CBD-Infused Beer: The Biggest Thing to Ever Hit the Adult Beverage Market?
It’s the end of the day, and what a day it’s been. All you want to do is crack open a beer, sit back, take your CBD medicine, and relax. It sure is annoying how beer and CBD can’t be mixed together, right?
Well, believe it or not, CBD-infused beer is already a thing. And not does it only exist, it might just be the biggest thing to hit the adult beverage market since homebrewers realized, “Hey… do you think people would buy the beer I make?”
Though it might immediately seem strange to mix together CBD and beer, doing so can combine two great things to make an even better thing. However, why would we want to do it in the first place? Why could this beverage be so significant? Let’s find out.
First Things First: What is CBD?
CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, commonly extracted and then suspended in inert oil (like coconut oil) in order to form CBD oil. CBD interacts with the body’s Endocannabinoid system, a unique health system originally discovered as a result of cannabis research.
The ECS exists throughout the human body – in fact, it exists in all mammals – and is triggered by cannabinoids, both those present in cannabis and those produced naturally by the human body.
The primary receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2, have the ability to help control and modulate a variety of bodily functions depending on which receptor is triggered. The CB1 receptor is located mainly in the brain (as well as the nervous system), allowing it to control the sensation of pain and the release of a variety of different neurochemicals like serotonin and melanin.
CB2 receptors, however, are more generally spread throughout the body, allowing their effects to be felt more generally. The CB2 receptors, when triggered, can help encourage cellular regeneration, as well as stopping the inflammation response.
Due to the myriad of ways the ECS interacts with the body’s systems, CBD has huge potential for treating a variety of different conditions. Additionally, CBD is an effective antioxidant, an important substance that may be able to help fight degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
There are a huge number of ways to consume CBD, but one of the most recent methods of doing so is administering it in beverages. While originally started as a way to ingest CBD oil without any unpleasant flavors, brewers are now making CBD-infused beer for both its distinctive taste, as well as its medicinal properties.
But why are brewers doing this? Why go through all the trouble, when ingesting CBD oil might just be easier — and more effective?
CBD-Infused Beer: Is it a Gimmick, or Does it Actually Work?
Beer-making is a craft practiced since the dawn of human civilization – in fact, some argue that civilization could never have existed without beer to help bind humanity together (no, seriously, it’s a theory).
It tastes good, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to get calories from poor tasting crops like barley. But why on earth would people want to infuse it with CBD?
Hops and cannabis are actually extremely closely related; you could even call them cousins. They share a common ancestor as a plant, which explains some of the crossovers in certain properties. If you’ve smelled the aroma of fresh hops – especially ones of a citrus variety – you might find yourself thinking “Wow, that really smells like cannabis!”
This is because they both share something called terpenes, which are a series of compounds responsible for distinctive smell and taste profiles in plants. Many terpenes are shared between cannabis and hops, so it makes sense that brewers were initially tempted to try and combine them. After all, food and drink should be paired with similar tasting food and drink, right?
Except for a few outlying, maverick brewers who actually make beer directly from the roots and stems of cannabis plants, most CBD beer is normal beer that has been infused with CBD.
This means, usually, that the brewing process has some CBD extract applied at some point, allowing the flavors to develop and the experience to combine until you reach the point where you get a CBD beverage.
What’s interesting about this is the fact that, most of the time, people find the taste of CBD oil quite unpleasant. Often, people talk about alternatives to taking straight CBD oil as a way to mask the unpleasant taste. However, in the case of CBD beer, this distinctive cannabis plant extract taste is actually desirable.
By mixing it with a hoppy, IPA-type beer – a beer made with a large amount of hops, both during the fermentation process and in later secondary stages – CBD beer is a taste experience like no other. You can get strong citrus fruits, as well as the pleasant bitterness people often enjoy with IPAs, reinforced with the earthy, almost citrusy bitterness of the CBD.
Even if you don’t actually like the taste of CBD at all and just want a way to completely avoid it, by mixing it into beer the taste is masked, and becomes something entirely different.
But are there any actual medicinal benefits to taking CBD beer? And more importantly, is it actually supposed to be consumed as a medicine?
The Benefits of CBD Beer
The benefits of CBD are well-established in numerous studies; it has the potential to treat a number of different medical conditions, as well as generally relaxing you through stimulation of the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system. CBD can help you feel calmer, more awake during the day, or sleepier at night. (This is actually very similar to the effects of alcohol, especially when consumed as beer).
Beer is, of course, a type of alcohol, but it isn’t just a straight distillate of alcohol like with spirits; instead, it’s fermented grains reinforced with hops. The combination of alcohol and hops gives you a gentle body high, allowing you to feel relaxed as well as more generally care-free. Your inhibitions are lowered the more you drink, something that cannabis is also capable of.
Though hoppy beers and CBD have a number of similarities, it generally stops there as far as medical benefits go. Alcohol is in no way an actual medicine, so when you drink CBD beer, if what you’re after is a medicine, you’re really just looking for the CBD.
However, this also means that you aren’t over-medicating yourself by drinking CBD-infused beer; you are simply able to enjoy the experience and feel relaxed.
This is precisely why CBD beer is so popular; you get the relaxing effects of beer, combined with the relaxing properties of CBD, without any further complications. CBD beer isn’t really designed as a way to “dose” you with CBD, though, as the doses are usually quite low.
Instead, it’s a way to get a wonderful, unique taste from a beer, as well as exposing you to a helpful medication — even if it’s only in small amounts.
What About Legal Issues with CBD Beer in the USA?
Surprisingly, there doesn’t actually appear to be that much of a problem with making CBD-infused beer. As CBD is listed as a food additive – originally done so to make it easy for the FDA to approve oral CBD products – it can actually be mixed in any number of “foodstuffs” without running afoul of the federal government.
Besides meeting criteria for food and drink distribution, CBD beer makers don’t have to worry about complicated legal issues. The same can’t be said for THC-infused beer, or any kind of beer infused with marijuana.
In that case, brewers have to contend with state law, federal law, and even, in some cases, local county law. This makes the whole process confusing and expensive. Thankfully, for CBD beer this isn’t a problem at all. Brewers can enjoy not being hassled by the government, as CBD is entirely non-psychoactive and legal to be added to food and drink.
Final Thoughts on the Popularity of CBD Beer
Though it might be strange to think of it, CBD beer is becoming the next big craze among beer artisans. Among any food or drink culture, there are always going to be people interested in experimenting and trying out new combinations and flavors. And thanks to the legalization of CBD and its well-established, well-understood medical benefits, CBD is able to be tested as part of a new age of therapeutic brews.
Due in part to its medical properties, but mostly due to its exceptional taste, CBD beer is primed to take the world by storm, and is starting to appear all over the place. You might not have seen any yet, but consider trying some CBD beer the next time you find some. Assuming you like beer in the first place, it might be just what you’re looking for in a new beer experience!