Updated: Dec 21, 2022
MedLock | June 20, 2022
If you are a fellow Canadian or live in another part of the Northern Hemisphere, you are likely busting out your summer wardrobe, visiting beaches, going camping, having barbeques with your friends and family, and staying outside to enjoy the sun while you can. Maybe you are patio hopping, staying at cottages, and likely sipping on some satisfying summer drinks.
Brands are pushing the limits with cannabis beverages, introducing products that taste like "craft beers" and "wine spritzers" as well as fruity carbonated drinks to satisfy every type of consumer. While these drinks may taste like beer and spritzers, cannabis beers and other beverages do not actually contain alcohol.
With a growing variety of THC- and CBD-infused cannabis beverages to choose from, many cannabis users have begun experimenting with these products. However, like edibles, it can be difficult to gauge the ideal dosage to take. This is especially true if you are relatively new to cannabis use and/or you have a low tolerance.
This article explores the topic of cannabis beverages and how to safely consume these products.
Read the Label for THC Levels
Like any cannabis product, when selecting a beverage, the first thing you should do is read the label. While not all beverages provide explicit instructions regarding consumption, all labels must indicate how much THC and CBD is present in the product.
THC levels are the most important thing to look at on the product label. In case you are new to cannabis, THC is the chemical compound in cannabis that stimulates cannabinoid receptors on presynaptic neurons in the brain thereby producing the physiological effects produced by cannabis consumption. As an aside, presynaptic neurons are the brain cells that send signals to postsynaptic neurons (the receiving cells) in the form of neurotransmitters, like dopamine. In simplistic terms, this is how brain cells talk to each other and know when to release certain neurochemicals in the brain. It is therefore crucial that users check the THC content in a cannabis beverage before ingesting.
On the other hand, while CBD does not have psychoactive effects, it can't hurt to still be mindful about the quantity of CBD in a cannabis beverage, especially if it is your first time consuming such a product.
While some beverages only contain 2.5mg of total THC, others contain up to 10mg of total THC. For individuals who are particularly sensitive to the effects of cannabis, 2.5mg versus 10mg can be quite a significant difference in terms of the body's physiological response to cannabis. In contrast, a seasoned cannabis user may not experience strong effects from ingesting 10mg of THC.
We are mentioning this because it illustrates that people's neurobiology can be vastly different. It is therefore unwise to base the amount of cannabis beverage consumption off of someone else's experience.
This brings us to our next point...
Know Your Own Body (and Listen to It)
The best thing you can do is listen to your own body and base your consumption off of your own past physiological responses to cannabis. If you have taken edibles in the past, you can likely base your cannabis beverage consumption off the amount of THC you have ingested in an edible. This is because the mechanism of action is similar in that the cannabis is being ingested orally and therefore processed via the digestive system. So, for example, if you ate a single edible with 10mg of total THC and you had a pleasant experience, it is likely that ingesting a cannabis beverage with 10mg of total THC will provide you with a similar outcome (provided it is a similar strain).
However, you must also take into consideration whether you are drinking the beverage on an empty stomach, whether you are on certain medications that could interact with cannabis, and whether you have consumed other cannabis products or alcoholic beverages.
Check the Packaging Before Purchase
If you live in Canada, you know that Health Canada has very strict regulations in place through the Canadian Cannabis Act regarding compliant cannabis packaging. This includes child resistant cannabis packaging and tamper evident cannabis packaging. However, not all countries have such requirements in place. If that's the case, it is extremely important to check cannabis beverage packaging for any perforations or other safety hazards that could affect the contents of the can or bottle.
Just as you would check packaging before purchasing items at the grocery store, the same mindset should be taken when shopping for cannabis products, especially edibles and cannabis beverages.
Safely Store Cannabis Beverages
Like any food or beverage, it is crucial to follow the storage directions provided on the product label. If a cannabis beverage is stored incorrectly, the product could spoil, degrade, or become structurally unstable. This can result in the product becoming less effective or even harmful if ingested.
Luckily, cannabis beverages have labels that provide instructions on safe product storage. In general, cannabis drinks should be refrigerated or stored in a cool, dark place. In addition, be sure to look for any dates that indicate when the product was packaged and, if present, when the product expires.
Start Small and Microdose
If it's your first time consuming a cannabis beverage, start small. Microdosing to find the right amount to consume for you is an effective way to safely use any cannabis product. If you are particularly worried about overindulging or "greening out", it may be helpful to record how much of the beverage you drank (measure the amount you pour into a glass), what time you drank it, any food you ate before consumption, any medications you took, and whether you ingested additional cannabis products or alcoholic beverages.
Although this approach can take time, it is an effective way to prevent overdosing. This will also allow you to safely titrate the amount of cannabis beverage you drink to give you the optimal experience without negative side effects.
If you are interested in products for microdosing, check out our Dosing Accessories.
Speak to a Budtender
If you would like to try a cannabis beverage, but are unsure about how much to use, speak with a budtender at your local dispensary. These professionals are there to help educate you on safe cannabis consumption and will be able to guide you in selecting the right product and dosage for you.
When visiting a dispensary, make sure the budtenders approach you with an education-first mindset. This is a strong indication that the dispensary is operating with safety in mind. Budtenders are passionate about cannabis and want to ensure consumers have the best - and safest - experience with their products.
Quick Sipping: Cannabis-Infused Shots
If you don't want to drink a full beverage, some brands offer cannabis-infused "shots". This allows for consumers to drink a smaller quantity of liquid for a similar effect. CannaLock™ offers glass and PET plastic bottles and tubes, which are ideal for use with THC- and CBD-infused shots.
To safely enjoy cannabis beverages, we recommend doing the following:
Carefully read the product label for THC and CBD levels.
Know your body's reaction and tolerance to cannabis products.
Check that packaging is in tact before purchasing.
Follow product storage recommendations outlined on the product label.
Microdose when trying a new cannabis product to prevent overdosing.
Speak to a budtender to find the right product for your individual needs.
If you follow these recommendations, you can significantly decrease the likelihood of overdosing on a cannabis beverage. With that, we hope you go out there and enjoy your summer with these safe summer sipping tips in mind!