Craft Breweries Rolling out Cannabis-Infused Beers

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cannabis leaf on old wooden table

Craft brewing is an art. Some breweries stick to conventional recipes, while others get a little more creative. Some try to infuse their beers with unique ingredients. One brewery created a recipe that included dust from lunar meteorites. Another decided to give bull testicles a shot. Others dabble in strange and unexpected flavor profiles. Pizza Beer, Oyster Stout, and Coconut Curry are all real beers that have been created by brewers across the country.

Some San Diego brewers are putting an entirely new spin on craft beer. It involves ditching the alcohol and embracing a different drug, altogether. Earlier this year, a San Diego-based operation became the third brewery to roll out a THC-infused craft beer.

What is THC-Infused Beer?

Pale Haze is the newest addition to High Style Brewing Co’s menu of craft brews. This beer is unlike any other that has ever been developed and sold by a brewer in the state of California. Pale Haze doesn’t contain any alcohol. Instead, it’s infused with 10mg of THC. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Why would a brewery decide to ditch alcohol and embrace marijuana? The owners of High Times and other breweries that have launched cannabis-infused beers have a few reasons for the bold move.

No Hangover. THC-infused beers can be enjoyed without the threat of a hangover. If consumers don’t have to worry about a hangover in the morning, they’ll be more inclined to throw back a few drinks without hesitation.

Low Calorie. Many Americans are turning their attention to their health and wellbeing. This includes examining the things they eat and drink. Many have shied away from alcohol because it’s associated with weight gain and the always-feared beer gut. Cannabis beer contains fewer calories that alcohol-heavy brews. High Times reports that Pale Haze only has 50 calories per bottle. Most other pale ales have anywhere between 150 to 200 calories per bottle.

Mild Sensations. A lot of people don’t like how alcohol makes them feel. Many of these same people tend to favor the effects of marijuana. Infusing THC into a non-alcoholic beer offers these customers a new and exciting way to enjoy a beverage. One Colorado-based brewer hopes that its cannabis beer will make customers “happier, or calmer, or more energetic.”

Smoking is on the Decline: Marijuana is incredibly popular, but users aren’t as interested in smoking it. Instead, they’re trying to find alternative ways to kick back and relax. Brewers are taking advantage of the fact that edibles are becoming the preferred way to reap the benefits of the drug.  Infusing beer with THC offers a new and exciting way to indulge.

Is Cannabis Beer Legal?

Marijuana has been decriminalized in many states across the country. In 2018, California became the sixth state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. Under the new law, adults can legally buy, possess, and use limited amounts of the drug. There are certain restrictions on when and where marijuana can be sold and consumed, but adults are mostly free to enjoy the drug as they wish.

Cannabis-infused products, including edibles, ointments, and tonics, are also legal in the state of California. This includes non-alcoholic beers that are infused with THC. Brewers who decide to tackle this new concoction must simply make sure that they comply with state law.

Breweries in California who want to make a THC-infused beer must:

  • Obtain a Type N License to infuse products with cannabis
  • Disclose the amount of THC infused in the product on the primary label, and
  • Infuse beers with no more than 10mg of THC per serving.

 

There are also laws restricting where brewers may sell THC-infused products. Violations of state law can carry harsh penalties, including license revocation and expensive fines.

Is THC Beer the Next Big Thing?

Many people believe that THC beer is the next big thing. Several states are on the brink of legalizing recreational marijuana. Members of Congress are beginning to run on platforms that favor legalization. Research shows that THC and cannabis may have several health benefits.

It’s easy to see how breweries would want to embrace a growing market and bring in new customers. We’ll probably be seeing many more infused beers on the market in the coming years. However, changes in federal law – including removing marijuana from the list of Schedule I Controlled Substances – will be necessary for cannabis beer to really make it big.

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