IS COCA-COLA DEVELOPING A CANNABIS-INFUSED BEVERAGE?

With a continuing decline in soda sales and upswing of consumer interest in teas and other health beverages, Coca-Cola might be jumping on the cannabis bandwagon. The sweet drink giant doesn’t want to start getting people high the way they used to when Coca-Cola was first invented. Instead, they have primarily shown interest in health drinks that could contain CBD (cannabidiol), the non-psychoactive cousin of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

There was a flurry of stock market activity and excitement in the mainstream financial media recently when Coca-Cola had a tête-à-tête with Canadian cannabis company Aurora about the production of CBD wellness drinks. Aurora’s stocks surged 23% on Monday, and other Cannabis companies also enjoyed a hike in share prices. Other large beverage companies have also taken an interest in the momentum being gained by the marijuana industry. Heineken NV’s Lagunitas craft brewing label has released a beer with THC and no alcohol content, while Constellation Brands Inc, the makers of Corona beer, are increasing their stake in Canadian marijuana producer Canopy Growth Corp.

THE UNSTOPPABLE MOMENTUM OF CBD

It is in the early stages yet, with Coke keeping a keen eye on the rise of public interest in products that contain marijuana—certainly those containing CBD, which is noted for its health benefits. These include its positive effects on anxiety, inflammation, mood control, efficiency of the immune system, and overall homeostasis. A cannabidiol-based medication has just been approved by the FDA for the treatment of seizures that occur with certain types of epilepsy.

The unwelcome spectre of prohibition still haunts much of the world. It will be some time before a major drink label distributes any beverages containing cannabinoids on a global scale. Things are looking up, though. Canada initiates legal cannabis commerce in October, and more US states are repealing outdated and unpopular cannabis laws. Since 2011, cannabis sales have risen from $1 billion/year to $9 billion/year, and many European countries are following Dutch and Portuguese models. Where the money trends flow, so will mega corporations go. Globally commercialised marijuana-containing foodstuffs, beverages, and medicines are an inevitability.

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