CBD product diversification

The CBD industry is snowballing in impressive vertical valuations and has since increased its future prospects significantly with diversified production lines and brands. This growth is unconnected with the legalization of cannabis products and the unbanning of cannabidiol products in sporting activities. CBD companies are exploring the controversies and popularity surrounding cannabis-derived products by launching different brands of CBD-infused beverages, referred to mainly as “wellness drinks.” For many users, these drinks are acceptable and considered a worthy medicinal alternative to soft drinks, which are unpopular with diabetics and people with a dysfunctional metabolic system. As expected, CBD-infused drinks are readily accepted within the cannabis consumers’ circle. Market analysis suggests that cannabis users prefer the new innovative beverages to cannabis smoking and consumption of marijuana-infused chocolate, cookies, gummies, and confectionaries.  

Interestingly, some CBD companies produce variations of this ‘wellness drink’ that contains no volume of alcohol. This is the new gold mine of the CBD beverage industry as it appeals optimally to new cannabis users and female consumers. Depending on regulations guiding CBD use and sale in a region, the labeling instructions on these products can be different across different regions. Label notice on some CBD-drinks iterates CBD’s numerous health benefits in a market appeal attempt for increased sales. These drinks are believed to relieve stress, improve sleep, combat anxiety, treat acne, reduce inflammation, and keep users refreshed and energized. Over the next few years, investments on CBD-infused drinks have been projected to yield impressive turnovers. According to a study by researchers at the University of Connecticut, the sale of alcoholic products, including wine and beer, decreased by 15 percent in US counties where medical marijuana was legalized (Chong et al., 2018). Research results also observed that CBD-infused products are becoming increasingly popular among millennials. 

 

The science behind CBD drinks

Although CBD has long been proven to be a non-psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant with no potential mind-altering effect, its infusion into beverages and foods requires an elaborate production process. CBD-infused drinks are very different from homemade CBD drink recipes that primarily involves the addition of CBD products to prepared drinks. Companies currently investing in the production of CBD-infused drink have a state-of-the-art manufacturing and packaging facility exploring science-backed procedures in various production stages. Basically, the production of CBD-infused drinks is centered around the extraction of CBD from legally grown cannabis plants to produce CBD isolates—concentrated cannabidiol volume with little or no contaminants. 

CBD isolates can be produced by different methods, including CO2 extraction, Solvent extraction, and oil extraction. CO2 extraction is considered the safest and most efficient method for producing chlorophyll-free CBD isolates. This extraction method involves an expensive machinery setup that uses high-pressure carbon dioxide under shallow temperatures to extract and preserve the CBD isolate. Using the Solvent extraction method, concentrated isolates can be produced from the cannabis plant by using ethanol as a dissolving solvent. Although this method produces high-quality isolates, plant waxes can also become dissolved in the solvent to contaminate the isolate. Oil extraction involves the use of olive oil as the separating medium. 

To produce the CBD-infused food and beverages, manufacturers infuse the extracted isolate as an edible additive that mixes inseparably with other content of the drink of food products. In essence, the production line is an industrial-scale process. Hemp has been used continuously as the industrial source for CBD isolates. CBD-infused products can contain as much as 25mg of cannabidiol—a quantity considered enough to affect the beneficial health properties of CBD (Shannon et al., 2019).  

It is important to note that CBD-infused beverages are different from homemade CBD recipes. In the human body, ingested cannabis is first decarboxylated before the biological system can use it. Industrial CBD extraction procedures decarboxylate the cannabis isolates before the infusion process. Since these contain purified isolates of cannabidiol, CBD’s physiological effect on the body system is pronounced in consumers and noticed as beneficial health effects. Far beyond the mere addition of raw cannabis to drinks—as in homemade recipes—the production of CBD-infused drinks is backed by verified scientific procedures involving considerable investment in specialized machineries.

 

Market analysis of CBD drinks valuation

Cannabis beverages are considered the new boom in the CBD industry, with different multinational beverage companies showing interest in this new line of business. Market review analyst has projected market valuation of about $2.5 billion by 2025. During this period, the cannabis beverage market is expected to grow steadily at a compound growth rate (CAGR) of about 18%. Other reports are projecting a higher valuation based on the assumption that demand for these products increases geometrically, and more distribution channels spring up. Compared to other cannabis-infused products, the CBD-infused drinks market is poised to becoming the fastest growing brand with the largest share of the projected valuation. 

Interestingly, many companies have started launching different CBD-infused drink brands in an attempt to control a significant share of the CBD-beverage market. In 2018, Lagunitas, a Heineken-owned beer label, launched its first cannabidiol-infused drink called ‘HI-FI HOPS.’ This product is a non-alcoholic, zero-calories, and zero-carbs sparkling beverage infused with cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in an 18 to 1 ratio, respectively. There are unconfirmed rumors of a potential partnership deal between Coca Cola and Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian company growing cannabis commercially. This partnership can see a global beverage demand shift favoring CBD-infused beverages at a rate higher than expected. There are also reports of different multinational beer companies signing partnership deals with legal producers of cannabidiol to develop cannabidiol-infused beverage. Currently, the popular brands of CBD-infused drinks include Cannawine, Kickback Coldbrew, Aurora Elixirs, Oleo, Dirty Lemon. Sprig, Endo water, and CBD Hemp Soda. 

Depending on preexisting legislation, the CBD-infused drinks market is expected to grow at a different rate across the world. Aside from prohibition to the use of CBD, cultural, and religious orientation on the use of cannabis-derived products are the expected hindrances to the sale and acceptability of these products.  

 

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Anthony Tribunella

Having experienced the benefits of CBD first hand when it was starting to gain popularity, Anthony decided to spend his working life championing it to the public and his peers in the wider CBD community. As a CBD innovator himself, Anthony likes to remain at the leading edge of scientific and product development to ensure that the potential of CBD has every chance of being fully realized.

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