The Austin Chronic: Legit THC Seltzers Are on Shelves in Austin. How Many Should I Drink?

Sampling three Texas-made cannabis bubbly waters in one day

Kevin Curtin documents a day sampling THC seltzers (photos by Kevin Curtin)

On Sunday afternoon, outside the Cherry Capital Airport in Northern Michigan, I squeezed a big ol’ dollop of highly potent RSO oil under my tongue and prepared to enter a vegetative state for my flights back to Texas.

At least that was the plan.

But after breezing through the minuscule airport’s security screening and copping some tasty chocolate-covered cherries from the gift shop, a phone alert notified me that my flight was delayed. Apparently the plane that was supposed to take us to Chicago couldn’t land.

“Da pilot must be ex-Air Force,” a folksy Michigander told me, pointing out the window at the rain. “A Navy pilot coulda land da plane on a postage stamp in this visibility.”

I didn’t even know what the hell he was talking about, but my high was coming on so strong I slipped into an up-north accent: “No yah, I hope we’re not stahk her all night.”

When the little plane arrived, I took my seat and sunk into a comedy movie on my phone until paranoia took hold and I became certain that my AirPods weren’t connected and I’d been playing the movie at full volume from my phone.

“Oh my God! Can you hear the movie I’m watching?” I asked the person scrunched next to me.

“What? No, not at all,” she replied, confused.

I breathed a sigh of relief, then asked a follow-up: “Have you had that border collie in your lap the entire flight?”


When the flight landed, a ticketing agent told me that my connecting flight was still boarding, but it was two terminals away. I didn’t wait for her to finish and sprinted for 13 minutes through the crowded airport, repeating “I’M WAY TOO HIGH FOR THIS!” I arrived sweaty and exhausted and just in the nick of time. I was on the last leg home.

Or so I thought until the plane stopped taxiing and I looked out the window to see it surrounded by fire trucks. The pilot told us that an engine was leaking fuel and we’d be stuck for a while until we could deplane.

At another ticket counter, the agent told me that if I didn’t have any bags I could jump on another flight to Austin, but it was boarding now quite a ways away. Again, I took off like Usain Bolt, but probably looked like a lumbering sedated bear, mumbling “OH NO! INDICA!” And I missed that flight, had to come crawling back to my original gate, and eventually arrived in Austin four hours late and thinking about how a massive edible dose was a really bad decision.

Fortunately, low-dose THC seltzers are currently abundant in Texas. And with summer quickly approaching, these crispy, effervescent beverages will likely be a staple in non-alcoholic coolers at cookouts and pool parties over the coming months. Thus, I decided to purchase a few and see how many is the appropriate amount to drink in a day.

At Total Wine & More at Mueller, I found an entire section of sparkling THC drinks. These drinks, like many cannabis infused products, are legal because the THC is less than 0.3% of the overall product weight. I chose two seltzers from Texas and then went to Planet K and picked up another. The next morning, I began my experiment.

8:45am: I’ve just dropped my children off at school and day care and I’m popping the tab on a can of Beach Break. Sniffing the seltzer, made by Third Coast Blends, I detect a fruity, tangy aroma – perhaps the mythical blue-razz – but upon drinking the “Swell Berry” flavor, I decide it’s probably blueberry and coconut ... either way, it tastes great. The can design has a surfboard and says “Ride the Wave,” so it feels sporty. That’s why I’ve chosen to drink it before a 4-mile run around the Town Lake trail I do twice a week. I tighten my laces, slam the can and begin jogging. About halfway through, I noticed a little pep in my step, and when I reached the accent of the final bridge, I had more power than I usually do. The drink – which contains 5 mg of THC – had made me feel good, but had one of them gotten me high? Eh, I’d equate it to taking one hit off a joint.

10:45am: After showering and cooking up some tacos, I crack a cold Lark Grapefruit. It looks and tastes like a naturally flavored seltzer you’d find at an upscale organic grocer: cute can design, sugarless flavor. I recline into my hammock and sip it as I contemplate my day. The Lark is refreshing, but its effects may have contributed to a disastrous five-turn Wordle (the answer was “prowl”). That’s to say, I’m started to feel a little high. One thing I like about Lark is that in addition to actual Delta 9 THC (which all of these drinks contain), it also has an equal 5 mg of CBD, CBG, and CBC, which is great because I want all the cannabinoids.

11:30am: Tejas Tonic is the most visible sparkling THC beverage because a lot of corner stores carry it. Just last week, a friend who quit smoking cheeba a few years ago told me that he’d drank one before his son’s soccer practice not expecting strong effects because he got it from the same store cooler as kombucha, and it got him “stoned as hell.” The 16-oz. beverage has a great can design that evokes Seventies hippie-redneck poster art and a potent extract blend: 25 mg of CBD, 5mg of THC, and 15 mg of hemp terpenes – referring to aromatic compounds of the cannabis plant. That makes a difference because Texas Tonic is the only seltzer I’ve tried that tastes like it has weed in it. I drink mine as I record overdubs for a song on a mountain dulcimer and I must be high now because I just remembered that I don’t play mountain dulcimer. Three sensi seltzers in, I now have a pleasant buzz, akin to smoking a bowl, and also significant body relaxation. This is the amount I’d recommend to most people interested in sparkling cannabis ... but I think I’ll have another.

12:15pm: I go with another Beach Break because it’s the best tasting of the three. I’m now noticeably high, so I decide to blow off an appointment and go ride my bicycle instead. In the park, I run into a friend who asks me what I’m up to today. “Not much, just drinking some marijuana.”

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THC seltzer, Beach Break, Third Coast Blends, Lark Grapefruit, Tejas Tonic, Ouachita Farms

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