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The Chemistry Behind Cannabis Beverages

In this article, we'll look at how cannabis-infused drinks are made, the chemistry behind them, and their impact on the market.

02/02/2022

Consumers are looking for new ways to get high from their favorite beverages by either consuming alcohol or smoking marijuana, so why not combine the two? 

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What is Cannabis? 

Cannabis is a complex herbaceous plant. Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are the two primary subspecies of the cannabis plant, and they can be distinguished by their morphological traits. Indica-dominant strains are short plants with broad, dark green leaves that contain more CBD (cannabidiol) than Sativa plants that have more THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). C. sativa is the preferred option among users due to its increased THC content.

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CBD (cannabidiol) and THC are thought to have a synergistic effect, which means that when both are present at therapeutic levels, they are more effective together than alone. While THC is well-known for its euphoric characteristics, CBD may be most known for its capacity to counteract the effects of THC on anxiety, tachycardia (fast pulse), appetite, and drowsiness.

Cannabis can be mixed into any liquid fluid to produce an altered state of mind in the consumer. The main component of these products is CBD oil, which has no psychotropic effects on its consumers while providing pain relief and other benefits. 

How are Cannabis-Infused Beverages made?

The cannabis-infused beverage business has experienced significant growth thanks to the creative manufacturers and advancements in infusion technology. The production of cannabis drinks is a complex process, but three key processes are as follows:

CO2 extraction - A cannabis extract is necessary to infuse cannabis into beverages. Under extreme pressure and heat, liquid-state carbon dioxide (CO2) is added to raw cannabis ingredients to create the extract. When the process is finished, the CO2 is expelled as a gas, leaving just the concentrated cannabis (Oil) extract.

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Short-path distillation - Short-path distillation is used to purify the concentrated cannabis extract once it has been collected. This method employs careful vacuum and heats control to transform the concentrated extract into a refined extract (or cannabis distillate) that is ready for addition to a beverage.

Image Source Precision Extraction

Emulsification - This process is carried out because the refined cannabis distillate is insoluble in water, a blending agent is used. This blending agent binds to the distillate and allows it to dissolve in water, resulting in a uniform, consistent, and pleasurable sipping experience.

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How does a cannabis beverage function?

In contrast to inhaled cannabis, ingested cannabis, whether in the form of an edible or a beverage, is digested differently by your body. When you inhale cannabis, the active components are taken into your circulation via your lungs, and the effects can be felt within seconds to minutes. Because cannabis must be metabolized by your digestive system before it enters your bloodstream, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the benefits.

You can look out for these Five Cannabis Beverage Brands in the US : 

Major - MAJOR was introduced in March 2019 and swiftly became Washington State's number one THC beverage. Major's juice beverage is meant to offer high doses of THC in a compact 6.7 fl. oz. and bottled in flavors such as Orange Mango, Passion Fruit, Pink Lemonade, Blue Raspberry, and Grape.

Cann Social Tonics - Cann is a cannabis-infused social tonic made in California that promotes both benefits and exquisite taste. They employ all-natural ingredients such as mildly carbonated water, natural herb flavors, a touch of agave, and pure cannabis extract to create a refreshing, light social buzz that you'll notice right away.

Keef Cola - Keef Cola has grown from a small Colorado cannabis-infused beverage firm into a multi-category, multi-national cannabis brand by leveraging efficient licensing partnerships and manufacturing, designing, and distributing cannabis and CBD-infused products including conventional sodas, seltzers, and mocktails in seven US states.

Ripple by Stillwater Brands - Ripple by Stillwater has established a strong position in the Colorado beverage market with its fast-acting, dissolvable solutions that can be added to any beverage.

Dogtown Pioneers - Dogtown Pioneer is Washington's second best-selling beverage brand, thanks to its cannabis-infused lemonades. Their "Infused Lemonades" are typically sold as high-potency 100mg items in a range of flavors such as Raspberry, Huckleberry, and Dragon Fruit. They also provide 'diet' versions of some products for calorie-counting cannabis customers.

According to Expert Market Research Insights, In 2020, the worldwide cannabis beverage business reached a worth of USD 1.8 billion. The sector is predicted to develop at a CAGR of 48 percent between 2022 and 2027, reaching a value of USD 12.7 billion by 2026.

Image Source The Lodge Cannabis 

Legalizing cannabis for therapeutic, medical, and recreational purposes is propelling market growth. In addition, several states in the United States have authorized the incorporation of cannabis infusions into food and beverages lawfully. This aspect is expected to accelerate the growth of the cannabis food and beverage market in North America.

Article By Aakriti Rawat, Beverage Trade Network 

Header Image Source USA Food and Drug Administration

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