Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp-- is making waves in mainstream retail, having quickly risen to become one of 2019’s latest health and wellness trends. Regarded as a remedy for an array of ailments including anxiety, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and for a general mood booster, the popular compound has steadily been popping up in products across a multitude of industries. In recent years, brands and businesses have noticed the drastic increase in consumer interest in CBD and have developed a wide range of new products from body moisturizers and mascara, to cookies and coffee.

What is CBD?

CBD is a naturally occurring, non-addictive compound found in the cannabis and hemp plants and boasts a myriad of therapeutic properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-anxiety benefits. Though closely related to its cannabis companion, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects, but still maintains the potent health benefits, making it a viable treatment option for the some consumers.

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CBD and Coffee Culture

While the infusion of CBD into food and beverages is a relatively recent phenomenon that has gained a lot of momentum, its presence within the culinary landscape has skyrocketed over the last several years. Coffee culture has notably reaped the benefits of boosted sales by adding CBD to beverages across cafes and coffee shops in the US, as well as offering products for wholesale. When added to coffee, CBD oil gives off a slightly earthy taste, but doesn’t distract from the overall flavor of the coffee itself.

The Manhattan coffee shop, Patent Coffee first began selling CBD-infused drinks such as cold brew in 2018 as a limited special, promoting its effects of overall wellness and relaxation. “It just feels like the weight has been lifted off your shoulders,” says Patent’s manager Emily Williams, who first introduced the idea of CBD to the shop. Patent’s brew immediately took off, becoming one of their most highly demanded menu items. With the overwhelmingly positive reception still propelling them forward one year later, Patent’s CBD cold brew has not only become one of their top selling items in-store, but they have also begun bottling their specialty brew for wholesale. “We’ve seen a significant spike in sales from our inclusion of the CBD oil in cold brew and other menu items,” stated Williams. “We’re even more excited to sell it in grab-and-go fridges around New York City.” Patent’s CBD cold brew bottles, each containing a 30mg dose of the tincture, can be found in local markets, quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants, and are also available for purchase via their website.

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Patent is not the only coffee company taking advantage of the booming CBD market -- Vermont-based Abracadabra Coffee sells their signature Chill Brew -- canned, single origin cold brew created with 20mg of organic, locally grown hemp extract -- to specialty shops, restaurants, art galleries, grocers, and more. The popular Coloradan coffee roaster Sträva Craft and Brooklyn-based Flower Power Coffee Co. offer bags of their signature infused roasts in-store and online, allowing curious consumers to become CBD brewing connoisseurs themselves. Virginia’s District Hemp Botanicals has a variety of cannabinoid enhanced products including flavored coffee accoutrements called Cannistirs, as well as K-cups boasting names such as Wake N Bake, Light It Up, and Get Roasted. And even mega-corporations like Amazon have begun stocking their virtual shelves with CBD offerings -- from ground and whole bean bags, to K-cups, to high-grade CBD tinctures for DIY dosing.

CBD is helping to change the way today’s consumers and brands think about the cannabis industry, shedding any preconceived notions once associated with marijuana, and showcasing the relaxing compound’s incredible versatility. Access to CBD will only continue to grow as the cannabis industry is in a major state of expansion. Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December, legalizing the production of industrial hemp on a federal level, analysts at the cannabis market research firm, Brightfield Group has projected that the hemp-CBD industry will reach an estimated $22 billion in sales by 2022.

From innovative startups to established and mature brands, CBD-based food and beverages have successfully grabbed mainstream attention. With its popularity continuously on the incline, brands should consider jumping on the CBD bandwagon.

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