Ultimate Guide to CBD and CBD-Infused Drinks

WTF is CBD? Most people wouldn’t have been able to answer that question just a few years ago, but the natural compound has since exploded in popularity and can now be found in anything from oil to chocolate, hand sanitizer, and - yes, you guessed it - in drinks.

In many major cities around the world, you will find people lining up outside of specialty stores and health shops to buy CBD - even your local supermarket has stocked up so that you can experience the power of CBD to help you with conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, joint pain and depression. Everyone is suddenly sharing their experiences after trying the ‘magical’ compound, even your Ma & Pa may have jumped on the bandwagon by now!

The world is embracing CBD and it’s here to stay. Botanical drinks, vaping oils, tinctures, and ointments are appearing everywhere. Beauty companies are launching CBD infused lotions and coffee shops are selling CBD lattes, and even your favourite celebrities use CBD - didn’t you hear about Kim Kardashian’s CBD-themed babyshower? Other celebrities who use and advocate CBD include Gina Mazany, Jay Z, Mike Tyson, Rob Gronkowski, Paul “BizNasty” Bissonnette, Ryan VandenBussche, Jennifer Aniston, Drake, and many others. 

By 2022, it is expected that the CBD industry will have sales exceeding $22 billion. An increasing number of countries are legalising the medicinal use of cannabis, with some also supporting recreational use. More and more research is being conducted to substantiate the health claims around CBD, its potential uses and benefits, dosage statistics and methods of consumption.

CBD Under the Lens

Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is one of over 100 cannabinoids that can be extracted from varieties of the cannabis plant that contain less than 0.3% THC - that’s the compound that causes users to experience the euphoric effects, or ‘high’, that is commonly associated with cannabis. So CBD, while extracted from essentially the same plant as its cousin THC, does not have the same psychoactive effects - it actually has its own benefits that we are happy to brag about.

Let’s take a step back to clear the air on psychoactivity. It is commonly misperceived that CBD is a non-psychoactive or non-psychotropic compound. We beg to differ. Psychoactives are defined as compounds that interact with the central nervous system and have mood altering properties that can affect perception, behavior, and more. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing - did you know that caffeine is also a psychoactive compound? Yes, that’s the stuff in your coffee that gets you going in the morning, or maybe even in your favorite fizzy drink that you sip on to feel refreshed.

Okay, moving on to the nitty gritty so that you can be fully prepared and informed - after all, this is the ultimate guide to CBD.


Hemp? Marijuana? Cannabis? What’s the deal?

You may have heard of hemp, cannabis, and marijuana being used interchangeably, so let’s lift the veil and clear the confusion. Cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis are the three main species of cannabis, which is a genus of the cannabacae family.

Hemp and marijuana are merely terms that refer to cannabis, but the classifications have become so highly adopted in modern culture that they are often mistaken for strains or species of cannabis. They’re involuntary proprietary eponyms, like Kleenex to tissues or Band Aids to plasters.

Hemp is commonly used when speaking of cannabis with a THC content of less than 0.3% while marijuana is most often associated with cannabis varieties that contain a higher percentage of THC, leading to possible effects of intoxication, known as “getting high.”

Hemp has an incredible number of uses and applications from food to textiles, industrial and building materials, paper, and cosmetics. It has been used for centuries and is one of the strongest fibres in the world, and definitely one of the most versatile.

The term marijuana originally comes from Mexican Spanish and was adopted in the US in the 1920s-30s. Time for a little history lesson: many Mexican immigrants fled from the Mexican Revolution to the United States, raising negative sentiments and anti-Mexican propaganda that centred on ‘Mexican Cannabis,’ rumored to cause dangerous behavior.

This is clearly nonsense, but the idea unfortunately managed to find footing in the minds of the American people because it was also the time of McCarthyism and the Red Scare, and the government managed to impose such ridiculous taxation on the plant that it was basically outlawed and made way for the next decades of cannabis prohibition.

So when you boil it down, you could say that the root of cannabis criminalization was racism. Does that sound as ridiculous to you as it does to us? Yeah, we thought so.

It goes without saying that this type of clarification is important in order to fully understand cannabis and its compounds, extracts, and uses, which brings us to the next question: is it legal?


Is CBD legal?

In the European Union and the UK, CBD is legal and considered a ‘novel food’ under strict regulation. Companies have to fill out an application form and provide detailed information on sourcing and their supply chains, as well as provide laboratory test results to certify the provenance and quality of their products. This is a lengthy process that is not yet optimized and still in early stages on both brand and regulatory sides.

