Scientist race to make cannabis drinkable

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Expect huge advances in cannabis beverages by the end of the year

It is one of the segments of the cannabis industry that receives most of the attention, and this won’t stop anytime soon. The cannabis beverage industry is poised to be a multi-million dollar industry by next year and scientists are now working frantically to help advance the market, especially for the creation of alcoholic beverages. Cannabis has one issue that makes it more difficult to be used in drinks – it isn’t water-soluble.

Those in the industry anticipate that mainstream acceptance of cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages is only possible by tempering the effects of cannabis, providing a steady sense of euphoria over time, and not all at once. As the chief knowledge officer of New Frontier Data, John Kagia, explains, “We think onset time is going to be one of the critical factors in the next stage of cannabis-infused beverages, and the investments being made by consumer packaged goods companies and by big alcohol are going to dramatically move that needle.”

Nano-emulsifications are becoming the most popular form of creating the beverages. They use a blending agent that can stick to the cannabis molecules, which makes them mix better with water. When performed correctly, it allows the active ingredients to be dispersed more evenly, resulting in bloodstream absorption faster than what is possible with edibles.

Another option is to make traditional beer, but replace the barley and brew directly from the stalks, roots and stems of cannabis. This approach is being tested by Province Brands of Canada, which has already had considerable success.

Trait Biosciences, Inc., decided to explore a third possibility. It is using glycosylation, a process that mimics the natural metabolism of the body and allows cannabis to attach itself to glucose. It has already filed a patent for the process and is currently running tests on humans.

What comes next is anyone’s guess. Kagia adds, “Given that cannabis has been illegal for much of the past century, you’re seeing the industry now making up for almost a century’s worth of innovation and investment in a two- to five-year period. We would argue that we’ve still barely scratched the tip of the iceberg around where product innovation in cannabis is going.”

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