While edibles like cookies and cakes have long been commonplace in the marijuana industry, companies producing cannabis-infused beverages including beer, coffee, sodas, and energy drinks have only recently entered the market.1 Everything from cold-pressed coffee to fruit juices are now available with differing levels of THC and various strains of marijuana to give users a different high.2
Drinkables appeal to cannabis users because companies brand them by making various claims, including: 1) that the products stay fresh because they do not “melt or go stale,” 2) that the drinkables are safer alternatives to the unhealthy burn of pipe and cigarette smoke, and 3) that the liquid form delivers to the body a more “even distribution of cannabinoids” than do edibles.1 Thus, cannabis beverage companies like Cannabis Quencher, Dixie Elixirs, and the Magic Buzz market these distinct drinkable features alongside packaging designs that largely resemble those of mainstream beverage companies. For example, the companies Magic Buzz and Zoots market its cannabis-infused energy drinks with product lines of multi-colored, 2 fl oz. miniature bottles. These bottles are near-replicas of the famous energy drink brand 5-hour Energy, featuring very similar flavors, colors, and text placement as the leading brand. Other companies such as Cannabis Quencher and Dixie Elixirs resemble the leading brands Gatorade (an American sports drink company) and SoBe (an American brand of teas and justice) respectively, featuring those signature vase-like plastic and glass bottles, as well as the familiar assortment of flavors.
Other major trends in drinkable cannabinoids are its alcoholic and caffeine variety. In fact, some pro-marijuana campaigns (e.g., “Recreational Use” advertisement by Kingston Compassion) portray cannabis as safer and more fun than alcohol. But of course, most beverage companies market the two psychoactive substances together, introducing cannabis-infused beer, ale, wine, hard liquor (e.g., “Cannabis Absinthe” modeled after the leading drink “Green Absinthe,: and Virgin’s cannabis-infused mocktails). Cannabis-infused coffee and tea blends are also fast rising in the market, often advertised as more “natural” and “less addictive than caffeine” (MyChronicRelief). Startups like Brebudz and CannaKorp are manufacturing marijuana coffee pods compatible with mainstream espresso machines, as well as new marijuana vaporizer systems.3 These products, however, are almost never aesthetically distinguishable from leading brands, posing the same public health concern as does the marketing of marijuana edibles: that minors will mistaken these products for ordinary versions of their favorite teas, juices, and hot chocolate mixes.
1. Stetter, R. (2016). How to Drink Cannabis This Summer. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from https://merryjane.com/health/how-to-drink-cannabis
2. Schwartz, A. (2014). Instead of Drinking Beer, Now You Can Buy Drinkable Marijuana. Retrieved June 8, 2017, from https://www.fastcompany.com/3034892/instead-of-drinking-beer-now-you-can-buy-drinkable-marijuana
3. Robinson, M. (2015). The 'Keurig for marijuana' is finally here — and it looks amazing. Retrieved June 8, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/about-cannakorp-keurig-of-cannabis-2015-11