Everything you need to know about CBD and non-alcoholic CBD beer, including a look at the health aspects of CBD and its legal status in the UK and US.
The humble hop, a primary in ingredient in beer, shares similarities with cannabis.
They look a lot like some parts of the cannabis plant, and some strains of hop smell the same.
Hops and cannabis are biologically related too.
However, there’s little evidence through the ages of brewers using cannabis instead of hops in their beer. Cannabis lacks the preservative power of hops for starters.
Recently though, brewers have started adding cannabis products to their beers. One of these products is cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD has been featured loads in the media recently. You’ve probably seen it for sale in the high street as a health supplement too, in oil or gel form and in foods and drinks such as cakes, tea and coffee.
Non-alcoholic CBD beer guide
So, what is CBD, why put it in non-alcoholic beer and is it legal? What are the benefits of CBD and is it addictive? And, where can you buy it?
This short guide covers everything you need to know about CBD and non-alcoholic CBD beer.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of hundreds of chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana.
CBD usually comes as an oil, which has been extracted from the plant.
Can non-alcoholic CBD beer make you high?
Don’t confuse CBD with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis that makes you high. Non-alcoholic CBD beer, which doesn’t contain THC, won’t make you high.
What is non-alcoholic CBD beer and how is it made?
Non-alcoholic CBD beer is beer under 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) that’s been infused with a CBD product, usually CBD oil.
Producers don’t share how they infuse CBD to non-alcoholic beer but it’s likely they add it at the final stage of the production process, after the beer has been fermented and any alcohol removed.
Non-alcoholic CBD beer doesn’t contain THC in regions where THC is illegal.
In regions where THC is legal, such as some US states, CBD beer might also contain THC – so read the label carefully.
Why take CBD?
Many people use CBD to manage health issues such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and inflammation.
However, there’s limited evidence of the health benefits of CBD. Hence why it’s sold as a food supplement rather than a medicine. And why CBD products advertised as a medical aid, usually need to be licensed.
Research does show that CBD can be used to treat some rare forms of epilepsy in children. These studies involved high doses of CBD and many health organisations – including the National Institute of Clinical Evidence (NICE) in the UK – don’t recommend its use for these forms of epilepsy because we don’t yet know its long-term effects.
The doses of CBD available in CBD products such as non-alcoholic CBD beer are much lower than the doses in medicinal CBD.
How much CBD do non-alcoholic CBD beers contain?
Most non-alcoholic CBD beers contain 2–10mg (milligrams) of CBD.
This is a similar to the individual doses of CBD in other CBD products such as capsules, sprays and oils.
Is non-alcoholic CBD beer legal?
UK legal status
In the UK, CBD products are legal so long as they contain less than 0.2% THC and the THC can’t easily be separated from it. (CBD in the UK comes from strains of cannabis that naturally contain less than 0.2% THC.)
Even though CBD is legal in the UK, there are still a couple of factors that could affect the legality and availability of CBD in the UK.
One factor that could impact availability in the short term is EU rules on “Novel Foods”. These are foods that weren’t commonly consumed in EU countries before 1997.
Under the Novel Food Regulations, these foods need to be evaluated and authorised before they’re sold. This hasn’t happened yet with CBD, but the authorities aren’t enforcing this rule in the UK. If they decide to, there might be a period when CBD products aren’t available while CBD is authorised as a Novel Food.
Another factor that can affect availability of non-alcoholic CBD beer is that some retailers use payment services based in countries where the legality of CBD is disputed. These payment services may not allow retailers to use them if any of the products they sell contain CBD.
Legal status in other regions
The legality of CBD isn’t so clear-cut in other parts of the world.
Take the US for example. Here, CBD is illegal under federal law. Yet, each state has their own laws that cover cannabis products. And in most US states, CBD is legal.
An added complication in the US is that it’s not clear if federal law prevents people sending or carrying CBD products over state lines even if CBD is legal in both states.
Is non-alcoholic beer CBD safe?
However, because the CBD industry isn’t regulated in most regions, it can be difficult for us to know exactly what CBD products contain.
Also, there’s very little research into the effects of CBD on groups such as pregnant women or children.
Bear in mind too that there are some situations where any type of non-alcoholic beer may not be safe.
Is non-alcoholic CBD beer addictive?
Unlike alcohol and THC, there’s no evidence that non-alcoholic CBD beer, or CBD in general, is addictive.
Why put CBD in non-alcoholic beer and other foods?
If you’re new to CBD, you might be wondering why producers are putting it in non-alcoholic beer.
It’s to do with convenience and flavour.
Foods and drinks provide a convenient way to consume CBD easily without having to remember to use a spray, gel or vape, or take a tablet.
Taste is a big factor too. Many people don’t like the flavour of CBD, which can be nutty, grassy and earthy – as you’d expect from a plant-derived product.
Many producers of CBD products mask these flavours with lime juice or coconut. However, the flavour profiles of many beers can complement the flavours experienced in CBD.
For example, beers made with spicy, resinous or grassy hops can work especially well with CBD’s flavours.
Non-alcoholic beer’s health and lifestyle credentials also make it a natural fit as a CBD-infused product.
Where can you buy non-alcoholic CBD beer?
Due to the issues I mentioned above regarding payment services and cannabis products, non-alcoholic CBD beer can be tricky to buy, especially online.
In the UK, few online retailers stock non-alcoholic CBD beers. You can buy non-alcoholic CBD beer directly from specialist CBD beer producers, Hop & Hemp Brewery Co.
It’s available in selected high street stores too.
Over to you
Have you tried non-alcoholic CBD beer? What non-alcoholic CBD beers do you recommend?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.