Cannabis beverages are becoming increasingly popular across the nation. In fact, sales are growing so rapidly that the market is expected to reach over $2 billion in annual sales by 2026. For comparison, cannabis beverage sales hit nearly $800 million in 2020. The reason for the escalating demand has a lot to do with the form factor, but also because cannabis drinks offer an alternative to–and a break from–alcohol.
If you’re trying to weigh the pros and cons of cannabis beverages vs. alcohol, read on to discover how they work in our bodies, and what happens when you consume them both at the same time.
Comparing the Strength of Cannabis Drinks and Alcohol
If you are considering purchasing a cannabis beverage, it is important to understand the dosage before you walk into the dispensary, or order online. One easy way to understand the relative strength of THC drinks is to compare them to something you may be more familiar with: alcoholic beverages. And while there is not equal measure between THC and alcohol, think of it like this:
A microdose of THC is between 2-5 mg per serving. This is about the equivalent of drinking one light beer that contains 3-5% alcohol. Typically, the average consumer can enjoy a few of these THC drinks and find their sweet spot. This is where Wynk falls in the spectrum of cannabis-infused drinks.
A beer with higher alcohol volume, like an IPA, is comparable to a single serving 6-10 mg THC. You can still have one or two THC-infused drinks to achieve similar results.
A moderate dose is around 25 mg THC, and is best for experienced consumers only. You probably don’t want to drink an entire 25 mg serving the time you try a cannabis drink unless you really know what to expect. This is about the same kind of buzz you get from drinking a bottle of wine. Let’s say we double the dose to 50 mg. This is comparable to a bottle of liqueur (like Amaretto) at around 25% alcohol. And for a very potent comparison, 100 mg THC is about as strong as a bottle of 80-proof vodka.
Cannabis Beverages vs Alcohol
Cannabis and alcohol are arguably the most popular substances humans consume to relax and unwind. Well, not to leave out caffeine, but we’ll save that topic for another time. Both cannabis and alcohol may give you a buzz, but they behave quite differently within our bodies.
Overview of Alcohol
Alcohol is a flammable liquid produced by fermenting sugars. It’s an intoxicant found in beer, wine, liquor, and other spirits and it’s used for a variety of reasons. Most people that drink alcohol do so to relax and loosen up, and we certainly know this beverage to be a social lubricant.
How does alcohol work in the body?
Alcohol molecules are very small. When we drink alcohol, it enters the bloodstream very quickly and is distributed to our organs. It’s both fat and water-soluble so it can readily permeate all tissues and organs throughout the body.
Depending on how empty or full your stomach is, the effects of alcohol may hit you harder. Assuming your stomach is on the empty side, alcohol is absorbed and circulated through your system within about 30 minutes. If you have a full stomach, that duration extends to about 90 minutes.
The liver is responsible for processing and removing alcohol from the body, and it can only metabolize about one drink per hour. Drinking more than that is what leads to getting drunk.
What are the pros and cons of drinking alcohol?
The list of cons is pretty large when consumed in excess. Not only can you permanently damage your liver, but you can end up with a nasty addiction. Even those that consume only moderately can experience dehydration and hangovers. However, when consumed with moderate frequency in doses deemed appropriate for each individual (because we all have a different ability to metabolize alcohol) it can be an enjoyable experience.
Alcohol is a potent intoxicant. In small doses, it can elevate the mood, and provide euphoric highs. But there is usually a tipping point where you over-consume and experience dizziness, slurred speech, impaired coordination, and the ever-dreaded “spins” of nausea and even vomiting.
In the US, alcohol is available to adults over 21 and you can find just about everything under the sun. There are malt liquors, thousands of wines from across the world, bourbons, and whiskeys aged in barrels, and more beers than we can even count.
Overview of Cannabis
Cannabis is a species of plant that is purported to have dozens of therapeutic, medicinal, and recreational properties. It’s a plant that flowers with buds containing cannabinoids and terpenes that produce its effects. Cannabis has been used for millennia, despite its tumultuous legal status.
How does cannabis work in the body?
All cannabinoids are processed and metabolized by the liver, though the onset time of its effect varies based on the form factor. When we smoke cannabis, it enters the lungs and makes its way to the bloodstream within seconds. From here, it moves through our soft tissues much like alcohol.
Smoking and vaping will produce effects within minutes, but ingesting edibles requires full digestion and can take up to two hours to kick in.
When we drink THC beverages, the effects are quicker (but shorter-lived) than cannabis edibles, which is part of the appeal. Drinking allows you to get a milder buzz that builds up slowly but dissipates quickly.
Unlike alcohol, THC lingers in your system for up to 30 days when consumed because the metabolites linger in the body’s fat cells. The legality varies from state-to-state, and only adults over 21 can buy cannabis in most states that have legalized weed.
What are the pros and cons of consuming cannabis?
Cannabis poses significantly fewer health risks than alcohol, but it still comes with some side effects. Long-term, chronic smokers are susceptible to lung-related issues due to smoke irritation. Dry eyes, dry mouth, and drowsiness are also common side effects. In addition, overconsumption can lead to paranoia and anxiety.
Yet, for many people, the pros outweigh the cons, especially when consumed in moderation. The cannabinoids in cannabis work on the endocannabinoid system which regulates functions like digestion, sleep, hormones, mood, body temperature, pain management, and even fertility.
Cannabis containing THC is an intoxicant and many who use it report euphoric effects, mood elevation, and relaxation. Much like alcohol, cannabis can be a social lubricant that some use to overcome social anxiety.
At Wynk, we believe all things in moderation can elevate our lives. That’s why we created a perfectly dosed sparkling seltzer with a perfect balance THC and CBD. Available in 2.5mg and 5mg cans, our 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD produces an enjoyable experience while relaxing you at the same time! Try them out in Lime Twist, Black Cherry Fizz, or Juicy Mango.