So-called “California sober” has entered the lexicon lately, as millennials are reportedly done with hangovers and health risks, brah. But what is California sober, exactly? And where does that leave those of us who’d like a little something more than a Diet Coke to take the edge off, whether at home after a long day or when we’re slipping into a party?
According to Vice and The Cut, the term is loosely defined as a lifestyle in which you don’t drink alcoholic beverages or take recreational drugs, except cannabis. As Los Angeles–based writer Molly Lambert tweeted, Cali sober means you are “weed edge,” an update of “straight edge,” the nickname for the subculture of sober punk rockers.
While the proliferation of weed boutiques, vaping apparatuses and the smell of cannabis on every street corner signal that smoking isn’t going away any time soon, there’s been a big industry push toward developing cannabis beverages. Constellation Brands (the company behind Corona beer and Svedka vodka) invested $4 billion in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth in advance of its debuting a beverage line this year, and in the past two years, cannabis beverage sales have doubled. The new and different market proposition for today’s THC- and CBD-infused drinks is that they taste better—instead of being sugary sodas, they are low-calorie, low-sugar drinks that are closer in taste to LaCroix than Jolt Cola. Additionally, many companies are touting proprietary new tech like nanoemulsion (a way to make oily cannabis particles so tiny that they actually dissolve in water and are rapidly bioavailable, i.e., you feel the effects faster). Sure, but the non-science nerds among us are just nodding our heads and thinking, Yes, but how does it taste? And how will it make me feel?
Here are some notes on just that, reviewing the cream of today’s crop of cannabis beverages.