The world’s first cannabis gin will hit shelves this month after an Australian distiller used terpenes found in marijuana to create the new spirit.

The Cannabis Company’s Myrcene Hemp gin is designed to invoke euphoria and relaxation, but it does not contain THC. Myrcene is the most prominent and abundant terpene found in cannabis and it is an important component in medicinal marijuana derivatives. Terpenes are organic, cannabinoid-like compounds that complement CBD and THC and play a crucial role in the plant’s myriad healing properties.

The Cannabis Company used column stills to create a light gin and then added these terpines in the distillation process. It described the resulting liquid as possessing “bubblegum aromas blended with lavender, pine forest and sage, soft tones of violet interact on the palate with woodland flavours of rosemary and resin, cloves and woody spices”, achieving a “joyful sense of euphoria alongside its relaxation-inducing qualities”.

Gin is one of the best-performing spirits categories in the world, with sales in the UK and Spain driving fantastic growth. But Melbourne-based The Cannabis Company, founded by PhD biochemist Dr. David Stapleton, entrepreneur Richard Jameson, and a marketing guru Cormac Sheehan, is starting cautiously and releasing just 300 bottles in its first run, each priced at AU$99.00 ($71.20).

That looks small fry compared to developments at Molson Coors, one of the world’s biggest brewers. The firm delivered its Q3 results this week and chief executive Mark R. Hunter told analysts it plans to seize a meaningful share of the Canadian market once edibles are legalized next year.

Right now only dried flower and pre-rolled joints are available for legal purchase, but edibles – including cannabis drinks – will join them in 2019. Hunter estimates that the Canadian cannabis market could be worth up to $10 billion and he is confident that cannabis-infused drinks will account for a quarter of the market.

If his forecasts prove correct and cannabis drinks roll out across the world, it could become one of the biggest drinks sectors around. As multinational producers like Constellation Brands and Diageo are also jumping aboard the bandwagon it seems like an intriguing industry is gaining a head of steam.

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