I spotted them the moment I walked into legendary Berkshires dispensary Theory Wellness’ busy Great Barrington, MA location. There, almost as if they were smiling at me, these smartly designed and packaged small cans of joy, had me at hello; well, “hi,” to be precise.
Theory Wellness’ popular flavored cannabis-infused drinks are elevating the seltzer game, no question. One way is alluded to, again, smartly, in the name: The all-natural, gluten-free, hangover-free, zero-calorie concoction actually “works” in five minutes (avoiding the, “I don’t feel anything; I’ll have another” trap). You feel the effects of either the regular (44 mg THC) or light (18 mg THC) offerings fast—Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote fast.
The question is, “How does it do that?” Theory Wellness credits its nano-emulsification process that allows them to bind THC to water (previously not possible since most edibles are fat-soluble), resulting in a faster onset of the effects, which takes the waiting game out of edibles. No wonder they’re flying off the shelves.
Within six months of its debut, the dispensary had sold more than 700,000 cans of Hi5 in all six flavors—including two seasonal flavors of pineapple (Summer) and cranberry (Fall)—and they’re also available in 45 dispensaries across Massachusetts.
“The Hi5 brand has been an incredibly fun project,” says Thomas Winstanley, Theory Wellness’ Vice President of Marketing. “A lot of the development happened during COVID where we were longing for interaction, social connection and missing the good times with friends. That comes through on the brand, and I think consumers enjoy it because it’s the perfect product for social consumption as we all begin to reconnect with one another.”
What better way to reconnect than to give (or receive) a Hi5? Hands up, people!
This story was originally published in issue 42 of the print edition of Cannabis Now.
Break out the Lucky Charms, salute your shamrock and sing classic folk songs about the “aul country” while wiping away a tear—St. Patrick’s Day is here. If you’re not au fait with the meaning behind the March 17 holiday, here’s a quick Cliff’s Notes version. The day commemorates the famed patron Saint of Ireland, Patrick, who notably brought Christianity to Ireland and, according to legend, drove the snakes out of Ireland.
Even if you’re not from the Emerald Isle by birthright, you can still embrace the Irish spirit and celebrate all things Irish, which basically means drinking Guinness, green beer, or whiskey shooters. But if your vibe is more Emerald Triangle than Emerald Isle, you might want to skip the booze and try a cannabis-infused beverage instead.
The cannabis-infused beverages category is surging: according to Brightfield Group, the THC-infused beverages market will account for $1 billion in US sales by 2025. It’s easy to see why the relatively nascent vertical is experiencing such growth. Infused drinks offer a delicious replacement for alcohol and the associated adverse effects while still having access to the same social experience as popping a few cold ones—without the concern of over-consuming. They bridge the gap between the expected and the unexpected, offering precise doses to give consistent, predictable effects instead of surprise drunkenness. The best part? No hangover.
Whatever your tipple taste preference, be it flavored seltzers, mocktails, or tonics, why not swap for the sauce for these five deliciously effective, effervescent and better-for-you beverages this St Paddy’s Day.
Pure Beauty: Little Strong Drink
First up, it’s a beverage that really packs a punch. Little in name only, the Little Strong Drink is made from live resin and squeezes 100mg of THC into only 2oz. The preserved terpene profile of the extracts and Concord grapes grown in the Yakima Valley make this deliciously aromatic drink perfect for sipping straight or mixing into other beverages like soda or mocktails. Other ingredients of note include sustainably grown Ashwagandha root, which helps to relieve stress and strengthen adrenal wellness. It’s also free from nasty artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and added sweeteners.
Cann Social Tonics
With a slew of celebrity fans, including Kate Hudson, Rosario Dawson and Gwyneth Paltrow, Cann social tonics offer the perfect dose to get you in the mood for fun, without altering your mind. Cann has relaunched its delicious Ginger Lemongrass seasonal flavor just in time for St Patrick’s Day. With a microdose of 2mg of THC and 4mg of CBD to give you a relaxed-yet-sociable buzz plus only 35 calories, Cann’s lightly carbonated beverages are also available in Cranberry Sage, Lemon Lavender, Grapefruit Rosemary, and Blood Orange Cardamom flavors and are made with all-natural ingredients.
