The world’s largest beverage company is reportedly experimenting with a new ingredient—CBD.
Coca-Cola is working with Aurora Cannabis, a major Canadian producer, on CBD-infused drinks to help people battle inflammation, pain and other conditions. “Along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world. The space is evolving quickly,” the company said in a statement to The Guardian.
Coke isn’t the first major beverage company to get involved with a Canadian cannabis company.
Recreational marijuana is set for legalization in Canada, making it a natural market to work on cannabis-infused beverages. That has given Canadian companies an edge when it comes to attracting investment dollars from major corporations.
Constellation Brands, the maker of Corona and Modelo beers, has invested more than $4 billion in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. With a major investment this summer, Constellation took a 39 percent ownership stake in Canopy.
Molson Coors has struck a deal with The Hydropothecary Corporation to launch a, “non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market following legalization.”
Diageo, which makes Guiness, is in talks with at least three Canadian cannabis companies. Heineken NV’s Lagunitas craft label has launched a brand specializing in THC-infused brews.
Coca-Cola is the first major company that doesn’t make alcoholic beverages to dip its toe into cannabis-infused drinks.
But it’s far from the first cultural icon to take a serious interest in CBD.
Willie Nelson has added CBD-infused coffee, Willie’s Reserve, to his lineup of cannabis offerings. David Crosby, who is exploring a cannabis line of his own, says he expects CBD to be a major product.
The Brightfield Group, a market research firm, has released a new estimate that the CBD market could hit $22 billion by 2022, Rolling Stone reports. That would be a remarkably large surge for a market that has only sprung into wide consciousness in the last couple years.