Ahhhh, nothing like a tart and fizzy cannabis beverage to help you ease into your evening, picnic, party, or a happy hour frame of mind. But first, I’ll be honest here: I’m not a soda drinker. It’s pretty much Champagne, wine, cocktails, beer, milk, espresso, or water in my life, and that’s about it. I don’t like all the sugar and additives in most drinks, and fortunately wasn’t introduced to them as a kid, so they’re not part of my beverage repertoire. I think I had my first taste of Coca-Cola in middle school, and I just tried my first LaCroix last summer (and haven’t had one since).
But…a cannabis soda? Well, that’s an entirely different benefits package right there. A new line to hit the market a few months ago (late March 2018) is California Dreamin’, made in Sacramento from couple Amy Ludlum and Peter Bishop. For people who don’t want to smoke cannabis, or wait for the slower onset of an edible, sharing a 10mg bottle of California Dreamin’ is just the ticket.
The soda comes in four flavors: grapefruit, tangerine, pomegranate, and cranberry apple. Amy and Peter use sparkling water and pure juice in their drinks—no added or artificial flavors, sugars, preservatives, or shady ingredients. While it was more expensive to develop and produce, it was important to them to have a product inspired by natural flavors and ingredients. They’re stringent in their juice sourcing standards, and strive to use all-organic juice at some point.
I love the tartness of the grapefruit, so refreshing and just the right amount of fizzy fizz (they added some apple juice and orange juice to balance the tartness, instead of adding sugar). The cranberry apple has great flavor, and the dryness makes it land more in the cider camp of drinks. The pomegranate is also on the dry side, and balanced with sparkling apple juice—and you get those antioxidant benefits from the pomegranate!
You may notice more of the sugar in the tangerine, but at least it’s all from juice, so maybe consider it your high-sugar treat for the day (they clock in around 25–26g of sugar, and 28g for the pomegranate). Amy mentioned to me some people will actually cut a CA Dreamin’ with some LaCroix or soda water, so you can always add another beverage to adjust the taste (and dosage) to just where you like it. They also taste great poured over ice.
As for their cannabis tincture, their Sacramento supplier for their premium concentrate works with mostly sun-grown cannabis. For California Dreamin’, they focused specifically on sativa-dominant strains that are light, uplifting, and good for recreational use (and low in causing paranoia); they mix and match the ever-popular Blue Dream, J1, and White Buffalo. Amy and Peter wanted to create a beverage that would appeal to recreational customers and not pack a heavy THC punch, so it’s perfect for beginners, microdosers, and folks who are happy with a lighter touch.
How I like to use California Dreamin'
So, first off, one 12-ounce bottle of California Dreamin’ is 10mg of THC, so I’d make sure you have a friend to split a bottle with. Or even better, just start with a quarter serving (2.5mg) over ice and you can always enjoy more in a couple hours after you track how you’re feeling.
Alone and worried about wasting it? Why not pour the dosage you want, and then divide and store the rest as ice cubes? (I used my big silicone ice cube tray, but I think I need to score these stoner cube trays for this very purpose.) Then you can just plunk your ice cube with just a few milligrams into a future beverage! Wacky sangria with some fruit, hmmm. Spritzes. I was also thinking popsicles could be fun.
Ideally, enjoy your California Dreamin’ before a meal/on an empty stomach, and you could feel onset in about 20 minutes or so. You should hit a peak in an hour or thereabouts, and effects could last for 2–3 hours. It’s definitely a quicker onset than a typical edible, especially if you didn’t just eat a big meal, which would delay things.
I have enjoyed both 2.5mg and 5mg+ doses, and it gave me a fun, lifted, happy buzz. Bouncy. My body felt tingly, music was especially enjoyable, and I’d say it was a little party starter in my brain. (Maybe that was the house music I had playing.) No weird trains of thought or paranoia, which is great, because who wants to drink California Paranoia? It would be great before going out, but I could totally see unwinding with a California Dreamin’ after a long day instead of hitting the wine (or cocktails).
Of course, the first thing I thought when tasting the grapefruit was “This would be amazing with some vodka—that would be a fun Greyhound!” (The Bloodshot Greyhound?) But as any experienced cannabis consumer knows, getting cross-faded (mixing alcohol with cannabis) is a tricky party path. I’d leave the mixing to more-experienced consumers…just enjoy the cannabis buzz for now, it’s plenty nice.
If you want to try a little booze, don’t go crazy, and remember that alcohol will amplify the effects of cannabis, so slow your roll. The name is California Dreamin’, not Cali Spins. Cheers!
Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.