With recreational marijuana now legal in Canada and 10 states in the US, several companies (including the world’s biggest beer makers) are looking for a piece of the cannabis drink market.
But, while cannabis drinks are starting to pour into the global market at warp speed, promising anxiety reduction, pain relief, and better sleep, there’s still one major buzzkill: the taste.
Mmm, tastes like ‘barnyard’
According to The Wall Street Journal, Ron Silver, owner of Bubby’s restaurant in New York, likened cannabis-infused beverage tastes to a “barnyard.”
It was in fact the stink taste that inspired the self-professed cannabis advocate to launch his new company, Azuca — a company that sells cannabis-infused sweeteners.
But perfecting the taste is more complicated than a simple syrup remedy.
Like oil and water, literally
In its natural form, cannabis compounds (known as cannabinoids) are oils. And oil has never mixed well with water, which causes each sip to be out of balance — taking anywhere from an hour or more for the cannabis to enter the bloodstream.
Companies are working tirelessly and using numerous techniques to throw the barnyard out with the bongwater: For the last 4 years, Canopy Growth has been at work with Trait Biosciences to make a clear, mildly intoxicating beverage that would take about 12 minutes to affect the body.
The chemicals in some methods have succeeded in mixing the two sworn enemies, but no company can seem to do it without sacrificing the taste, which has also been compared to dish soap and urine.
Time to bring in the experts
In recent months, alcoholic beverage giants including Anheuser-Busch, Molson Coors Brewing, and Constellation Brands (which owns 40% of Canopy Growth) have all perked up at the idea of creating weed-infused beverages.
Now, those companies are all working to perfect what the marijuana giants can’t — and they have the advantage of knowing a thing or two about turning canoe-water into delectable barley wine.