This year’s Canadian Brewing Awards are being held in Halifax, and brewers from across the country are showing off their finest beers. But much of the discussion at this year’s conference surrounds a beer that doesn’t actually exist yet.

Any beer expert will tell you that hops are key to beer, and one of the main flavour components to the beverage. But you may not know that hops are a cousin of the marijuana plant, meaning the soon-to-be legalized drug could be making its way into beers.

"There are some aromas or flavours that come from hemp or cannabis that do pair nicely into beer, and that is something that people have been working on," explains Emily Tipton, President of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. "So without any of the effects of cannabis, just the flavours and aromas of it,"

Now a Toronto based company is looking to go one step further. Take out the alcohol entirely and replace the hops with cannabis.

"Cannabis is by far a safer and healthier alternative to alcohol, and this is the first time in any of our lifetimes that we're able to bring a product like that to market," says Dooma Wendschuch, co-founder and CEO of Province Brands of Canada.

Each beer would have 6.5 mg of THC, a small amount of the psychoactive. Wendschuch says it would hit your system quickly, like a regular beer, so that users can regulate their intake.

"Our goal is to make a product that is only as intoxicating as a standard beer would be for someone who has drank beer before," says Wendschuch.

Wendschuch is still in the testing phase for his beer, and legally, he's not allowed to consume it yet.

Some of the experts at the Canadian Brewing Awards confirm that you can make a beer without hops, and these unique creations are increasing in popularity.

"A passion of mine is gruit ales, completely unhopped beers, so using cannabis is potentially one, but other herbs, things that will give you bitterness and flavour compounds," says Jason Stranak, head judge at the Canadian Brewing Awards.

Cannabis is already in consumer products, from candies to bath bombs, so putting it into beer is a no brainer for some.

"I think the market is potentially huge for different varieties of it, whether it's non-alcoholic with cannabis effects, or alcoholic beer with cannabis flavours, or something in between where you're doubling up on cannabis and alcohol. There's potential," adds Stranak.

We won't see cannabis beer hit the shelves until September of next year, because the food and drug administration still has to approve it.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.