It’s not that long ago that finding good alcohol-free drinks was a difficult thing. The market for low and no alcohol options for mindful drinkers has exploded, with an alternative for almost everything, even tequila! Small batch breweries compete for shelf space in supermarkets, while big brands way in on this new wave of mindful drinking, and more and more options, flavours, and availability are cropping up across the internet and in bars and pubs worldwide.
It’s no surprise, then, that this move towards a healthier lifestyle has gathered momentum. We don’t just want options, we want the healthiest options, and so the alcohol-free sector upped its game; enter functional drinks. Functional drinks contain herbal, plant-based ingredients that are great for our mental and physical health. Hemp, mushrooms, fermented foods, all of these are adaptogenic ingredients that help our mood, brainpower, focus, concentration, and overall mental health.
CBD drinks are a part of this new wave of functional drinks taking the alcohol-free drinks market by storm. We’re rediscovering the fantastic health values of active botanical ingredients, which have been used by humans for thousands of years. If we’re looking for a grown-up drink that helps us to relax at the end of a busy day, just minus the alcohol, CBD drinks seem to be the answer.
Despite the benefits, though, some people who are choosing to abstain from anything that resembles an addictive substance would argue that taking CBD in any form could adversely impact their choices. We take a deep dive into what CBD drinks are and how they might affect mindful drinking.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of 400 compounds that make up a cannabis plant and a hemp plant. Contrary to what is an easy presumption, CBD isn’t the same as cannabis, or ‘weed’. It’s one element of the plant itself. The stuff that gets you high is just another compound of the cannabis plant called THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. The cannabis plant contains a higher concentration of THC and a smaller concentration of CBD, whereas hemp is mostly made up of CBD, with trace amounts of THC.
What’s the difference between CBD and THC?
CBD and THC affect different receptors in the brain. CBD is not typically psychoactive. This means that CBD is functional, so it will subtly help you to feel calmer and more relaxed, but only as much as other natural remedies would. You don’t feel high or out of control, just chilled and happy.
THC is only really present in the plant Cannabis Sativa. It’s the compound present that can get you high known as marijuana or weed. THC for non-medical purposes is illegal in the UK, and its medical use is minimal as patients can become addicted to its effects.
Is CBD safe to use?
In the UK, CBD is available to buy legally as a food supplement from health stores. It’s classed as a food supplement, just as Echinacea and Clove oil can be used to relieve pain, calm the mind, and reduce inflammation in the body. Most CBD oils and supplements available in health stores and over the counter at pharmacies come from the hemp plant, its richest and most concentrated source, and so contain trace levels of THC. According to new laws surrounding CBD brought in by the UK government in 2019, products bought for medicinal use must contain less than 0.2% THC and less than 1mg of THC per product – these are extremely small levels.
That being said, the UK government advises that you consult your doctor before taking CBD products regularly. As with everything, over-consumption of anything new can have adverse effects on your body. In some cases, large quantities of CBD can affect your liver, so checking with your doctor that it’s right for you and won’t counteract any prescription medication is advised. Those who are pregnant, or breastfeeding should refrain from taking CBD as a precaution.
What about CBD drinks?
When it comes to CDB drinks, the regulations are clear: CBD food products require authorisation before they can be sold legally in Great Britain. And in the US, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) make it illegal to sell dietary supplements that contain an “approved drug” ingredient without explicit FDA approval. This means that in the UK and the US, if you see a CBD product on the shelf, it’s had to be authorised for sale to get there. Different regulations will apply in other countries.
While the UK Food Standards Agency says that the products on their CBD Novel Food Status list are not formally assessed for safety, they provide a list so that the public can make informed decisions about how much CBD products they consume. That being said, the FSA’s published recommendations specify that healthy adults do not ingest more than 70mg a day unless a doctor agrees more.
The amount of CBD present in drinks depends on the brand and size of the bottle and can range from 2.5mg to 250 mg. Much like being aware of your alcohol consumption or your sugar and caffeine intake, it’s advisable to be aware of the 70mg daily recommended intake when buying and consuming CBD drinks.
Which CBD drinks are available?
CBD drinks are the trend of 2022, with upmarket bars and restaurants selling CDB infused drinks such as tea, water, and non-alcoholic drink options. We stocked a range of CBD drinks in our alcohol-free off-license recently, which ranged from spirits and beers to sodas and mixers. We believe that CBD drinks, used responsibly, can be a really useful tool to enhance wellbeing in mindful drinking, so why not give some of our suggestions below a try? All of the CBD drinks listed below come from highly reputable CBD brands that manufacture their products to strict EU guidelines.
Why not try…
Maria and Craigs CBD Botanical Spirit
The CBD present in this drink comes from hemp, so is naturally low in THC. In fact, all the ingredients in this mellow, citrusy botanical spirit are natural. The organic juniper, aromatic orange blossom, and soothing camomile add to the calming effects of this CBD drink, and only requires a cold tonic top-up to create a refreshing drink. The benefit of using a CBD spirit is that you can add it to cocktails to help unwind at the end of an evening.
INTUNE CBD drinks and mixers
If you’d rather use your CBD drinks to help you focus, then INTUNE is the mixer for you. Containing 10mg of active CBD, these delicious mixers are the perfect addition to your alcohol-free vodka. Choose from mouth-watering flavours such as Grapefruit and Mint for an all-natural, vegan, sparkling fruit experience that helps you switch from stressed to resolved.
Hop & Hemp beers
These alcohol-free beers are not only big on flavour without the booze, they also double down by being really tasty CDB drinks. Choose from the grapefruit and citrus flavoured Easy Times IPA, or crack open a cold Lowdown Lager, with the perfect undertone of spicy hops. Both the pilsner and the pale ale are infused with 8mg of active CBD.
Hip Pop CBD drinks
If you like your tea with a drop of CBD, then Hip Pop is definitely worth a try! By far our biggest selling CBD drinks in our pop-up shop, Hip Pop is a blend of delicious kombucha with 20mg of added CBD for a balanced, cultured, healthful beverage. The tempting flavours, such as passionfruit and guava, and the bright, eye-catching packaging, make this one of the most popular CBD drinks on the market.
Marketing itself as an endorphin spirit, this botanical drink from EDI Spirits is made from hemp and contains CBD, nootropics, adaptogens, and other functional ingredients to create a new drink, which they call nootranical. In reality, the bitterness of the hemp is balanced with tangy citrus and peppery spice to create an aromatically unwinding nightcap, topped with your favourite tonic.
Fancy a large glass of nostalgia, with added chill-out ingredients? Look no futher than Rebelicious drinks, whose Cream soda and Real Cola flavours are both familiar and relaxing. Great non-alcoholic choices for a picnic or afternoon beverage, and no need to add anything else – just pop the cans in the fridge. With 15mg of CBD per can, these are ready to go when you’re ready to chill. They’re also Dru’s current favourite drink.