Marijuana drinks may start to make a splash
Monday, January 07, 2019
Marijuana drinks are the new kids on the block in the beverage world. Beer giant Molson Coors announced that it is ready to grab a large share of the nascent market with its line of cannabis-infused drinks. Its plans align with Canada making cannabis edibles legal later this year.
The cannabis market could be close to $10 billion in Canada and cannabis-infused, nonalcoholic drinks will drive about a quarter of that.
Molson Coors may be in the lead, but it is not the only one interested in this niche. A Forbes article in September reported Coca-Cola as planning to launch cannabidiol (CBD)-infused drinks for the masses in the U.S. after the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp as a controlled substance.
According to the cannabis research firm Brightfield Group, the CBD industry could reach $22 billion by 2022. If Coca-Cola captures even 10 percent of that market, it will bring in $2.2 billion in revenue by 2022. It will also compensate for the fall in sales from declining consumption of soda.
Other players like Oregon’s Coalition Brewing released Two Flowers IPA, a CBD-infused beer. Heineken-owed brewer Lagunitas also released a beer called Hi-Fi Hops. Made from hops and cannabis, it is alcohol-, carb- and calorie-free.
The maker of Negro Modelo and Corona, Constellation Brands, has invested about $4 billion in the Ontario-based pot producer Canopy Growth; yet another example of a brand poised to benefit from the legalization of cannabis-infused drinks.
The University of British Columbia Okanagan, BCIT, and cannabis company Pac Rim Brands have partnered to research and develop safe and effective cannabis-based beverages. They are also looking to increase the shelf-life of these products without affecting quality.
With so much activity already going on in the space, we can expect weed beer and cannabis-spiced lattes to spice up our days soon.
As they begin to infiltrate the market, it is natural to ask what cannabis drinks are. They are drinks that are infused with cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or both. THC is the compound that leads to the high one gets from ingesting marijuana while CBD is a nonpsychoactive compound in marijuana, widely known for its therapeutic benefits.
In most cases, the products will be like a dealcoholized beer, kombucha, coffee or a cocktail drink that will have cannabis as the active ingredient. The taste of the cannabis drinks will probably depend on the flavor one chooses.
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