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Wine and marijuana have long since been thought of as popular relaxants, with many people preferring to smoke medical cannabis as opposed to pouring a glass of wine at the end of a long day. It’s no surprise then that a company has thought to bond the two and create weed wine, an oenophilic craze that is taking California by storm. But what’s the real deal? And can we get it with a California medical marijuana card?
First things first, let’s establish a fact: weed wine is nothing new. Psychotropic resins were found in gallons of of wine that dated back to 1700 B.C., when an Israeli wine cellar was discovered in 2014. Many other cultures have added cannabis resin to wine, including Hua T’o, the father of Chinese surgery, who used it as pain relief during operations.
So what’s got everyone up in arms about it of late? Well, after a chance encounter on a camping trip, cancer survivor and (Santa Cruz medical cannabis dispensary) Greenway owner Lisa Molyneux got together with the owner of Verdad Wines, Louisa Sawyer Lindquist to see if they could marry their two passions. It turns out they could, and then some.
The two entrepreneurs have released Canna Vine, medical marijuana product that’s a lot more expensive than your average dime bag but will slip down your throat a lot smoother than any smoking, vaping or even juicing could ever hope to. The combination of organically grown marijuana and biodynamically farmed grapes create what is described as – nod to the legal system – a ‘tincture’ and clocks in at anywhere between $120 to $400 per half-bottle.
And it has celebrity endorsements, to boot. Another cancer survivor, this time in the form of musician Melissa Etheridge, gave an interview to the L.A. Times in which she extolled the virtues of weed wine. The ‘I’m The Only One’ singer stated that edibles made her, “out of it” and she couldn’t smoke or vape, so this medical cannabis tincture provided her with a superb alternative.
Etheridge battled cancer with chemotherapy and has been very vocal in her support of medical cannabis as a way of treating its side effects. She is clearly so impressed with Molyneux’s weed wine that she has her own line of it, amusingly titled ‘Know Label’.
Let’s be clear on one thing; we’re not trying to ‘get high’ with weed wine. As fermentation temperatures do not usually exceed 90 degrees, the cannabinoids in the marijuana are released but not much if any of the THC. Therefore, little of the euphoric or psychotropic effects typically associated with marijuana are present; however, the calming and pain-relieving effects on the body are certainly felt. These are the effects that anyone drinking weed wine for its medicinal properties are going to benefit from.
As for flavor enhancing, the effects are myriad. Like adding any herb to a liquid, the flavor infuses throughout the weed wine, adding depth and subtlety to the character of the libation. If you love the taste and smell of marijuana then you’ll probably enjoy the bouquet on Canna Vine. It’s not like inhaling the smoke from a joint or walking into a dispensary when the cabinets have been open a while, but there is a faint echo of the herb on the nose and a lingering fullness of marijuana on the tongue after you swallow.
If you’ve registered online for your California medical marijuana card and have got a thirst for weed wine, then prepare to be happy (and a little bit smug): weed wine is only currently available in California. As long as you are a California a resident who holds a medical cannabis card, you can purchase a bottle for your own consumption. Pretty much every other state does not allow the infusion of cannabis and alcohol, even in states where recreational use of marijuana is allowed.
The hopefuls amongst us think that California is edging closer to legalizing marijuana every day and the success of weed wine seems to indicate that this could indeed be the case. By assimilating marijuana into food and drink, it normalizes the herb and breaks the taboo surrounding it. This paradigm shift will also allow much more experimentation and progression within mainstream food and drink businesses, leading to the proliferation of exciting products made available to the general public.
As long as the THC levels are non-existent, you can imbibe marijuana without a license – any denizens of West Hollywood’s Gracias Madre will be familiar with their cannabinoid-infused sundowner, the Stony Negroni – so it seems a logical move to start pushing towards legalizing products in which the THC levels are negligible.
Until then, you’ll just have to fill out the California medical marijuana card requirements and save up the $120+ to get your hands on a nice bottle of weed wine.