We all have our little individual coffee quirks, whether it’s spooning in an understandable helping of sugar, dolloping in a sweet helping of honey or perhaps even adding something much more unusual like a cube of butter.
Some of you might even take your coffee a little more… ahem… irish… although we do sincerely hope it’s never before work.
It’s these wee additions which make our coffee orders and tastes feel personal to us, and make us part of a club that celebrates a flavour only we understand and enjoy.
And although you might assume the world is running out of such bizarre ingredients to add to their mocha’s, you’d be surprised just how many new fads and mind-boggling recipes are waiting in the wings to win over a whole new generation of unsuspecting coffee connoisseurs.
The latest of these, is the addition of CBD oil to your standard coffee, a now favourite custom of young, hip Londoners, which has in turn seen dozens of cafes and bars in the capital infusing it into their food and drink menus.
CBD, or cannabidiol as it is formally known, is a chemical compound found in cannabis and hemp plants, and it’s believed it can bring several benefits to your physical and mental health by adding just a daily drop to your cappuccino.
But what exactly is this unusual substance and how has something that is found in the Class B drug marijuana even been allowed to become not only popular, but easily accessible?
CBD Oil & Coffee: How and Why it’s Become Popular
There’s no denying that a large reason for the current trend of CBD Oil-infused coffee is due to its source material, which instantly provokes interest and seems controversial.
You may have heard uneducated friends or people who think they’re edgy referring to it as ‘cannabis coffee’, and you’d be forgiven for assuming the same yourself given where CBD oil comes from.
But don’t worry (or get excited), as this piece of misinformation is not strictly true and isn’t helped by CBD products plastering their packaging with hemp and cannabis leaves, or sometimes on the nose marketing names such as ‘High Tide’ or ‘Feel Good Vibes’.
Because although deriving from the controversial plant, CBD has far different effects than marijuana, and is seen as a far more positive and beneficial substance in the eyes of the law.
So to help you better understand what CBD actually is, we’ve broken down the facts and busted some common myths about everyone’s new favourite coffee supplement.
CBD Oil: The Facts
Is CBD Oil Cannabis?
We’ve got terrible, terrible news for all of you 420 blazin crew members who are excited you’ve found the latest legal high hack…
CBD oil is not strictly cannabis and it cannot get you high.
The plant cannabis contains over a hundred different chemical compounds within it, CBD being just one of these, however, CBD is not one of the psychoactive cannabinoids which cause the euphoric, mind-altering or ‘high’ effects we associate with the drug.
Instead, CBD is the compound responsible for things like pain-relief, mood boosting and relaxation, some of the lesser known properties of marijuana which have made it a medicinal product in many cultures for centuries.
Therefore, by extracting CBD from cannabis and forming it into a diluted oil, you can provide all of these great benefits without any psychoactive effects.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
CBD oil is legal in the UK, but due to its source, there are naturally a lot of ground rules for companies about its cultivation and the contents of their final product.
To more easily separate CBD from THC in the extraction process, companies will often opt to use a hemp plant as opposed to a marijuana one. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant which contains very little THC with an opposingly high concentration of CBD.
Despite this, it is still illegal to grow your own hemp plants in the UK and companies who make CBD oil require special licensing from the Home Office.
However, as they are such a new product on the market, proper regulation standards have not been properly enforced over the last few years and more rigorous testing of products is needed.
For example, in 2019, the Centre for Medical Cannabis tested the thirty CBD oils available in the UK and found that 11 contained 50% less CBD than advertised.
One £90 product even contained no CBD at all!
But a more shocking discovery was that some of the products were also found to contain traces of THC at a larger percentage than 0.02%, making them possibly illegal.
In spite of these worrying figures, CBD has continued to take the world by storm, and if consumers are lucky enough to pick a more potent product, the health benefits are unrivalled.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
Provided you’re not purchasing it from an unlicensed backstreet source, CBD oil is perfectly safe and is enjoyed by many people with little to no side effects.
Like with anything, there are a select few people who may have an adverse reaction, but so far studies have shown these are fairly mild occurrences such as diarrhea, fatigue or change of appetite.
It is however not recommended to be taken by pregnant women or people suffering from liver issues.
Due to this lack of more serious side effects, it’s built a reputation as a safe and well tolerated substance very quickly, despite it’s associations with a Class B drug.
The Science: Why On Earth Would You Put CBD Oil in Coffee?
Marijuana has been used in medicine for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory effects and although previously always illegal in the UK, doctors have been allowed to prescribe over the counter forms of the drug since 2018.
