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Let's Raise A Glass To Hemp!

Hemp and hemp-derived CBD come in many forms - you can eat it, smoke it, vape it, ingest it through a tincture, take oil, wear a patch, or swallow a pill. You can take it via suppository too... just don't ask us how we know. Of course, you can also drink hemp. In fact, the hemp beverage market is like a bottle of champagne vigorously shaken - it's ready to pop. And it could be very lucrative for those willing to take a sip or a slug.

The beverage industry has novelty on its side, something helpful as it pushes forward. As more consumers learn about the nutritional values, earth-friendly cred and plant-based protein punch provided by hemp foods, hemp milk, hemp beers, hemp protein shakes and more are hitting the shelves. 

Although Canada federally legalized marijuana recreationally in 2018, we did not allow for the sale of cannabis-infused beverages until this year (one of the few bright spots in the stankweed that has been 2020). Now, as the CBD beverage market hits the shelf, it has the potential to draw in a new crop of consumers, those who are intrigued by cannabis but don’t love the idea of inhaling or getting high. 

CBD infused beverages

10 new Canadian infused drinks from MJ Pureplay Index

Hemp Beverages versus CBD Beverages - What's The Difference? 

If you see hemp on the label with no mention of CBD, then you are consuming a derivative from the hemp seed. This contains only trace amounts of CBD and no THC. It will not get you high. If you do see CBD on the label, you are consuming small amounts of extract from the flower and leaves of the plant. You may also come across a mix of the two - like hemp beer or a hemp smoothie with CBD. Got it? 

Both hemp beverages and CBD beverages offer benefits; they just offer different ones.

Nutritionally, hemp truly embodies superfood status with benefits that  include:

  • It's high in omega-6 (including gamma-linolenic) and omega-3 fatty acids
  • It's high in protein
  • It's rich in vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, and phosphorus
  • It may reduce the risk of heart disease
  • It may decrease inflammation
  • It may help regulate hormones
  • It may act as a digestive aid

While the research is just coming in, early signs suggest that CBD could offer the following benefits: 

  • Help with anxiety by decreasing nerves and increasing the sense of wellbeing
  • Help to ease symptoms of depression
  • Help to relieve symptoms of insomnia
  • Treatment for chronic pain by decreasing inflammation
  • Relief from nausea and reduced vomiting
  • Treatment of  seizures, especially in those who do not respond to more traditional medications (the anti-epilepsy properties of CBD are what brought its medicinal benefits to light)
  • Treatment of  neurological conditions, such as MS
  • Neuroprotection of the brain
  • Lower blood pressure, which may help you work out longer
  • Less acne (Remember when we all thought that just affected teenagers? That was hilarious!)
  • Possible antitumor properties

Other perks: 

Other perks are in the practical. Beverages offer benefits that other consumption routes do not, including:

  • accessibility,
  • ease of use,
  • functionality, and
  • better control of dosage (for CBD).

It gives people choice as well - choosing among hemp or CBD, or, in some cases, THC.

Hemp-Based Beverages

There are many hemp beverages on the market, with their popularity increasing as more is learned about hemp’s nutritional value. Right now, it's easy to find hemp milk, hemp beer, hemp smoothies, and hemp sports drinks (or energy drinks). The latter is designed to remove the crash from typical energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Monster, and – tragically – coffee. 

Hemp Milk 

Hemp milk

Hemp milk, in particular, is primed to skyrocket in terms of popularity. Much of this has to do with people seeking a healthier alternative to dairy (hemp milk is milk made with hemp seeds and water - zero % cow extract). Some people prefer this because they've opted for a plant-based lifestyle; for others, it's a medical necessity (not so fun fact: Around 65% of people have some degree of lactose intolerance).

Hemp Beer

Hemp beer

Hemp beer is also on the brink, growing in popularity since brewers "hopped" onto the cannabis bandwagon. It's especially attractive to people who want a beer that takes the edge off without eliciting a hangover or full-on "call your ex in the middle of the night" drunkenness.

Hemp beers may be brewed from hemp leaves (rather than hops), brewed from a mixture of hops and hemp, or brewed normally with hemp seeds added in. Hemp beer may or may not contain CBD oil, as it’s optionally added during the fermentation process.

CBD Beverages 

Not to be outdone, CBD beverages offer plenty of variety and benefits of their own. However, unlike hemp beverages, CBD beverages are heavily regulated by Health Canada and available for the adult-market only. They're made by extracting CBD from the flowers, leaves, and resin of the cannabis plant. You can find CBD infused into all sorts of beverages (with more on the way). Even CBD kombucha is popular as is CBD water (H2-Oh Yeah!). But some industries have more potential than others.

Sports Drinks 

Hemp sports drinks

The CBD sports drinks industry, for example, is about to cross the finish line and crown itself a champion. The reason is because it merges two extremely popular products: CBD and performance-enhancing beverages. It's not just professionals who want to run faster and longer; it's regular Joes too. After all, everyone’s looking for anything to make exercise less tortuous.

CBD sports drinks offer several benefits, including:

  • Keeping you hydrated longer;
  • allowing you to recover faster (which not only reduces fatigue during workouts but makes you less likely to cut your gym visit short);
  • reducing pain, inflammation, and muscle soreness;
  • reducing anxiety and improving mood; and
  • allowing you to sleep better at night (so you can do it all again tomorrow!).

CBD Coffee

CBD Coffee

CBD coffee (coffee infused with CBD) is equally popular (if not more so). Part of the reason has to do with the love affair we have with coffee. In short, it completes us, proven by the fact that it’s the most popular beverage in the world and more than 400 billion cups are consumed a year. CBD coffee, like CBD sports drinks, merges two sought-after things, making its demand a given.

CBD coffee offers several perks, in addition to perking you up. These include an improved mood, increased levels of serotonin, decreased anxiety, and an increase in antioxidants (which coffee also contains). Antioxidants help defend the body from illness and diseases while fending off pesky things like signs of ageing.

CBD coffee can also regulate the jitters coffee is known to cause, leaving drinkers less shaky and nervous.

Let's Raise a Glass to the Whole Plant!

Here at Blue Sky, we believe in the idea that the sum of the plant is better than any one part - that's why we practice (and preach) whole-plant-utilization. And now with our CBD license in hand, we're able to truly practice what we preach.

By choosing Blue Sky CBD, our wholesale customers are getting the highest quality and best value hemp-derived CBD extracts on the market. And, as a feel-good, earth-saving bonus, they're also helping to make hemp foods (and drinks!), fibre, textiles and other ingenious, nutritious and sustainable hemp-based products more affordable, more ubiquitous and more accessible to all. 

That's something we can all raise a glass to.

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