These are stressful times. We can no longer look to pure hedonism to guide our snacking decisions—now, a mandate for calm and wellness directs our selections. So much, in fact, that a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana is all over grocery stores. That’s right, we’re talking about cannabidiol, alias CBD—darling of the anxious masses, whose star is rising at a speed that is not at all chill. Though a University of Illinois chemist isolated CBD way back in 1940, it wasn’t until the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production that the trend really took off. Now, it’s a $3 billion worldwide industry, and this growth is increasingly evident in the beverage sector.
“People are more stressed and anxious today than probably anytime in human history,” said Jonathan Eppers, CEO of Los Angeles-based CBD beverage company VYBES. CBD enhances your body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which mitigates pain or stress by bringing you back to equilibrium faster. The health claims get jargon-y—reading product labels can sometimes feel like leafing through an exam you know you’re going to fail—but luckily you don’t need to understand terpenes, adaptogens, or the entourage effect to have a safe and relaxing time. In fact, the more you drink, the less you’ll care what any of those words mean.
Still or Sparkling
These are the drinks competing with maple water, switchel, and whatever liquid they’re putting turmeric in these days for your mid-errand thirst-quencher. Here you’ll find VYBES, GT Dave’s forthcoming Cannabliss kombucha, and dozens of cans of CBD seltzer. Some makers embrace the hemp flavor (Sweet Reason, Recess), putting its throat-tingling grassiness at the forefront, whileothers (VYBES, Daytrip) eschew the dank. However skunky your choice of brew, we recommend pairing according to the fruits it’s flavored with.
The manic panic of the early aughts has given way to a new generation of coffee drinkers. These folks are more inclined to order a well-sourced, citrus-forward light roast than a dead eye, and the last thing they want is the jitters. Enter CBD, an easy way to balance caffeine’s higher frequencies with some much-needed low end. For Abracadabra’s CBD-infused canned cold brew, co-owner Sarah Yetter intentionally chose to showcase the hemp flavor by pairing it with a fruity and floral washed coffee. “The hemp oil itself has a beautiful, citrusy, floral and slightly earthy vibe that perfectly complements our juicy Ethiopian Limu,” she said. To accompany your afternoon coffee break, look for cheeses with lively acidity or roasted smoky profiles.