However, the laws on who can have access to such treatment have remained incredibly strict, with less than 160 prescriptions issued in the first year of legalisation, and none of these being offered to patients suffering from chronic pain.
This was devastating news for chronic pain sufferers, but luckily for them, the science behind marijuana’s pain relieving effects has become more clear in recent years.
CBD was discovered to be one of the key components of marijuana when it came to pain relief, due to its effects on neurotransmitters in your brain.
It might sound strange, but your body actually contains something called the endocannabinoid system, a part of your nervous system which helps regulate sleep, pain and immunity.
Your brain is constantly creating endocannabinoid neurotransmitters to send signals to this part of your nervous system, which in turn might alert you to whether you are in pain, if you’re tired and even how hungry you are!
Studies have shown CBD impacts the reception of endocannabinoids, therefore having positive effects by essentially numbing your pain receptors. For example, in rats, experiments have shown CBD reduced inflammation and sciatic nerve pain, and even reduced pain response to surgical incision!
Such experiments on humans are still being conducted all the time and although much more research needs to be done, the data supporting CBD as an effective pain relief management is growing.
Therefore, some sufferers of issues like arthritis, multiple sclerosis and even cancer have already been convinced that by popping some CBD oil into their coffees, they are helping to ease the pain of day to day activity.
Anxiety & Depression
It seems like anxiety and depression disorders are becoming ever more present in the world in which we live today and figuring out how best to treat these devastating issues is still up for debate.
Medical solutions to such mental-health problems tend to be various forms of antidepressant drugs, but the side effects and sometimes addictive nature of these drugs is well documented. Recent studies have shown that CBD oil may be a more successful alternative, and at the very least, certainly a more natural one. (Although we obviously don’t recommend ditching any medication you’ve been prescribed!)
This is due, again, to CBD’s effects on certain neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. In particular, it’s effects on serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps control our mood.
Although more research needs to be done, the evidence so far is becoming increasingly hard to ignore.
A 2011 study into CBD’s effects on Social Anxiety Disorder found that it reduced anxiety levels overall and further investigations in 2016 revealed it can even reduce symptoms of insomnia and anxiety in children suffering from PTSD.
Therefore, many sufferers of anxiety and depression have been keen to try or test the effects of CBD on their own symptoms, and what better way than to just add a few innocent drops of oil into your morning mocha?
Other Potential Benefits
The following benefits are yet to be as extensively researched as the former positives for using CBD oil, however there has been studies conducted on all of these potential benefits, and so there’s no doubt that sufferers of these ailments may already be getting on board with ‘cannabis coffee’.
Possible other benefits of CBD include:
- The reduction of acne
- Easing the symptoms of neurological diseases such as Epilepsy and Parkinson’s.
- Reducing the progression of Alzheimer’s.
- Increasing heart health and lowering blood pressure
- Reducing the symptoms of Schizophrenia
- Reducing drug dependence and combating substance abuse
- Preventing diabetes
- Anti tumour effects
As you can see, there’s a lot of positive studies piling up on a wide range of different ailments, suggesting that CBD’s properties could be a real help to a lot of people.
CBD Oil & Coffee
While it’s long list of health boosting abilities is all well and good, people’s choices on how to consume or get a fix of CBD oil are becoming increasingly strange.
It’s been used as a salad dressing, a Christmas pudding flavour, a cooking oil and of course, now a little morning coffee booster.
Understandably, a lot of this current trend comes down to cafe’s, recipe bloggers and wellness guru’s being able to sell you the idea of ‘cannabis coffee’, which sounds quirky and fun.
But for those of us not interested in impressing our mates or using it for medicinal purposes, would CBD actually enhance our coffee drinking in any way?
The Taste: Is It Actually Nice?
As pure, unfiltered CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant, it’s flavour usually coming across as an earthy, grass-like taste.
And although you might think differently, for most of us, this isn’t a naturally appealing flavour.
This is essentially one of the main reasons why you would have it in coffee, because the strong taste of your java would help mask some of the grassy notes.
Some people also opt for flavoured CBD solutions instead, such as mint or citrus versions which would again help mask the bitter flavour. There are also lower concentration CBD oils which have a far weaker flavour, but obviously with the side effect of weaker health benefits.
In this sense, once the novelty of it tasting a bit like a ‘cannabis coffee’ wears off, it’s really not too scrummy, and so finding a bland tasting oil which still contains high concentrations of CBD is your best bet.
It also shows that the only real reason someone should ever add CBD to their coffee is for it’s healthy properties, because unfortunately for us, CBD Coffee does not pass the taste test!
The Effects: What Can CBD Coffee Do For Me?
If you’re not suffering from any physical or psychological ailments, it can be difficult to see any appeal in a slightly more grassy tasting coffee.
