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The Growing Popularity of CBD Beverages and How to Make Your Own

What to Know about CBD Drinks


1. CBD Products and Their Growing Popularity
2. What CBD Does—the Latest Research
     a) Anxiety
     b) Depression
     c) Insomnia
3. CBD Drinks and Legality
4. How to Make Your Own CBD Beverages
     a) Cucumber Cool
     b) Hemp Hot Toddy
     c) Afterschool Special


CBD Products and Their Growing Popularity

The presence of CBD products—including infused drinks—has become so ubiquitous in the U.S., they’re almost the new Coca-Cola. 

The reasons for this unremitting market growth seem apparent and rather simple:

1. This cannabis constituent has, at the end of 2018, finally been declared legal in the States. So, taking it is guilt-free, at last.

2. It's been a well-known and well-beloved natural remedy for many health issues for a long time already. Read on for the latest research!

3. Legally cultivating hemp (from which CBD is extracted) and manufacturing-related products is lucrative for business, and more and more companies gain confidence to "enter the CBD space," according to the latest report by well-known CBD market research firm the Brightfield Group. In their own words: 

(The second quarter of 2019) saw large retailers like CVS and Walgreens introduce CBD products in select states, signaling to the rest of the country that CBD is going mainstream. 2019 is shaping up to be a massive year for cannabidiol (CBD), leading to just over a $4 billion industry by end of year – a 562% increase over 2018. By 2025, Brightfield Group estimates that the total U.S. CBD market could reach $24.4 billion. 

They credit this impressive growth to the entry of chained retailers to the market, such as large pharmacy, retail, and grocery chains with a wide variety of large-scale pilot programs. [1]

4. Infused drinks are a fun and easy way to ingest this compound.

5. And maybe best of all—you can easily concoct your own CBD-infused drink. Scroll down for some fabulous recipes!

The presence of CBD products—including infused drinks—has become so ubiquitous in the U.S., they’re almost the new Coca-Cola.

What CBD Does—the Latest Research

Many of the products found on shelves these days are, by current regulation, not strong enough to have a medicinal effect. This is also true of commercial CBD drinks, meaning that you're very unlikely to feel any significant effect from sipping a cannabidiol-laced cappuccino. The compound has only been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of intractable epilepsy syndromes, but the research is nevertheless mounting in its favor.

Integrative Medicine Specialist Melinda R. Ring, MD, executive director of Northwestern Medicine Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, spoke to Northwestern Medicine in a recent interview. She says that there are some possibilities suggested in studies, but the jury is still out. She also notes this: 

I think at this point, both professionals and patients don’t know what product to use or how often. I think having answers to those questions can help.

Speaking to the same publication, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Northwestern Medicine James G. Adams, MD said that the benefits of CBD oil include a couple of very rare types of seizures, as previously mentioned. He added: 

But the misconception is that it’s broadly beneficial. It’s not that well researched or understood. ... CBD is probably not that harmful, but we shouldn’t expect it to be a medicine. It’s being promoted for all kinds of purposes for which it’s never been studied. [2]

So, scientists and doctors are carefully optimistic, but they still tiptoe around the subject of CBD's efficacy and safety. 

Scientists and doctors are carefully optimistic, but they still tiptoe around the subject of CBD's efficacy and safety.

Yet millions of users worldwide are claiming victory over certain conditions, and while more clinical study is necessary, research doesn't necessarily disagree with them.

We dug into the latest research.


A joint study by the University of Auckland, NZ, and Dr. Graham Gulbransen's practice, Cannabis Care, investigated the medical records of 400 patients. RZN reports the findings: CBD oil taken over four weeks significantly improved patients' self-reported quality of life. 

Those suffering from depression and anxiety said they were more able to complete tasks. 

Said Professor Bruce Arroll, senior author in the study:

Our findings show that CBD is well-tolerated in most patients and can markedly ease symptoms in a range of hard-to-treat conditions, and that there are people keen to access this and self-fund the medication (about $300 per month). [3] 

CBD oil taken over four weeks significantly improved anxiety patients' self-reported quality of life.


