So, how high will this new marijuana beer get you? Five things to know

July 24, 2018

Soon you’ll be able to drink your weed.

Depending — of course — on where you live and choose to vacation.

1. It’s happening in Canada

A Canadian company called Province Brands just announced the development of the world’s first beer brewed from the marijuana plant. Province is based in Toronto, but the beer is being developed at a lab in nearby Belleville, Ont., about 100 miles to the east.

Canada will be the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana use when a new law takes effect in October. Uruguay legalized marijuana in 2013.

The Guardian first reported the announcement. Province Brands said in a statement to McClatchy that the company anticipates putting its cannabis beer on the shelves of specialist cannabis retailers — not bars — in Fall 2019.

But states in the U.S. that have legalized the adult use of marijuana aren’t far behind the Canadians. In fact, Keith Villa, the inventor of MillerCoors’ Blue Moon beer, might say his new company called Ceria Beverages is ahead in the race.

Villa announced in an interview in March that Ceria will be focused on developing a line of cannabis-infused craft beers.

Lagunitas, which is owned by Heineken, has already released a THC-infused “sparkling water” called Hi-Fi Hops in California, which legalized recreational marijuana at the beginning of 2018. A California winemaker began shipping its marijuana-infused savignon blanc on Jan. 1, on the day its new law took effect.

2. Infusion vs. brewing with the plant

Where this new brew will differ from its American counterparts is that Province Brands’ offering will be brewed using parts of the actual cannabis plant, instead of being brewed with barley and grains.

Their cannabis beer will be brewed with the stalks, stems and roots of the marijuana plant, according to the Guardian, offering growers an alternative stream of income for the parts of the plants least used in the marijuana smoking industry.

A close-up look at Forbidden Farms' marijuana growing operation in Shelton and the processing facility on the Tacoma Tideflats. Owned by the Balduff brothers Garrett and Taylor, the premium producer even supplies cannabis connoisseur Willie Nelson

By Steve Bloom and Drew Perine

3. How high will it get you?

Well think of it this way. A low-level marijuana-laced edible candy or gummy has 5mg of THC, the substance in marijuana that gives userrs the “high” feeling, according to Leafly.

Lagunitas’ Hi-Fi Hops contains 5mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD, another substance in marijuana that promotes relaxation and is being studied widely for possible medical benefits.

Each of Providence Brand’s cannabis beers will have 6.5mg of THC, the Guardian reported.

“The beer hits you very quickly,” Dooma Wendschuh, Province Brands’ CEO, told the newspaper. “Which is not common for a marijuana edible.”

Unlike with edibles, which tend to take an hour or two to kick in, Province says its cannabis beer will start to kick in within 10 minutes.

The recommended dose of THC for a recreational good time, according to High Times’ “10 Commandments of Marijuana Edible Safety,” is 10-25mg. So, like alcoholic beers, keeping it to 2-3 weed beers max seems like a sensible plan.

4. It’s nonalcoholic

This is another part of the product the marijuana industry as a whole is pushing hard. They say it’s better for you than drinking alcohol.

“It’s an alternative to alcohol that is also low in calories and sugar, and is gluten free,” the statement from Province Brands reads.

“You’re not going to get the eight different types of cancer that drinking alcohol causes, or liver disease, heart failures or one of the many many costs exacted on our society from consumption of alcohol,” Wendschuh said in an interview with the BBC. “We’re not saying that this product is good for you. This is a psychoactive substance. You should not use it every day.”

Province Brands’ cannabis beer will not have any alcohol. Neither does Hi-Fi Hops, Villa’s cannabis-infused craft beer or the California weed wine. It’s never a good idea to cross the two intoxicants, so the beverage creators are all mimicking the flavors of the alcoholic versions, without the alcohol.

5. It was really gross at first

It tasted “horrible,” “like rotten broccoli,” Wendschuh told the BBC.

But then the company’s chemists saved the day with just the right combination of hops, water, yeast — and pot. Now Province, and its competitors, are hard at work perfecting the taste of lagers and stouts and all the other beer flavors — with a “higher”-lever buzz.

“It’s dry, it’s savory,” Wendschuh told the BBC. “It has this sort of nutty after-taste that people seem to love.”