Cannabis is known for inducing cravings or sparking one’s appetite. But that’s due to the THC, not the CBD, so I can’t say what made me so delightfully hungry to gobble down an entire steak and deconstructed cheesecake. I was noticeably sleepy after lunch, but again, that’s probably due to the filling meal, rainy weather, and the fact I was jetlagged from a return flight from Paris just days before.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, has become nearly synonymous with wellness in the past year. Derived from hemp, CBD is the compound thought to make users feel relaxed. THC, on the other hand, is the chemical compound in cannabis that makes users feel high. The science is still lacking on what exactly a dose of CBD can do for you, but some believe it can be used to treat anxiety, though the research on that is inconclusive. Still, it’s pretty clear that CBD isn’t harmful, whether or not it’s actually helpful, so it seems worth trying if you want to shell out the cash and hope for the best.
Following Kush Queen’s advice, I added my second dose of CBD to my cup of coffee at my coworking space, which made me feel both illicit and cool—despite the fact that I was wearing socks with pumpkins on them and everyone else around me was conducting business in chic heels and cool boots. This, perhaps, may be the strongest effect of CBD: the cool factor. It’s trendy. It’s also kind of expensive (the 1-ounce bottle of CBD cost $35.99, and a bottle this size has roughly 30 droppers full, making each dose over a dollar per serving), so I consider it a luxury product.
The effects of CBD coffee
I didn’t think CBD worked until, well, it did. I think. I’d once taken a small CBD gummy the week before my wedding and ended up lying flat on my back on my Brooklyn rooftop, watching planes slowly zoom overhead, feeling just. weird. Was this what relaxation felt like? Or was this a total placebo effect situation, with me just totally zoning out before the biggest week of my life?
Theoretically, the effects of ingested CBD should kick in about 45 minutes to two hours after the substance is consumed, and there’s not quite enough info to know how long the effects last. People feel the effects differently too, or not at all. By the time I left lunch, battled the rain, and hopped on the subway, the CBD should have kicked in (if not worn off). But I wasn’t totally aware of any major changes it incurred in my mood or behavior that day.
As a general statement, I am an anxious, not-at-all-chill, never-relaxed person. This personality type works for me. It’s how, within minutes of being commissioned this article by my editor, I agreed to try CBD in my coffee, got my hands on some unflavored CBD oil, and experimented with my own mental state.
The first thing I noticed was that the CBD oil did not mix in well with my coffee—it floated on top in large drops and when I tried stirring it in, they just broke up into smaller droplets. I sipped the coffee regularly, aware that some sips were significantly oilier than others. Because the CBD was unflavored, it didn’t really affect the taste of the coffee in any way. In retrospect, it would probably have been delicious drizzled on some slices of avocado (next time!).
“It’s the perfect drink for gym-goers and professionals alike looking to improve focus and energy inside, and outside, the gym or office,” says Josh Kay, co-founder of High Tide, which distributes CBD-infused cold brew coffee cans in the UK. Obviously, he’s keen to debunk the notion that it’s a stoner supplement.
“It’s really just engineered to help you relax and restore balance,” says Stuart Forsyth, CEO of Minor Figures, an east London-based coffee company which sells CBD tincture with coffee at £20 per 10ml bottle. “Our CBD is full-spectrum, which means you maintain all ingredients found in the hemp flower. The product is completely safe to use, as recently verified by the World Health Organisation, and it has no psychoactive properties. It acts as the yin to coffee’s yang.”
Naturally, there are sceptics. While CBD has become wildly popular, only a fraction of users understand its properties.
Eastenders’ favourite flat-white spot Deeney’s in Leyton keeps CBD drops by the counter for anyone looking to take the edge of their caffiene-induced anxiety and at branches of Planet Organic the latest brew combines espresso, butter, coconut oil and CBD. In Notting Hill, Farm Girl serves a Happy Hot Chocolate, which includes CBD oil too.
“We use three ingredients — namely hand-roasted Columbian coffee beans, filtered water and CBD, the non-psychoactive derivative of the cannabis plant guaranteed to contain no THC,” says Kay. “This means it can be used by athletes and does not cause a high — which is great news given that CBD has been found to help inflammation and speed-up muscle recovery time.” Think of it as a clean, healthy, sugar-free, energy drink, he says, one that uses CBD to counteract the negative side effects of caffeine.