In the US, the 2018 Farm Bill legalised cannabidiol if extracted from plants with less than 0.3% THC content - remember, what they commonly call hemp these days? CBD that is derived from plants with a higher THC content - you guessed it, referred to as marijuana - is illegal. Here’s a little twist of irony for you: there is no difference in the CBD itself, whether it is extracted from hemp or marijuana, the compound itself is the same - but tell that to the regulators. This can vary in different states and even counties across the US based on the regulatory framework of recreational and medicinal marijuana, and ultimately causes a lot of confusion. Time for clear universal guidelines and legislation? We think so!

If you are travelling, ensure that you are aware of the local regulations regarding CBD. The Middle East, Asia, and Africa have some of the harshest rules regarding CBD. Even a 100ml bottle of CBD could get you several years in prison in some countries. If you are unsure of the local regulations, it is safer not to use or carry any. 


How does CBD oil work in the human body?

In a nutshell: CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) which produces neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that bind to cannabinoid receptors and proteins which are expressed throughout the central nervous system. Do you see what we are getting at with all this talk of cannabinoids?

It is important to note that the endocannabinoid system was only discovered recently. The ECS system was discovered after years of research on the impact of cannabis on the human body, and it is the main reason why the ECS was named after the plant.

CBD attaches to receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a biological system that is responsible for regulating particular body functions, such as mood, sleep, memory, and other metabolic processes such as energy balance. Due to its impact on the ECS, it is thought to treat certain health conditions. The potential health benefits of CBD are the main reason that has led to the legalisation of medicinal marijuana in some countries.

The ECS is made up of receptors and endocannabinoids that spread from glands and immune cells to the brain and all other organs. It has various functions and reactions in different parts of the human body. Its reactions are dependent on internal balance or homeostasis. Receptors in the immune system affect inflammation and pain, while receptors in the brain affect memories, coordination and movement, appetite, pain, thinking, mood, and emotions.

Think about times when you’re tired, stressed, confused, or just having an off day. That’s because there is an imbalance in your ECS. Cannabis-derived cannabinoids such as CBD play well with the ECS because of their chemical structure which is similar to the cannabinoids produced by your body, so CBD can be useful in stimulating the ECS and supporting its natural functions. Thus using CBD is linked to healing properties for chronic pain, anxiety, stress, sleep disorders, and more.


Timing and dosage

Since the use of CBD oil is fairly new, the exact dosage guidelines have not  been established and universally agreed upon. Most people take CBD oil using a dropper and placing a few drops underneath the tongue, which is considered the fastest method of delivery between consumption and effect. The precise time it takes for CBD to kick in is difficult to determine because different people react in different ways and at different rates. So far, there are no reported instances of CBD overdoses. Furthermore, there are limited - if any - side effects of using CBD. This should give reassurance to users who wish to experiment and find the right dosage for them.

Microdosing CBD is a popular practice. That means users take CBD up to 4 times a day in small doses, which could provide more therapeutic advantages than taking one large dose. You should always consult a doctor before taking alternative methods of treatment because it could react with other medications, such as opioids and steroids.

What are the benefits of CBD?

Could benefit heart health

Various studies have linked CBD with many benefits for the circulatory system and heart, including the potential to regulate high blood pressure. Some of the health conditions associated with high blood pressure include metabolic syndrome, stroke, and heart attack.

One study involved nine men who were treated with 600 milligrams of CBD, and they realised that it lowered their blood pressure in comparison to the control group. In the same study, the nine participants were exposed to stress tests that would increase their blood pressure. The findings showed that participants who had taken one dose of CBD experienced a smaller increase in blood pressure in comparison to the control. The researchers believe that the anxiety and stress-reducing properties of CBD were responsible for lowering high blood pressure.

Other studies suggest that CBD could help reduce cell death and inflammation associated with heart disease because of its strong stress-reducing and powerful antioxidant properties. In another study, CBD showed a lot of potential in reducing oxidative stress and slowed heart damage in mice with diabetes and heart disease. Oxidative stress is linked with free radicals which are the by-products of energy production or when the body is exposed to radiation or tobacco smoke.

