Melissa Etheridge Launching Line of 'Cannabis-Infused' Wines
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Melissa Etheridge is branching out from marijuana into the music business. The two-time Grammy Award winner and Academy Award winner is partnering with a medical marijuana dispensary in California to make a line of "cannabis-infused fine wines."
Partnering with the owners of Santa Cruz-based Greenway Compassionate Relief, Etheridge said the wine won't make you paranoid because the cannabis goes through a "cold extraction," which creates a compound far less psychoactive than what is found in pot smoke and edibles. Although users will "feel a little buzzed from the alcohol and then get a delicious full body buzz," the creation can only be referred to as a "wine tincture" for legal reasons.
Etheridge began using marijuana for medical reasons after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She said it greatly alleviated the feelings of nausea she faced during chemotherapy and has served as a health aid in the years since.
"Once I considered it medicine, I became much more interested," she said. "I've taken it into my lifestyle to keep stress levels down and my G.I. system up. It's been messed up since chemo."
Although Etheridge and Greenway have 90 cases of their cannabis wine available to those with a medical marijuana card, the singer considers this a "passion project" for now. But while she believes the wine can be used safely recreationally and may even have therapeutic benefits, some medical professionals are more skeptical.
"Alcohol is carcinogenic and highly toxic. Mixing cannabis with alcohol is not a good idea from a perspective of wanting to introduce cannabis as medicine," said Dr. Stephen Ross, director of NYU's Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship. "The wisdom of prescribing alcohol to any patient is highly suspect."