Since the 2018 Farm Bill passed, legalizing cannabinoids derived from hemp, CBD has taken the food and beverage industry by storm. It has shown up in sparkling water, seltzer, gummies, chocolate bars and more. Naturally, adding CBD to coffee and tea-based beverages containing caffeine is the next big thing.
This is a prime yet time-sensitive market opportunity for beverage producers, as studies have shown that mixing CBD with caffeine can render a favorable outcome for consumers of these popular beverages. Incorporating CBD into coffee and tea-based product offerings could be a lucrative move.
Although the commercialization of CBD has skyrocketed in recent years, the botanical’s origins date back centuries. Some say that hemp was the earliest plant cultivated for textile fibers, possibly as long ago as 8000 B.C.1 CBD itself was first discovered in 1940 by Roger Adams but not completely elucidated until 1963.2 Harvested from the flowers of the hemp plant, CBD is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant's extract.
The three main types of CBD are full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate. Full spectrum contains all cannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis plant, including THC. Legally, full-spectrum hemp products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC. Broad spectrum contains multiple cannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis plant, without any THC, meaning it is nonpsychoactive (no danger of getting high). Isolate contains only CBD, no other cannabinoids. Regardless of which type of CBD producers choose, the most common form that appears in beverage products is CBD oil.
Research indicates CBD and the caffeine in coffee and tea may work synergistically. The most popular stimulant globally, caffeine is proven to increase alertness, reduce fatigue and improve performance on vigilance tasks.3 Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, while CBD sedates the CNS. For beverage producers, the good news is research suggests caffeine and CBD may have complementary metabolic effects.4
Essentially, CBD coffee and CBD tea may provide energy without the jitters, especially for those sensitive to caffeine, because the CBD neutralizes the adverse side effects of drinking caffeinated beverages. Even for those who don’t drink caffeine, sipping decaf coffee and tea infused with CBD is still an accessible way to reap the benefits of CBD while masking its flavor with a tastier one.
Editor’s note: This content was excerpted from a longer article, “Level up coffee and tea with CBD,” in the “Steeped in innovation: Coffee and tea go beyond energy” digital magazine. Click the link to access both.
Mike Efting has been a senior executive in the chemical distribution industry for more than 35 years and an entrepreneur for well over a decade. He is the current president and founder of Viachem, a specialty chemical food additive and ingredient distributor, and American Pure Products, a wholly owned subsidiary of Viachem that includes premium personal care brands spanning hand sanitizer to CBD.
1 Lash R. “Industrial Hemp: The Crop for the Seventh Generation.” Am Ind Law Rev. 2002;27(1):313-356.
2 Burstein S. “Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: A review of their effects on inflammation.” Bioorg Med Chem. 2015;23(7):1377-1385.
3 Smith A. “Effects of caffeine on human behavior.” Food Chem Toxicol. 2002;40(9):1243-1255.
4 Cornelis MC et al. “Metabolomic response to coffee consumption: Application to a three-stage clinical trial.” J Intern Med. 2018;283(6):544-557.