hops cannabis

Hops and pot: How they’re related

Beyond their heavy-handed use of hops, Lagunitas Brewing is linked to the origins of 4/20 as a pothead holiday

Hops are a resinous, green flower, and from what Snoop Dogg taught me, so too is that sticky icky icky.

But the similarities between hops and weed go well beyond how they look and feel. Not only did scientists confirm in 2012 that the two plants are genetically related, belonging to Cannabinaceae family, now further research is helping us understand the similar aroma and flavor characteristics these plants exhibit. Cousins Cannabis and Humulus, it turns out, share a key ingredient called terpenes.

Terpenes are a class of organic compounds produced by several types of flowers and trees, especially conifers, and are responsible for producing flavors and aromas in plants. Recently, a team of researchers at the University of British Columbia published a study on what gives marijuana its distinct flavors and aromas. According to a recent Forbes article, the researchers “found close to 30 terpenes in the cannabis genome, producing such ‘fragrant molecules’ as limonene, myrcene, and pinene when those genes are active, and thus give it an alternately citrusy, skunky, or earthy quality.”

It’s no coincidence that those descriptors—citrusy, skunky, or earthy—are just as often associated with the hoppy double IPA at the local taproom. Hops and marijuana share many of these terpenes in common, such as myrcene, beta-pinene, and alpha-humulene to name a few. Certain hop varieties like Summit, Eureka, 007, and Nelson Sauvin—though it varies on Nelson Sauvin harvests—are especially pungent with green onion, chive-like, and dank aroma and flavor characteristics.

While terpenes tie hops and marijuana close in flavor and aroma, they’re also responsible for key differences in the plants. In hops, the alpha acids that bitter beer are actually terpenoids (compounds that are derived from terpenes) called humulone. According to a Popular Science piece, the tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) in marijuana give the plant its psychoactive qualities.

While developments of new strains of hops are happening in the beer industry, research on marijuana is lagging behind. It is, after all, hard to research something and develop it for aroma and flavor if doing so can net you a felony drug charge. But even with what little research is available, concrete commonalities have appeared—and more will be discovered in the future.

With the eclectic variety of hops already available for use and constantly being produced, it is not hard to imagine that marijuana aromas and flavors could overlap even more if afforded with the same investment, dedication, and legal status that hops enjoy.

Undercover #420 operations are in place. Discreet traps have been set up throughout the city today. #Happy420

So, how are Minnesota breweries and bars marking the holiday day today?

At 4:20pm on 4/20 in Big Lake, Lupulin Brewing is releasing Straight Hash Homie Double IPA, an experimental IPA brewed with 100 percent hop hash—concentrated lupulin glands which contain high levels of terpenes and terpenoids present in hops.

Forager Brewery in Rochester brewed its second batch of The Danqs, purposely utilizing a bevy of hops—including Eureka and 007—for a pungent, dank, piney, slightly citrusy, dry IPA.

#420day… Hemp Seed Pilsner, the cause and the cure for cotton mouth in one glass. $4.20 pints all day! @GullDam_Brewing @growlermag #beer

A post shared by Insight Brewing Company (@insightbrewing) on Apr 20, 2017 at 9:36am PDT

Hops and pot: How they’re related Beyond their heavy-handed use of hops, Lagunitas Brewing is linked to the origins of 4/20 as a pothead holiday Hops are a resinous, green flower, and from

CBD From Hops: Scientists Create New Hops Strain Rich In Cannabidiol

Humulus kriya is a specially-bred hops variety which, like cannabis and hemp, contains high levels of CBD. Researchers from California who bred the strain from Asian hop varieties have now created the very first CBD oil not derived from cannabis or hemp.

Ever open a bottle of beer and find that, just for a second, it smells a little bit like cannabis? Well, turns out cannabis and hops (Humulus) are very closely related. So close, in fact, that hops may even contain CBD, a phytocannabinoid which, until now, was only thought to exist in cannabis and hemp.


Peak Health Foundation is a San Francisco-based nutrition company that recently launched a CBD product made from a special breed of hops. The process began over a decade ago after scientists at Peak Health found CBD in native hop samples from Asia.

The team at Peak Health then worked to specially breed these hop varieties to create a new strain, now known as Humulus kriya, which produces up to 18% CBD (like hemp and cannabis). Kriya hops also contain terpenes like humulene and beta-caryophyllene.

Earlier this year, Medical Marijuana Inc. launched a new brand of CBD oil made using this variety of hops. The oil, marketed as Real Scientific Humulus Oil (RSHO-K), contains under 1% CBD. It is currently only available in 4oz (118ml) bottles with a total CBD content of 1000mg. This is notably less than other hemp or cannabis-derived oils, some of which contain up to 20% CBD (like our 20% CBD Hemp Seed Oil).

CBD Hemp Seed Oil 15%
CBD Hemp Seed Oil 15%
THC: 0.2%
CBD: 15%
CBD per drop: 7.5 mg
Carrier: Hemp Seed Oil


Unlike hemp or cannabis-derived oils, “Humulus oil” is a lot easier to distribute because hops are legal all around the world. In the US, for example, hop extracts are “generally regarded as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration. The same can’t be said for cannabis; while hemp oils are available in all 50 US states, CBD oils derived from cannabis are still federally illegal substances.

However, the low concentrations of CBD in this Humulus oil are concerning. Most CBD oils contain at least 2% CBD, which is almost double the strength of the oil sold by Medical Marijuana Inc. Nonetheless, the oil offers a solid alternative for those consumers looking to try CBD who cannot access oils derived from cannabis or hemp.


Dr. Bomi Joseph, Director of Peak Health Foundation, explained that he was looking to work with CBD that didn’t come from cannabis or hemp. He eventually looked into hops, a member of the Cannabaceae family, and found that a few samples from Asia (where hops grow naturally) did in fact contain trace amounts of cannabinoids.

Working with a few samples of these different varieties, Dr. Joseph and team were able to create a new strain of hops that consistently produces high levels of CBD. Since it’s discovery, Peak Health has let Medical Marijuana Inc take care of the oil distribution. How this innovation will ultimately affect CBD breeding, extraction, and distribution is yet unclear, especially as cannabis is finally being released from the shackles of prohibition. Still, it is a fascinating step forward in truly understanding cannabinoids and their multifaceted nature.

Researchers from California have created a new variety of hops (Humulus) that produces high concentrations of CBD. Click here for the full story.