Meet the Buzzy Brands Blowing up the CBD Beverage Bubble

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Now that you’ve been properly educated about cannabidiol a.k.a. CBD through our extremely detailed guide on the subject, it’s time to elevate to the next level of this trending topic—beverages. Last summer, Dirty Lemon introduced a special cannabis blend to its roster in collaboration with Bebeo that sort of became the Four Loko of CBD drinks before it was discontinued toward the end of 2018 for reasons unknown. (Since then, Four Loko has added a hemp flavored malt beverage—note that there is no hemp, CBD, or THC in the formula, it merely “mimics the flavor people think of when they hear hemp” as stated in the press release.)

With cannabis reform continuing to sweep the nation, CBD has been the big buzz in the small business world for about a year–there have been a series of in-depth pieces about the national phenomenon published in places like the New Yorker, New York Times, and The Atlantic. While the legal status of cannabis varies from state to state, it should be noted that the cultivation of hemp was legalized in the U.S. through last year’s Farm Bill Act. However, there still isn’t a standard protocol in terms of regulation which is probably why more retailers are playing it safe by stocking hemp-based CBD products.

Consulting a doctor or pharmacist before consuming CBD in any form is always recommended as researchers are still studying the risks associated with it—possible side effects include dry mouth, light-headedness, and drowsiness. CBD also reportedly changes how pharmaceutical medication is metabolized in the body so that’s something else to be careful about. Dr. Steven Zodkoy, a chiropractor and board certified nutritionist, recommends CBD beverages that are third party tested with a set dosage per serving like Cloud Water, VYBES, Recess and Sweet Reason.

As far as the difference between CBD derived from industrial hemp and cannabis, Dr. Chris Louizos, Director of Education at BlueSky Biologicals, states that the effectiveness is mostly the same. As he explains, cannabis is typically harvested from the plant’s buds so it contains greater amounts of THC whereas industrial hemp typically contains larger amounts of CBD and sometimes non-detectable levels of THC. Overall, CBD supposedly helps with issues related to anxiety, insomnia, burnout, chronic pain, and PTSD in addition to increasing stamina and the ability to focus.

The oral consumption of CBD in the form of a beverage is probably the easiest entry-points to the compound because it is highly accessible with a lower cost and risk factor. Dr. Louizos believes that beverages are at the forefront of the CBD space because of the product innovation. He adds, “the biggest benefit of the oral consumption of CBD-infused products is that it allows for a different and sometimes preferable route of administration.”

Inhabitants of New York or Los Angeles have probably noticed a variety of CBD beverage brands popping up on the shelves of local cafes, stores, and boutiques. Ahead of being hit with what will ultimately be the next wave of cool CBD consumption, we spoke to the brains behind VYBES, Recess, Sprig, Cloud Water, and Sweet Reason to learn more about what they all have to offer.

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