How does CBD coffee work, exactly?
Jamie Evans, aka The Herb Somm and author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD ($10) and Cannabis Drinks: Secrets to Crafting CBD ($20), says there are a few reasons why someone may be inclined to give CBD coffee a try. "Coffee can enhance the brain’s ability to fully utilize serotonin and enhance dopamine signaling in the brain, which elevates the mood," she says. "CBD interacts with our serotonin receptors to produce happy feelings. When combined at a low dose, coffee and CBD can help you feel energized, boost your mood, and help keep anxiety levels at bay."
- Grant Rogers, Grant Rogers is a digital marketing manager for Extract Labs, a CBD company based in Boulder, Colorado.
- James Reina, James Reina is the co-founder of Jibby Coffee, a CBD cold brew brand.
- Jamie Evans, Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm, an online guide to cooking with cannabis. She's also the author of, The Ultimate Guide To CBD.
- Laura Fuentes, RPH, Laura Fuentes is the co-founder of Green Roads, a pharmacist-formulated CBD brand. Fuentes spent more than two decades as a licensed compounding pharmacist before starting Green Roads
- Stephanie Laws, Stephanie Laws is a wholesale account manager for Strava Coffee, a brand that makes CBD-infused coffee.
This means that if drinking coffee tends to make you feel jittery, adding CBD could help take the edge off. "While more research and studies need to be done to make a final conclusion, anecdotal evidence suggests that adding cannabidiol to coffee can help relieve jitters as well as help relieve anxiety that caffeine can sometimes trigger if too much is consumed," Evans says. She explains that this is because of the way CBD interacts with serotonin receptors and also because it helps muscles relax, reducing spasms. "However, keep in mind that reactions to CBD vary from person to person—it is a very personalized medicine," she adds. "This is why safe experimentation is important to see how your body reacts, especially when combined with coffee."
If you want to experiment with CBD coffee in a safe way, Evans says it's important to do some digging to see where the CBD is sourced from. This includes whether you are buying a CBD coffee ready-to-drink or adding drops of CBD on its own to your coffee. She explains that CBD has risen in popularity much faster than regulations have kept up with. "There are more and more companies rushing to release items without going through proper safety checks and lab testing to ensure their products are up to par," she says. If the CBD or CBD coffee brand you're looking into doesn't specify where they're sourcing their CBD from on their website, skip it and find one that does. Evans says it's a really good sign if the brand you're checking out has a Certificate of Analysis, ensuring that it's been lab-tested.
Besides the sourcing, Evans says it's also important to consider the CBD dose. Finding the dose that works best for you may take some experimenting, but Evans says that if you don't "feel" it working right away, her advice is to not increase the dose immediately but to keep the dosage consistent for a while first. "While you might not feel [it] at first, over a few weeks your CBD milligram intake will add up, potentially delivering longer-lasting effects," she says. If you've been sticking with the same dose for a few weeks and still want to increase it, then you can try upping it slightly a try. And of course, if you are taking any prescription medications, it's best to check with your doctor before giving CBD coffee a try.
Is coffee even healthy? Watch the video below to see what a registered dietitian has to say:
The 4 best CBD coffee brands to try, according to experts
CBD coffee brands vary greatly in terms of dosage. Evans says finding the right product for you—meaning the coffee that has both the taste, caffeine content, and CBD dosage you’re after—may take some experimentation. If you’re a multiple-cup-a-day coffee drinker, for instance, Extract Labs X Bearded Man Coffee could be your perfect match. “Our standard recommended dose is 33 milligrams for most folks. The average American drinks two cups of coffee per day, so we split the difference to afford the opportunity to drink a couple of cups without getting too much CBD in one serving,” Extract Labs digital marketing manager Grant Rogers says.
Their CBD coffee is sold in K-cup form, and Rogers emphasizes that these K-cups are a step-above others on the market. Besides being “breathable,” preventing the grounds from getting stale, Rogers says they allow coffee to brew and bloom inside the cup, similar to a French press. “Plus, the bamboo-based K-cups are biodegradable, removing the problem of excess waste that is synonymous with their name,” he adds.
Jibby Coffee is one of the newer brands to enter the space, selling canned CBD cold brew. Co-founder James Reina says they source their CBD from hemp farms in Kentucky and Colorado and work with a Colorado-based lab to extract it. “The CBD is isolated to be consistent yet flavorless in each batch of coffee, and we test and publish results from each lot for transparency,” he says. After a lot of experimenting, they landed on 25 milligrams as the CBD dosage in each can. “We found 25 milligrams per serving to be the goldilocks dose—just enough to complement our coffee’s natural caffeine energy and keep you calm, focused, and creative throughout the day,” Reina says.
Green Roads is a CBD coffee brand that has several blends to choose from, including their Founders’ Blend (a traditional Colombian coffee), French Vanilla, and Hazelnut. Co-founder, CEO, and licensed pharmacist Laura Fuentes, RPH, recommends choosing one based on your preferred flavor profile. However you like to make your coffee at home, their beans will do the job. “All of your favorite brewing methods like drip coffee, French press, or pour-over should work equally well. In the case of our hemp coffee, the roasting phase of our process has no impact on the cannabinoid profile,” she says.
Strava has a range of CBD coffees of different dosages, ranging from four milligrams to 20 milligrams. “We like giving these options because we know CBD provides a unique experience for each individual and not everyone drinks the same amount of coffee. This allows the consumer to customize what works best for them,” Stephanie Laws, the brand’s account manager says. Strava sells CBD coffee in the form of beans and K-cups, saying the infusion is done after the beans are roasted. “This ensures that the CBD is not adversely affected by the high temperatures of the actual coffee roasting process,” Laws explains. She adds that since CBD molecules don’t start to break down until 300°F, its integrity is upheld during the coffee brewing process as well. (Coffee is brewed between 195°F and 205°F.)
As you can see, with more CBD coffee brands entering the market, there are plenty of ways to try it out—without having to tinker around with dosage and tinctures yourself. Just be sure to do your research before clicking add to cart (or easier, go with one of the trusted brands above). To Evans's point, you want to make sure you're supporting brands that are actually using quality CBD and not just trying to capitalize on a buzzy trend. Doing your homework will pay off in both taste and how you feel.
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