CBD - The time is now!

CBD - The time is now!

There is no denying that CBD has become very popular. In the UK alone, sales of CBD products has increased by 99% in 2019, with Brits rushing to invest in the ingredient that is now used in copious health and beauty products. These include sublingual drops, gel caps, vape oil, gummy candies, various foods, soap, body lotion, lip balms, and of course - CBD DRINKS!!! 

My obsession with trends in the foodservice industry is no secret. Naturally, I had to look into one of the fastest-growing commercial opportunities in the beverage sector - CBD. It is hard to gauge the precise moment when CBD, the voguish cannabis derivative, went from being ‘the stoner’s avocado toast to one of the most sought after ingredients in food and drink. But it is clear now, that CBD is both a threat to and a huge opportunity for the beverage industry.

Although CBD has well and truly become the wellness product that has everyone’s taste buds tingling, consumers have a lot of questions, and rightfully so! In this article, I will answer some of the biggest questions that consumers are demanding answers to!

What's all the hype about? Isn't it just glorified Marijuana?

No, it's not. CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids, which are compounds found throughout the cannabis and hemp plants. The most famous cannabinoid is THC, which is responsible for the intoxication associated with the consumption of cannabis. CBD, however, does not produce an intoxicating effect. Instead, it is known for offering therapeutic and health benefits, though research into its potential medical applications is ongoing.

A better understanding of the health benefits of cannabis and its consequent legalisation across many states in the US has led to an overall shift in the way people perceive the drug. Today, cannabis has moved from the margins of society to the centre of commerce, leading not only to a wave of cannabis-based start-ups but also to established industries entering the game. Last year, VC investments in cannabis start-ups hit an all-time high.

Is it just a hype?

Hemp and hemp CBD are federally legal following the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the industry is projected to hit $20 billion in sales by 2024, despite facing challenges in advertising, banking, and insurance. Although alarmed by its initial popularity, beverage marketers today have started to see cannabis as an opportunity more than a threat. Rather than fighting a losing battle against a rapidly expanding industry, beer and spirit brands have embraced it - becoming an essential player in an exciting, emerging market.

At the moment, the most popular names in the beverage industry are making the transition into the cannabis beverage space, indicating that the potential is now in the emerging sector. In August 2018, Corona and Modelo maker Constellation Brands increased its stakes into Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth by paying $4bn for a 38% ownership. This February, a group of analysts said Constellation Brand's stakes on Canopy Growth had strategically placed the company ahead of tough competitions in the booming market. Heineken has also taken the same route with Lagunitas, their THC-infused sparkling water. Molson Coors, meanwhile, created a joint venture with Hexo to craft marijuana-infused beer.

There are several reasons for this, one of the main ones being availability. Medical cannabis could only be accessed in pharmacies provided a buyer could present a doctor's prescription. Other forms of recreational cannabis are only available in dispensaries which the licensing process could be extremely complicated. A cannabis-infused beverage meanwhile could be sold in supermarkets across the UK.

Will it get me ‘high’?

This is an important aspect to discuss because I feel there are still many misconceptions surrounding CBD.

While it is true that CBD comes from the cannabis plant, it does not get you ‘high’. The Guide to CBD explains the point in layman’s terms: “The psychoactive component in cannabis is THC, not CBD. If you consume CBD that’s free of THC, you won’t experience the psychoactive effects.”

Rest assured; CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical within the plant so you won’t feel altered in any way.

Health Benefits, has this been proven?

It seems that many people regard CBD as a magical cure for a variety of health issues. There are countless articles claiming that CBD can treat a variety of ailments such as pain, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

The NHS says that even though health stores sell CBD products “there is no guarantee these provide any health benefits”, so this is something you should take into consideration before making any purchases.

Having said that, according to the Cannabis Trades Association UK, the number of CBD consumers shot from 125,000 in 2017 to 250,000 in 2018. These figures speak volumes, and perhaps indicate that whilst no factual evidence has been found, consumers are discovering that CBD can be beneficial at addressing their ailments.

There are so many products, what do I pick?

With CBD products there is no one size fits all, as I found out when creating Kolibri. Everyone has a unique preference and what may suit one person might not be so great for another.

If you are new to the CBD scene it is worth asking questions and doing some research before making a purchase. Ask yourself why you want to try CBD; what results are you wanting to achieve? Many different stores sell a variety of CBD products and the percentage of CBD in each product can vary, so it is worth reading more to find out what dose you should start on. If in doubt, ask for help! Talk to a member of staff in-store or online, they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Is CBD legal?

The rules differ from country to country; therefore, it is best to check whether your CBD product is permitted before you travel.

The Week reported that for CBD oil to be legal in the UK it must not contain more than 0.2% of the THC compound. However, that’s not to say the same rules apply to other countries. It is best not to take CBD products abroad unless you are sure the government in that country prohibits it.

CBD Sense says it is worth contacting the customs office of the country you are travelling to, that way you can be sure of the rules and regulations. CBD Sense also stated: “CBD is legal in almost all European countries; however, matters get more complicated once you travel beyond Europe, as several jurisdictions have not yet passed legislation decriminalizing possession of cannabis products. For this reason, we strongly caution people taking CBD products with them on their travels and advise them to consult the customs office in their destination country prior to departure.”

Final thoughts

CBD is such an interesting trend and I’m so excited to see how the buzz around this product grows in the future. For those trying it for the first time, there truly is no better time and as someone who believes customisation is key for consumers, I’m glad to see another product enter the market which promotes this. 

About the author:

Kamila is a bestselling author of  “Bespoke. How to radically grow your bar and restaurant business through personalisation”, and passionate trend-spotter for the UK Eating Out market with thousands of followers on her widely popular blog www.Bespoke.World

With a decade of hands-on experience collaborating with hospitality influencers and insight experts and background in setting strategies for leading brands, Kamila has become the industry champion for truly bespoke and guest-centric experiences.

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