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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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CulturePuffPuff: Let's get fizzy with it

Puff: Let’s get fizzy with it

Tickle your nose with cannabis-infused sodas and seltzers that lift and calm.

Bubbles. We all enjoy those effervescent bubbles as they tickle our nose. They give us a little lift, a slight inner giggle that sometimes spills outward in the spirit of fun and relaxation. Usually that means champagne or some other alcohol, but these days fizzy cannabis beverages can give you that, too—and more.

There is nothing new about carbonated cannabis drinks. I have recommended Manzanita Naturals sodas before, and still do. I love their cola flavor. These days with the market expanding, new products and flavors are always floating up.

It doesn’t matter if you are stuck at home, unemployed or overworked, or just looking for a special gift, cannabis beverages are always a good idea to give the day a much needed burp of contentment. 

Setting out on the internet I started gathering samples from the menus of six local dispensaries I usually visit. This is not a definitive list. I got all the products I could find within a certain time frame and budget. If I missed your favorite, let me know! 

I stayed within the world of sodas and seltzers. 

First off, Wunder (50 calories, Sugar 10g, Carbs 11g) is a new sparkling water beverage with a twist. Along with the slap and tickle of 2mg THC and 4mg CBD, there is also the added benefit of 2mg Delta-8. 

Why Delta-8 THC you may ask? 

“Delta-8 THC offers a lower psychotropic potency that provides body relaxation and clear-headedness. When combined with Delta-9 THC and CBD, a unique cannabinoid profile that is entirely new to the beverage scene is produced; designed to enable consumers to feel more present in the moment and encourage them to experience the wonder in their lives.” said Alexi Chialtas, president and CEO of Wunder.

The flavors are all zesty and flavorful with no bad aftertaste and include Watermelon Wave, Lemon Ginger Lift, and Blood Orange Bliss which are all available at the Apothecarium at $7 each or a 4 pack at $22. Also look for them on Sava as well.

Already buzzing on Delta-8, I was ready to enjoy the Keef’s Bubba Kush Root Beer. (132 calories, Sugar 34g, Carbs 34g). The flavor was perfect. It was sudsy. It satisfied my root beer craving and would be great in a root beer float, a favorite from my childhood. 

Keef has some more excellent flavors. The ones I have my eye on are Blue Razz, Orange Kush and Purple Passion. They have sparkling waters listed on their website, but I have not run into those yet. 

They all have 10mg of THC and cost around $10 each. I have seen them at most dispensaries around town.

I miss beer. During this pandemic I found out I was a social drinker. I was excited to finally try Lagunita’s Hi Fi, a hoppy cannabis drink with a beer-like flavor. The Hi-Fi Hops Reverb (0 calories, Sugar 0g, Carbs 0g)  at 10mg THC is not anywhere like beer BUT it does attain a certain hoppiness to make it a suitable homage.

As I drank along, it became more and more enjoyable. At the end, I even let out a nice vocal belch as a little shock of giddiness shot up my spine. Nice! They have two new flavors, Unplugged with its 18:1 CBD to THC ratio and Tuner which is 5mg THC and 5mg CBD.

They all sell for about $10 each at most dispensaries around town.

Next up, a new product, Calexo carbonated cannabis beverage in two flavors, Cucumber Citron and Citrus Rose. (70 calories, Sugar 15g, Carbs 19g)

I enjoy the size of the bottle at 22 ounces. I took one to an afternoon tea, and it was a hit. I felt like I was taking a bottle of wine. Everyone was able to have a nice drink and not worry they would get messed up with only 10mg THC in the entire bottle. The flavors were bright and pleasant with no aftertaste.

I could not find a price for Calexo online. I did see a couple of places locally that carry it, but check their website for more details.

Hard seltzers are all the rage in the alcohol beverage world. Some bars can barely keep White Claw and its ilk stocked on shelves. You knew the cannabis equivalent would be coming up soon. I tried three that are on the market.

Rebel Coast (0 calories, Sugar 0g, Carbs 0g) has three flavored seltzers, Black Cherry, Mixed Berry and Lemon Lime each with 19mg THC. The labeling looks great. They have an initial aftertaste that dissipates quickly.

As mentioned earlier, The Fizz from Manzanita Naturals was my first cannabis-infused soda. They now have a line of seltzers as well with Grapefruit, Strawberry, Lime, Grape and Tangerine. (0 calories, Sugar 0g, Carbs 0g). 

Grapefruit and Lime were tasty after that initial aftertaste.

One of the problems with the seltzers is seemingly hiding the cannabis flavor. I guess that is the price paid for zero calories and zero sugar. There is nowhere to hide the cannabis flavor!

Not that these seltzers taste bad, they just have an aftertaste I haven’t found in other cannabis beverages.

I also tried a CBD infused seltzer called Rhythm (0 calories, Sugar 0g, Carbs 0g). They have two flavors Awake (grapefruit rosemary) which has 15 mg CBD and 50mg caffeine, and Dream (blackberry lavender) with 15mg CBD and 5mg melatonin (for sleep). 

They taste fine with the same initial aftertaste. I did enjoy the Dream flavor which I drank at bedtime. This is a hemp-based CBD so it is available in a couple of markets in San Francisco. Check their website for locations. It is not the same as the THC-based beverages, but tasty in a pinch!

Well, I must say I have developed a very pleasant high after tasting all these cannabis sodas and seltzers. They make for a pleasant treat at a party or cook-out, watching TV, or after a long day of work.

Just sit back, put on some tunes or a favorite movie, pop a tasty cannabis beverage, light a nice doobie, and just float away enjoying the gift of cannabis.

Now it’s time for me to light up!


Be well.

Dan Karkoska
Dan Karkoska is an independent producer, promoter, film critic, and DJ on the San Francisco scene. He also works with Maria Konner at Under the Golden Gate and is currently producing and hosting PUFF, the first queer marijuana rock-and-roll drag party every first Thursday at The Stud. He is a big stoner. Photo by Sari Staver.
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