Coca-Cola is considering a move into the growing market for cannabis-infused drinks. Coke said in a statement Monday that it’s “closely watching” the growth of CBD, a non-psychoactive component in marijuana, as an ingredient in what it called functional wellness beverages. They say no decision has been made as of yet.
It wouldn’t be the first time that the soft drink company had a beverage infused with a drug. Coca-Cola was created in 1886 by Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton, who modeled his beverage after a then-popular French refreshment, coca wine. The beverage was made by mixing a coca-leaf extract with Bordeaux wine.
In an effort to skirt the liquor laws, Pemberton decided to mix his coca-leaf extract with sugar syrup instead of wine. In an effort to boost the caffeine amount, he also added Kola-Nut extract, hence the “Cola” part of the drink’s name.
There were several cocaine infused beverages in the 19th century. Many consumers didn’t think twice about it and cocaine didn’t become illegal until 1914. Cocaine tonics, powders and pills were thought to cure several ailments.
Public opinion on cocaine infused products eventually turned negative and Coca-Cola was eventually cocaine-free by 1929. That’s when scientists perfected the process of removing all psychoactive elements from coca-leaf extract.
We’re not talking about cocaine now. We’re talking about marijuana. Coca-Cola is looking into using CBD, which does not produce a high for the user and has been used for medical purposes, including easing inflammation, pain and nausea.
It’s not like this isn’t being done by anyone yet. Lagunitas, a craft beer label of Heineken, already has a drink infused with THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, which does produce a high. It can be purchased at marijuana dispensaries in California.