Drink Your Medicine: Tips for Enjoying Cannabis-Infused Beverages
As the conversation around medicinal marijuana grows, people are sharing new ways to enjoy cannabis. Cannabis-infused drinks are coming to the forefront of this conversation.
Juicing is one of the most popular ways to drink cannabis, while many dispensaries are offering drink alternatives like coffee alongside their edibles. Wine and beer are only an option if you feel like taking a DIY approach.
The reality is that alcohol and cannabis are a tricky subject. The federal government still sees marijuana as an illegal drug, so you will not find commercially produced canna beer or wine on the market. So far they remain a project for homebrewers and winemakers.
It is also difficult for anyone to say that any caffeinated or alcoholic beverage is healthy. Combining your medicine with either type of beverage is going to be a personal choice. Medical studies have long debated the benefits of both coffee and alcohol, so when we throw cannabis into the mix, the debate becomes even more heated.
With those two disclaimers out of the way, if you want to try your hand at drinking your medicine, here are some ideas.
For the average person, combining medicinal cannabis with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee is the easiest route way to drinking their cannabis. If you are on an anti-caffeine kick, any of these suggestions work just as well with decaf.
The easiest way to create cannabis-infused coffee is to simply add cannabis to the coffee grounds. For drip brewing, the best ratio for strong coffee is one tablespoon of grounds for every five ounces of water. To do this, begin with about 1 1/4 teaspoons of ground cannabis and adjust as needed. If you prefer another brewing method, adjust this ratio.
It is important to remember that heat activates THC compounds in marijuana. Unless you cold-brew the coffee, the brewing process will trigger cannabis’s full medicinal properties. The THC will also give you the high, which some patients try to avoid, and it can either counteract or complement the caffeine.
Consider the properties of a cannabis strain when adding it to coffee so you get the desired effects. Adjust the quantity of cannabis as well because the strength of strains varies. Start small so you are not surprised, especially if you enjoy having a cup before starting your day.
Other DIY options for canna coffee include adding a cannabis-infused sweetener to a cup of regular coffee. Honey, simple syrup and butter are popular options that you can DIY or buy, and cannabis-infused coconut oil is great for iced coffee.
Homemade Canna Creamer
- 1 cup cream
- 1 gram cannabis
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan, bring the cream to a slow, very light boil, stirring constantly. As soon as it is warm throughout, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cannabis and vanilla. Cover and allow to cool for two hours. Strain out the cannabis and bottle.
There are a number of commercial options available for canna coffee, and that number is always increasing. The House of Jane in California produces infused coffees for all brewing methods, including Keurig and Tassimo brewers.
The company’s brews are available in sativa and indica varieties, so patients can personalize their therapy. Likewise, the Compelling coffee company in Los Angeles sells cannabis-conditioned coffee you can brew at home.
Cannabis Beer and Wine
Creating cannabis-infused beer or wine is not as simple as tossing a bud in the bottle. The brew may taste like marijuana, but a chemical reaction is required to extract the medicinal compounds from the plant.
Winemakers have been adding cannabis to medicinal wines for centuries. Many backyard winemakers have never stopped making it. The medicinal compounds are extracted during the fermentation stage of the wine.
A pound or more of fresh marijuana is added to a barrel and the finished product takes about nine months. A home winemaking kit makes this possible for anyone who has the time.
It is easy to create a cannabis-infused wine at home. Red wines pair best with cannabis and the result is similar to sweet vermouth. It should be enjoyed soon after making it.
Homemade Canna-Infused Wine
- 1 bottle red wine
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- 4 cloves poked into an orange wedge
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 ounce cannabis leaves
Combine the ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker, cover and simmer for about two hours. Allow to cool, strain and bottle.
Weed-infused beer is a little trickier to pull off, but creative home brewers have not let that stop them. Some brewers add marijuana along with the hops, while others prefer adding a tincture during the bottling process.
Not every weed beer is a success, however. The brewers who are the most successful use a carefully selected combination of hops and cannabis strains. In other words, adding random hash oil to your favorite beer is not going to be the same as one of these perfectly formulated recipes.
Dosage is an issue with canna wine and beer. The potency will vary greatly and many imbibers liken the effects to edibles. Just a little bit will do, so take it easy at first.
The Know Label wine tincture sold in California suggests a recommended dosage of 2 ounces. It’s said to be just enough to relax and give a person a good night’s sleep.
Homebrew fans say the high can last many hours (some report up to 12), which can be disorienting for some people. It’s best to stick with one drink at a time.
See Cannabis Cocktails for more inspiration.