Alcohol has long been the dominant social lubricant — but the growing cannabis industry wants to offer a replacement.
The market for beverages made with THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, is growing. Smaller players are looking to do more than just get people high — they’re positioning their beverages as more sophisticated and wellness-oriented. Specific niches the products seek to fill include relaxation, socializing with friends or improved sleep. The dosage of THC per serving is often as low as 2.5 milligrams, a far cry from the “small, but mighty” bottle of Orange Mango offered by Major or Keef’s Fruit Punch Xtreme.
Brands can appeal to a wider audience with drinks that can be sipped without getting people too high, said David Weiner, co-founder of Gossamer, a cannabis lifestyle and media company. Improvements in technology have translated into shorter waits for the buzz to hit, too. “You’re seeing dosages go down per drink,” Weiner said. New drinks have “higher design, less focus on THC, less focus on cannabis, and more focus on other ingredients.”
Artet makes “cannabis products for cocktail moments,” said co-founder Xander Shepherd. He highlights his aperitifs’ and spritzes’ “floral” flavors with potencies meant to “keep you satisfied over the course of a conversation or meal.”
Blue Moon founder Keith Villa says cannabis beers like he makes at Ceria Brewing could help “bring cannabis to the masses in low-dose formats.”
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