What’s Really in Your CBD Drink? (Not Much CBD as It Turns Out!)

what's in your cbd drink

Study Finds More Than Half of CBD Drinks Contain Less CBD Than Advertised

Cannabidiol (CBD) infused beverages seem to be popping up everywhere.

It’s easy to see why it’s so popular: beverages come in all flavors and varieties, and they’re discreet to medicate with. After all, it has become extremely convenient to medicate when all you need to do is sip a delicious, refreshing drink.

There’s money to be made in the market, too: a report published by Grand View Research in 2020 estimates that the size of the global cannabis beverage market is forecast to reach a staggering $ 2.8 billion come 2025. “CBD infused cannabis drinks are registered the fastest growth in (prior years). Also, the demand is expected to witness a surge over the forecasted period owing to the non-psychoactive properties of CBD. Lack of psychoactive effect in the CBD drinks is widening its scope for usage of the drinks in medical purposes. Many consumers are considering CBD drinks as a wellness and anti-inflammatory products, such as kombucha – a probiotic drink. This drink can potentially be used for treating chronic pain, anxiety, substance use disorders and central nervous system diseases. These factors are expected to boost the adoption of the product, resulting in the growth of the segment,” reads the report.

So How Much CBD Is In Your Drink?

The numbers clearly show that there is a demand for CBD drinks, and its not going to go away anytime soon.

But the question is, are we really drinking what we think we’re drinking?

Because according to a Leafreport, just 4 out of 22 CBD drinks that were analyzed had the actual levels of CBD that they were advertising. For the research, they used independent lab tests on 22 CBD drink brands on the market to tell how much CBD they actually contained. They were surprised by their findings because a lot of these brands seemed to be falsely advertising their claims, though some of it may have been done on purpose while others didn’t know better.

Out of these 22 products, 12 of them were found to have less CBD than what was marketed online though shockingly, 2 CBD drinks didn’t contain any CBD at all. The report also says that 18 or 81% of the products contained 10% more or less CBD than what was advertised, while 14% of them had 40% less or more CBD.

To conclude, just 4 products or 18% of those that were studied proved to have the right levels of CBD that they were advertising. Leafreport also states that they didn’t see any positive links between a brand’s reputation and their test results, which means that even more popular CBD brands didn’t score better compared to lesser known companies.

What Can You Do About It?

Let’s take it from the experts. Last year, Beverage Dynamics spoke to beverage experts including Carlton Fowler, of Great Rodeo Capital. He spoke about the issues suffered by the CBD industry, particularly the glut of CBD drinks that weren’t being regulated.

“CBD got massively far ahead of itself,” he says. “It tried to get into the health food store before it did the massive work to establish a consumer category.”

Meanwhile, Tom Waks, who founded NXT Water, a company that makes hemp-derived CBD water, adds: “A lot of players entered into this space without having any business of being here, and they did not do this industry any favors,” he said. “They would say whatever they needed to say to get the consumers to buy the product. That’s not okay.”

They do offer some words of advice for consumers in the article, particularly looking for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) which is available for some CBD brands. What a COA does is that it lets consumers know that the product has been tested and authenticated, and you’ll have peace of mind that it does have the amount of CBD in it that they have been advertising. That’s all thanks to laboratory test results. However, they do warn that COAs can also be faked.

“That’s why transparency is everything in this industry,” says Waks. “CBD is about wellness, and that means we should be held to a higher standard.”

Inaccurate labeling is an issue that has long been plaguing the cannabis industry, and the CBD beverage sector is not alone. That’s because there is just no state or federal regulation that is going on as cannabis is still considered to be in its infant stage. There is a lack of transparency and while that shouldn’t be the case, it’s up to the consumer at the end of the day to make informed decisions.

There are many CBD and hemp companies out there that have good intentions, while others don’t. That’s why it helps to check for the COA and vote with your dollar.

Here are some other tips to help you make informed decisions when shopping for CBD beverages:

Check for the laboratory name on the COA. You can do a quick Google search online to verify that the laboratory is an independently run operation. It would also help if the laboratory is accredited by the ISO/IEC, and is known for complying with industry standards.

Analyze the COA’s cannabinoid content and compare it to what’s listed on the product label. They should match or at least have very similar results. Otherwise, the COA results could be fake or inaccurate.

Look at the COA batch number and see if it’s the same on the product. The batch number will tell you if CBD products were manufactured within the same batch of CBD extract, so the COA batch number should be the same batch number on the CBD product.

We hope this article has been helpful for you when navigating the CBD beverage market.

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