Lansterdam in Review: Cannabis drinks

Lifted and bubbly: reviewing cannabis-infused beverages

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Ah, January. The time of year for fresh starts and resolutions like going to the gym, eating healthier and, for some, the beginning of “Dry January.” For those unaware of the trend, the concept of Dry January is to abstain from drinking alcohol during the month as a personal challenge. According to a recent study by The Washington Post, this period of sobriety can provide long-lasting effects for participants, like weight loss, better sleep and a boost to mood and energy levels, which can reinforce the new habit, motivating people to drink less in the long run. Richard de Visser, a psychologist at Brighton and Sussex Medical School in England, has studied the effects of Dry January and was quoted throughout the Post’s article: “Instead of public health people wagging their fingers and saying, ‘Don’t drink, it’s bad for you,’ people do it and say, ‘I didn’t realize how good I would feel.’” 

When I was a budtender, folks came in all the time telling me that they swapped out their six packs for cannabis. Many of them enjoyed that smoking a joint or eating a gummy provided a sense of relief that was more fulfilling and enjoyable than drinking alcohol. However, they also expressed how much they missed the social aspect of drinking and the comradery that came with it. Thankfully, in 2023, there may be a solution to this missed connection: cannabis-infused beverages. Cannabis drinks can be enjoyed in the same setting as alcohol and can provide a very pleasant high. The THC in these drinks tends to absorb into the body more quickly than traditional edibles. This shouldn’t deter newbies from partaking though; most only contain 2.5 to 5 milligrams per 12-ounce serving, meaning you can enjoy the whole beverage without worrying about overdoing it. There are quite a few cannabis-infused seltzer options on the market in Michigan right now. Here is a breakdown of some of them:

 

Highly Casual 

A joint collaboration between Pleasantrees and Andrew Blake of Blake’s Hard Cider brings Highly Casual, a cannabis-infused seltzer that’s sure to be a hit at your next social gathering. Each can is produced by Emerald Canning Partners, a joint-venture production facility located at what was once the historic Gibraltar Trade Center in Mount Clemens. This renovated facility has over 17,000 square feet of production space, a separate area for research and development, a quality assurance lab and state-of-the-art canning equipment that runs more than 40 cans per minute. The facility is one of only a few in the country that can successfully add THC oil to water-based beverages. Highly Casual is offered in four packs of 12-ounce cans with flavors like strawberry-watermelon, lemon-lime and blueberry-pineapple. Each can contains 2 milligrams of THC, so consumers can enjoy the whole tasty beverage without worrying about getting too buzzed. Head over to Pleasantrees in East Lansing to grab your own. 

 

Little Saints

In the words of founder Megan Klein, “Little Saints was born during the pandemic as an antidote to my drinking too much alcohol and feeling terrible about it.” Klein was frustrated with the sparse options available to those seeking non-alcoholic beverages. Her fascination with sacred plant medicine and food science, as well as her background as a hydroponic farmer, inspired her to create a beverage that is as delicious as it is beneficial. She worked with a food scientist who specializes in adaptogens and a plant shaman to ensure each plant ingredient has spiritual and functional benefits. In 2021, Little Saints and its lineup of sugar-free, cocktail-inspired, nonalcoholic seltzers was introduced to the city of Detroit. Flavors include Negroni spritz, Spicy Margarita, Ginger Mule, mimosa and Paloma. Each can contains reishi mushroom, which can help promote calmness; botanical terpenes and 10 milligrams of CBD. Since the drinks don’t contain any THC, interested parties can buy directly from the company’s website, littlesaints.com.

 

Wynk

Wynk has shaken up the infused seltzer game. First of all, instead of making its drinks in a single factory or finding a co-manufacturer and dealing with different states’ licensing, Wynk makes each beverage on-site in legal states using equipment that lives in the back of its “Wynk Wagon” — an 18-wheeler tricked out with all sorts of gadgets. Second of all, Wynk offers a beverage infused with both THC and CBD. The balance of 2.5 milligrams of each makes it a great option for folks new to cannabis. The company’s website states that most consumers feel the effects within 10 to 15 minutes of consumption, and the high continues for about 90 minutes. Flavors include Lime Twist, Black Cherry Fizz (which I personally dig) and Juicy Mango. Wynk hit the Michigan market last summer, so it’s widely available in dispensaries throughout town. Check out its website, drinkwynk.com, to find one near you. 

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