By Ganja Goddess
What do a thick, bitter India Pale Ale and a fat joint have in common? Both are green, cone-like, and covered in resinous, sticky substance, but there is a reason they have a similar look and feel. Cannabis sativa and hops are cousins, belonging to the Cannabis family, which is why they share a powerful taste and smell, and can alter your mind state as well.
If you’ve ever had a bold IPA, then you know distinctive the flavor can get- the word woodsy comes to mind. Cannabis and hops share a distinctive, pungent aroma and bold characteristics because they both contain terpenes. Hops are the flowers or cones of a plant called Humulus Lupulus, and they are what gives beer its signature pungent flavor. Terpenes are responsible for producing the skunky, earthy, and citrusy flavors associated with both hops and with sticky icky. IPAs are famous for being some of the hoppiest, gnarliest beers around. It turns out they get that flavor from the terpenes that give them the skunky, pungent, and earthy flavors they are so well-known for. Hops and pot both invite constant experimentation and often signify regional land characteristics in their taste. Hops extends the life of beer, keeping it fresher for a longer period of time and helping retain the frothy foam on the head. As it happens, cannabis and hops have more in common than not. The only thing they don’t have in common is psychoactive properties, which cannabis gets from the tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) in the plant.
Right now, you’re probably thinking, is it possible to substitute weed for hops in beer? The answer is yes. There’s even a Reddit thread dedicated to infusing beer with weed, so there’s plenty of room for experimentation. Your neighbor with a home craft brew kit probably has tried to infuse it with some OG Kush. It’s easy to imagine that as marijuana becomes legal and more research is funded that brands will dedicate the same amount of time and research to making cannabis more palatable to alcohol drinkers. Since plenty of smokers don’t drink, it seems reasonable to try developing something they can drink that doesn’t fall into the category of water or soda at the next event.
Unfortunately, the THC infused beer currently on the market leaves a lot to be desired in terms of taste. Once cannabis research can no longer get you a felony, that is, I imagine that the quality will dramatically improve. Cheers to that.