According to researchers, CBD improves heart health by reducing cholesterol level, reducing artery blockage, reducing blood pressure, and minimising stress-induced cardiovascular response. CBD has powerful antioxidant properties, and it prevents inflammation and oxidative stress that are some of the main precursors to heart diseases.

Could relieve pain

Evidence that marijuana can be used to relieve pain dates back to 2900 BC. Scientists explain that particular compounds in Cannabis Sativa are responsible for pain relief, including CBD. As mentioned earlier, the human body has a specialised system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for regulating immune system response, pain response, appetite, and sleep.

Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that link with cannabinoid receptors within your nervous system. Research shows that CBD could be beneficial in reducing chronic pain by interacting with neurotransmitters, affecting endocannabinoid receptor activity, and reducing inflammation. Several human studies have shown that CBD could be effective in treating the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

There is evidence that CBD is beneficial in treating chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia. Not only does it offer pain relief but also prevents cell degeneration within the nervous system. CBD has been approved in Canada for the treatment of cancer pain and multiple sclerosis. According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, chronic inflammation is associated with autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and heart disease. According to research published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, CBD can effectively reduce chronic pain and inflammation in some rats and mice.

Might possess neuroprotective properties

Studies believe that CBD's ability to affect the brain signalling system, especially the endocannabinoid system, could be beneficial in helping patients with neurological disorders. One of the most common studies regarding the uses of CBD involves treating neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Although the research is still new, there are promising outcomes.

The most commonly used medication is Sativex, which contains CBD. It has shown to be effective and safe in reducing muscle spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis. Another study showed that Sativex reduced muscle spasms in three-quarters of patients with multiple sclerosis. The participants were experiencing muscle spasticity, which was drug-resistant.

In another study, 214 participants with severe epilepsy were treated with CBD oil, and it reduced their seizures by approximately 36.5%. In addition, CBD oil was found to reduce seizure activity in children experiencing Dravet syndrome. There are other studies on how CBD oil can be used to improve sleep quality and the quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Epidiolex in treating severe and rare forms of epilepsy in children two years or older. Epidiolex, a pure form of CBD oil, has the potential to treat Dravet Syndrome (DS) and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). These two types of epilepsy rarely respond to anti-seizure medications. The drug has shown that it reduces seizures, and it could even stop them in some cases altogether. Studies suggest that CBD could also help treat complications associated with epilepsy, such as psychiatric diseases, neuronal injury, and neurodegeneration.

Could reduce depression and anxiety

The World Health Organisation (WHO) mentions that depression and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness globally. The two conditions have negative effects on wellbeing and health. Depression is the main cause of disability globally. In most cases, depression and anxiety are treated with pharmaceutical drugs that could have adverse side effects, such as headache, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, agitation, and drowsiness. Some of the drugs are addictive, such as benzodiazepines, and could lead to drug abuse.

On the other hand, CBD oil shows a lot of potential as a natural and alternative treatment to pharmaceutical drugs. Studies show that CBD can significantly reduce anxiety. It has also been used to effectively and safely treat anxiety and insomnia in children who had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Research shows that CBD could have antidepressant-like effects on both animals and humans. These properties are associated with CBD’s impact on the brain signalling system and receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is believed to regulate social behaviour and mood.

Although doctors advise patients with chronic anxiety to avoid marijuana v=because traces of THC can trigger increased paranoia and anxiety, there is increasing evidence that CBD could prevent anxiety-related behavioural disorders. Some of the anxiety-related behavioural disorders, such as substance abuse disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.

Treat skin conditions

Approximately 9% of the world's population is affected by acne. It is believed to be a condition caused by various factors such as overproduction of sebum, underlying inflammation, bacteria, and genetics. Sebum refers to an oily secretion in the skin produced by sebaceous glands. Current research shows that CBD oil could be effective in treating acne because of its strong antioxidant properties and potential to reduce the production of sebum by sebaceous glands.

Additional research showed that CBD could help treat acne by preventing the release of “pro-acne” agents like cytokines, had anti-inflammatory actions, and prevented sebaceous glands from producing excessive sebum.

CBD could be effective in treating other skin conditions, such as eczema because it encourages the death of abnormal cells. It is important to mention that cannabidiol contains vitamin E, which protects and nourishes the skin. Although the preliminary results are quite promising, there is a need to explore additional human studies.

