Unusual ingredients like dried angelica root, tobacco syrup and smoked meats have expanded horizons for those who love mixing and drinking craft cocktails. With enough expertise, an accomplished bartender/brewer may use almost any edible item to enhance or balance the other components of a drink—and stretch the limits of cocktail hour. But no matter how creative a bartender or brewer may be, most exotic ingredients only alter the flavor of the alcohol, not the person drinking it. That’s not the case with cannabidiol, perhaps the most cutting edge innovation the craft drink industry has seen in some time.
Cannabidiols are derived from the cannabis plant—yep, marijuana. It is the part of the plant which you may process and use for medical benefits. Also known as CBD, cannabidiols are used to manage a variety of disorders including:
- Chronic pain
- Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Antibiotic-resistant infections
- Neurological disorders
CBD is extracted from the stems and large leaves of specific strains of the cannabis plant. The buds of the plant, which are where the euphoria-producing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is concentrated, are not used for making CBD. That’s why cannabidiol doesn’t produce the same psychoactive effects as THC. However, that doesn’t mean it has no effect at all.
Users of cannabidiol most frequently report a deep sense of relaxation or lightness in the body. That may be because the CBD is actually effective in relieving chronic pain and other symptoms. If you were experiencing pain and now you aren’t, you might describe yourself as feeling more relaxed and at ease. CBD users rarely report feelings of being “high” or altered in their thinking and say the effect is more felt in the body. However, some users do say cannabidiol gives them a slight sense of being high. Understandably, the sensation is subjective. Not all people describe the effects of tequila the same way. For some, it produces a happy, energetic feeling while others say tequila makes them feel sleepy. Because of these individual reactions, it’s particularly important to proceed with caution when mixing alcohol with CBD.
Keeping Cannabidiol Legal
Before you start mixing cannabis cocktails, know the law in your state. There is no federal law allowing the use of cannabidiol; however, there is also no federal law making its use illegal. In fact, cannabidiol is not listed as a controlled substance, a point many supporters use to defend the medical consumption of CBD. And it gets even more confusing: cannabidiol, which is derived from hemp, is legal in all states because hemp is a legal substance, but many proponents of CBD believe hemp oils are less medically effective than cannabis oils. Cannabidiol derived from cannabis is legal in states where medical marijuana has been legalized. But STOP! That doesn’t automatically mean you can serve CBD-infused drinks at your home or place of business without consequence. Regulations differ from state to state and even county to county. Don’t take chances. It is important to educate yourself about the laws of your state, your county and your city or town and consult an attorney before stocking CBD in your bar.
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Keeping Cannabidiol Safe
Because CBD effects people differently, there are some safety concerns with combining cannabidiol with alcohol. Yes, you may have to experiment extensively to find the right amount that will complement your cocktails without turning friends or customers into sleepy piles of jelly. Darn! Remember, with this ingredient a little goes a long way. The dosage suggestion on your package doesn’t factor in the over-reaching effect of alcohol. This suggestion is more than likely what the producer recommends for treating a medical problem. Start with one or two drops of CBD in your favorite libation. Note the effects, and build from there.
CBD is widely available on the internet, which contributes to the safety factor when purchasing. Know your provider and the quality of the product. High-quality CBD isn’t cheap and cheap CBD isn’t worth your time, especially if you want to entice customers with the health benefits of the product. Your craft cocktails deserve thoughtfully crafted ingredients. Fortunately, many CBD producers take their work seriously and take pride in developing superior cannabidiol. Network with a local pot collective or green pharmacy in your area to find the right product for your needs.
Keep Cannabidiol Tasty
Grassy, herby, earthy and bitter are some common words used to describe the flavor of CBD. One may compare its texture and flavor to an artisanal extra-virgin olive oil. Restaurants, bars, spas and wineries are successfully offering CBD cocktails in a creative flurry of combinations to their patrons. No liquor is off limits. Just like a good olive oil can add a needed bitter tone to a sweet dish or mellow out an acidic recipe, so does CBD. As a natural oil, CBD floats on top of other liquids and makes for an impressive presentation. In look, flavor and effect, CBD is an ingredient that encourages the modern bartender to experiment and let his or her creativity out to play.
As more states legalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, we can expect more professional and home bartenders to experiment with CBD. If the law allows, begin your booze-meets-bud journey now and stay ahead of the innovation curve. Be warned, after creating new libations with cannabidiol, your interest in ghost pepper martinis may grow cold.
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