Pot. Weed. Reefer. Grass. Mary Jane. Ganja. Giggle Smoke. Marijuana.
For over 6000 years, Cannabis has been widely used throughout history for its medicinal and spiritual purposes. It wasn’t actually until the early 20th century that cannabis fell out of favour and began running into legal issues. These days, recreational Cannabis is now legal in Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and parts of the US. In September, Australia saw a small win when a landmark piece of legislation passed in the ACT parliament that stating that Canberra residents over the 18 will be able to legally grow a small amount of cannabis in their homes from January 2020. The Cannabis industry is now a $20.1 billion dollar legal industry worldwide and is expected to double in size over the next five years.
With the legalisation of cannabis, the beverage sector has seen a budding opportunity for legal highs.
In November 2018, a Melbourne-based start-up called The Cannabis Company launched the “World’s first cannabis gin”, of which the first release of 300 bottles sold out in just three days. Since then, the company has released two other Cannabis gins and has more releases planned for the future. We spoke with D from The Cannabis Co about the gins and whether he thinks weed legalisation might be in Australia’s future.
How did The Cannabis Company come out?
D: The Cannabis Company was born to educate the Australian people about cannabis and how to access it. Its ongoing daily mission is to provide functional products across its portfolio, which include three categories - lifestyle, pets & beverages.
Is this the World's first cannabis gin?
D: Yes, it was the first alcoholic beverage in the world to use cannabis terpenes, and it's, of course, the best tasting.
What's the process of making Cannabis gin?
D: The Cannabis Co gin is a unique beverage that uses functional ingredients such as cannabis terpenes to provide an original flavour profile and experience. It's a world-first gin and went viral very quickly. We have maintained the essence of gin botanicals such as juniper, coriander seeds and Osiris root and make the gin in a 15,000-litre pot and use traditional methods. The rest is a close, guarded secret.
How does the distilling Cannabis gin differ from making regular gin?
D: It's very similar to making a regular gin however we do have some trade secrets in the process which only very few people know about. There is an art to making every alcohol, and our process was developed from a lot of trial and error plus many late nights in the lab. When working with cannabis, things can get very interesting.
Is there any THC or CBD in the gin?
D: Yes, but these are in amounts that comply with the current government legalisation.
Will Cannabis gin get me high?
D: Unfortunately, not at this point, the government will not allow any company to add THC (the molecule from cannabis that gets you high) into any beverage, including alcohol. It would probably not be the best experience being drunk and stoned at the same time anyway. While it won’t get you high, you may reap health benefits from the different terpenes in the gins.
D: The Jilungin Dreaming gin features cannabis terpene Limonene, which demonstrates anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory properties, and is considered a possible treatment for cancer, including prostate, breast and pancreatic cancers. The Myrcene is made on Myrcene Terpene which is regarded as one of the most fascinating and highly sought after terpenes due to its potent anti-inflammatory, sedative, pain-relieving, anti-anxiety and strong antioxidant properties. Pre-clinical research has indicated that the main terpene (beta-caryophyllene) in The Cannabis Co’s Navy Strength gin can be therapeutic in many diseases ranging from alcoholism to reducing pain and helping with inflammation. Beta-caryophyllene is also the only terpene to directly interact with the same receptors as cannabis.
"if you enjoy a gin with a quiet joint in the other hand, it can prolong the high and make it more intense"
What's your favourite way to enjoy cannabis gin?
D: In all honesty - a 30ml nip and a glass of ice. The flavours bounce around like crazy on the palate, and if you do enjoy with a quiet joint in the other hand, we have received several emails from customers advising that it prolongs their "high" and makes it more intense. This is due to the terpenes present in the gin as they work on the same receptors in our body that cannabis does.
Why Cannabis gin and not Cannabis vodka, whiskey or beer?
D: When you look at the very essence of these beverages, Vodka has no flavoured at all, that one is about how smooth is the Vodka is, the opposite of what we were trying to achieve. Beer has many other ingredients already in large doses that can be relatively hard to pair. However, Hops is a cousin of the cannabis plant, and we would not rule out a product that uses hops in the future.
Marijuana just got made legal (within certain circumstances) in Canberra. Do you think the rest of Australia will follow?
D: If you look closely at the law, this allows the people that consume cannabis regularly to not face any criminal convictions for possession and growing of a small number of plants. This is far from an open market, and I don't think many other states will follow this change. Australia, as a whole, is locked in some very archaic laws.
You've released three types of gin... do you have any more coming up that you can tell us about?
D: The next products to market will be non-alcoholic beverages, and we will also be releasing our next alcoholic beverage soon. All I can say adiós!
The taste: Bubblegum aromas blended with lavender, pine forest and sage. Soft tones of violet present which interact on the palate with woodland flavours of rosemary and resin, cloves and woody spices. The Myrcene Gin has a long, complex finish and a rich mouthfeel.
How to enjoy: Pair with a premium tonic and pour over a wedge of lemon and a sprig of fresh rosemary to bring out the piney aromas.
JILUNGIN DREAMING HEMP GIN
The taste: Citrus elements of finger lime intertwined with cinnamon myrtle while a heavy dose of juniper and coiander keeps the spirit firmly entrenched in the tradition of a truly classic gin. Exotic notes of spice interact with deep earthiness, and hemp's naturally nutty flavour interacts with the native botanicals, giving an almost hazlenut quality to the gin.
How to enjoy: Add tonic or let the native Australian botanicals sing over ice.
HIGH SEAS NAVY STRENGTH HEMP GIN
The taste: Fresh tones of grapefruit blend with ginder, turmeric and cinnamon in this robust chassis of citrus spice. A heady dose of spice meets strong notes of lime, balanced by the fragrant rosemary.
How to enjoy: Add a slice of fresh cut lime and a splash of tonic to make this smooth gin sing.
To go in the draw to win 3 bottles of Cannabis Gin from The Cannabis Co simply buy a copy of Penthouse’s Special 40th Anniversary Issue for details or enter here.