The phrase “drink to good health” takes on a new meaning with Flora Hemp Spirits, the world’s first alcohol-free, cannabinoid-based spirits made using all-natural ingredients while containing zero sugar and zero calories. This innovative range provides a delicious alternative to booze while letting you unwind with a mild buzz. Perfect for the “sober curious,” Flora Spirits are available in three options: Essence (CBD), delta-8, and pre-mixed Passion Fruit “Margarita,” which contains 5MG of delta-8 THC and 10MG of CBD in each can. Simply swap out gin or vodka with Flora’s Essence or delta-8 spirits to create delicious mocktails.
Brought to you by the Stanley Brothers, the Colorado-based family known for their game-changing Charlotte’s Web CBD oil, ReCreate beverages are among the most advanced highs you can buy. The fast-acting formulations include full-spectrum extracts and efficacious botanical adaptogens like Yerba Mate to help uplift your energy levels. There are three flavor options available as a 2.5 mg CBD/2.5 mg THC microdose formula: Blueberry Mint Acai, Cucumber Mint, and Mango Hibiscus. For those wanting a heavier-hitting dose, Cucumber Mint and Mango Hibiscus are available in an extra-strength 10 mg CBD/10 mg THC option that will uplift you in a delicious, refreshing way.
Combining a stimulating buzz with a soothing calm to sharpen focus while reducing anxiety, Psychedelic Water is truly perfect for people engaged in creative or stressful work where energy and a positive mentality are essential. The non-alcoholic psychedelic beverage is made from kava, damiana leaf extract and green tea leaf extract, a trio of ingredients chosen to replicate the euphoria-inducing effects of psychedelics without the hallucinations. Available in for Blackberry + Yuzu, Hibiscus + Lime, Oolong + Orange Blossom and Prickly Pear, Psychedelic Water produces a clean and healthy buzz that’s Kosher, non-alcoholic, free of added sugars and low in calories.
All it takes is four steps. You’re only four steps away from making a Rick Simpson Oil-infused syrup that you’ll want to keep on hand to easily make cannabis beverages at home. No alcohol, no fuss, and you have total control over dosage and ingredients. Sounds pretty great, no?
RSO in the Kitchen
If you’re looking for a potent, relatively inexpensive, full-spectrum extract to incorporate in the kitchen, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is the perfect choice. It has a concentrated cannabis-flower taste that adds depth and bitterness to a drink or dish (it even boasts a floral sweetness, depending on the strain), with a powerful dosage that’s convenient to work with when making therapeutic foods.
Rick Simpson Oil/RSO is a super-concentrated cannabis oil that’s also full spectrum, meaning it contains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids of the plant. It’s made with a high-octane solvent, such as ethanol, then left unrefined beyond extraction, resulting in a high percentage of original chemical compounds and chlorophyll left in the final product.
Heat gently applied during the extraction process burns off the solvent and decarboxylates the cannabinoids, so the oil is ready to be applied as a potent topical or eaten as-is. The catch: It tastes terrible. However, this actually makes it ideal for infusing foods that make the most of its fiercely bitter, herbal flavors, and allows for the creation of heavy-hitting edibles that fully maximize the entourage effect (the idea that the specific chemical compounds and oils found naturally in cannabis strains are amplified in strength when left together).
Who’s Rick Simpson?
The eponymous creator and advocate of the dark, sticky cannabis oil recommends making the extract from your own plants so you know precisely what has and hasn’t gone into the final product. He first published his DIY recipe for Rick Simpson Oil—a name first coined by Jack Herer—on the internet in 2004. Simpson himself poetically calls the oil “Phoenix Tears” and has never patented his method, ensuring the information remains freely available to literally anyone who wants it.
For years, he made RSO personally from his home grow and gave it away for medicinal use, but a 2009 raid by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police put a full and final stop to that effort. He and his wife Danijela now live in Croatia, where they continue to be tremendous cannabis activists and educators, despite Simpson suffering a paralyzing stroke in 2018. They currently sell the authoritative books on RSO from their websiteand offer instructions on how to produce the oil.
1/8 tsp. Liquid Sunflower Lecithin** (found in health food stores or online; do not sub powder)
1 cup Sugar
2 cups Water
Immersion or High-speed Blender
Change the math to correlate to your specific percentages of THC or CBD in your RSO, but as an example: The average RSO contains about 60-80% THC per gram. So, if the gram of RSO used in this recipe had 60% THC, it would come out to 600mg THC in the final bottle of syrup. Divide that total by the number of servings (which in this case is 19), so 19 servings equal roughly 30mg per drink.
**Liquid sunflower lecithin is the key to creating a stable suspension of oil in liquid/emulsification here, accept no substitutes.
