For many people, coffee is a crucial part of their morning routine (read: I can't function without large quantities of caffeine). While coffee can feel like magical get-stuff-done juice, too much of a good thing can leave you jittery, anxious, and seriously over-caffeinated.
Cannabidoil (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, can help solve that problem according to some consumers. Currently, CBD can be found in all kinds of products, from pet treats to skincare to CBD lattes at your local coffee shop. And CBD-infused beverages have made an especially large impact — Zenith Global projects that the market for CBD and hemp infused drinks will grow to over $1.4 Billion by 2024.
Of the drinkable CBD products currently sold, CBD coffee is one of the most popular. Over the last several years, the number of coffee shops and cafés offering different CBD-infused coffee and espresso drinks has noticeably increased. For the dedicated coffee-drinker, the appeal seems obvious: all the focus and productivity of a solid caffeine rush without the impending doom of potential overindulgence.
What is CBD Coffee?
CBD coffee, as you probably guessed, is a combination of coffee and cannabidoil. It can include different ingredients and be made into regular hot coffee, cold brew, and various other types of drinks. Coffee shops that offer CBD-infused options typically add CBD oil to coffee after it's brewed, while coffee brands add CBD (often in isolate form) to the coffee beans themselves.
The amount of CBD per cup of joe will vary, but it's important to only buy from trusted retailers. Since CBD beverages are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, companies don't always disclose how their CBD is extracted or exactly how many milligrams are in each serving.
According to Adrian Devitt-Lee, chief science writer at Project CBD, “Packaging should clearly indicate total cannabinoid content and dosage, and products should always have a batch number. Avoid products with artificial colors or flavors … Don't be afraid to contact a company directly to ask them about their products — if they are not forthcoming, pick another one.”
What is CBD coffee good for?
Consumers report using CBD for a variety of reasons, but a lot more research must be done in order to know exactly which ailments it can clinically relieve.
So, are there health benefits to a cup of coffee with CBD oil in it? Not likely. But based on product testimonials and five-star reviews, many consumers believe that coffee with added CBD can reduce caffeine-induced anxiety and help improve focus, and the logic makes some sense — CBD has calming properties that may take the edge off of caffeine.
However, it's important to understand that both CBD and caffeine affect everyone differently, which means there's no way to tell if it will help you without trying it for yourself.
Does CBD coffee work?
The simple answer to whether or not CBD coffee works is: it depends. “CBD may be able to take the edge off of caffeine on a neurological level, but it's also possible that caffeine could undermine some beneficial effects of CBD, including its potency as an anti-epileptic,” said Devitt-Lee.
“Do they balance each other out or interfere? It will depend on the dose and [you] will likely have to experiment based on their own caffeine and cannabinoid sensitivities,” he added.
I brewed a pot of Green Roads Hemp Flower Coffee to get the creative juices flowing as I sat down to write this article. My first impression was that the coffee tasted surprisingly good, not overly herbal or unpleasant. Lee Sosin, Chief Marketing Officer at Green Roads, explained, “The true flavor is really coming from the gourmet coffee beans grown on that lush Colombian estate. You will be able to taste the influence of hemp, but it is gentle and it works well with the coffee.”
After my first cup of CBD coffee (with oat milk and a spoonful of sugar) I didn't feel especially caffeinated or relaxed, so I decided to have a second cup. That may have been a bit much considering I drink coffee on an empty stomach every morning, and I started to feel a little sleepy. I compensated with a regular cup of cold brew and a glass of water, which left me feeling the right amount of caffeinated and focused.
After two to three cups of coffee, the daily norm for 44 percent of Americans, I didn't feel jittery or anxious at all. I did learn that I personally need a greater ratio of caffeine to CBD in order to feel awake, so next time I plan to limit my intake to one cup.
The best advice I can offer to my fellow caffeine-lovers who suffer from stress is to understand that CBD coffee may not be the best method of consumption if you're using CBD for medicinal purposes, and to always do your research before choosing a brand. “Many CBD companies are starting to use similar language about things like testing, but consumers should understand that there's a big difference between companies that test their own CBD isolates, and someone like Green Roads that has an accredited independent lab run a full-panel test on every batch of finished products,” offered Sosin.
What are our favorite CBD coffees?
There are plenty of great CBD brands out there, but check out a few well-known options for an infused caffeine fix:
Green Roads Founders' Blend
Thanks to the company's strict quality control, Green Roads is a great option for CBD coffee newbies. Their Founders' Blend is crafted in small batches, the most recent batch containing 9.67 milligrams of cannabinoids per serving. They also sell CBD tea, gummies, oils, and tons of other products to fit any lifestyle.
Flower Power Coffee Co.
Flower Power Coffee Co. is another popular option for hemp-infused coffee, with 60 milligram blends like the New York Signature Roast and Big Island Joe. If you brew it on its own — you could mix it with other coffee too — you'll get 5 milligrams per cup, which is a great starting point for those who don't know how CBD will affect them.
Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps