There are more drink varieties appearing in the Washington cannabis market every month, and I’m eager to check out even more of them.

Much as I love smoking flower, my lungs are much happier when I skip that and go the drink route instead. It really is the best of both worlds.

As their popularity continues to grow, I expect we’ll see drink varieties expand in newer recreational markets as they come online in Oregon, Alaska and in states that are likely to legalize this November.

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