Cannabis-infused drinks

Mojito drink with leafs of marijuana plant on sand. 

With the explosion of legal cannabis industries across the country, methods of consumption have become ever more creative. Cannabis can be consumed any number of ways, including through the use of edibles and infusions.

With summer here, there’s no better time than now in Fairbanks to test out new recipes for cannabis-infused drinks.

But how to begin?

Creating a cannabis-infused drink starts much the same way as creating a good edible such as a brownie or cookie. The trick to a good cannabis-infused drink is the base, and it’s best to use a coconut-oil base. It is possible to use a cannabis-butter compound, as often found in cooking or baking recipes, but coconut oil has a more delicate flavor that won’t overpower a summer drink as butter would.

Coconut oil is the best oil to use based both on its flavor and its fat content. THC is released into the oil during the heating process, and oils with higher fat content hold the most THC. A recipe for cannabis coconut oil can be found below and is the recommended base for the two drink recipes presented here.

Ingesting cannabis edibles in both drink and food form has a number of benefits over smoking, including a long-lasting and more intense high.

Mikaela Fish, an edibles production expert at GOOD Cannabis, located in Fairbanks, said the highs obtained from ingesting cannabis by through drink or an edible differ from the highs obtained by smoking it.

“The major difference between an edible and smoking an indica for example, when you smoke that indica you get a body high and with the edibles it’s a strong body high and a long-lasting effect,” Fish said.

Fish noted ingesting cannabis produces a different head high as well.

“It’s a little more psychoactive, so there’s more going on in a head high. It’s just all around a little more intense,” Fish said. “And then a lot of people say too with the edibles the sleepiness will be a lot stronger especially with the indica variety.”

Fish noted the obvious benefit to ingesting cannabis by drink or an edible rather smoking it is that there is not the risk of inhaling the carcinogens associated with smoke.

Taran Firor, a manager at Grass Station 49 in Fairbanks, said an important thing to note when consuming drinks or edibles is to wait an appropriate amount of time to allow the high to take effect.

“When you smoke marijuana, you get stoned like now, whereas when you ingest it, it takes an hour to an hour and a half to actually get through your metabolism and for your body to break down the molecules,” Firor said. “Because you have about a hundred yards of digestive tract so it takes longer to absorb.”

The amount of waiting time will differ with a drink rather than an edible due to the body’s ability to process liquids faster than solids, and effects tend to kick in within 20 to 60 minutes after consuming a drink, said Lexii Greife, another manager at Grass Station 49.

For those interested in experimenting with fun, summer edibles, below are two recipes for cooling, cannabis infused summer drinks.

Cannabis-coconut oil (as seen in The Cannabist)

To make a good coconut-cannabis oil:

- 2 cups coconut oil

- 1 ounce cannabis buds, crumbled

Step 1: To activate the THC, heat must be applied to the dried cannabis, a process called decarboxylation. First, heat oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, spread your cannabis in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once the oven is pre-heated, bake the cannabis 40 minutes, rotating the baking sheet a few times throughout the process to ensure even heat is applied.

Step 2: Once your cannabis is decarbed, you are ready to add it to your oil. First, bring about a quart of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once the water is boiling, add the coconut oil to the water and let it melt.

Step 3: Once the oil is melted completely, add your cannabis and lower heat to barely a simmer. Let simmer for about 3 hours until top layer is glossy and thick.

Step 4: Find a heatproof bowl and stretch a double layer of cheese cloth over the top, securing with a rubber band or string. Carefully pour the water, oil and cannabis mixture over the cheesecloth and into the bowl. Once the saucepan is empty, squeeze remaining oil out of cheesecloth.

Step 5: Let oil cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator overnight. While cooling, the oil will float to the top of the water and can be scraped off the top with a metal spoon.

‘Green’ Smoothie:

- 2 cups honeydew melon, cut into chunks

- 1 cup green grapes, halved

- 2 kiwis, peeled and cubed

- 6 ounces Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla

- 2 tablespoons canna-coconut oil

Blend until smooth and enjoy.

Iced saTEAva:

Prepare your chosen herbal or green tea as directed. Mix in 1 teaspoon of cannabis-coconut oil and let dissolve completely. Option: Add one teaspoon of honey. Let cool to room temperature, pour over ice and enjoy in the sun.

Note: Despite the name of this recipe, this tea can be made with cannabis-coconut oil made with either a sativa strain or an indica, depending on what desired effects you hope to achieve. A sativa will provide a more energized high while an indica will be more relaxing.

Contact writer Erin Granger at egranger@AlaskaCannabist.com

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