As interest in CBD reaches new heights in the UK it has moved into a new marketplace. Café’s! Now, instead of a vanilla macchiato, you can order yourself a hemp latte or CBD cappuccino with a side of CBD infused brownie.

Cafés that offer CBD options in their products are appearing all over the UK and it seems that it won’t be long before every city has their own CBD chillout spot. But are they worth the hype? Are they just a clever gimmick to get a head start in the increasingly competitive coffee shop market? Or the product of a movement to improve our health and wellbeing?

To find out I looked into some of the new cafés. I found out what’s on their menu and what you can expect with your cafe au lait.

What is in a CBD coffee?

A CBD coffee is different to your normal morning beverage in one way. It contains a shot of CBD. In most cafés you can choose from 10mg or 20mg, but what is CBD and why do people take it?

Cannabidiol (CBD) won’t get you high, but it has been linked to general health improvements. This is due to its interaction with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is made up of natural chemicals and receptors in your body. It helps keeps your body’s sub systems and controls in balance by using cannabinoids made by your body.

When you are low on cannabinoids it correlates with poor health and conditions such as chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome. Taking CBD is an effective way to balance your ECS and boost your health and wellbeing.

The Newest Businesses to Join the TrendMary Janes CBD Cafe

CBD Café Mary Jane’s has just opened in Bristol and customers have been queuing down the street to get in and try the CBD laced goodies. The café manager, Jazz, feels that it will appeal to people from all walks of life. She said, “We’ve had young, old, families with kids, students, professionals – all types.”

The Green Coffee Lab hotel and café is doing business in Colchester, serving CBD infused products alongside teas, coffees, cocktails and cakes. One of their founders, Mr Tim Acton said that the business started when their website showed a high demand for CBD edibles. Now they’ve moved into a physical retail environment he is enthusiastic about the possibilities ahead. “It is exciting and a little bit daunting because it is a relatively new industry and a new project which no one has ever done here before.”

The popularity of CBD infused food is without a doubt in high demand. That café in Norwich have begun to cater to the growing interest by featuring a CBD infused brownie amongst their ‘549 ways to great brownies’.

CBD cafes raided and closed in the UK and Ireland

While CBD oil and related products are legal for sale as food supplements in the UK and Ireland, police enforcement of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 has caused some problems.

In Brighton the Canna Kitchen was shut down despite their efforts to remain fully legal. The founder Sam Evolution said, “We have always taken very stringent measures to ensure that we comply with the letter of the law.” While they carefully followed guidance relating to CBD oil, the raid and closure was down to the legal grey area of the possession of CBD flower.

In a 2018 email from the Home Office, to Peter Reynolds of Clear, it was indicated that any product of the genus Cannabis could be considered as cannabis and therefore as a class B substance:

“I can confirm that the leaves and flowers of the genus Cannabis are controlled and defined as cannabis as outlined in Section 37(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. […] “cannabis” (except in the expression “cannabis resin”) means any plant of the genus cannabis or any part of any such plant[…].”

In Ireland four CBD Cafes and Shops have been raided including the Little Collins Dispensary in Galway. The confusion around legality and conflicting police policy has resulted in some forces assuming that hemp flower products are illegal despite the low THC content.

Will a Visit to a CBD café Improve My Health?

So, what can customers expect for their money? CBD is not psychoactive. However, research has connected it with numerous benefits such as pain relief, lowered anxiety and depression, improved brain function and better heart health.

There is no standard effective dose of CBD because each person responds differently. Users report that varying the size of the dose can also vary the effects. Small regular doses act as a mild stimulant allowing you to focus. A larger dose can give you a grounded and relaxed feeling which is great in the evening or just before bed.

If you went into Mary Jane’s and ordered:

  • Latte with a double shot of CBD
  • Mary Jane’s CBD chocolate Brownie
  • Mary Jane’s CBD coffee bliss ball

You would spend £10.70 and consume 40mg of CBD. While this is a dose that some users do take daily, it is lower much than the amounts used in human trials. The current legal daily consumption is 200mg per day but studies have shown that CBD contributes to reduced anxiety at a dose of between 300mg and 600mg daily.

Here Today Gone Tomorrow?

While it is great to see such a welcome response to CBD edibles across the country the CBD café is at best a well-meaning novelty. The creators of such venues do have the health and wellbeing of their customers at heart. But the addition of CBD in these amounts will make less of a difference than the coffee’s own stimulating effect.

While some cafes claim that their CBD infused items are an affordable way to regularly take CBD. The most cost-effective methods are to place drops under the tongue or vape a specially prepared e-liquid.

If you’re popping out for a coffee with friends, want a tasty lunch or interesting experience then pop into one of these cafes and try it out. However, if you want to feel the benefits of CBD it would be better to invest in a good quality oil and save the CBD café for a treat.