RSO-infused Simple Syrup
1. Bring water to a boil in the saucepan;
2. Turn off heat and whisk sugar into the hot water until sugar is dissolved completely;
3. Let cool slightly, then carefully pour the syrup into a heat-tolerant container safe for blending with an immersion blender. If using a high-speed blender, pour into the blender pitcher;
4. Blend RSO and 1/8th tsp. of liquid sunflower lecithin into the hot syrup until most of the oil specks dissolve. If the oil specks remain stubborn, you can add it back to the saucepan and heat it slightly (the gentlest warmth and stirring should do the trick);
5. Once hot, it’ll foam like crazy which means the sunflower lecithin is creating a stable suspension/emulsion;
6. Scrape down the oil that sticks to the sides of the container as you blend;
7. When most of the oil specks have dissipated, use the glass stirring rod to break up the foam;
8. Let the syrup cool fully. Label clearly as containing cannabis and at what dosage
1. Put ice in a Collins or rocks glass;
2. Fill the glass with sparkling water;
3. Top with 1 oz. RSO-infused simple syrup;
4. Garnish and enjoy
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.
Picture a musical about two young people in love but being together in the real world turns out to be more complicated. Clad in a pink poodle skirt and a white button-up is the craft cocktail, a positive darling of the food and drink world. In walks cannabis, the misunderstood Schedule I bad boy in a rolled-up black T-shirt, a joint behind his ear and a leather jacket tossed over his shoulder.
Will these two ever share a glass? Will society let them?
The truth is, these two main characters are great together, no matter what federal law says. Just ask famed master mixologist and cannabis writer, Warren Bobrow, who wrote the insanely comprehensive Cannabis Cocktails Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations.
The book opens with some background on our Mr. Misunderstood, who was once a healing herb just like any other. But the cannabis plant has been held back by a few sadistic school principals—namely the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act and the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Today, cannabis is still trying to shed the stigma created by politicians since Prohibition, with some state-by-state success since the 1970s. California is one of those states that has legalized cannabis for adult use—and it’s the most populous state in the country.
This bodes well for Bobrow, who, when he isn’t writing, runs California-based Klaus Cannabis-Infused Beverages. The company sells ready-to-drink THC-infused, terpene-forward canned mocktails (state regulations don’t yet allow edible cannabis products as alcoholic beverages). The emulsifying technology he uses for these drinks, from a company called Vertosa, is only in California right now, and Klaus is only licensed for sale in the state.
But before the Nanogen technology Vertosa uses even existed, Bobrow’s cannabis cocktail book introduced 75 delicious recipes—many of which allow our star-crossed lovers, the craft cocktail and cannabis, to be together at last. Take the Mezzrole Cocktail, for example, a Manhattan-style drink made with cannabis-infused sweet vermouth.
The book teaches readers how to decarb cannabis at home to safely make pantry items, including tinctures, syrups and shrubs. Decarboxylation was a very new concept to most at the time the book was published (2016), and though Bobrow didn’t invent it, he’s known for perfecting the process.
Bobrow still sees cannabis—good old THC—as an herb, with the ability to heal and make you feel good. He doesn’t bother with CBD, which he likens to “snake oil.” “It’s sold in gas stations,” he says, remaining skeptical that it does anything good or bad. “There’s no feeling in it.”
The slogan for his business is “Klaus cares,” Bobrow says, because “he really does care; he cares about what you put in your body.” (Oh, did I forget to mention the eight-inch-tall face of the company, Klaus the Soused Gnome?) That’s why Klaus makes drinks that are only 16 calories, and six-tenths of a gram of sugar. Someone who cares this much has taken the time to get to know what cannabis has to offer and is keeping that summer romance with craft cocktails alive.
The Mezzrole Cocktail
I’m a huge fan of Manhattan-style cocktails; they make great aperitifs. This drink is named after Milton “Mezz” Mezzrow, a jazz musician who lived in New York City’s Harlem in the 1920s. And, as Mezz himself would’ve known, the term for a well-rolled cannabis cigarette was a “mezzrole”—so I just had to commemorate both man and medicine in this elegant cocktail.
It combines cannabis-infused sweet vermouth, handmade cocktail cherries and quality bourbon into a small, but well-formed libation that’s deeply healing. When you’re infusing your vermouth, consider choosing a Sativa-Indica hybrid strain called Cherry Pie. It’s redolent of sweet and sour cherries, and it complements the toasty, oaky flavors inherent in the liquors. As for making crushed ice, it’s best to place the ice in a Lewis bag—a heavy canvas bag that’s made for the job—before whacking it with a wooden mallet or rolling pin.
