Cultural norms change quickly—and Coca-Cola’s recent official announcement to explore cannabidiol (CBD) in its products signals a sea change in the way Americans perceive non-psychoactive cannabis derivatives.
According to BNN Bloomberg, Coca-Cola Co. is in “serious talks” with Canada-based producer Aurora Cannabis Inc. over a deal that could lead to a potentially seismic shift in the way CBD is handled and distributed. Both companies have remained tight-lipped about where the talks are headed, but “a source” indicated that they are interested in developing a “recovery drink.”
Coca-Cola predictably denied any interest in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or psychoactive additives—which would be federally illegal—but company representatives admitted that they are interested in CBD. “We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis,” the company stated in a press release. “Along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world. The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”
Other drink companies, such as beer companies, are already jumping on the bandwagon. Molson Coors Brewing and Constellation Brands, the company behind Corona beer, have both invested in cannabis-infused drinks as well.
It’s definitely not the first time that Coca-Cola has been infused with medical drugs, and the company’s past illustrates how the perception of drugs is constantly evolving. Coca-Cola’s name is rumored to be the shortened version of cocaine cola. According to Snopes, Coca-Cola did indeed contain cocaine until 1929—however it was very trace amounts, with most of the alkaloids removed, and it was probably not enough to turn anybody into a cocaine addict. Even back then, drink makers were aware of the dangers of addictive stimulants. It was also first considered to be a health drink. Fortunately, the cocaine in Coca-Cola was replaced with the slightly less addictive drug caffeine.
The addition of CBD, however, will be a mostly welcomed ingredient as it is not psychoactive and has medical benefits. CBD is also not habit-forming and detrimental to health as say, caffeine.