• Spill The T (HC)
  • Posts
  • The Future is Functional: Minor Cannabinoids, Adaptogens, & Nootropics

The Future is Functional: Minor Cannabinoids, Adaptogens, & Nootropics

I have to admit, functional beverages were something I wrote off when first exploring the world of THC beverages. Ironically, I realize that THC beverages could be considered functional beverages just on their own, but what I am referring to is the addition of other cannabinoids, as well as adaptogens and nootropics alongside THC. I have tried more of these products now, and I definitely experienced the difference in effect.

My revised opinion is as follows: Personally, I have not felt much effect from beverages that just have non-THC cannabinoids, terpenes/adaptogens, or other non-psychoactive substances and claim to have a mood/mind-altering effect (they may have a health benefit, but this is a separate point). But, when I tried beverages that have THC and one or multiple of these additives, there is definitely a complementary / distinguished effect that you feel when they work together.

In this piece, I run through the most common cannabinoids, adaptogens, and nootropics I see in the THC beverage space. I also cover two other compounds that have not been combined with THC yet but have the potential to shake up the space.

Delta-9 THC

What is it?

Delta-9 THC can be derived from cannabis or hemp and is the main active ingredient in THC beverages. While there are other types of THC like delta-8 and delta-10, when people say “THC”, delta-9 is typically what they are referring to. THC is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis/hemp plant.

What does it do / how does it make you feel?

Delta-9 THC connects to your body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors that are found in your brain and central nervous system, and is what create the “high” effect of cannabis/hemp. This activates your brain’s reward system, dopamine, bringing about a pleasurable effect on your body. It generally makes people feel light, relaxed, chatty, giggly, and even hungry!

THC beverages with THC: 

All of them (duh). If you want to see the most comprehensive list of THC beverage brands, be sure to visit my website.


What is it?

CBD is the other most abundantly found cannabinoid in cannabis or hemp, and is often included in many cannabis/hemp beverages alongside THC. CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, and it is probably the most easily available cannabinoid as you can purchase it across any retail format with little restriction.

What does it do / how does it make you feel?

The science behind CBD is not as well known as compared to THC, but researchers think that CBD slows down signals to your brain and lowers inflammation. CBD generally makes people more calm and relaxed but does not have a psychoactive or “intoxicating” effect on the brain. When combined with THC, CBD can help balance out the effects and alleviate feelings of paranoia or anxiety that some people feel from pure THC.

THC beverages with CBD: 

Probably 50% or more of them contain this cannabinoid. If you want to see the most comprehensive list of THC beverage brands, be sure to visit my website.


What is it?

CBG stands for cannabigerol and has earned the name “mother of all cannabinoids”, because many other cannabinoids are derived from CBGA, which is an acidic form of CBG. CBG is found in much smaller quantities than the two main cannabinoids in cannabis/hemp, THC and CBD.

What does it do / how does it make you feel?

CBG is processed through your endocannabinoid system. It binds to the same two receptors that THC does, and is thought to strengthen the function of anandamide. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that can enhance pleasure and motivation, regulate appetite, and reduce pain. CBG is generally regarded as boosting mental clarity and positive feelings.

THC beverages with CBG: 


What is it?

CBN is an abbreviation for cannabinol. It has similar properties to CBD, and is found in cannabis/hemp in very small amounts. However, unlike CBD, many sources consider CBN to be “mildly psychoactive” in higher concentrations.

What does it do / how does it make you feel?

CBN has increasingly grown in popularity and is generally hailed for its sleep-promoting properties. It also functions by binding to the human body’s cannabinoid receptors. Generally, the most common attributed benefits of CBN are sleep aid, pain relief, and even potential neuroprotective properties. People typically report deep relaxation and drowsiness as the most common effects.

THC Beverages with CBN: 

Lion’s Mane

What is it?

Lion’s mane are large white mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane. They grow on trunks of dead hardwood trees and have a long history of being used in Asian medicine. There are technically 3 different species, but the most widely available is hericum erinaceus.

What does it do / how does it make you feel?

Lion’s mane is considered a functional mushroom or nootropic and does not have any psychoactive or psychedelic effects. Consuming lion’s mane regularly can help improve your mood and focus, reduce anxiety, and even clear up brain fog. While studies are not totally conclusive yet, there is limited evidence to suggest that lion’s mane may fight inflammation, fight dementia and other brain diseases, reduce anxiety and depression, and promote nerve regeneration.

THC beverages with Lion’s Mane:


What is it?

Caffeine is a chemical stimulant that naturally occurs in many plants like coffee, tea, cocoa, guarana, and yerba mate. It is considered one of the most widely used substances in the world.

What does it do / how does it make you feel?

