Hops-Infused Cannabis Vapes by Lagunitas and AbsoluteXtracts
We’ve talked about cannabis-infused beer, but imagine vaping hops-infused cannabis! SuperCritical is the first craft cannabis and hops vape cartridge, brought to you by a partnership between CannaCraft (home of AbsoluteXtracts) and Lagunitas Brewing. CannaCraft and Lagunitas are a natural fit; both are located in Sonoma County and embody California’s adventurous spirit. The collaboration came about quite organically, through Lagunitas’ practice of vaping hops in a volcano vaporizer to assess their aromatic properties. Lagunitas wanted to design a more convenient way to vape hops in cartridge format for on the go, which led to the grand idea of replacing cannabis terpenes with hop terpenes in a vapeable cartridge. Enter the SuperCritical vape cartridge, named after CannaCraft’s carbon dioxide extraction technique and Critical Solutions’ extraction machines. There are two flavors currently available: Hop Cannon, a dank, hoppy, IPA-style and Stereoterpical, a bright, crisp, citrusy ale.
It turns out cannabis and hops have a lot in common, which the DOPE team discussed with Lagunitas and CannaCraft as we poured over a phylogeny printout that mapped genus, phylum and species evolution of the two plants from their common root. Cannabis (weed) and humulus (hops), the two plants’ scientific names, are not only in the same botanical phylum—they are of the same family, and very closely related. Most plants make terpenes, which deliver scent and flavor, but cannabis and hops in particular create a multitude of terpenes and share their respective dominant terpenes. Jeremy Marshall, Head Brewmaster at Lagunitas, says all this science was “in the back of our minds, but it didn’t necessarily drive us [to create the partnership]. We just wanted to trade terps and smoke weed and drink beer together as a family! But there’s also a scientific reason we’re hanging out.”
Marshall went on to explain that our sense of smell is our most primal sense, tying us to our animalistic self. Smell bypasses the thinking brain and goes straight to the limbic system, which is tied to our emotions, memories, fight or flight and basic survival responses. Because we experience terpenes via our sense of smell, it’s tied to something primal deep within us. This idea spurred a fascinating conversation between Marshall and “Jigga,” Master Cannabis Breeder and CannaCraft family cultivation partner, as they traded terpene notes.
Marshall describes how he’s always finding things in nature and sending those ideas to his breeder to recreate the essence of his new discoveries. As he notes various scents and tastes, Jigga makes a smacking sound with his lips, which prompts Marshall to quip, “I love it when he does that!” Marshall then describes how he selected his favorite cannabis strain to match Lagunitas’ hops, underlining how important the terpenes’ synergy is in his process: “I sniffed every terp in the lab and landed on [the] Girl Scout Cookies” strain (of which Jigga happens to be the originator) to produce the SuperCritical Ale. Jigga melted our heartstrings when he revealed he’s “here to pay homage to the plant; I’m a servant to her.” And he was thrilled to learn that DOPE stands for just that: Defending Our Plant Everywhere.
Jigga and Marshall encouraged us to get the most out of the beer and cannabis pairing experience by sipping a Lagunitas beer, followed by a smooth inhalation of the SuperCritical vape, exhaling through the nose, then drinking a sip of warm water to open up the “retro-sensory” experience. The DOPE team was gifted with SuperCritical vape cartridges and conducted our own quality checks. These new hops-infused weed vapes pass with flying colors!