|Kate Robertson | One Weed Please|
Jennawae McLean is one of my favourite cannabis Twitter personalities because she’s outspoken, hilarious and doesn’t bullshit—a true gem in the rough. As the owner of eastern Ontario’s Calyx + Trichomes stores and the executive director of NORML Canada, McLean has also tried a huge range of legal cannabis products. That’s why I asked Jennawae to make a list of the top 10 cannabis drinks on the market. I’m not sure anyone has tried more of them than her. Plus, drinks are one of the more innovative products out there because their makers have had to overcome the obstacle of emulsifying non-water soluble cannabinoids in liquids. But that also means they can be expensive and don’t always taste very good. There are so many options, it can feel overwhelming to choose what to try. Jennawae went above and beyond, grading each of her picks out of five and sharing some details on why each is good and how it could be better. She also used the word “crushable” repeatedly, which was so without further delay, here are the top 10 cannabis drinks in Canada.
10. Phresh Strawberry Kiwi: 2/5 It’s 10 mg and only one calorie. You wouldn’t guess that from the flavour. But the strawberry-kiwi flavour is a bit fake-tasting. It reminds me of Lip Smackers.
9. Collective Project Mango Pineapple and Coconut Sparkling Juice: 2.5/5 It tastes like real fruit juice, sort of like those Perrier juices. But I want it to pick a lane. It just isn’t as refreshing as I’d like, like it’s too much juice and not enough sparkling. It’s also only 5 mg THC and 5 mg CBD, which is fine for some, but for me it needs more of a kick!
8. Collective Project Blood Orange Yuzu Vanilla Sparkling Juice: 3/5 If you like Creamsicles, this is for you. It’s like a punchy-but-smooth ice cream bar. 10 mg of THC and CBD. But I don’t usually reach for a Creamsicle when I want refreshment. This could be a nice sipper for sure, but I would like more sparkling and less juice to crush it more.
7. Keef Classics Root Beer 3.5/5 Excellent root beer flavour, good level of carbonation and 10 mg of THC per can. Honourable mention to the Keef Orange. This sounds weird, but it has a skunky after-smell that you notice when you chug 13 drinks at once for an article. Then skunky burps (sorta like Bakerstreet and Ginger, which you’ll notice doesn’t make this list). Plus there are 165 calories and 30 grams of sugar (which is still less than regular pop, but still).
6. Keef Classics Cola 3.5/5 Excellent cola taste and good carbonation. This is the best of this brand (so far). But it has high calories and sugar content. Like with the root beer, this gave me weird burps.
5. Sweet Justice OG Cola 4/5 Perfect cola taste and recently improved carbonation levels (we brought this to their attention and I’m glad to see they improved the formula). Comparable to Pepsi in flavour, but only 100 calories. But there are only 3.5 mg of THC and CBD and still 25 g of sugar (which means I have to drink a LOT of sugar to get enough THC for me).
4. Versus Black Cherry Sparkling Water 4.5/5 10 mg of THC with only 20 calories and no sugar. This one is super crushable, and I’ve drank hundreds of them. Where other red berry-flavoured things can taste fake or medicinal, this one is perfect cherry flavour and super crisp. I would have scored this higher on the list had it not been for some recent additions in the top spots. Honourable mention to the lime flavour. But I don’t love the can design/child-proofing. Because it only opens a tiny slit, it doesn’t let me chug as much as I would really like.
3. Green Monké Mango Guava 4.5/5 This one is SUPER crushable. This was my favourite for a good year. It is fruity, light, crisp, refreshing and super easy to chug. It’s not too sweet and there are only 25 calories and 5 g of sugar. This would have been my top choice if it had 10 mg of THC. It only has 3 mg of THC and 6 mg of CBD. This would be great for a light cannabis user, but for someone that crushes gallons of drinkables in a week, this is low in content.
Editor’s note: Whenever I read about the Green Monké drink brand, I think of this scene in the British Office, which is apparently a reference to this ad. “Monké!” (Sorry.)
2. Bubble Kush Root Beer 4.75/5 This is a newcomer in the last few weeks. It is the best root beer I have ever had. Better than Dad’s or A&W. The flavour is robust and it is perfectly carbonated. Plus it has 10 mg of THC! I can’t wait to see what other flavours are coming, but I will throw an honourable mention to the lemon lime flavour (which is just like Sprite). I would have given Bubble top spot had it not been for the 180 calories per can (the most of the drinks I tested) and a crazy 44 grams of sugar! But you know what? There are plenty of low sugar and sugar free options on the market. At least this drink feels worth the calories and hyperactivity.
1. Proper Blueberry Pomegranate Sparkling Water 5/5 This drink has everything: super low calorie (only one single calorie in the whole can), 10 mg of THC and SUPER crushable! There are 0 grams of sugar and the flavour is REALLY nice. It’s incredibly satisfying. For me, it is the perfect all-around cannabis drink. Standing ovation. But it’s time to release more flavours. Mama wants some mango, guava or passionfruit versions.
Beyond cannabinoid content, what else can consumers look for in a drink? CRUSHABILITY! There is no reason why we need to choke down a regulated product. The drinks on my top 10 list are refreshing and TASTE good. I tend to find there is more of a distillate taste in drinks that have higher CBD content and some emulsion methods leave a greasy residue in your mouth. A good drink should have no distillate taste and no weird mouth feel. Oh, and if it’s a carbonated drink, it needs to be really carbonated for me to crush it.
What’s the best drink for health-conscious people? Most cannabis beverages at this point are relatively low cal. While there are more sugary drinks in the mix, the sugary drinks are still lower in sugar and calorie content than their non-infused counterparts. I really like Proper, which only has one calorie. In particular, the new Pomegranate Blueberry flavour is excellent and its totally crushable at 10 mg. I also love Versus sparkling water. I prefer the black Cherry but the lime gets an honourable mention. There are only 20 calories and 0 grams of sugar. For those looking for post-workout CBD drinks, I recommend either a balanced drink or a 1:2 (THC:CBD, like Green Monké). I find CBD-only drinks to be rather unpalatable and would sooner recommend something like Being CBD Breath Strips, capsules or oil.
What’s the best drink for stoners, or the best drink for people with a high THC tolerance? Does it exist? Yes, and especially in social situations where you aren’t much of an alcohol drinker. It just depends on what else your priorities are. Do you want to be refreshed, but save the calories? I recommend Versus or Proper drinks. If you don’t care about calories and want a true soda-pop experience (that is maybe even better than non-infused), I would go for the new Bubble Root Beer. It’s unreal (and still fewer calories and sugar than some). Do you just want high-THC? I suggest adding TGOD THC powder to any drink (or anything that mixes, like yogurt or dips). It’s a virtually tasteless powder that comes in a similar format as Crystal Lite. The equivalency on these are super low (10 mg packages are the equivalent of only 0.03 g of cannabis) so you can buy 1000 of them at a time. This is how you would superpower-upgrade any beverage.
What’s the best cannabis drink for beer-drinkers? Mollo 5 or Mollo 5 Lime. These didn’t make my cut because I’m not a beer drinker, but they are popular among my team. These have been reviewed as crisp and an easy substitute for beer drinkers who don’t want to drink alcohol on a warm day.