One of the fastest areas of growth within the Cannabidiol (CBD) market is the CBD drinks industry. It’s easy to see why: after all, CBD is non-intoxicating but can still have positive effects on mood. CBD drinks are also a great, non-intimidating way for people who aren’t interested in smoking or CBD edibles to try hemp. You can now buy everything from CBD teas to kombucha, CBD seltzers and beyond. So how should you shop for CBD beverages to know you’re getting what’s right for you.
The 2020 Global Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil Industry Report estimated the global CBD market would grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.4% over the next 5 years. Such lucrative growth rates are now typical to the CBD industry, which is expected to be worth $5.3 billion by 2025.
This, however, presents consumers with the problem of how to know what to buy in an increasingly competitive landscape. How should you start to shop for CBD beverages?
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Luckily we’re here to help. Check out our guide to shopping for CBD below.
1. Consider the function
There are many different reasons why people opt to try CBD. What are you looking to use your CBD drink for? Considering your motivation, or what you desire out of the experience, is a good way to help you frame what to look for in a CBD drink.
Some consumers, for instance, are looking to maximize CBD’s therapeutic benefits that have been reported to help with everything from anxiety to sleep. If you’re looking to do so you might want to opt for a full or broad spectrum CBD drink. Why’s that? Research has shown us that chemically isolate CBD only works up until a certain point. Full and broad spectrum solutions, however, don’t have that built in limitation.
Are you shopping for someone who’s worried about drug testing? If so you may want to stick to a product that uses CBD isolate.
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At the other end of the spectrum you can also have people looking to use CBD recreationally. These types of consumers might want to search for balanced drinks that contain both CBD and THC such as Cann.
Also Read: Cooking with CBD Oil: A Good or Bad Idea?
2. Shop for CBD beverages made with quality hemp
We know what you’re thinking: what constitutes quality hemp, exactly?
Quality hemp, friends, is hemp that’s been lovingly tended to. There are a few different factors that can suggest quality hemp which include:
- Is it USDA organic? USDA certified organic hemp is seen as the gold standard within the CBD industry. Look for products that have this certification whenever possible.
- Is this hemp sustainably sourced/grown? Responsible hemp farmers understand that scalability matters. As such some of the most iconic hemp producers in America today rely on sustainable regenerative agricultural practices to grow their hemp. East Fork Cultivars is one example of a brand that’s USDA organic certified and uses regenerative methods to grow their hemp.
- What kind of extraction method was used? This information probably isn’t available on packages but a dig through the website may yield results. Different extraction methods have their own pros and cons, but CO2 extraction is currently considered to be the purest and most potent.
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3. Ponder dosage
Another element to consider when you shop for CBD beverages is dosage. Some drinks like Cann have relatively low amounts of cannabinoids in each drink (5 mg THC and 2 mg CBD). Other products typically contain 5, 10 or even 25 mg of hemp extract per drink.
Everyone’s tolerance to CBD is unique, so choose the dosage amount you think is best suited to your needs. If you want to have a few drinks at a party a 5 mg drink might be a better pick than a 25 mg option. On the other hand if you have a high tolerance to cannabinoids you may want to opt for products that contain 25+ mg CBD per drink.
Also Read: The Beginner’s Guide to Shopping for CBD
4. Don’t Shop for CBD Beverages Based On Design/Pricing
Being able to differentiate your product in a saturated market is crucial to its success. It’s easy to get bamboozled when you shop for CBD beverages if you just look at the pretty packaging.
Many brands will try and differentiate themselves by use of clever marketing or visual brand aesthetics. Consumers will often also assume credibility/quality based on product design. The end result is a shelf full of well-designed, aesthetically pleasing products made with low quality, cheaply sourced CBD isolate.
Design is not the end all metric that determines quality. Don’t instinctively rely on design or price points to help you determine what to buy here. In fact some of the most visually appealing brands use CBD isolates precisely because their budget is spent on marketing or design.
One note from Dr. Neil Shah: “Avoid any liquids in packaging that is clear/transparent and thus exposed to sunlight. Light has a tendency to degrade CBD’s effectiveness I also recommend refrigerating if buying a significant supply that you won’t consume within a few weeks or a month.”
5. Access To Educational Materials
The best indication a brand is top tier? Educational materials. Are the ingredients listed on the label? On the website? Is there an FAQ? Customer support contact? Having these materials readily available is the most reliable indicator of a good experience.
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6. Always Check the Lab Results
You owe it to yourself to only purchase products that have been lab tested. Be sure whatever you buy always has a third party COA (Certificate of Analysis) available with passing grades for all tests. Tests should be less than one year old and available for each type of product.
- Ideal to have following tests: cannabinoid profile, heavy metals, microbials, mycotoxins, moisture content, residual solvents, pesticides
Be on the lookout for brands that claim a product is “full spectrum” that only use a very minimal amount of one additional cannabinoid in addition to CBD. That means you see a cannabinoid profile which says: 99% CBD and 1% other cannabinoid (generally CBG or CBC). It’s a good indicator that a brand is supplementing an isolate product with another isolate product instead of using a truly full spectrum extract.
7. What are the Other Ingredients?
Some CBD drinks are all-natural and use only organic products with no sweeteners. Others use sugar and contain a bevy of preservatives and artificial flavorings. Be sure to consider what other ingredients are in your drink and how they may affect you.
Some ingredients like L-Theanine boast anti-anxiety properties which can mimic the effects of CBD. As such it would be almost impossible to determine if the effect those drinks provided was from the CBD or L-Theanine.
8. Look for any BPA
BPA is a widely used chemical that can pose some health risks, especially for pregnant women. Opt for products that use BPA-free cans whenever possible.
Janelle Lassalle is a writer and content creator that specializes in cannabis. She’s also an insanely passionate advocate and expert in all things CBD. You can find her work featured in a variety of publications such as Healthline, The Huffington Post, Leafly, Forbes, and High Times. Check out her portfolio, or follow her on Instagram @jenkhari.