CBD-infused coffee has made its way to the Seacoast area, and local shops and supporters say theyï¿½re excited about the potential health benefits the trendy compound can provide to residents.
CBDï¿½ stands for cannabidiol, a legal, non-psychoactive compound derived from cannabis and hemp that is often sold in oil form. Recently, Fresh Vibes Cafe in Rochester, Dover Natural Marketplace in Dover, and Hampton Natural Foods in Hampton all began serving CBD-infused coffee, while Portsmouth-based Old Stone Coffee and Newington-based Vera Roasting Company are among the local coffee brewers making it. On The Rox Lounge in Rochester will also soon serve a CBD-infused espresso.
Touted as a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals used to remedy stress, anxiety, inflammation, seizures and other various disorders, CBD oils are becoming increasingly ubiquitous throughout the Northeastï¿½s health food stores and smoke shops. Coffee aficionados like the folks at Fresh Vibes say CBD is appealing to them because, in addition to the suspected health benefits, it seems to smooth the jitteriness of caffeine without eliminating the upperï¿½s effect.
ï¿½I want to help as many people as I can,ï¿½ said Chef Leighton Knowles, the creator of Flower Power Coffee Co., the New York company that makes Fresh Vibesï¿½ CBD coffee. ï¿½The feedback has been great.ï¿½
CBD is legal in all 50 states if itï¿½s extracted from hemp, which contains little to no THC, the compound in cannabis that produces a high. Knowles said that strict testing on Flower Powerï¿½s products ï¿½ which are hemp based and sold in 36 states ï¿½ show they contain zero THC.
The lack of THC and the United Statesï¿½ allowance of hemp oil is why Fresh Vibesï¿½ Kris Enis and Dover Naturalï¿½s Kim Belair say they were able to add CBD coffee to their menus without any legal or regulatory issues.
Hampton Natural Foods politely declined comment for this story beyond confirming the storeï¿½s sale of CBD products and coffee. Old Stone, Vera Roasting and Coyote River Hemp, the source of Old Stoneï¿½s CBD, couldnï¿½t immediately be reached for comment.
Fresh Vibes started serving cold brew CBD coffee earlier this summer and gave away free cups of it Wednesday and Thursday. One cup at Fresh Vibes costs $6 and contains 5 micrograms of CBD, which Knowles said is considered a microdose.
Jim Grant,ï¿½a Fresh Vibes regular and city of Rochester employee, was offered a free cup with his breakfast Thursday. Grant, who wasn’t on duty at the time, said he didn’t notice a difference in taste due to the CBD. ï¿½Itï¿½s really good tasting coffee,ï¿½ said Grant.
While he wasn’t sure about any medicinal benefits, he said, ï¿½I came in with a headache and now (half an hour later) I donï¿½t have one.ï¿½
Enis said sheï¿½s also in the process of rolling out a CBD-infused menu of food and desserts, and she said Fresh Vibes will soon also serve Knowles CBD-infused Brooklyn Boocha kombucha.
Wednesday was the first day for Dover Naturalï¿½s CBD coffee, which it obtains from Old Stone Coffee. One 11-ounce coffee costs $7.99 and contains 15 micrograms of of CBD, according to the store.
Dover Natural started selling CBD oils and topical products 2ï¿½ years ago, but Belair said they really started taking off six months ago, which made her think CBD coffee and smoothies would be a natural addition to the menu.
ï¿½Thereï¿½s a lot of different things that people are finding and their days are getting better because theyï¿½re taking CBD,ï¿½ said Belair, who said she felt great after drinking CBD coffee for the first time Wednesday.
Knowles has been credited by Bon Appetit as the originator of the CBD coffee trend, which is big in states like New York and California. He said Flower Powerï¿½s CDB is infused into the coffee during the roasting process because it provides more consistency than if the beans are coated with CBD oil or if the CBD oil is added directly to a finished cup of coffee. The latter has to do with the fact that the bitter oil floats to the top of water, causing a cup of coffee to have an uneven flavor.
Knowles likened the infusion of CBD into food and drinks to the well-established practice of infusing other natural plants like lavender into various consumables and products to promote various health and digestive benefits.
Knowles said he uses CBD every day to help with anxiety and help him focus in the kitchen. He also credits it with helping him kick an addiction to cocaine five years ago.
ï¿½I have to take it every day or otherwise Iï¿½m a mess,ï¿½ said Knowles.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first prescription CBD medicine, known as Epidiolex, for use in treating seizures caused by two syndromes, Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet. The FDA has also warned that many of CBDï¿½s marketed uses are unproven, while products have been confiscated from stores in different parts of the county because they have been found to contain THC.
Knowles and Enis said they believe the use of CBD will spread as individuals realize the benefits and help break down stigmas attached to CBD due to poor quality control and some companiesï¿½ use of cannabis to make THC.
Breaking down that stigma is a driving force behind the monthly educational nights that Enis and Knowles, an England native whose wife is from Rochester, will soon start hosting on the second story of Fresh Vibes. Fresh Vibes recently began hosting live bands and entertainment in that space on Friday and Saturday nights.
Seacoast Media Group contacted several other cafes and stores throughout the Seacoast area while reporting this story, including ones in Dover, Portsmouth and Exeter. Some expressed they hadn’t heard of CBD coffee, although nearly all expressed an interest in eventually adding it to their menus.