Drink your dang weed, Napoleon!

by DGO Staff

How cannabis cocktails could finally curb the nation’s binge-drinking problems Binge drinking is something that many of us have been guilty of at some point in our life. It may have been back in those wild college years, and some of us were a bit more booze-heavy in our early 20s or 30s instead. But whenever it happened, the reality is that our binge-drinking years weren’t typically our best years. Overdoing it on the booze isn’t exactly a good look, after all — what with the falling and the vomiting and the hangovers and such.

And the reality is that binge drinking isn’t just messy for our social lives. It’s also pretty darn awful for our bodies — and is the most common and deadly example of excessive alcohol use. As tragic as that sounds, though, there may be some hope headed our way.

While drinking the old booze has long been regarded as one of the great American pastimes, binge drinking culture may be on its way out thanks to the rising popularity of cannabis drinks. Cannabis drinks are starting to pop up everywhere — and from some big names, too.

Take, for example, the fact that Pabst Blue Ribbon and Constellation have already made a footprint with their cannabis-infused drinks. These drinks are different then their CBD-infused drink counterparts, which are legal in dozens of states. Rather, these drinks remove the alcohol from the mix, and contain marijuana’s psychoactive component, THC, which gets people high instead.

While any cannabis user will tell you that there have long been cannabis drinks on the shelves at dispensaries, we aren’t talking about the old school products we’ve come to know and love. We’re talking about the cannabis drinks that are being marketed as a healthier alternative to alcohol — one that doesn’t leave you with a hangover, high caloric intake, or regretful mornings. And, what’s perhaps more interesting is that some companies are going a step further by claiming that these infused drinks will help you feel focused, balanced, and relaxed. Some even suggest a cannabis-infused drink spa day — which could double as an alternative to your mimosa-loving Sunday brunch madness. Whoda thunk it?

try is only expected to grow in popularity in the near future, as the trend of looking at cannabis as a form of self-care continues to spread — and the health benefits associated with it, like sleep promotion and the reduction of anxiety, become more widely known.

In other words, cannabis is commonly linked to nature due to it being a plant, and this link could help to shift mindsets, leading people to see it as a healthier alternative to alcohol.

The idea that these drinks can replace alcohol in social settings is an interesting one, but cannabis-infused drinks have only been available for a short time, and it’s unclear as to whether the idea will actually catch on.

After all, the idea of a drinkable cannabis seemed pretty far-fetched until recently, when nanoemulsion technology became more widely available. This technology is what has allowed cannabis to be altered from a hydrophobic substance, in which a drop would turn into sludge in a cup, to something that can be smoothly blended into a seltzer or a cocktail.

And, as of now, cannabis-infused cocktails or beer can’t be enjoyed in public. Bars can’t sell it and dispensaries aren’t allowed to have tasting rooms or other bar-like venues, at least not in southwest Colorado, anyway. So if you’re going to a bar, your options are either teetotaling it, or choosing from booze, booze, or more booze. The laws will have to change if there are going to be major shifts in the binge-drinking mindset.

But if cannabis drinking does catch on, and the laws do shift, it could grow to be a pretty big trend in the future. After all, what’s appealing about cannabis drinks is that they tend to have a quick onset, taking about 10-15 minutes to kick in on average, just like alcohol.

And like alcohol, that quick onset can help ease social anxiety when needed — a true example of “having a drink to take the edge off.” You could just slide up to the bar, order a cannabis cocktail, and wave goodbye to your social awkwardness.

Were that to happen, it could result in a lot less intoxicated people on the road and in bars. After all, your level of intoxication when drinking cannabis can be fairly easily monitored due to the quick onset of liquid THC, so binge drinking them is less likely compared to alcohol, the effects of which can sneak up on you.

There are a few downsides to the idea, though. One major potential downside of replacing alcohol with cannabis drinks is that most people have a general understanding of the potency of alcohol, considering social events have revolved around it for decades. If someone says a beer has 8% alcohol content, you know it’s going to be strong. And if they say it contains 3.2% percent, well, you are probably stuck somewhere in Oklahoma.

That isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to cannabis-infused drinks. Cannabis dosage isn’t always as easy to navigate as booze, and someone who is unfamiliar with cannabis potency might accidentally overdo it without some guidance. While that’s not nearly as dangerous as, say, binge drinking to the point of blackout, it can result in a paranoid high that isn’t terribly pleasant. But, the upside of consuming too much won’t result in a hangover or regret. It will just likely suck in the interim.

But that’s neither here nor there at the moment. There aren’t options for replacing beer or cocktails with cannabis at bars or nightclubs at this point, so the only option is to imbibe at home and figure out the dosage and number of cannabis drinks you can tolerate. While that may make it easier to ease into the idea, it isn’t going to change the binge-drinking culture that is so dangerous in this country.

The reality is that only time will tell if cannabis infused drinks have the potential to overtake the alcohol market and help to curb binge drinking. That said, cannabis does appear to have great potential to do just that. Social acceptance and looser laws will play a major role in the acceptance of these infused drinks, of course — but if things keep going the way they are, we may just see the popularity begin to grow.

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