2018 was the year of CBD-infused everything. From cake and ice cream to pasta and salad dressing; you name it, CBD was in it, even in countries where the laws regarding CBD legality are vague at best.

The USA is, of course, ahead of the curve. An increasing number of states are opting to legalise cannabis (either in all its forms or as a non-psychoactive isolate). As the public raves over these CBD-infused products, it’s no surprise that big businesses are looking to cash in on what’s estimated to be a $1 billion industry.

In the UK, CBD is gaining traction as a health supplement, additive for vape juice, and a medicinal remedy for some serious forms of epilepsy. However, the substance; which is technically legal; is now finding its way into food, just as it is across the pond.

However, there’s a new industry that CBD-infusion is posited to take over. A number of British companies are branching out into CBD-infused drinks, targeting everything from water to tea.

Global corporations are also dipping their toes into the CBD sea, albeit tentatively. Coca-Cola is reportedly in talks with a Canadian cannabis company as they look into the development of cannabis-infused fizzy drinks.

Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers told Bloomberg in an email, “We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world.”

“The space is evolving quickly,” he continued. “No decisions have been made at this time.”

In the UK, CBD-infused products are bound by EU regulations, which dictate that they can’t be marketed as medicinal. It’s permissible to mention the health benefits afforded by CBD – such as pain relief, lessened anxiety and depression, and even its effect on memory and sleep – but marketing it as a replacement for a prescribed medication regime could result in heavy fines.

However, this hasn’t posed any problems for CBD companies across the UK. Many have taken a stand against making health claims, but not for any moral or ethical reasons.

In fact, the general consensus is that the alleged health benefits CBD offers speak for themselves. In an age where advocacy is king, oftentimes a few positive anecdotal accounts and some individual research is enough to convince a consumer that maybe, CBD is worth a try.

So, as the UK heads towards making CBD-infused water mainstream, big US companies continue to push the boundaries. Early last year, Corona owner Constellation Brands invested a hefty $4 billion in a Canadian weed company.

Shortly afterwards, Molson Coors revealed its brand-new partnership with another weed company, announcing in a press release that it is looking into creating a “joint venture focused on non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages.”

So, what’s next for CBD-infused drinks? Will the American desire for a hemp-hop fusion make it over into the UK? Or are we looking at a different type of industry? Only time will tell.


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