Yet the CBD trend seems to be reaching an audience far larger than just chronic pain and anxiety sufferers.
Admittedly, a lot of the interest comes from bohemian London hipsters, jumping on the back of a trend which automatically appears unusual and edgy thanks to its Class B drug affiliation.
However, day to day CBD coffee drinkers have noticed that the effects of the oil can actually enhance a coffee more than it detracts from it, making it more than just a fashionable, show-off cafe order.
The world loves coffee so much that it’s easy to forget that our favourite beverage actually contains a little drug of its own – caffeine – which doesn’t always have the best of side effects.
While it might make us more sharp and alert for a groggy morning meeting, caffeine can also cause anxiety, jitters, insomnia and stomach issues if you happen to have one cup of coffee too many.
But interestingly, by adding CBD oil to your cup of joe, the wellbeing booster’s effects cover essentially every single one of those negative issues, in particular its ability to alleviate anxiety and help relax muscle spasms.
This makes it a fantastic antidote for those of us who rely on coffee to get through the day as it provides a soothing, calming edge to the unwanted anxiety or tremors which can follow your early morning wake up solution.
The Method: How Do I Use CBD In Coffee?
If you’ve been won over by everything you’ve read so far, you’re probably wondering where you can get some CBD, and what exactly the preferred method for adding it to your brew is.
CBD is an admittedly quite bizarre new product and due to the lack of regulations its natural to worry you may purchase the wrong thing or get ripped off when browsing for it.
Finding the right kind of seller can be difficult, especially when looking online, and so our advice is to visit a wellness/ health food shop or perhaps even a facility that specializes in hemp.
These are places which will have a license to sell such products, and so you can trust that their CBD oil is the genuine article.
Test your seller’s knowledge too! Ask them all sorts of questions about strength, THC, how many drops you can take etc. If they know they’re stuff, you can likely trust they have a quality product.
In terms of dosage and strength, the majority of CBD bottles come in a 25mg concentration.
In this concentration, the general recommendation you’ll find on most labels is to take one dropper of oil, twice a day.
However, there are no hard and fast rules to this and you can add more or less depending on how much you think you’ll need for it to take effect.
Naturally though, adding copious drops to your coffee is going to give a layer of oil to your coffee which may not be particularly pleasant, while also increasing the CBD flavour.
As with anything, you can also take too much CBD, and essentially pouring a good dribble of the stuff into your drink would increase the likelihood of unwanted side effects such as diarrhea and fatigue.
It’s all about finding the balance that’s right for you, as everyone is different when it comes to how much they need, with factors like your height and weight coming into play.
We’d recommend starting out slow with a small, half-drop in your daily brew and then assessing whether you felt a positive reaction at the end of the day.
If not, try again the next day and increase your amount to around ¾ of a drop.
If that again has little effect, you can continue day by day, increasing your dosage by ¼ increments until you notice a difference.
However, it’s likely that you’ll feel some kind of change between 1-2 drops.
Remember, CBD can’t get you high, so if you’re necking it back expecting some kind of euphoric mood booster, think again.
CBD’s effects are much subtler, and you might simply feel less tense and more relaxed than usual.
As CBD is more like a mineral or vitamin supplement, it may also be days or weeks before you might start feeling it’s effect, as the longer it is in your system, the more good it can do for you.
In Conclusion: Yes or No to CBD Coffee?
Given the stacking evidence and continuingly positive research into CBD oil’s benefits, it’s amazing that the product has not become an essential part of day to day life.
But in our humble opinion, the only reason you should ever be putting CBD oil into your coffee is if you truly believe it’s going to have a positive impact on your life.
If you’re not someone who suffers from medical issues or long spells of anxiety or depression – then do you really need a couple of drops of CBD oil everyday?
Because if we haven’t mentioned it already, it doesn’t taste very good.
Yes, there’s evidence to suggest it will help calm some negative effects of caffeine, but isn’t a better solution to just limit your daily caffeine intake?
For us, any addition to coffee should be about enhancing the flavour, not your health, and you can just as easily take a spoonful of CBD as you would cod liver oil.
It’s even available in capsule forms, so it can be taken like a vitamin or pill everyday.
In other words, if taking CBD oil is important to you, there’s ways to do it without making your coffee taste like your front lawn.
Admittedly though, the allure of a CBD coffee is hard to ignore, and we don’t expect you to reject the new and interesting experience of trying it.
However, we wouldn’t be surprised if your initial sample bottle ended up stale and unused at the back of the cupboard along with your marmite.
Because this one stands to split coffee drinkers right down the middle!