**Disclaimer: The information outlined in this blog is intended to convey general material and is to be used for informational purposes only.

CBD has been all the rage in the food and beverage industry, and our clients are starting to ask questions to gauge whether or not to jump on the bandwagon. Due to its rise in popularity, we decided to deep dive into the industry’s current status and whether it should be sold in on-premise locations.

Let’s start by defining exactly what CBD is. When it comes to cannabis there are two primary components one should know about: THC and CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is a psychoactive compound that alters our cognitive function and gives the “high” effect, while cannabidiol, or CBD, possesses many medicinal benefits such as anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties. So, where’s the harm in CBD, and why don’t we see it on more menus around the nation?


With the passing of The Farm Bill in late 2018, industrial hemp production was legalized, making this the first federal legalization of cannabis in any form. By law, CBD derived from industrial hemp (a variety of the Cannabis plant genus) must contain 0.3% or lower levels of THC. With this new bill, many assumed we would see CBD everywhere. However, with federal and state regulations’ inconsistency, we are still seeing a great amount of controversy around the plant.

On the federal level, CBD, and any strains of the cannabis plant for that matter, are illegal. It is not FDA-approved, and the DEA continues to classify it as a Schedule 1 drug, which is defined as a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. As a result, some restaurants in states like New York have had health officials “embargo” their CBD-infused food and drinks. Regardless of federal illegality, some states have taken it upon themselves to legalize some forms of the cannabis plant – follow this link to see where your state stands!


Despite the inconsistency behind CBD authority acceptance, restaurateurs are still jumping on this hot trend. Bartenders are using it in tinctures, teas, and edibles, noting that the flavor adds a great complexity and a viscous mouthfeel to drinks, while relaxing and mellowing the consumer. Especially great with gin-based drinks and other beverages with a botanical twist, CBD lends its natural and green, chlorophyll-like notes.

Dubbed the CBD ‘O.G.’ in New York City, Adriaen Block is dishing out multiple CBD-infused cocktails and mocktails with witty names like Stoney Negroni and Rolled Fashioned.

There are other applications outside of cocktails – the non-alcoholic beverage industry is taking an increased interest in CBD and hemp-infused drinks – to name a few: Sprig, Recess, and KickBack Cold Brew. Recess has coined the term, “not tired, not wired”, to describe the effects of the hemp extract and adaptogens infused in their popular sparkling water.

After all is said and done, we believe CBD will be a staple ingredient in the years to come as they button up regulation and witness positive effects from the coined superfood but at this time, we cannot recommend its inclusion in your food and beverage program. In the meantime, research the origins of the product and keep an eye on your state laws regarding CBD!

Author: admin
Created: 2019/05/01
Updated: 2019/09/12
Category: Behind the Bar

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