Cannabis Tea WEB

Functional drink brand Botanic Lab has unveiled what it claims is the first tea made with cannabis extract CBD to combat “boring” and “flaccid” non-alcoholic booze products.

The drink, which combines “sour cherry and floral hibiscus” flavours, is made with 2mg of hemp CBD oil. Although this comes from the cannabis sativa plant, it is not psychoactive, and has been touted as having numerous health benefits.

Indeed, the brand stressed the drink “will not get you high”, but that CBD had been “heralded for its ability to reduce anxiety along with a myriad of other health benefits”, adding it came “without any of the negative impacts of alcohol”.

Shoppers were “increasingly bypassing alcohol in favour of soft drink options”, said the brand’s founder Rebekah Hall. “But even in this day and age the non-alcohol choices are limited, boring and frankly a little flaccid.”

So far the drinks are only available in the on-trade and directly through the brand’s website, although talks are underway to secure retail listings.

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The NPD joins a three-strong range of drinks which includes Yerba Maté, Green Tea and Damiana flavours. They are all free of refined sugars, artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners (rsp: £2.50-£3.99).

It comes as the legalisation of cannabis across parts of the US (31 states now allow medical use of the drug, although this varies for recreational use) and Canada, which legalised recreational use in June this year, has sparked major corporate interest in the previously outlawed plant and its extracts from major fmcg players.

Coca-Cola was this month tipped by Bloomberg to have held talks with Canadian producer Aurora Cannabis to potentially develop CBD-infused beverages.

Beer companies are getting in on the action stateside, too: Heineken this summer launched an “IPA-inspired” sparkling water infused with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, under its Lagunitas brand.

Molson Coors, meanwhile, has teamed up with another Canadian producer, The Hydropothecary Corporation, for a joint venture to “pursue opportunities to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market following legalisation”.

Medical products derived from cannabis can be legally prescribed by specialist doctors in the UK after being rescheduled by home secretary Sajid Javid in July.