Hops (Humulus Lupulus) is one of the main ingredients of beer and is directly responsible for the characteristic aroma and taste of this popular beverage.
Not everyone knows that it is biologically very similar to cannabis, so much so that millions of years ago, hops and cannabis were the same plant. It was not until later that they separated to evolve as different species.
In 2003 some American molecular biologists confirmed the relationship between these plants and catalogued them under the name of a new family called Cannabaceae.
Similarities between marijuana and hops
- Leaves: the structure and irregular edges make them very similar.
- Both have lobes (veins) radiating from a common point.
- Seeds and pollen: they have an extremely similar morphology and it often seemed impossible to differentiate their fossil remains.
- Flowers: both species develop plants with male and female flowers. The female flowers, especially in the pre-flowering period, are very similar.
- Psychoactivity: The female flowers of hops and marijuana are rich in glands where psychoactive substances and essential oils are generated and concentrated. Hops produce lupulins and cannabis generates the phytocannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBG…).
- Aroma: Hops and cannabis have very similar organoleptic properties, this is due to the main terpenes present. In hops, we find Beta-pinene, Humulene, Caryophyllene and Ocimene, which are aromatic compounds that also characterise many strains of cannabis.
- Pests: being “first cousins”, these plants also share the same parasites, fungi and viruses such as: thrips, aphids, spider mites, powdery mildewred spider mite, downy mildew and HPLVD (hop latent virus).
- Relationship to humans: Cannabis and hops have been used by humans for more than 10,000 years.
Cannabis and hops have an ancient history as medicine and therapy.
The female inflorescences of both plants have significant properties, and recent scientific research confirms their qualities:
Beer and cannabis pairing
As we have said, cannabis and hops have a lot in common and their aromatic similarities mean that they can complement each other very well.
Terpenes (aromatic compounds from the plant) play a very important role in the flavour profile of any beer and certainly also of cannabis, so here is a list of the types of beers and cannabis strains that are perfectly complementary in terms of aroma and flavour.
Ipa and Skunk
Skunk” marijuana strains are the perfect complement to an IPA (India Pale Ales) beer because they have an intense aroma capable of standing out from the bold notes of this type of beer.
Sour beer and Kush
Kush marijuana strains offer a classic sour aromatic profile, with earthy and mouldy hints that round out the flavours. Sour beers have a fruity and intense profile that matches perfectly with Kush strains.
Wheat beer and Lavender
Lavender is a strain with a very distinctive aroma and a unique terpene profile. The predominant terpene is Linalool and is responsible for the sweet and floral taste as well as its powerful relaxing effect. The perfect pairing would be with a wheat beer that has an earthy, sweet aroma.
Lager and your favourite strain
Lager is very refreshing and without doubt one of the most produced and consumed beers in the world. Its light flavour and moderate bitterness go well with any cannabis strain and, when consumed together, can help to refresh and cleanse the palate.
Tip: don’t forget that alcohol can increase the effect of THC and can lead to physical and cognitive reactions. For the best experience, always consume in moderation.
Have you ever experienced this interesting pairing? Let us know which strains are your favourite in the comments.