What is Liquid Marijuana?

What is liquid marijuana?
By Bethan Rose Jenkins Published May 29th

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Self-medicating with cannabis beverages is an up-and-coming consumption trend that enables patients to ingest a healthy dose of cannabinoids. These products are also known as  “liquid marijuana.” Drinks containing the psychotropic compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are also joining the recreational market.

Globally, the cannabis beverages market was worth $574.90 million in 2020. Based on a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.31% between 2021 and 2028, analysts at Fortune Business Insights envision cannabis drinks generating $117 billion by 2032. 

Cannabis product manufacturers are constantly exploring new methods of consumption to satisfy the growing consumer demographic. Fortunately for more than 50 million American cannabis consumers, the rapidly developing product selection ensures that there’s something for everyone.

What can you expect after drinking a liquid marijuana cocktail?

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What is Liquid Marijuana?

The term, "liquid marijuana," typically refers to a tropical alcohol-based cocktail that gets its name from its rich green color and the fact that it's often garnished with a pineapple slice in the shape of a cannabis leaf. Despite the name, there's no actual cannabis in the drink.

With the spread of legalization, some people may use the term “liquid marijuana” to describe potent THC tinctures that are absorbed sublingually for direct entry into the bloodstream. However, the most common types of products that fall into the “liquid marijuana” category are cocktails and beverages infused with THC. Boasting a controlled dosage, eye-catching packaging, flavor diversity, these cannabinoid-infused ready-made cocktails are quickly becoming a favorite across legal markets.

Typically, cannabinoids like THC and CBD are only fat-soluble, meaning they won't mix well with water, and the body will take longer to process them before the effects are felt. With innovations in nanoemulsion technology, liquid marijuana drink manufacturers are able to break down cannabinoids into minute droplets which the body more readily absorbs, leading to quicker and more predictable effects.

It’s advisable to avoid an alcohol-containing liquid marijuana cocktail due to the risk of adverse effects like dizziness, nausea, and sedation. Liquid cannabis that contains THC will get you “high,” but it won’t get you drunk like a cocktail might. If you fancy trying a cannabis cocktail, blend the cannabis-infused ingredients (e.g., creamers, syrups, and tinctures) with non-alcoholic beverages.

How is Liquid Marijuana Made?

How is liquid marijuana made?

Liquid marijuana is created by infusing cannabis derivatives, such as CBD or THC, with beverages. The goal is to produce flavorful drinks — such as tea, coffee, soda, or “mocktails” — that are enriched with cannabis’ therapeutic effects. There are various processes by which a liquid THC drink can be made, with the two main options being oil infusions and cannabis nanoemulsions. 

Oil infusions are a popular choice for people who want to make a liquid marijuana drink from home. Typically, the cannabis must first undergo decarboxylation to activate the intoxicating element by converting THCA into THC.  The next step involves blending the cannabis into an oil infusion, such as vegetable glycerin or cannabis-infused coconut oil, before adding it to the mocktail of your choice. The oil gives the cannabis compounds something to bind to. 

Water-soluble liquid weed is a fairly new and innovative option that can combine easily with  alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Also known as cannabis nanoemulsions or “nano THC,” the meticulous process involves breaking down large oil droplets into miniscule particles that easily blend with water. The result is a product with high bioavailability, consistency, and a stable shelf life.

Advantages of Liquid Marijuana

A liquid marijuana drink allows for consumer discretion and controlled dosing. In comparison with other methods of cannabis consumption, such as smoking and vaping, edibles and drinks are usually perceived with reduced health risks. Many consumers of liquid weed also claim to sleep easily thanks to the improved cannabinoid bioavailability associated with nanotechnology. Accurate dosing is beneficial for consumers who want to avoid unpredictable effects that may be too weak or too strong.1

Moreover, a liquid marijuana shot or liquid marijuana cocktail does not cause a hangover like an alcoholic beverage might. The ease of access makes oral cannabis products, such as edibles, a desirable choice for buyers. They are available in a wide range of options. THC and CBD-rich cannabis-infused food and drink products are sold in most destinations with a legal retail cannabis market. Beyond the scope of cannabis-infused food and drink, the oral segment of the market also features cannabis oils and tinctures designed for medical use.

Drawbacks of Liquid Marijuana

Drawbacks to liquid marijuana

A liquid THC drink might not be for everyone. Since each person’s biochemistry is unique, the effects of liquid marijuana may vary. The same applies to other methods of consumption, proving the importance of experimenting with small doses to determine your preference. Making yourself aware of any potential drawbacks will help you to avoid an uncomfortable experience and find the perfect route of administration to suit your needs.

Beginner liquid THC drink consumers may choose another option over liquid marijuana due to the unpredictability of its effects. CBD options are available. The effects of THC-infused beverages can surface quickly and intensely, especially in comparison with edibles, which release their effects in 30 minutes to two hours after the stomach and liver process the cannabinoids. To avoid overdoing it, newbies and people with a low tolerance ought to sip slowly and start with low dosage non-alcoholic cannabis drinks. 