A 2018 pre-clinical study published in the Molecular Neurobiology journal found that CBD induced sustained antidepressant-like effects in mice.

Said study author Samia Joca of Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies and University of São Paulo:

CBD emerges as an interesting compound, since it has shown large-spectrum therapeutic potential in preclinical models and clinical trials. Therefore, we became interested in evaluating CBD effects in different animal models of depression with the aim to better characterize its potential as an antidepressant drug, as well as study its underlying mechanisms.

The results could provide new insights on depression neurobiology and treatment, with easy translation to the clinical scenario, since CBD is used in humans for the treatment of neurological disorders, such as epilepsy. [4]

CBD induced sustained antidepressant-like effects in mice.

RELATED: CBD For Depression: CBD Can Help Improve Your Mood


Another recent large case series set out to determine whether CBD helps to improve sleep and/or anxiety in a clinical population. The results were promising: [5]

The final sample consisted of 72 adults presenting with primary concerns of anxiety (n = 47) or poor sleep (n = 25). Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time. In this chart review, CBD was well tolerated in all but 3 patients.

It's clear, though, that large, randomized, placebo-controlled trials are needed to evaluate the therapeutic potential of CBD.

In the meantime, there's no harm in experimenting. CBD is known to be non-toxic and is generally considered safe for use. It's so innocuous that even abruptly discontinuing the use of CBD will not result in a physical withdrawal syndrome, a very recent study found. [6]

A recent large case series, to determine whether CBD helps to improve sleep in a clinical population, showed promising results.

RELATED: Using CBD for Insomnia: What You Need to Know

CBD Drinks and Legality

Many users still wonder about the legality of CBD in commercial drinks. Unfortunately, this is still a tricky question to answer, because it really depends on who you're asking.

Federally, hemp and derived products (such as CBD) are legal. This means that you won't be prosecuted for possession of an illegal substance if the product is:

  1. hemp extracted and
  2. contains the allowed amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC—the chemical responsible for making you feel "high"). 

In a press release issued last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) touched on hemp and derived products' legal status: [7] the result of a recent amendment to federal law, certain forms of cannabis no longer require DEA registration to grow or manufacture. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018, changed the definition of marijuana to exclude “hemp”—plant material that contains 0.3 percent or less delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis. Accordingly, hemp, including hemp plants and cannabidiol (CBD) preparations at or below the 0.3 percent delta-9 THC threshold, is not a controlled substance, and a DEA registration is not required to grow or research it. 

So, coming from the drug law enforcement squad, the message couldn't be clearer—CBD is not a drug or a controlled substance, and you don't need the DEA's permission to even grow hemp. (You do need permission, btw, but not this department's.)

So, coming from the DEA, the message couldn't be clearer—CBD is not a drug or a controlled substance, and you don't need the DEA's permission to even grow hemp.

However, all is not cut-and-dried just yet. While CBD products are legal, regulations still need to be drafted and implemented. As explained by the Washington Post:

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, but the legal status of hemp-derived cannabidiol remains in limbo. This is largely because CBD can be derived from hemp or cannabis, but if a hemp plant contains more than 0.3 percent THC (the active “high” ingredient in marijuana) it is then technically a “marijuana” plant. It’s confusing. Experts say drafting and implementing regulations could take years. [7]

Also, the FDA explains:

It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement. [8]

Yet the market is full of CBD food products. While the FDA recently slapped a few manufacturers on the wrist because they marketed their CBD products with unproven medical claims, nobody gets prosecuted for the CBD in fizzy drinks, cocktails, and coffee in shops. The situation is just too confusing.

While CBD products are legal, regulations still need to be drafted and implemented.

RELATED: The FDA vs. CBD—a War Against the Innocent?

The Agency is also not addressing the issue in a manner that encourages public trust. 

