CBD in Beer? I’m chilled with the idea….

Brewery News

By: Dom Metcalfe

This week we release our first ever CBD/CBDA infused beer (‘Lucid Lupulus’ – 4% Hazy Pale Ale). The decision to do this was not one that I took lightly and I have digested dozens of papers, reports, essays, blogs, commentaries etc on the supposed benefits and side effects of CBD, and in all honesty, I am none the wiser on the whole subject, which is why I am not going to try and get in to the technical claims of CBD/CBDA – I will leave that up to you to make your own informed decisions. All I can do is assure you that we have taken great care to source our CBD from a leading, reputable supplier (I know how that sounds!) and that the ‘Broad Spectrum’ element means there is no THC (the psychoactive part of cannabis) which means the product is 100% legal.

I consider myself very fortunate in that I have never suffered from anxiety, depression, chronic pain, cancer, severe acne or any other of the multitude of conditions that CBD is reported to help with. Truth be told, I have never even smoked marijuana in my life, so the idea of taking a ‘supplement’ which is extracted from marijuana and which has so much stigma surrounding it, has simply not entered my sphere of consideration.

However, CBD is big business, really big business… currently $10 Billion per year to be more precise and set to be double that by 2024. That to me, suggests that for every person claiming CBD to be no better than Snake Oil, there is somebody who believes in the properties of the product and is using it regularly to aid with any number of illnesses or conditions.

As I imagine you’ll know by now, here at Thornbridge we always strive to produce innovative and exciting beer and Lucid Lupulus is no different. The beer we have produced has more CBD/CBDA in it than any other beer on the market in the UK currently with 20mg per 330ml bottle – double most other beers. Our view on any new beer release is that we are going to do that style to the best of our ability and ensure we produce a product with credibility and passion.

I should add that there is a significant cost to making CBD beer! The cost of the CBD alone nearly trebles the total cost of the brew which should go a long way to re-assuring people we are not adding a token amount of CBD to try and ‘cash in’ on a fad. Despite this huge added cost, our beer will retail at a similar price to other beers in the category that have half the amount of CBD/CBDA. Now might be a good time to also highlight it’s a damn good beer in its own right regardless of what has been added.

My view is that there are 3 different camps that people fall in to with regard to CBD – people who use it and understand the effects it has on them personally, people who flat out refuse to believe it’s anything over than hocus pocus, and people who have no strong views either way, but are willing to try it and see if it has a positive effect for them.

For those who are in the former camp, it is likely they take CBD in any number of formats – sprays, droplets, vaping, chewy sweets, pills, beauty creams etc. Each person will have a preference and it is fair to assume that some CBD users may also be partial to a Hazy Pale or two. Again, as with all documentation on the effects of CBD, there is nothing that is taken as ‘gospel’ about whether alcohol and CBD have negating or complimenting effects on each other. Therefore, it stands to reason until such time as an official paper is produced on the subject, that consumption of CBD in beer can be added to the exhaustive list of methods of ingestion. If you like great beer and you like CBD – perhaps this is the product for you.

Personally, I very much fell in to the latter camp with regard to my views on CBD. So when I sat down last Thursday with a chilled bottle of Lucid Lupulus shortly after my 2 and a half year old son had launched his tomato based pasta against the wall that had been painted 4 days earlier, and my 4 month old daughter had been screaming continually for 2 hours after having her 3rd set of immunisations – I would frankly, have tried anything to relax! I duly drank the beer and it had a similar effect to when I usually drink a beer after a long day. It was fragrant with aromatic hops, it had delicate tropical fruit on the palate and it was mighty refreshing as any 4% Pale Ale should be. But after a short while it also made me feel rather non-plussed by what I now considered as my son’s ‘creativity’ and my daughter’s ‘singing’. Was my mind playing tricks on me because I wanted to believe it was having an effect on me? Maybe. But CBD, like beer generally, is subjective. I don’t deride people because they like drinking macro lager, or because they think East Coast IPA’s are better than West Coast IPA’s (although they are wrong!). Similarly, I am not here to tell people that CBD does or doesn’t work for me, therefore it clearly does or doesn’t work for them. I know what I felt, whether it was CBD induced, alcohol induced….or a combination of both.

I should add that another two of my colleagues (who would fall in the same latter camp as myself with regard their views on CBD) independently drank Lucid Lupulus on separate occasions, and both also reported a similar feeling of being more relaxed than if they had had a ‘normal’ beer.

Perhaps it really was a placebo effect for all 3 of us, but if the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing us he doesn’t exist, then the CBD industry is pulling an equally effective trick in recruiting new customers based on a similar fallacy, as I for one, am feeling Lucid.