4-6 greenish cocktail cherries
1/2oz (15ml) cannabis-infused vermouth
Handful of crushed ice
1oz (15ml) bourbon whiskey
Muddle the Greenish Cocktail Cherries with a wooden muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, then top with the vermouth. Continue to muddle for 30 seconds to combine the flavors. Cover with the crushed ice. Top with the bourbon, then dot with aromatic bitters.
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.
Today’s cannabis connoisseur has certain expectations when it comes to ingestible products. Gone are the days when unhealthy, sugar-laden brownies with unknown cannabis quantities were the only edible option.
Scientific developments and new technology have led way to “edibles 2.0,” a new wave of cannabis-infused products that provide consistent doses, increased efficacies, and perhaps most importantly, enhanced wellness. ReCreate’s new line of THC beverages ticks all these boxes—and then some.
ReCreate is the new brand of THC products from the Stanley Brothers, experts in the realm of whole-plant health thanks to their CBD product, Charlotte’s Web. With ReCreate, the brothers have developed a range of THC-infused products to improve overall wellness. The range includes gummies, tinctures and beverages.
A relatively nascent vertical, cannabis beverages make up only 5% of the edibles market. However, their popularity is growing at an impressive rate: According to the Cannabis Beverage Association, infused beverage sales surged 40% last year, to $95.2 million. By 2025 the THC-infused beverages market will account for $1 billion in U.S. sales, according to Brightfield Group.
It’s easy to see why cannabis beverages are making such a splash. Whether you’re new to cannabis or consider yourself somewhat of an expert, THC beverages bridge the gap between the expected and the unexpected. Most people know how a beer or a glass of wine will make them feel. Infused beverages offer precise doses, meaning consumers can expect consistent, predictable effects.
Most people who have consumed edibles can recall a time when they had one (or two) too many gummies. Growing impatient while waiting for the effects to kick in, you decide to take more, but are then left incapacitated when the THC hits all at once. That’s because cannabis edibles are metabolized in the liver, converting THC into the more potent compound 11-hydroxy-THC. This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours to feel the effects, and can lead to over consumption if you’re not careful.
Using proprietary nanotechnology, the THC in ReCreate beverages starts to work almost immediately. It enters the bloodstream through the tissue of your mouth, esophagus and stomach, maximizing the bioavailability of the cannabinoids and delivering fast results. This means you will start to feel the effects within five to 15 minutes. Say goodbye to the waiting game, and get the feeling you are looking for right away.
ReCreate Drinks Blend Science with Sapidity
All ReCreate beverages have been formulated for a targeted experience, whether that’s deeper relaxation, mental performance, better sleep, creative energy, or all-around body relief.
The advance formulations contain optimal amounts of CBD and THC for a balanced, well-rounded high. The drinks are also enhanced with additional minor cannabinoids CBN and CBG for a more efficacious experience. Along with cannabinoids, scientifically proven botanical boosters and adaptogens like Yerba Mate, Ashwagandha, Cordyceps and Passionflower have also been added to help you function at a higher level.
THC and CBD are the two most commonly known “major” cannabinoids, but the cannabis plant has over 150 cannabinoids with potential health and wellness benefits waiting to be discovered. Professor Raphael Mechoulam was the first to isolate cannabinoids—and also the first to discover how they interact with our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems (ECS). This complex network of receptors and transmitters works to keep our bodies in homeostasis by regulating sleep, stress and pain management.
There are three flavor options available as a 2.5 mg CBD/2.5 mg THC microdose formula: Blueberry Mint Acai, Cucumber Mint, and Mango Hibiscus. For those wanting a heavier hitting dose, Cucumber Mint and Mango Hibiscus are available in an extra-strength 10 mg CBD/10 mg THC option that will uplift you in a delicious, refreshing way.
Clean ingredients are essential to encouraging a healthier lifestyle, so ReCreate beverages only contain natural products made from ethically sourced, non-GMO, vegan ingredients. Plus, each can contains only 30 calories.
Maybe you’re looking for a new and refreshing way to get high with friends. Or maybe you’re just sipping solo and want a little extra buzz. Either way, ReCreate beverages are one of the most advanced highs you can buy. They offer a delicious replacement to alcohol and the associated adverse effects while still having access to the same social experience as popping a few cold ones—without the concern of over-consuming.