A perfect storm of authoritative research on the therapeutic potential of hemp and mass celebrity endorsement of cannabidiol (CBD) has caused the popularity of infused products to skyrocket in recent years. Because of the recent disambiguation of CBD from psychoactive cannabinoids, hemp has become a seasonal mainstay in several industries — including beauty, skincare and recreational beverages.
Obviously, there’s much more to the growing public interest around hemp infusion than the near-international legality of the plant. In this post, we go over important reasons for the ramping popularity of infused cocktails, their most common use cases among individuals in a variety of lifestyles, and whether or not they can be mixed in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Why Put Hemp Compounds in a Cocktail?
Contrary to popular misconception, hemp isn’t added into cocktails directly. As you can imagine, that would produce a number of undesirable changes to the flavour and aroma of a number of recreational beverages! Instead, cannabinoids are added into the drink, usually with a drop or two of unflavored CBD oil.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound typically extracted from industrially grown hemp plants. But it’s worth noting that it can also be obtained from other sources, including orange peels. Most interestingly, CBD has been shown to affect a variety of positive actions on the nervous system, peripheral organs and immune system.
Understanding The Therapeutic Potential of CBD
CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a network of receptors and chemicals that play a role in many different neurophysiological functions, including mood, memory, appetite, and pain. CBD binds to receptors in the ECS, which helps to regulate these functions. The interaction between CBD and the ECS is thought to be responsible for many of the documented benefits of CBD.
Let’s look at three of the most notable beneficial effects of CBD on ECS receptors, as observed in scientific research and clinical trials:
- Reducing anxiety & stress CBD has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety in people with various conditions, including social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. CBD works to reduce the intensity of the symptoms of these conditions through its influence on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels, which regulate mood and stress.
CBD has been shown to increase GABA levels in the brain. This is thought to be one of the mechanisms by which CBD helps reduce anxiety and seizure activity. CBD also binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain, which are responsible for regulating mood and emotion. By binding to these receptors, CBD is able to modulate the effects of GABA and help keep the brain functioning properly.
Professionals in the business world, high-end retail and other high-stress work environments can benefit from an infused cocktail at the end of the day; not only from the cool, stiff drink, but from the therapeutic benefits of CBD as well.
- Relieving pain & inflammatory disorders CBD is known to be an effective treatment for reducing chronic pain. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD oil was able to reduce inflammation and pain in rats with arthritis. The study found that CBD oil was able to reduce both the number of inflammatory cells and the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This and other laboratory studies — many of which enlist human volunteer subjects — suggest that CBD oil may be a potential treatment for relieving common health conditions characterised by chronic inflammation and pain.
Because of its inhibitory actions on prostaglandins and cytokines, recreational beverages infused with CBD and other hemp compounds like terpenes are also suitable for athletes, first responders, skilled tradesmen and individuals in other injury-prone fields.
- Controlling symptoms of mood disorders the root cause of most mood disorders (e.g. depression, bipolar affective disorder) is a chemical imbalance in the brain, typically of one or a combination of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Both CBD and select terpenes like limonene and pinene balance the activity of these neurotransmitters in the brain by modulating the nervous system’s sensitivity and response to them, functioning as a natural alternative to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
It’s worth noting that the mood-regulating effect of infused recreational beverages can benefit just about anybody, whether or not they’ve been diagnosed with a mood disorder. In fact, their uplifting effect is arguably the single most appealing aspect to social consumption of infused cocktails today.
Can You Make Your Own?
These days, it’s easier than ever to make your own infused drinks. Hemp-derived CBD and terpenes are now available both at brick-and-mortar dispensaries and online, commonly in retail and wholesale order sizes.
Any budding mixologist can use anything from isolates to broad- and full-spectrum CBD oils to add the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids to their next refreshing creation in the kitchen. To close out the article, let’s look at two simple recipes for hemp-infused drinks below.
Liquid Apple Tart
– one quarter of an apple (preferably Gala)
– 1/4oz. honey or simple syrup
– 1oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 2oz. vodka
– your CBD tincture or powder of choice
– 1tbsp pomegranate seeds (as a garnish)
Muddle the apple together with the other ingredients in a bar shaker and shake with ice for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a collins glass with a single ice cube and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Pimm’s Cup (With A Twist)
– 2oz. Pimm’s Original No. 1
– 1oz ginger beer
– 1/2oz. honey
– 3/4oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
– 2-3 cucumber slices
– your CBD tincture or powder of choice
Break up the cucumber slices together with the honey and your desired dose of CBD in a bar shaker, before adding in the Pimm’s and lime juice. Shake with ice and strain into a glass tumbler, topping off with ginger beer.