Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, and Canadian pot producer Tilray are partnering in a $100m joint venture to research cannabis-infused non-alcoholic drinks for the Canadian market. 

The alliance is the latest in a string of deals by global alcohol and tobacco giants in Canada's cannabis sector.

It comes amid booming demand for cannabis and a long-term decline in alcohol consumption and smoking. 

AB InBev's Labatt Breweries of Canada, which makes such brands as Labatt Blue and Budweiser, will work with Tilray's Canadian cannabis subsidiary, High Park Co, which develops and sells cannabis products in Canada, the companies said. 

Canada became the world's first major country to fully legalise the recreational use of cannabis in October.

It is expected to approve cannabis-based products including beverages and edibles in October 2019. 

"It's too early to know how big cannabinoid-based beverages will be but we think it's a massive opportunity and it's something we're interested in investing aggressively in," Tilray's chief executive Officer Brendan Kennedy told Reuters. 

AB InBev and Tilray said they each plan to invest up to $50m to research drinks with cannabidiol, or CBD, a component of cannabis that does not cause intoxication, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the substance that makes people high. 

Discussions about commercialisation are likely to follow, and Tilray's objective is to have beverages ready when they become legal in Canada, Kennedy said. 

A gradual increase in legalised recreational use of cannabis for adults in US states and in medical cannabis around the world has sparked investment and partnership deals for Canadian companies.

Earlier this week, Tilray said it will work with Sandoz, a unit of Swiss drug company Novartis, to develop and distribute medical marijuana world-wide. 

Tilray is also exploring opportunities to make acquisitions in 2019, both within and outside the cannabis space, Kennedy said. 

In the cannabis industry's largest investment, Corona beer maker Constellation Brands added $4 billion to its $200m investment in Canopy Growth in August to help fund the Canadian cannabis producer's global expansion.

In a more modest deal that same month, Molson Coors, the second biggest beer maker in North America, struck a Canadian joint venture with marijuana producer Hexo to make cannabis drinks.