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Cannabis infused drinks to hit the shelves by late 2019 – challenge for companies to overcome the urine-like taste

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Cannabis infused drinks are predicted to bring in a massive cash flow, worth $600 million in the U.S. by 2022, as estimated by Canaccord Genuity Group. This could be beneficial for an array of companies dealing with cannabis, considering the lowered beer consumption and legalized cannabis production and distribution in Canada and several states in the US.

However, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, infused drinks taste awful, almost like urine or soap dish, which would add up to the difficulty of curating a decently tasting drink that entails cannabis.

The smell of pot is a blend of citrusy, musty and sometimes a skunky stench which is quite easy to identify. An aromatic oil, Terpenes found in the cannabis plant is responsible for this fragrance. However, the question is how many people would be able to bear the smell and not gag when a bottle’s opened.

Companies have not yet discovered a solution for the pungent smell and taste. Drinks are concentrated with high amounts of sugar, additives and taste enhancers to cover up the bitter aroma and taste of the cannabis infused in liquids. Unsurprisingly, developing a decent infused drink comes off as a huge challenge to companies.

Intensive research has already begun, and companies have started coming up with alternatives and ideas that could render a decent product in the market for consumers.

CBD versus THC – Infused Drinks

Infused drinks are prepared by using two most important parts of the cannabis plant – cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydro cannabidiol (THC) or both. While CBD doesn’t get you high, THC does.

Both CBD and THC are insoluble in water, so the most common way users prepare infused drinks is by “shaking the bottle to mix it; using common emulsifiers and surfactants (ingredients that help mix water with oil) to create water compatible cannabinoids; or by using Nano emulsifications (small emulsion used to mix liquids) to create water compatible cannabinoids,” reads a report in New Cannabis Ventures.

However, the Toronto-based Province Brands is developing an infused drink which they claim would taste just like any other beer in the market. According to Bloomberg, “The idea is to replace the barley typically used in the brewing process with the stalks, stems and roots of the cannabis plant. Adding hops and water, the company is convinced it can create a line of non-alcoholic beverages that taste just as good as any beer on the market.”

Canada along with the U.S. too is inclined towards infused drinks. In 2018, beverage giant Constellation Inc. invested $5 billion in Cannabis Growth, an Ontario based cannabis producer. Multinational brewing companies are partnering with cannabis producers to create infused drinks that are appealing to the consumer market and generate solid revenue.

The brewer of Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch In Bev, in a research partnership with Tilary Inc. is looking to “develop a deeper understanding of non-alcoholic beverages containing THC and CBD.” Molson Coors, a multination brewing firm has partnered with HEXO, Que. based company “to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages.”

Infused Drinks Introducing in the Market by late 2019

Infused drinks are presumed to hit the shelves by the end of 2019 under the second wave of cannabis production and distribution legalization. Along with extensive medical research and usage, cannabis is pumping up the market with its hype of creating a gamut of other products which a consumer can enjoy – infused drinks.

The standard measure as per the proposed regulations states a cannabis beverage may only contain 10mg THC per container, without any extra added vitamins or alcohol. Infused drinks are predicted to lower alcohol consumption and compensate for it in a healthy fashion.

However, the challenge is to come up with a good-tasting cannabis drink that outperforms alcohol, especially beer. Consequently, beverage companies are playing ahead of the game by building connections with cannabis producers to get a hold of the market in time.

Stock market trades and investments are also aligned with cannabis stocks, any fluctuation in future regarding its legalization, production and consumption could create massive ripples in the investment industry.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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