From one of our previous articles:

So, we're wondering in all earnestness: what's the deal with CBD, FDA?! The Agency's statements of late have all the hallmarks of a concerted witch hunt—facts are distorted, studies referenced without context, and statements are alarmist and demonizing. 

In short, the Agency just seems very defensive in general—about a substance millions of us have been using for yonks, with only good results to report. Also, there’s a plethora of good, solid research supporting our observations and personal experienceWhat's going on?

But watch this space. Regulations may take long, but they will happen eventually. In the meanwhile, you're completely safe from every law when making your own CBD beverages.

You're completely safe from every law when making your own CBD beverages.

How to Make Your Own CBD Beverages

Infusions are, by definition, "a drink made by placing a flavoring ingredient (such as tea or herbs) into a liquid (such as hot water). Infusions are the most popular method of preparing teas and tisanes," according to The Spruce. [9]

CBD is not a flavoring agent, nor is its herbal parent—hemp—commonly used to infuse drinks with. So, strictly speaking, this is a bit of a misnomer. 

However, we understand that adding a few drops of cannabidiol tincture to a beverage or drink does make for a CBD beverage. And that's it. Be creative and experiment with different types of drinks, beverages, and CBD tinctures to revolutionize your morning coffee, midday mocktail, and evening cocktails.

It's true that not everyone loves the taste of cannabis, though. Especially full-spectrum CBD products may contain those terpenes responsible for its distinctly earthy flavor. Many claim they’ve developed a taste for it, so there's that. 

But if you're not among those—to ensure that your CBD drink is ingestible without squinting, face-pulling, and gulping, see the following tips:

  • Use a CBD tincture, as oil doesn't mix with any palatable liquids.
  • Consider a flavored tincture. No need to explain why.
  • Some claim that pairing CBD with herbs like rosemary, basil, oregano, cilantro, and mint actually tastes very good. The same goes for spices such as cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, and cloves.

Tips to ensure that your CBD drink is ingestible!

RELATED: What You Need to Know About CBD Tinctures

We searched for the most compelling recipes to try at home. Mix up a mocktail or a stronger sundowner with a few drops of your favorite relaxant.

We love this (slightly adapted) recipe for a mocktail from The Telegraph: [10]

Cucumber Cool


  • 20ml non-alcoholic aperitif 
  • 20ml lightly sweetened cucumber juice
  • 20ml lime juice 
  • A few drops of CBD tincture (Look out for our new CBD Liposome 300mg fruity hibiscus!)
  • Kombucha to top off
  • Rosemary sprig and mint sprig, to garnish


  1. Put all of the ingredients except for the kombucha and herbs into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and shake.
  2. Strain into a glass, top off with the kombucha, and add the rosemary and mint sprigs to garnish.

A mocktail recipe with a few drops of CBD tincture.

We also love this cozy, hot drink from Shape, chock-full of healthy goodies. Recipe adapted slightly. [11]

Hemp Hot Toddy


  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 200ml hot black tea
  • Your preferred dose of cinnamint CBD tincture
  • 1 lemon wedge


  1. Pour honey, lemon juice, and spices into a large mug.
  2. Top with hot tea, stir, then add the CBD tincture. Add lemon wedge to garnish.

A hot drink recipe with your preferred dose of flavored CBD tincture.

In need of something stronger after a busy day? We adore this recipe from Marie Claire for a designer CBD-drink experience. [12]

Afterschool Special


  • 1 ½ oz. Pommeau
  • ½ oz. Italicus Bergamot (substitute: simple syrup)
  • ½ oz. grapefruit vermouth
  • ½ oz. grapefruit juice
  • 12 mg CBD tincture
  • grapefruit (to garnish)


  1. Shake all ingredients except grapefruit with ice in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Strain and serve over ice with a grapefruit twist or wedge as garnish.

One of the most compelling CBD beverage recipes to try at home.

RELATED: All About CBD and Alcohol

CBD drinks at home can be a palatable way to take your daily dose. The ones on the shelves are unlikely to have much of an effect, as stated. Never replace prescription medicine with CBD beverages without the consent of your doctor.



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