During the last decade, we’ve seen an explosive rise in the mainstream popularity of cannabis-derived products. Cannabis confections and CBD edibles come in a wide variety of shapes and flavors, CBD-infused moisturizers and skin serums line the shelves of beauty aisles nationwide, and you can even pick up a CBD tincture at the local convenience store. Hemp buds and CBD vape products are more readily accessible than ever. Despite Jeff Bezos’s clear no CBD policy, you can still buy CBD from Amazon (though we wouldn’t recommend it).
Sometimes it seems like every industry wants a piece of CBD. Could combining alcohol with hemp be the next hottest trend?
Is CBD-Infused Alcohol Legal?
The first hurdle between you and cannabis-infused booze is legality.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and CBD on a federal level. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still considers infusing food or drinks with cannabinoids to be unlawful. In order for a CBD-infused alcoholic beverage to hit the market in the States, it must first be approved by state liquor boards and the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco and Trade Bureau (TTB). Because the TTB takes its cues from the FDA, they currently are not approving any combination of cannabinoids and alcohol.
However, this hasn’t stopped distillers and brewers from experimenting with synergizing the flavors of hemp with alcohol. While CBD-infused alcohols are still illegal, the TPP has approved some alcoholic beverages made from hemp seeds. As we explained in our Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD Oil post, hemp seeds contain a negligible amount of cannabinoids. So while spirits and beers made from hemp seeds may boast the flavors of the hemp plant, drinkers won’t glean any of the benefits of CBD.
However, looking outside of the United States, curious connoisseurs can find genuine CBD-infused alcohols like the Hemp Rum from English distillers Dead Man’s Fingers.
Surprisingly, both hemp and hops have similar terpene profiles. This likeness is useful to beermakers who have begun crafting beers that mimic the taste of cannabis. For example, the G13 IPA from Sweetwater Brewing uses terpenes found in the infamous G13 strain of marijuana to mimic the aromas and taste of the potent Indica. These varieties of beer do not actually contain CBD and only simulate cannabis flavors.
While the US doesn’t have a market for CBD-infused alcohols, brewers are replacing the alcohol in their beers with cannabinoids to create weed beers. These are a great option for those who enjoy imbibing in CBD or THC but who don’t drink alcohol for whatever reason. They also give consumers an option to choose THC vs CBD depending on the time of day or the drinker’s mood.
Mixing CBD And Alcohol
While genuine CBD-infused alcohols are hard to come by, what about mixing CBD with alcohol? Some wonder, can I take CBD while drinking?
While the research into the effects of CBD and alcohol is still rather sparse, there is some evidence that taking CBD with alcohol may reduce one’s blood alcohol level, as well as reduce the alcohol’s toxicity.
One 2014 study examined the effects of CBD and alcohol in rats. They found that the rodents who were given CBD before alcohol experienced significantly less oxidative stress on their livers than the rats who were given alcohol alone.
In 1979, another double-blind study gave participants either a placebo or CBD capsule before giving both groups alcohol. There was no noticeable difference in impairment in either group; however, those given CBD had lower blood alcohol levels. Bear in mind that even though there’s a chance CBD may decrease blood alcohol concentration, both CBD and alcohol can be sedative in nature. Taking the two together can potentially increase this sedative effect, leading to greater impairment.
One way to enjoy both CBD and alcohol simultaneously is with a CBD cocktail.
CBD Cocktails consist of typical cocktail ingredients such as spirits, bitters, and sodas, but with the addition of a CBD tincture or hemp oil. It’s still technically illegal for a bartender to mix up a stony negroni or a martini with a twist of CBD; these can be fun ways to experiment with CBD at home with friends.