Should You Chug That CBD Latte?
Cannabidiol, a nonintoxicating cousin of THC derived from hemp, has taken off as the next wellness trend despite legal murkiness. Now the FDA is taking steps to regulate the use of CBD in food and drinks.
By Philip Kiefer 12/9/2019 at 8:30am Published in the August 2019 issue of Seattle Met
This isn’t your average cup of joe.
“CBD is a very promising molecule for many ailments. But because of the legal status of anything involving cannabis, the research lags behind tremendously. There is FDA approval of CBD as a medicine for seizures. but would you add some anti-seizure medication to your coffee?”
—Beatriz Carlini, senior researcher, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington
“For the most part, CBD is unregulated, it’s untested, and in a lot of cases, people don’t know what they’re getting. It’s always buyer beware: Go into it knowing that you’d want to see where that CBD came from.”
—Bryan Smith, spokesperson, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board
“We made this wellness menu [but] the press zeroed in on the [CBD lattes]. and [King County] reached out and said it’s not on this list of approved additives released by the FDA. I’m not naive about why food additives make their way through the FDA process. I mean, does anybody think that saccharin is good for your body?”
—Brendan McGill, owner and chef, Cafe Hitchcock
Cannabidiol, a nonintoxicating cousin of THC derived from hemp, has taken off as the next wellness trend despite legal murkiness.
What Happens When You Drink a CBD-Infused Latte?
I got up from my seat when the barista called out my order, and walked to the counter. I don’t think anyone looked. I was probably just overthinking.
I spotted my trusty cup – the one that had rolled around the floor of my car, the one that had gone on trips across the state with me, the one I had filled with numerous lattes, iced coffees and other concoctions.
Baba Coffee, located in Carlsbad, CA, offers a CBD latte as part of their menu.
It didn’t appear too different. I was overthinking.
I had just ordered my first CBD latte. Sick with the flu, I was desperate for some relief, but wanted to do it in a more natural way than the pharmaceutical route.
I had heard through a handful of people about the healing properties of CBD, or cannabinoid, oil.
It can be ingested, or applied topically to supposedly provide relief for aching muscles, inflammation, soreness, stress, and other health afflictions.
Touted as the miracle solution for those with an active lifestyle, combining CBD with coffee is supposed to add a whole new level to the experience, merging the stimulation of caffeine with the calming nature of CBD.
I took the first sip of my latte and shuffled out the door. I waited for what would happen next.
Baristas measure out the correct amount of drops per latte.
Snake oil. Con men. False ingredients, lies, mislabeling.
As with any alternative healthcare, particularly methods that manage to break into the mainstream, there is much misinformation circulating about CBD oil, and the opportunity to cash in has a tendency to crowd the market with less-than-savory characters looking to make a quick buck.
Then there’s the cultural stigma (fading, but still present) that surrounds marijuana, and any of its by-products.
The process. 15 drops is a standard serving per latte.
This isn’t like taking Advil for a headache. For most, there is distrust for medicinal goods that aren’t rigorously tested and given the green light, go-ahead, A-ok from the FDA.
There’s not a ton of research out there, so backing up claims can be a bit of an issue. Casual googling isn’t going to get you very far in this endeavor, if you’re serious about the facts. The mode of procuring information, in this case, is talking to people directly involved.
CBD lattes are typically served hot, but you can get them iced as well.
I chatted with the owner of my local coffee shop, the one that served me my first taste of CBD-infused caffeine. I read countless blogs, getting nowhere. The studies that were cited somewhat causally weren’t enough for me – the experience of fish reacting positively to the oil wasn’t enough to convince me of its effects. But trying it for myself was.
After drinking one CBD latte (coffee, almond milk and 15 drops of CBD oil), these were the effects.
-No shakiness/ jitters
-Didn’t crave another cup of coffee
A note on dosage: different oils have different concentrations, meaning dosage can vary between brands. Baba Coffee uses Plus CBD Oil, the serving size of which is 15 drops per beverage. However, at Bump Coffee in Cardiff, California, the dosage of their oil is two drops per beverage.
I was on the upswing from the flu when I recorded these results, and some of these effects, like the nausea and headache relief, wouldn’t have occurred if I had been in full health.
According to a study conducted by the Department of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School,, cannabinoids have been shown to ease inflammation, fibrosis, and a host of other health maladies.
Cannabinoids have been shown to contain antioxidant effects and have recently been approved for the treatment of inflammation, pain, and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, according to this study.
Baba uses Plus CBD Oil, but there are a variety of brands available. Research what works best for you.
According to a study by Pharmacological Reviews, it is through the endocannabinoid system, a biological system that regulates a variety of physiological and cognitive processes, that CBD is able to have a wide range of effects on the human body — specifically, when it interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors (the two subtypes of the endocannabinoid system) in the body. This reaction has been shown in studies to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
I found CBD oil to be particularly effective in coffee. Combining the stimulating properties of caffeine with the anti-inflammatory and balancing properties of cannabinoid oil has a unique effect on the body. I drank one CBD latte for four days in a row, and although my flu symptoms had stopped the first day, I continued to feel the benefits.
I can only speak from my experience. Perhaps in my sickness, my body was at a heightened state of sensitivity. I had already heard rumors of the lattes’ benefits, so we can’t rule out the placebo effect, although I will say I tried to remain as objective as possible.
The bottom line?
Next time you’re at a coffee shop that serves a CBD latte, consider trying one.
If you’re willing to suspend your preconceptions of what CBD stands for, and are looking for a natural way to alleviate the aches and pains that accompany an active lifestyle, you may want to try a CBD latte. It’s a tasty way to experiment.
Photos: Hayley Helms
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CBD lattes are gaining popularity in the coffee scene. With mixed opinions and limited research, we set out to discover what drinking one is really like.