Dry January, Meet Cali Sober

By Vincent Mann

The last month of each year is filled to the brim with festivity–dense with holidays, parties, and end-of-the-year indulgence. 

As exciting as it is to celebrate a year well-lived, a month of revelry leaves most of us exhausted by New Year’s Day. 

It’s no wonder, then, that many choose to take a break from alcohol for the first month of the year, also known as ‘Dry January,’ to give their bodies and brains a rest.

A sweet balcony scene with modernist furniture overlooking a beach with palm trees.

What’s Up, Cali Sober?

While you may intellectually know your nervous system would benefit from a reset, that first week back at the office post-holidays might leave you missing that glass of wine at the end of the day, just to take the edge off. 

Thankfully, cannabis in moderation can be a healthy way to unwind without being too hard on your body.

Some people have started playfully referring to this alcohol-free enjoyment of cannabis as ‘Cali Sober,’ a nod to California’s propensity for producing top-shelf cannabis, as well as the state’s early adoption of medical, then recreational consumption.

At the moment, there’s buzzy conversation on the potential of cannabis to replace or at least temper the recreational role of alcohol. There’s even active research exploring cannabis as a tool to treat various forms of drug and alcohol dependency. 

However, it is important to note that despite its positive potential, cannabis does have the ability to foster dependency, albeit with less physical harm than other potentially addictive substances.

A green cocktail with an orange rind twist against a purple backdrop.

A Different Kind of Liquid Lift 

No matter what your motive for exploring partial sobriety, not everyone likes to smoke, and some people don’t even like the feel of hitting a vape. 

Edibles offer a tasty and effective alternative, but don’t quite fulfill the oral fixation that sets in at social events where having a drink in one’s hand can feel almost requisite. 

So how to fill the liquid void? Mocktails, juices, and seltzers certainly hydrate, but what if you want that extra touch to join the revelry? 

Welcome to the world of cannabis-infused drinks. Boosting your beverage game with cannabis can help shake off the feeling of missing out on the fun, and you’ll still be able to hop out of bed for that hike come morning. 

Whether you prefer a mild CBD-infused drink or a heady THC-forward tonic, the landscape of weed-laced libations is constantly growing. We’ve curated some of our favorite infused beverages for you, below. 

Our Top Picks for the Cali Sober 

A blue bottle that reads "Kwik CBD Valentine X" with Hybrid 100mg CBD and 2mg THC.

Manzanita & Madrone - Kwik CBD ‘Valentine X’

$12 / One 2 fl oz. shot with 2mg THC and 100mg CBD

For those seeking to truly tone things down, the Kwik Ease CBD shots from Manzanita & Madrone are a perfect gateway to an almost-sober flow. 

Less jell-o shot, more wellness shot, this small bottle packs a punch with the namesake Valentine X strain of cannabis, known for its high CBD:THC ratio. Each Kwik CBD ‘Valentine X’ shot contains 100mg CBD and just 2mg THC, guaranteeing a subtle high with therapeutic benefits. 

Either take it in one go, or pour it into another beverage to sip slowly – its delicious orange-mango flavor won’t disappoint, and you’ll be left nice and vibey.

Kwik's 1:1 Hybrid beverage with 50mg THC and 50mg CBD in Lemon Haze.

Manzanita & Madrone - Kwik 1:1 Lemon Haze

$12 / One 2 fl oz. shot with 50mg THC and 50mg CBD 

The Kwik 1:1 Lemon Haze shot leans further into the Cali of ‘Cali Sober’ headspace, offering an equal 50mg THC to 50mg CBD ratio. This can give a mellow lift to an otherwise Dry January, or whatever month it may be – we don’t want to neglect our consistently sober compatriots here. 

As with the other Kwik shots, the cannabinoid content here is CO2-extracted and strain-specific: the hybrid Lemon Haze strain is front and center in all its citrus glory. 

With ginger and turmeric present as active ingredients, this refreshing shot will administer an extra-healthy kick to help you feel 100.