Could help in fighting addiction

Studies suggest that CBD oil could help in overcoming withdrawal symptoms according to research published on the Substance Abuse journal in 2015. The study evaluated previously published research on the topic where scientists proposed that CBD could have a therapeutic impact on people with psycho-stimulant, cocaine, and opioid addiction.

The study also showed that CBD could help treat people with tobacco and cannabis addiction. Additional studies suggest that CBD could sometimes block or reduce the impact of THC on the human mind.  Another study that was published in Addictive Behaviours revealed that smokers using CBD infused inhalers smoked fewer cigarettes than their normal number. Also, the participants did not experience withdrawal symptoms, such as nicotine cravings. 

Similar studies published in Neurotherapeutics suggested that CBD reduces withdrawal symptoms and other symptoms linked with substance abuse, such as insomnia, pain, mood-related symptoms, and anxiety. Although there is a need for additional research, the findings point out that CBD could be valuable in treating or reducing withdrawal symptoms. 


Experience CBD with Botanic Lab

One of the ways of experiencing the health benefits associated with CBD is through CBD infused drinks. Hard flex: we were the first company in Europe to develop a CBD beverage, namely our Dutch Courage drink. Not all of our drinks contain CBD, but all are low in calories, have no added sugar and they are also packed with natural functional plant ingredients. They’re grown-up soft drinks infused with functional botanicals to excite, calm, and energise you - whatever you’re in need of on any given day. Our drinks are 100% natural, contain no artificial additives, and are loaded with botanical ingredients that have been used for centuries for their effects on mind, body, and soul.

We’re not just about the drinks either. Our proprietary Take Five CBD oil contains 5% CBD and is guaranteed THC free. Of course we put in the extra lab-work and enhanced our oil with extra botanical goodness such as hemp terpenes myrcene, limonene, alpha and beta-pinene, linalool, b-carophyllene, carophyllene oxide, terpinolene, and humulene. Our oil is vegan and contains no yucky artificial sweeteners. We recommend taking 1-5 drops per day, up to 5 times a day for optimum chill.


What are botanicals?

Botanicals refer to plants or plant parts that are believed to have therapeutic or medicinal properties, and are also valued for their scent and/or flavour. Products that are prepared from botanicals are used to improve or maintain consumers’ health. Some botanicals have a rich history and cultural relevance in different parts of the world. This makes them even more interesting to include in our products.


Are Botanic Lab drinks intoxicating?

Our drinks are so delicious, you might say they make you delirious - just ask our customers.  But no, our drinks do not contain alcohol nor THC and therefore are not intoxicating. We use CBD isolate, the purest form of the compound, in our Dutch Courage drink in order to ensure you’re getting exactly what we say (with no THC).

CBD isolate is produced by removing all other compounds and substances such as plant parts, terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids such as THC.  The two other types of CBD extracts are full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD contains all naturally occurring compounds of the plant, such as essential oil, terpenes, and other cannabinoids (THC included). On the other hand, broad-spectrum CBD contains all the naturally occurring compounds except for THC, which is why we use it. Basically, we want you to get only the benefits of CBD.


Lay back and relax with Dutch Courage

Dutch Courage is the OG in our lineup. It’s the perfect drink for those days when you just need a moment of zen. The fresh flavors of sour cherry and calming hibiscus pleasantly tickle your taste buds while bringing you back down to earth. It’s the perfect drink to kick back, relax, and ease your mind. It’s the perfect way to soothe your nerves if you’re stressed and stuck at home - as  most of us are during COVID-19.

And if you want to kick it up a notch instead, why not spice up your quarantini, get creative with your lockdown liquors, and add some extra Botanic Lab goodness to your Friday night Zoom party? Don’t forget to let your friends and family in on the fun - from a safe distance, obviously.


Do Something.

Actions speak louder than words, as they say, so our motto is ‘do something’ because we are tired of brands and products that are all about false hype and empty promises. We don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. We are a British brand on a mission to disrupt the soft drinks market (and beyond) by creating beverages that are more than just a tasty treat. Our creations are conceptualized to be full of naturally-derived ingredients that provide more than hydration - they work for you to provide real benefits and enhance your life.  Each ingredient has a role that was specifically identified. Careful research and testing is conducted so that we can find the best combinations of ingredients to provide optimal results and unparalleled deliciousness. We are determined to transform the stereotypical "health drinks" market and to be a pioneer in the industry by educating our customers on the wonderful properties of botanical ingredients such as CBD, yerba maté, damiana leaf, green tea, and yuzu.