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, heart and muscles, and generally gives consumers feelings of mental alertness, energy, and increased memory capability. Caffeine is even considered to be neuroprotective, and it generally regarded as healthy in reasonable doses. While caffeine is almost never controlled like alcohol or cannabis, it is still classified as a mind-altering drug because it affects the way humans think and feel.

THC beverages with Caffeine: 


What is it?

Theanine is an amino acid found in certain teas and mushrooms. There are two forms of Theanine: L-theanine and D-theanine, but L-theanine is the most common form.

What does it do / how does it make you feel?

While studies are not fully conclusive yet, L-theanine is generally used to improve mental function, relieve anxiety and stress, and increase focus. L-theanine acts similarly to glutamate in the body, which helps transmit nerve impulses in the brain. It may also affect brain chemicals like GABA, dopamine, and serotonin.

THC beverages with L-theanine:

What Do These Feel Like When Combined with THC?

As I mentioned under some of these compounds, many of the claimed effects of these are not 100% confirmed or completely science-backed yet. We know that THC gets you high, CBD can aid with pain and relaxation, and caffeine stimulates you, but beyond that, everything else still requires more research. There is also no conclusive evidence to prove what the effects of these compounds are when combined with THC.

However, after trying some of these products, here is what I found in my own experiences (not science-backed):

THC & Caffeine

I tried some COUNTDOWN last week for the first time. To me, this was unequivocally the closest THC experience I had to alcohol. I felt buzzed/intoxicated but also energized at the same time, almost like I just downed a few cocktails. The caffeine definitely helps balance out the sometimes sedating effects of THC, and I see this combo being a go-to-option for a fun night out.

THC & Lion’s Mane

I have had BRĒZ on multiple occasions, and there is definitely something there with the THC / lion’s mane combo. It feels a bit more… euphoric than just a straight THC high. I think similar to CBD, it helps balance out the high and make it feel less foggy / overwhelming.


This combo plays on a common cannabis concept called the “entourage effect”, which suggests that when different cannabinoids are combined (instead of isolated) they work together synergistically, creating the ultimate balanced high. While not totally proven by science yet, the logic makes sense to me, as when you smoke cannabis flower, THC is the primary compound, but you also get a number of other minor cannabinoids that are naturally in the plant. I find that a THC / CBD combo makes the high from the THC a little less intense and more balanced.


I have not tried this combo in beverage form but I have tried the famous Wana sleep gummies, and they definitely live up to the hype. While I don’t know if the THC / CBN combo improved my quality of sleep, it certainly helped me fall asleep a lot faster than your average beverage or edible.

BONUS: Two Intriguing Compounds


What is it?

Paraxanthine is the main metabolite of caffeine. A company called TSI recently learned how to isolate it, and branded and patented it under the name efinity.

What does it do / how does it make you feel?

Roughly 70% - 80% of caffeine is made up of paraxanthine, while the rest is made up of theophylline and theobromine. Through trials and testing, it was discovered that paraxanthine is responsible for the feelings of energy and focus we all enjoy from caffeine, while theophylline and theobromine were responsible for the jitters, crashes, and other negative effects commonly felt from caffeine. By isolating paraxanthine, TSI has essentially created the ultimate side-effect-free version of caffeine.

My Take:

I stumbled across paraxanthine a few months back when I saw an ad for Update (an energy drink brand), the only beverage on the market featuring paraxanthine. I have not tried Update yet, but I ordered efinity brand tablets on Amazon, and I was blown away. For background: I gave up caffeine about two years ago since I found it made me jittery, anxious, and often caused an early crash in the afternoon. I don’t take paraxanthine regularly, but if I’m having a rough week and really need to power through on a certain day, I pop a tablet in the morning and I am good to go for the rest of the work day; plenty of energy, no jitters, and no crash.

Ketohol / Ketones

What is it?

Ketohol (R 1,3 Butanediol) is an organic compound that is classified as a diol, since it contains two hydroxyl groups in its molecule. It seems to be patented by a company called KetoneAid.

What does it do / how does it make you feel?

Ketohol works by raising your blood ketones, which provides the user with a light social buzz. As stated on the Hard Ketones website “Ketohol goes through the liver and makes R-BHB, similar to MCT C8, but 80% fewer calories and raises blood ketones 5x more per gram.”

My Take:

I did not know this existed until seeing this BevNET article last week. I checked out the Hard Ketones brand first (not a THC brand). I was tempted to try it, but after reading some Amazon reviews, it seemed that many people reported a dissatisfactory taste. I still might order some, but it sounds like there could be some formulation work to be done before this can become a bigger category. Another brand I mentioned earlier, My Crew Doses, has two products that include ketones, but I have not tried these either. I am very intrigued by this compound, and if it delivers the effect it claims, I hope companies in this space are able to make progress in both awareness and innovation.