The battle for the legalization of marijuana in the United States continues. However, with the rise of cannabis-infused beer, manufacturers of spirits are looking for ways to join the movement.
The founder of Evanston, Illinois-based FEW Spirits, Paul Hletko said, “It’s the Wild West out there. You have to be careful and get what you think you’re getting.” Hletko is also an investor in cannabis investment fund, Sterling Beach. To understand the possibility of having weed-infused spirits it is important to break down THC, CBD, and Hemp.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical component of marijuana that is responsible for its psychoactive properties. Its main source is the flowers and buds of female cannabis plant. It is also possible to find this compound in reduced amount in larger fan leaves, stem, seeds, roots, and nodes. Since THC is currently federally illegal in the U.S., it is unlikely for you to find this compound in commercial spirits bottling. However, some choose to infuse post purchase.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound extracted for the flowers, leaves, and stalk of cannabis plants. There are claims that it reduces inflammation and pain as well as have other health benefits including calmness. Currently, you will find CBD-infused non-alcoholic beverages sold commercially. Like THC, it is unlikely that you will find spirits bottling companies in the U.S. adding CBD to their products. However, there are bars which add CBD oil to cocktails not minding a potential crackdown by regulators.
Hemp plant, particularly the strain Cannabis sativa L. has trace amounts of THC, usually less than 0.3% on the basis of dry weight. This standard was set by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Currently, CSA has delisted hemp as marijuana. Hemp was legalized by the 2018 farm bill and gives incentives to farmers to cultivate the crop. This has led to the excess raw material available today. According to Hletko, “Hemp’s primary use is for its stalk, which is a very versatile fiber. It’s good for ropes, clothes [and] many things, but getting high is not one of them.
Cannabis-inspired hemp spirits you will find in the United States
The first thing you have to realize about these hemp spirits is that their distribution is limited so don’t expect to find them on every shelf. However, they are worth giving a try. The list include;
Nirvana Vodka, Nirvana Gin (Fat Dog Spirits, Nirvana Florida): Both brands are infused with hemp.
Humboldt’s Finest (Humboldt Distillery, Humboldt County, California): This vodka is cannabis seed-infused.
Colorado High Vodka (Colorado Gold Distillery, Colorado Springs, Colorado): Distilled from hemp.
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