Beer Trends: CBD - IMBOLDN
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If the idea of drinking beer and smoking pot doesn’t necessarily appeal to you, don’t worry — this isn’t that.

CBD-infused beers are brews that contain strategic amounts of THC or CBD (more on the difference between the two in a minute). Cannabis beer, on the other hand, is actually made from parts of the marijuana plant. The first is more widely available and what we’re talking about today.

If you’re new to CBD, you may be surprised to discover that it contains properties with known health properties, bringing a whole new meaning to kicking back and relaxing with a cold one.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the active compounds found in cannabis (you know, marijuana) as well as the hemp plant. What many people don’t realize is CBD itself won’t make you high. It lacks the psychoactive component found in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the component known for giving you that sweet sense of relaxation and yearning for Doritos (we’re generalizing…).

What’s more, the World Health Organization has issued a report on CBD that states, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” In other words, while the jury is still out for many on the safety of THC, CBD is much more promising, hence the widespread legality and availability.

Speaking of which — You can currently get CBD almost anywhere in the United States. There’s a catch, though; it may or may not be totally legal. Federal legislation has yet to evolve to match our understanding of CBD, which means it’s still classed the same as THC and marijuana. Luckily, the government isn’t going out of its way to enforce those laws, and even the FDA is starting to acknowledge CBD’s massive potential.

As far as beer goes, the government allows hemp to be used in alcoholic beverages, but there are caveats. The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco and Trade Bureau (TTB) and state liquor control agencies have jurisdiction of hemp-infused drinks, so producers are advised to check with those organizations if they have any questions.

Potential Benefits of CBD

Now, onto the fun stuff. There are an increasing number of studies being done on CBD, and the results are fascinating. Your body naturally produces endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters that are designed to bind to cannabinoid receptors found in your nervous system. How CBD impacts receptor activity can have a remarkable effect.

CBD may be used to address:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Cancer-related symptoms
  • Acne
  • Neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis
  • Heart and circulatory-related issues such as high blood pressure

CBD may even help those going through substance abuse treatment (though obviously beer wouldn’t be the best vehicle in that situation), could help prevent diabetes, and may even reduce the spread of tumors associated with prostate, brain, lung, colon, brain, and breast cancer.

Like any supplement, herbal substance, or medicine, CBD does have some potential side effects. Most people tolerate CBD just fine, but others may notice some stomach upset, changes in their appetite, weight gain or loss, or fatigue. You should also be careful about taking CBD with certain medications — in particular any that already warn you not to take them with grapefruit, as CBD has a similar enzymatic effect.

CBD Beer vs “Weed Beer”

Whereas CBD beer contains no psychoactive components, so-called “weed beer” swaps out alcohol in favor of THC. It’s a different kind of high, but you are still getting high. Without the CBD component, “weed beers” don’t necessarily carry the same health boosts.

But Really… What’s It Taste Like?

For the most part, CBD beer tastes like, well, beer. CBD can have an inherently citrusy or grassy taste, but brewers know how to complement those flavors. In fact, many fans of CBD beer say that the CBD blends right in with grassy hops and slightly bitter grapefruit or lemon. If you like regular craft beer, you’ll probably like these too.

Top CBD Beers – What to Try When You’re Ready

Outbound Brewing

One of the first outlets to produce a CBD brew was Outbound Brewing. Outbound focuses on creating “functional, health-forward, 30 calorie nonalcoholic craft brews.” In addition to their Renew Brews, which contain electrolytes and curcumin to help tackle inflammation and improve muscle recovery, their hemp brews include broad-spectrum hemp extract. These “beers” are a hangover-free and come in three flavors: Blood Orange Haze, Pale Haze, and Grapefruit Haze.

Long Trail Brewery

There’s also Long Trail Brewery based out of Killington, Vermont. They’re limited-edition CBD seltzers come in refreshing flavors like blackberry and blueberry melon — not strictly beer, but still tasty. More interestingly, they released a 30-barrel production of pale ale called “Medicator” that contained hemp oil as well as key terpenes. If public interest is high enough, there could be more creations in the offing.

Green Times Brewing

If you’re in the UK, look for Green Times Brewing’s High Flyer Session IPA. Made with all organic ingredients, High Flyer boasts full-spectrum hemp extract and a high concentration of CBD, plus it’s delightfully citrusy. There’s also UK’s Hop and Hemp Brewery, which makes a lemony, yeasty CBD beer called Easy Times IPA.

While this may seem like a disappointingly short list, keep in mind that the CBD market is just heating up. As regulations continue to ease public perception changes, expect to see more breweries attempting their own infusions. We’ll be waiting.