Adabinol has made its long-awaited return to Portland dispensary shelves, and if you’ve never heard of Adabinol, the label on the bottle is kind enough to provide two descriptions: It’s a “NanoEnhanced Tincture” and a “Cannabinoid Syrup,” and it’s made by longtime Ashland producer Dirty Arm Farm, which released a similar product in 2015 known as Lean Back Sizurp. (With apologies to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Check the Rhime,” Adabinol is not sizzurp, not even a drop. If you call it that, then stop. More on that in a minute...)
Adabinol is a top-shelf cannabis offering, with serious benefits to both medical and recreational consumers. Dirty Arm has earned a well-deserved reputation for its concentrates, having won the Dope Cup in 2015 and 2016 for their live resin. They make their products from what they grow in their sun-exposed greenhouses, using cutting-edge production techniques and growing practices that help define “craft cannabis”—forgoing premixed nutrients and chlorinated water during the growing process, and curating strains with what owner/founder Jaimie Syken writes are “strong beneficial cannabinoid effects.” He says Dirty Arm “only uses top-shelf flower and never trim” in their products, and maintains consistent quality levels by keeping everything in house and single-sourced—a seed-to-syrup model, if you will.
Syken adds, “Our Adabinol formula utilizes nanotechnology to be readily accessible to the endocannabinoid system at a cellular level... so activation and absorption can be more immediate and effective. Effects can be felt from oral mucosal absorption as soon as it hits your mouth.”
This is true. I put a serving in my mouth as I was getting ready to walk out the door, and I felt the effects before I found my keys and coat. While nanotechnology seems like an idea with disastrous effects—as thoroughly documented in science fiction—Adabinol delivered its effects in record time in this case, and I did not become a nanobot-controlled meat puppet. (...Or did I?)
Each one-ounce bottle contains 110 mg THC, with roughly 15 servings per bottle, in flavors of Blood Orange, Grape, and Cherry, and retails for $20 pre-tax. (Four-ounce bottles, with 48 servings each, are also available.) They contain pure cane sugar, resulting in a smooth syrup that mixes into a glass of the beverage of your choice, without sinking to the bottom or tasting overly sweet. (To avoid cross-fading, I would avoid mixing them into alcohol-based cocktails, but I’m not your father, so you do you. I’m not mad, just disappointed.) I added it to sparkling waters, kombuchas, and drinking vinegars, and in addition to the rapid onset, it left me with a functional buzz that was engaged but relaxed. Mind you, on a hot day, this could go south fast, so as the label reads: “Stay low and go slow.”
(Syken also avers that he can personally attest to Adabinol’s ability, if used an hour before sex, to “enhance physical and emotional intimacy”—resulting in the Dirty Arm team dubbing it “marriage counselor in a bottle.” So, that.)
Any comparisons to the reletively recent phenomenon of sizzurp or purple drank are BS, though, and are made by those who don’t know their history. Cannabis-infused syrups were a widely prescribed form of medicine in the early 1900s, with nearly 30 different cannabis-extract-based products used to treat a wide range of maladies. Then cannabis became illegal, and was removed from the US Pharmacopeia and National Formulary in 1941.
“Lean,” on the other hand, is a drink made with pharmaceutical-strength cough syrup that contains codeine (an opioid) and promethazine (an antihistamine often used as a sedative). It can stop your heart and lungs or, in the case of Lil Wayne, give you seizures. It even killed rapper Pimp C in 2007. Lean, sizzurp, drank, or whatever you want to call it is a dangerous, chemically produced, Jolly Rancher-flavored poison, and should always be avoided.
But I think just about anyone over 21 could find a benefit in a cannabis solution that’s portable, discreet, fast-acting, and mixable with dozens of beverages. It has high value to medical users for whom rapid-acting, easily digested cannabis is crucial to treat their conditions. And for geriatric users who would forgo traditional methods, this could potentially rewrite their story. As has been stated before, the most realistic way to address the opioid crisis that’s decimating our nation is by making cannabis alternatives available. “Cannabis is an exit plant, not a gateway drug,” Syken says. Amen.
For my part, I’m going to get through the last few weeks of winter with hot tea—sweetened with a little “cannabinoid syrup.”