The Surprising Connection Between Cannabis And Hops
1 min

The Surprising Connection Between Cannabis And Hops

1 min

We have all heard never to mix bud and beers. “Grass before beer, you’re in the clear”. Still, anyone who has tried or tasted the two cannot deny they share a remarkably alike aroma. Why is that?

A lot of smokers tend to think of themselves only as smokers, opting always for a joint over a beer, while some hardcore drinkers would never even entertain the notion of having a smoke. What is it about the two drugs that is so different? Well actually, not that much.


Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds found frequently throughout nature. They gather in lemons (limonene), pine trees (pinene), lavender (linalool) and of course, marijuana and hops. It is these chemicals that give hops and marijuana the distinctive and varying smells they possess. A different combination of terpenes and terpenoids is present in every strain of cannabis and every different brew of beer or ale, hence why the smell can be so different for every different kind. They also contribute enormously to flavour and effect. For the same reasons, a nutty dark ale is different from a pale crisp one, a relaxing indica is different from an energising sativa. The chemical makeup is key.


Years ago when documenting the newly found cannabis leaf, it was first paired with the hops plant. They were classified together because of a structural similarity, a pattern of growth in plants where the leaves radiate from a single point. Despite both leaves being “palmately lobed”, this classification of the two plants together turned out to actually be wrong when scientists started using genetic evidence instead of categorising based on appearance.

That being said, as science has improved over time, more and more similarities between the two plants are constantly appearing. They are not directly related but their DNA research dictates a wealth of other connections. For instance, in 2002, a study confirmed that the molecular structure between hops and cannabis were incredibly similar. Since this time, they have been grouped together again, after enjoying a brief holiday from each other for some years before. They are now both official and proud members of the cannabaceae group.


While they might have their significant differences, it is very much possible to fuse the two into something doubtlessly better. Unfortunately, brewer’s forums do not allow much talk of making your own cannabis beer so we have gone to the trouble of stirring up our own recipe for anyone curious about the potential of the two.

Marijuana and beer are often pitted against each other in conversation, the talker’s drug of choice being the standard raised, rallied around and defended, sometimes without understanding. Each one does indeed have its certain boons over the other, but the union of the two is a heaven that simply must be tasted. Get your own swig of heaven here.

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
With a BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Health Sciences and a passion for growing plants, Luke Sumpter has worked as a professional journalist and writer at the intersection of cannabis and science for the past 7 years.
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