We are all in search of ways to unwind and decompress after experiencing the rollercoaster ride that was 2020. Riddled with outrageous events, the year has been enough to cause even the most unbothered person to feel burnt out.
Searching for some sort of holiday cheer, many of us turned to lighting up our ugly Christmas sweaters earlier than usual. For others, the effect of social-distancing from family and friends dims their jovial mood.
"I have so many clients and customers that said they use CBD drinks to swap out their nightly glass (or 2) of wine," the Certified Holistic Cannabis Practitioner shares with Byrdie exclusively. "Swapping out booze for CBD is a great way to enjoy a drink with no negative effects like you can get from alcohol."
Before deciding to drown your sorrow's in a glass of holiday spirits, our resident Byrdie Board Expert Brooke Alpert has a suggestion for you—try cannabidiol-infused beverages, also known as CBD drinks.
Meet the Expert
With the rise of CBD in the beauty industry, cannabidiol-infused drinks have seen a similar spike in popularity over the last couple of years.
What Is CBD?
According to Alpert, cannabidiol—better known as CBD— is one of the 60+ ingredients found in cannabis. CBD, which is a naturally occurring chemical compound derived from hemp, allows you to utilize the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits without getting you "high."
For years, experts have praised CBD for helping those with anxiety, insomnia, and certain types of pain. Now, the market for unprescribed consumption is gaining traction—even amongst celebrities including Kim Kardashian, who once planned an elaborate CBD-themed baby shower.
"I think we're just starting to uncover how much CBD can help. We've known about how CBD can ease epilepsy, PTSD, and anxiety for a while now, but we are finally discussing how CBD can be the ultimate wellness supplement," says Alpert about cannabidiol, which has little to no THC, the psychoactive component of the hemp plant. "That's why I created Daily Habit, a user-friendly collection of CBD wellness powders."
She continues, "Consuming good quality CBD, as well as following a healthy diet and lifestyle, supports the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in our bodies. ECS performs vital roles in our health, ranging from hormone production to the body's response to stress."
Endocannabinoid System (ECS), naturally occurring in the human body, sends receptors that receive and utilize CBD.
With all this talk about CBD drinks, our Byrdie News Team got curious whether or not the alcohol-alternative had the power to replace fine wine and spirits, without the worries of a holiday hangover. Eager to see what all the hype was, we collectively pulled out our finest stemware, cozied up with our favorite books, and shared a toast to trying some of the most popular CBD drinks on the market.
Combining all-natural botanicals with 25mg of pure bioavailable CBD, Cloud Water has made its goal to empower people to take their health into their own hands.
Taking the top spot on News Editor Jazmine A. Ortiz’s must-have list was the Aztec Chocolate & Strawberry ($65) flavor from the functional beverage brand. "There's something about the combination of chocolate, strawberry, and CBD in a fizzy drink that seems so wrong, but is SO right," Ortiz expresses. "I enjoyed one in the evening as an alternative to a glass of wine."
Infused with 20mg of purified CBD, Sprig is making consumers’ smile a priority. Popular for being low-calorie, the sparkling beverage is crafted with filtered spring water, stevia, and natural flavors.
Turning the California-based brand’s Original Citrus ($60) flavored refreshment into her post-workout go-to, News Writer Amanda Ross says she has finally found her answer to cool-downs. "I usually have a hard time winding down after I work out, but after sipping on this, I noticed myself checking my email less and paying more attention to self-care," Ross happily admits.
Sweetened with locally sourced honey, Bimble uses 25mg of the highest quality, domestically sourced CBD to create a premium sparkling beverage that helps you stay calm.
News Writer Chinea Rodriguez particularly loves the Grapefruit, Basil & Mint ($75) flavor from the New York-based brand, who prides itself on utilizing terpenes—the aromatic compounds found in plants. "It was just the right amount of bubbly without being too sweet," Rodriguez shares. "I definitely felt a bit calmer and a bit more relaxed a few minutes after drinking this."
News Writer Emerald Elitou found herself intrigued by the exotic flavors available in the Evening Sampler collection. So much so, that she carved out time to plan a relaxing at-home tasting party for one. "With an extravagant charcuterie board completed with the finest cheeses, I immersed myself in jazz music as I sipped on my personal favorite, Plum Blush ($50)," Elitou dishes. "In less than an hour, I found myself laid back and ready for a good night's rest."
Infused with 25mg hemp CBD, Vybes pairs the benefits of cannabinoids and adaptogens in its flavored organic drinks.
Feeling the weight of this very stressful year, news writer Olivia Hancock found some solace in sipping the brewed hibiscus tea with added blackberry juice and cloves. "After tasting the Blackberry Hibiscus ($84), I felt soothed and more mellow," she explains about her favorite drink from the Calfornia-based brand.
From the reviews of the Byrdie News Team, it's clear that CBD drinks are the perfect go-to after a long day's work.
For those who are concerned about having an out-of-body experience, Alpert reassures us all that in order for these products to be legal in the United States, the hemp extract must have less than 0.3% THC. "The percentage is so small that the ‘high’ feeling THC can provide does not occur," she explains.
While Alpert does caution those who are drug tested regularly to opt for a THC-free product—like some of the drinks above—for best health benefits, the nutritionist advocates for full-spectrum CBD. "Full-spectrum is the way to go because it will not get you high, stoned, or give you the munchies,” she concludes.
Cannabis expert and co-founder of Dieux Skin, Charlotte Palermino finds it important to note that while chemicals found in plants like caffeine can change our brain chemistry, the actual results of CBD are still being studied.
She encourages us to be mindful to not place all our hopes for stress and anxiety relief in the sip of a liquid refreshment. "Unless a beverage has done some sort of a study on how their formula matches their claims, dosing, and the bioavailability (how much you absorb), I suggest taking their marketing with a grain of salt. In theory, it could work, it also could not work. We just don't know."
As for whether you should enjoy a CBD drink at all, Palermino encourages everyone to keep things simple and to not have high expectations for becoming completely unbothered. Instead, she suggests you think about how the drink satisfies your taste buds. "Does it taste good? Did you like it? Did you feel better? That matters too," she adds.