The Connection between Hops and Marijuana. Colorado is famous for many things, but two of them are little green plants that make us happy when we put them in our bodies. You know what we’re talking about: hops and marijuana.
So, these little green buds look alike, smell similar, and they’re both awesome. But, what is the connection between hops and marijuana? Are the plants actually connected?
Good News and Bad News
As you probably expected, there are some similarities between hops and marijuana, but they’re not exactly twin brothers. There are a lot of different reasons why plants can look and smell similar, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are related.
Background of Hops
The hops that we throw into our brews are the flowers of the plant called Humulus lupulus. They are grown all around the world, and they have a long history helping to make beer what it is today. The oldest proof of using them in brewing goes all the way back to the 9th century in Germany.
Background of Cannabis
Cannabis is a plant that originated in central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It has multiple different types, and it’s broken down into three species and seven subspecies. It’s popular for many reasons, and been used by a wide range of cultures throughout history. But, two of the most common uses are for the fibers and oil from the hemp, or obviously the medical and recreational uses that come from the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) inside the plant. Because of the concerns of using this as a drug, different strains have been modified over time to contain more or less THC.
The Cannabaceae Group
Now we can get to the interesting part. The biggest way that these plants are connected is that they are both part of the family of plants called Cannabaceae. But, it seems the old-fashioned method of picking plant families mostly depended on looking at them to decide who was related. Since we all know they’re similar, they were grouped together early on. The more modern and advanced scientific studies have found that they also have some very similar molecular characteristics, so there evolutionary background isn’t so far apart. That being said, they are quite different plants in most practical ways.
Smell Those Terpenes!
That unique and powerful smell in both plants isn’t completely random, it comes from the terpenes inside of them. These are compounds that are found in many different plants, and one of their most noticeable characteristics is the smell they give off. So it’s another similarity between the two plants, but it’s not noticeably unique. Terpenes can also be found in lavender, pine trees, citrus fruits, and many other types of plants.
Can I Brew Marijuana
If you were waiting for a bit of good news, then you may have found it here. It is in fact possible to brew a beer with marijuana inside. But, major brewers don’t do it because of legal restrictions, so it’s time to pull out the homebrew kit. Unfortunately even this way makes it tough to find information because many homebrew resources also shy away from the topic, and online forums don’t usually allow much to be posted about it.
What About Smoking Hops?
On the other side, many people wonder if they can smoke hops. The obvious answer is that you can physically smoke just about anything if you try hard enough, so of course you can. But, there isn’t any THC inside of hops, so you’re not going to get high from doing it. What you will get, however, is a pretty intensive flavor experience inside your mouth.
Why Is One More Regulated?
After learning that hops and marijuana have quite a few similarities, a logical question to ask is why one of them tends to be illegal while the other is almost encouraged many places. Really, it’s a good question. Cannabis has a tricky history with its legalization, and it’s generally illegal more because of a series of reasons than any one single event. But for the most straightforward answer, just think about the fact that people can get high with some cannabis leaves alone. Beer has many different ingredients, and hops is only one of them. Outlawing yeast and barley would severely impact the bread industry, so alcohol as a whole would have to get the ban. That was tried for a bit in the US, and it still faces different restrictions by state.
Time for Some Samples!
The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t really matter if the connection between hops and marijuana exists or not. After all, don’t you enjoy them in all the different ways that you use them? Also, you’re in Colorado, (if you aren’t, you should be…) which means that you can walk right out the door and go find yourself the highest quality products of both these plants. Enjoy!