“The initial state of acute intoxication formulates recreational users' symptoms: euphoria, perception alterations such as time and spatial distortion, intensification of ordinary sensory experiences, and motor impairment. Not all effects of cannabis intoxication are welcomed by users, as some experience unpleasant psychological reactions such as panic, fear, or depression,” reads an excerpt from the NIH fact-book on cannabis toxicity, signifying the importance of starting low and going slow. 

It’s also important to consider the presence of any other ingredients that may react with THC when buying liquid weed, such as the combination of weed and caffeine. Research indicates that caffeine exacerbates the effects of cannabis, particularly if the cannabis is rich in the intoxicating cannabinoid THC. Alcohol and THC-containing cocktails may also lead to overwhelming effects.

Tips for Buying Liquid Marijuana

Before you start perusing the best liquid marijuana cocktail, liquid marijuana shot, or another type of liquid weed at your nearest dispensary or online store, there are some precautionary measures worth taking. The time you devote to finding the perfect product will reduce the chances of downsides to liquid marijuana, such as overconsumption, poor quality, and more.

“Regulated products have greater quality control, including independent testing, contamination mitigation, and concentration limits. Product labeling, product type, cannabinoid content, manufacturing processes, and region-specific product allowances should all be considered when evaluating patient-specific risks,” reads a valuable excerpt from one report highlighting the importance of shopping wisely.2

Some key features of liquid marijuana to look for include:

  • Clear product labeling
  • Dosage guidelines
  • Proof of third-party lab testing

It's advisable to buy liquid marijuana drinks that are made with nanotechnology formulations. Many cannabis-based extracts are specially formulated for oral and sublingual administrations. Nanoemulsions offer enhanced bioavailability via an intricate technique that involves breaking down CBD into tiny particles for the creation of readily usable water-dispersible powders. 

One randomized, double-blind, cross-over design in 16 healthy volunteers under fasting conditions highlighted the efficacy of water-soluble CBD products. “Authors evaluated the pharmacokinetic profile of SEDDS in a single oral administration of CBD-SEDDS led to a faster onset,” wrote the researchers, who noted that “it was faster to reach the peak concentration of CBD, and also led to an increased max concentration of CBD.”3

What should consumers avoid when buying liquid marijuana? To ensure the best experience and value for money, always buy liquid marijuana drinks from reputable sources. A little research goes a long way - dedicate some time to comparing well-known brands with independent reviews. It's also worth buying from a brand that offers proof of third-party lab testing.

Top 5 Liquid Marijuana Drinks

Top liquid marijuana drinks

When purchasing cannabis drinks at a dispensary or from an online seller, you’ll need to prove that you are of legal age. As a fairly saturated market, the process of buying cannabis drinks can be overwhelming. Save yourself the hassle of sampling every brand out there by filtering your search to include the following reputable liquid marijuana brands:

  1. Pamos - Pamos is a respected brand that sells a diverse selection of non-alcoholic cannabis beverages in 2 mg and 5 mg THC servings. Mocktail flavors include Mai Tai, Long Island Iced Tea, and Bellini Spritz.
  2. CANN - This liquid marijuana brand's motto is: "Ditch the booze, not the buzz." The all-natural products offer mouthwatering microdoses of THC and CBD in varying measurements. Flavors include Grapefruit Rosemary, Blood Orange Cardamom, Lemon Lavender, and Ginger Lemongrass.
  3. Endo Tune UP - Another liquid THC drink brand worth adding to your shopping list are Endo Tune UP infused sparkling waters. Coming in a variety of flavors and CBD to THC ratios, Endo Tune UP is also available online and in retailers like Total Wine alongside brands like CANN.
  4. WYNK - To satisfy your sweet tooth without any added sugar, check out WYNK's range of weed drinks. Whether you opt for the Juicy Mango, Lime Twist, or Black Cherry Fizz, this brand's perfectly balanced seltzers have a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD.
  5. Ayrloom - "Take to the clouds" with Ayrloom's liquid weed drinks. One of the most popular non-alcoholic options available from Ayrloom is the Vanilla Cola, which contains THC (5 mg) and CBD (5 mg).

Remember that these are THC mock-tails, and it isn’t legal to sell THC-infused alcoholic beverages in the United States.

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  1. Spindle TR, Bonn-Miller MO, Vandrey R. Changing landscape of cannabis: novel products, formulations, and methods of administration. Curr Opin Psychol. 2019;30:98-102. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.04.0022 ↩︎
  2. MacCallum CA, Lo LA, Pistawka CA, Boivin M. A Clinical Framework for Evaluating Cannabis Product Quality and Safety. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2023;8(3):567-574. doi:10.1089/can.2021.0137 ↩︎
  3. Stella, B., Baratta, F., Della Pepa, C. et al. Cannabinoid Formulations and Delivery Systems: Current and Future Options to Treat Pain. Drugs 2022;81:1513–1557. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40265-021-01579-x ↩︎

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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