A classic amber glass bottle from Keef reading "Original Cola" with 10mg THC.

Keef Cola - Original Cola

$7 / One 12 fl oz bottle with 10mg THC 

For the proprietary soft drink-inclined, we present you Keef’s Original Cola, a perfectly nostalgic THC-forward drink modeled after America’s favorite soda. 

Unlike the original, Keef Cola features 10mg of THC, making it more of a mind-altering experience–although they do say that Coca-Cola used to contain you-know-what…

That said, this type of dosage is advisable for the more cannabis-experienced (we recommend newcomers start with 5mg or less). 

But if you’re ready for it, pop the cap, take a sip, and let the guilt-free good times roll.

A sleek can with a blue-purple gradient background reading THUNDER POP in graphic lettering.

Cann - Thunder Pop (Single Can)

$8 / One 12 fl oz can with 20mg THC, 10mg CBD, and 100mg caffeine

If you passed over Cann for their mellow Social Tonics (intentionally low-dosed at 2mg THC per can), it’s time for a double take. Welcome Thunder Pop, Cann’s spin on the functional/energy drink category. 

Thunder Pop clocks in at a solid 20mg of full-spectrum THC, with 10mg of CBD to smooth out any edges. Sure, it’s more heavy hitting than our previous contenders, but there’s more. 

Spiked with a healthy dose of Yerba Mate which gives it the 100mg caffeine content, Thunder Pop is certain to hit you powerfully with a boost of energy. 

For the more experienced cannaseurs, it’s perfect to sip one over brunch or an afternoon out on the town. You’ll forget about mimosas with this bubbly in hand, agave-sweetened and refreshing with real lime and orange juice. 

We could even see it shining on a rowdy night with less-sober friends, helping you keep energy levels up. 

As always, make sure you know your dosage, or how to pace yourself accordingly – it never hurts to sip slowly.

A bright yellow bottle with orange gradient from CQ Extracts named Old Fashioned Lemonade.

CQ Extracts - Old Fashioned Lemonade

$8 / One 2 fl oz bottle with 100mg THC 

It’s no wonder the world of cannabis-infused beverages is full of spiked lemonades: the lemon is the poster child for terpenes like limonene, pinene, and terpineol, just like many of your favorite strains.

This adult take on the old-fashioned lemonade from CQ Extracts offers a heavyweight 100mg of THC alongside the benefits of cold-pressed lemon oil, which is naturally concentrated in terpenes. 

The most prominent terpene, limonene, has a zesty and citric aroma with potential health benefits for mood, stress, and immune support. The bright flavor is in perfect harmony with sativa’s energizing boost.

As you may have gathered from the label, this Old Fashioned Lemonade’s 100mg is a sky-high dose, not intended for consumption in one sitting for most. This actually makes it an ideal mixer for mocktails, with each capful equaling 5mg of THC. 

Even better, it’s sweetened with only cane sugar and contains no artificial sweeteners, in addition to being non-GMO certified. 

A colorful purple and yellow bottle from CQ Extracts for their Blackberry Lemonade with Lime.

CQ Extracts Blackberry Lemonade With Lime

$16 / One 16 fl oz bottle with 100mg indica THC 

Our second pick from CQ Extracts offers the same competitive dose of THC as the last, with the added infusion of blackberry for a fruitier flavor and lime to give it a twist, and an indica bent for some real relaxation. 

CQ Extracts does it again with the clever design to aid your Dry January: the ‘EasyDose’ window on the side of the bottle facilitates accurate dosing. 

Here, the 16 fl oz. bottle means each cap contains just 2mg of THC so you can easily customize your pace. Mix a capful into soda water and/or a splash of juice, and float your way through a lovely laced evening. 

Keep on Sippin’

Now that you’re equipped with options to carry you through a dry spell–or a journey towards longer-term sobriety–remember to keep your feet on the ground while your head is in the clouds and imbibe responsibly. 

Cheers to another year on planet earth!

Vincent Mann is a writer, artist, and musician based in the Tri-State with a lifelong appreciation for herbs and herb.

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